This post is seedy.
A visitor to the farm today asked me where we buy our seeds. Great timing! I’m planning the 2018 garden, going through seed catalogs and websites, and trying to hold back the urge to try too many new things.
While we don’t have hard and fast rules for seed companies, we try to buy from small companies that are interested in heirloom, open-pollinated, organic and harder-to-find plants . We want more variety and diversity, not less.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is our source for heirloom southern vegetables. We buy our black eyed peas, okra, collards and squash from them. Traditional plant breeding is both an art and a science and SESE's plant breeder, Ira Wallace, knows more about historic southern seed varieties than just about anyone. She's currently working on a project to bring back regional collard varieties.
Wild Garden Seeds is an Oregon company that focuses breeding kale, lettuces and other greens. They also sell quinoa, flowers, and herbs. The company is owned by Frank Morton, the west coast Ira Wallace.
High Mowing Organic Seeds sells all organic seeds. We get our sweet, sweet Jimmy Nardello pepper seeds from them along with an assortment of other veggies. In addition to being all organic, they also don’t charge for shipping.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a go-to seed source for small and mid-sized farmers. It’s also employee-owned. Conventional and organic, if the smaller seed companies don’t have it, Johnny’s does. This is also where you’ll find those little yellow Sungold tomatoes and lots of quality garden tools.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company offers many unusual varieties. The owner is a global seed collector, and you can find vegetables, flowers and grains from all over the world. I’m particularly interested in their amaranth from Central America. If I could just find a place for it…
Kitazawa Seed Company has been around since 1917 and is the oldest seed company in the U.S. They specialize in vegetables from Asia and Southeast Asia, many of which grow great here. Our pak choi (bok choy), mizuna and other Asian mustards all come from Kitazawa.
Who did we forget? Do you have a favorite seed source? Please share in the comments, and SAVE THE DATE. We’re having a Seedy Saturday Seed Swap, February 24, 10 - 12 at E.A.T. South. If you bought too many seeds, save your own seeds, or just want to learn more about seeds, join us!