An emerging group of seed sellers is dedicated to nurturing the history and promoting genetic diversity in their seed offerings. These established brands offer a wide variety of seeds for famous-name tomatoes, such as Sun Gold. Some varieties are produced by brands that are focused on being environmentally friendly. If a plant produces seeds yearly, there will be less work to do on the land and thus less carbon to be released into the atmosphere. This is especially vital on an agronomic scale. Since the Covid 19 pandemic shocked the entire world, people are now staying inside their houses more than ever before, and vegetable gardening has become one of the nation’s top pastimes. But where do adventurous gardeners get their seeds these days?
What Are the Best Seed Companies?
Are you looking for a reliable seed company that seasoned gardeners trust? Seeds from these companies are organic, grown from heirloom seeds, and non-GMO. Our experienced garden experts reviewed several seed companies and came up with a list of genuine ones you should check out.
1. Botanical Interests
Botanical Interests Seeds & Garden Products is a reputable company that provides high-quality organic garden seeds. Botanical Interests offers heirloom seeds and non-GMO garden supplies. The Colorado-based company specializes in selling organic seeds that are easy to use and are often packaged with beautiful illustrations, helpful tips, and facts for gardeners. The company provides seeds to schools, communities, and food banks supporting gardening programs.
2. Hudson Valley Seeds
The company was founded by Ken Greene in 2004 and has been in business since 2008. Hudson Valley Seeds was started as a library in New York City, where Ken Greene worked as a librarian. When he started studying how seeds could help us, he realized that working with seeds could help us address important issues that affect the environment, our health, our history, and our culture.
3. Adaptive Seeds
The company’s seeds are specifically designed to grow in cooler climates. Adaptive Seeds is a small company based on a farm in Oregon. Their seeds are specially formulated to thrive in the shorter gardening season that you can find in the Pacific Northwest.
4. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
This is a well-known seed company that specializes in heirloom varieties. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds sells a very wide selection of rare heirloom seed varieties. Headquartered in Mansfield, MO, the company publishes a beautiful seed catalog each year to celebrate the start of a new growing season. They’re also makers of beautiful seed packets that you’ll definitely find adorable. Baker Creek has taken the pledge to sell only safe seeds. It has published a book called The Heirloom Life Gardener that is highly respected.
5. Kitazawa Seed Company
Kitazawa is home to a fabulous selection of traditional Japanese vegetables and foods. Kitazawa sells everything from edamame to bok choy and prides itself on producing high-quality seeds from Japanese heirloom varieties.
6. Johnny’s Selected Seeds
The company offers a huge selection of vegetable seeds, from leeks to shallots, to tomatillos. Johnny’s Selected Seeds has been selling vegetable seeds and gardening tools to gardeners in the United States for more than 45 years. This is one company that obeys the Safe Seed Pledge; Johnny’s Selected Seeds promises never to sell genetically modified seeds.
7. SeedVille U.S.A.
Seedville U.S.A. has a huge selection of seeds, including trendy options such as edible flowers that look nice in cocktails and pink pampa grass. You can find any type of seed you want for different purposes, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and ornamental grass seeds.
8. Native Seeds/S.E.A.R.C.H.
The organization is a nonprofit seed conservation organization, and all of the money that it raises goes towards Native Seeds/S.E.A.R.CH. Native Seeds and SEARCH is reputable because it helps preserve native crops in the Southwest. Native Seeds/S.E.A.R.CH. has seed packets from more than 50 southwest Native American societies. The store sells seeds for everything from chiles to parsnips. Americans can also order up to 10 native free seed packets per year.
9. Burpee Seeds
Burpee Seeds is the first company that comes to mind when you think about purchasing seeds. When W. Atlee Burpee started selling quality seeds in the 1880s, he traveled extensively in Europe, obtaining seed stock from various European breeders. He now produces some of the best vegetable and flower seeds available in the U.S. Burpee also found that some of the best vegetable breeders in Europe were Scandinavians, Germans, and the Dutch.
