I was walking through The Home Depot yesterday and the first signs of Spring were showing up.
Yes, seed racks. You know how it is….Christmas blow ups are gone, and vast acreage is taken up with cardboard displays of seed packets. Bright and shiny, promising and full of hope. But remember this…in big box stores what you see are often owned by nearly always one company, even if you think there are choices in brands. The seed companies own the soil starting company, which owns pesticides and herbicides….it is a big business for sure. Be sure to do your quick homework and google “who owns….” when tempted.
But…don’t be tempted. You can often do better quality, choice and price if you order online (and some you can find in store, but at independent stores). Just get going on it soon, so you have them in time, and get the best choice. And you can support truly small agriculture of people who are doing this out of the love and preservation of seeds.
So who do we use? A wide variety of seed companies. Some are larger, others are most likely one person doing the work. I don’t buy from everyone, every year. Often it comes down to what they have to offer that year, and if they have enough I need/want to make the order worthwhile. For me, I am willing to even pay shipping for the truly unusual. These are all companies we have bought from and used.
This isn’t all the companies out there, and if you have a company you love, let me know! Especially those that are run by a seed geek who just wants to share their love of their favorite hard to find seed.
Baker Creek Seeds. They would be the gold star of all non corporate seed companies. Not everyone agrees with their mission, nor their religious views, but they are solid with what they sell. They ship fast, and the seeds grow.
Ed Hume Seeds. They are the OG of Washington seeds. What they sell is a mix of F1 and open pollinated seeds. They sell generous packets for real prices. No fancy markups. I met Ed himself a few years back and got to tour their production facility. It was like walking back in time. The seeds all grow well in the PNW.
The Strawberry Store. They sell strawberry seeds. And that is it. It’s a one of a kind company. Fast service. Heirloom alpine strawberries you have never heard of, but will grow year after year.
Strictly Medicinal Seeds. This is the first place for herb seeds. You will find seeds you had no idea existed. Having met the owner in person at multiple talks, Richo is a living legend.
Deep Harvest Seeds. A local to Whidbey Island, Wa farm. Their seeds are ones that grow on the islands well.
Johnny’s Seeds. Johnny’s is aimed at farms, small scale for sure, but not necessarily at home gardeners. During the Pandemic we were able to order because we are a farm, and we could order in large quantities. Not everyone agrees with F1 hybrids, but we use them. I believe in the 50/50 mix. Half is hybrid, half is heirloom open pollinated, that we grow.
Uprising Organics. They are Bellingham, Wa based, and family run. They carry many interesting seeds.
Territorial Seed. Based out of Oregon, they are family run. If your growing climate is a bit warmer, they are excellent. And they offer a lot of advice on growing as well.
Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. Run by a family on the Eastern crest of the Cascade Mountains, what they really excel in is potatoes and garlic, but offer so much more.
Renee’s Garden. I pick up a few packets yearly, to try new things.
High Mowing Seeds. They are based on the East Coast, but you never know what you will find!
Adaptive Seeds. Find the unusual.
Seattle Seeds. Yes, they are all urban growing. But it’s relatively local and they have cute gardening stuff.
Seed Savers Exchange. Find the interesting and support a good cause.
Botanical Interests. I love their seed displays, and find their seeds grow well.
Forgotten Heirlooms. I found them via an Instagram post a few years back. If you have wanted usual dwarf plants, this is where to go. I really enjoyed growing their dwarf tomatoes, and am planning on growing more this year.