January 17, 2014

In the Garden: 14 Favorite Seed Companies


I have been gardening since before I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of helping my dad plant corn when I was probably not quite 4 years old. So gardening has always been important to me. Now it has taken on additional importance as Nathan and I prepare for a lifestyle where we hope to grow most of our own food. And even now, with only 200 sq ft of our own garden space (in addition to the spaces we share with the group gardeners at Kailash Ecovillage), we still try to grow as much of our own produce as possible, partly to help save money and partly for the love of gardening.

Making the most of this small space takes a bit of planing, but that is one of my favorite parts! Every fall, I am ready for the less hectic pace of winter, and ready to put the garden to bed. But by the time January rolls around, I find that I am already starting to miss my garden. But it will still be awhile before we can actually plant anything, so like most other gardeners, I content myself by looking through all the beautiful seed catalogs and drawing up my garden plans.

Looking back at our previous garden (much more than 200 sq ft), and dreaming of spring!

Throughout the following year, I plan to share my gardening activities and to give a few tips along the way. This week's post is about one of your most important January tasks: ordering seeds. To give you the most choices, I recommend that you order your seeds (rather than buying them from a garden center). I find that if you want to make sure to get first pick of the varieties you want, you really should order them before the end of January.

There are quite a few excellent seed companies out there to choose from. I try to support companies that support sustainable growing practices, and when possible, I try to buy organic seed. I also try to order as many of my seeds as possible from companies that specialize in seeds that are well adapted to the growing conditions of the Pacific Northwest, so that the varieties I choose are more likely to do well.

Can't wait for spring greens again!
Below are some of my favorite seed companies. Some are very small family run operations, some are larger more established companies. Some offer free catalogs, others are only located online. Since I live in Portland, I focus mostly on Northwest companies, but I have a few suggestions for a few of my favorites from other regions of the country as well.

Northwest Based Companies

 

Other Good Companies Around the Country

So to start out this season, start looking through your seed catalogs (either request a free copy, or save some trees and look through their online versions). Have fun fantasizing about all the fun varieties that you would like to grow. And then just when you are about to be overwhelmed by all the choices you have, come back next week when I will talk about how to pick out and order your seeds!

(This post was also shared on the From the Farm, Green Thumb Thursday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Clever Chicks Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Mondays, Homemade Mondays, Tuesday Greens, Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays with a Twist, the Maple Hill Hop, Down Home Blog Hop, Green Thumb Thursdays, and 104 Homestead blog hops.)

10 comments:

  1. Those greens look amazing! I love that you use local companies when possible.
    Thanks for joining The Maple Hill Hop today!

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  2. This is a great list! Personally, I used Baker Creek also exclusively, since their seeds are 100% heirloom and untreated or altered in any way; however on occasion I will go to Johnny's Seeds--since I can drive 30 minutes to pick up my order--thus avoid shipping and handling charges, and the wait of the mail-system. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Thanks! I love Baker Creek, but I find that I tend to go with the Northwest Ones most often since our wet climate can really do in anything that isn't adapted to the climate.

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  3. Your garden looks lovely! Dreaming of spring here too. Thank you for linking up at Green Thumb Thursday, do not forget to come and link up this Thursday again!

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    1. Thanks Anna... It will be here before we know it. I am starting to see crocuses peeking up in places...

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  5. What a great list of seed companies......I can't wait to get started. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  6. Great post! I really fail when it comes to planning! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  7. Please consider checking out Mary's Heirloom Seeds. We're a tiny "mom and pop" company!
    http://marysheirloomseeds.com/

    I blog over @ Back to the Basics and Mary's Kitchen.

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  8. Nice list- you could also check out Heritage harvest seeds: http://www.heritageharvestseed.com/

    they're a nice small company- and they have an awesome selection of dry beans and tomatoes.

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