As he was doing his travels, he found the best seeds in England during summertime. He kept a field book filled with all the data and observations he had collected along the way, and during the voyage home, he carefully reviewed all the notes he had made. Baker Creek Seed Company is the largest supplier of heirloom seeds from Asia and Europe in the 19th century.
The company features about 1,000 varieties of seeds that are extremely beautiful. Burpee is one of those companies that has always been able to innovate. Every year, their horticulturists develop new varieties of plants.
How Do I Find Good Seeds for Planting?
Whether you plant from seeds or cuttings, you need to be sure about planting timelines. Because seeds are usually not used until the next spring, you should try to plant all your seeds in late February/early March. It is important that you know a few things when selecting the right seeds for planting, such as the kind of plant and how old the seed may be. As a gardener, it’s critical to know that many fruits and vegetables purchased at supermarket chains are from hybridized plants.
It’s just an ornamental way of saying that two plants can be cross-pollinated to produce more fruit, nutrients, and a larger crop. That produces fruit or vegetable that looks better than any other. You want to get good seeds from store-bought produce by settling for the renowned heirloom varieties. Those fruits and vegetables grow from unmodified seeds.
When selecting good seeds to plant, there are different ways that you can test them to see if they will sprout. Whether you have some seeds leftover from last season, or if you just happened to find a random packet of good seeds while cleaning out a junk drawer and have no idea how old they are, it can tell you if they will germinate.
If seeds germinate, you know that they are good to plant. Try putting a sifter of sand in a shallow container and placing some paper towels in the container instead of using a paper towel and a plastic bag. This is a great method if you plan to transplant your sprouts into a container that you can fill with sand. Test the bigger seeds by putting them in a glass of warm water for about 15 minutes.
If the seeds are floating, they will probably not grow. In fact, if your seeds float in the water, they will not produce any fruit. Tiny seeds are destined to float, so try using a paper towel or a small pile of sand to test them.
You must also understand the seed terminologies used on the label. Find seed companies that clearly label their varieties. Then go to the store and buy the seeds. Check the label to see what kinds of seeds are in a given variety of plants. The label will tell you how the seeds are produced and their characteristics.
Common Label Terms to Look Out For
Below are the essential label terms to look out for when shopping for seeds:
- Organic seeds: Are those harvested when plants have been grown naturally, without the use of genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or even radiation.
- Non-GMO seeds: These are seeds that have not been genetically modified, so they can be grown in virtually any climate
- Hybrid: Hybrid seeds are from different plants, which have been crossed with other related plants for several generations.
- Heirloom: These types of seeds have been saved and passed down from one farmer to the next, over many generations, with no changes made.
- Open-pollinated seeds: These are seeds that have been pollinated by humans, insects, wind, birds, or by other natural means.
Which Company is Best for Vegetable Seeds?
When you plant seeds in the ground each spring, you have high hopes for their production. You’ve spent days or weeks planning and trying hard to make sure your soil is ready and fertile for the upcoming growing season. Because there’s a lot of potential in the seeds, you want to buy them from a seed company that you can trust. Which companies are committed to producing high-quality seeds that are produced sustainably?
Adventurous gardeners often place their seed orders with a local or regional seed company. Buying seed locally increases the crops’ ability to grow and thrive in your area. For instance, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Virginia has a very loyal following in the upper and mid-South. Several gardeners living in Virginia order seeds from southern Exposure. Southern Exposure mainly offers locally grown seed, open-pollinated heritage varieties, excellent service, and reasonable prices.
Brenda Jones is a seasoned freelance writer and home-décor enthusiast. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree from the New York School of Interior Design — NY. Brenda is always on the lookout for the latest trends in interior decor and offers excellent ideas to help you make your home feel luxurious regardless of your budget. Besides blogging for her own website (Mybesuitedhome.com), Brenda has worked with several interior designers to write about home design and other home remodeling-related projects. Her work has appeared on several established websites, including Sprucebathroom.com, Sprucetoilets.com, and more.