Frankly, we have no use for French hens, calling birds, and partridges (although we’ll be happy to take the pear tree). Instead, we want gorgeous seed catalogs to set us dreaming about the new garden year.
All our picks for seed suppliers have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, which means they do not knowingly buy or sell genetically modified varieties. To the best of our knowledge, these companies also do not sell seeds from Monsanto-owned companies.
Here are our 12 favorites, updated for the 2017 seed-buying season!
1. Seed Saver’s Exchange: This not-for-profit is dedicated to saving heirloom strains. Their huge network of seed savers grow, harvest, and save seeds each year, and about 600 varieties are available in their catalog. The catalog cover, by the way, is a work of art.
2. Renee’s Garden Seeds: Renee’s offers seeds especially selected for the home gardener, including organic and heirloom varieties. We especially love the seed mixes; seeds are color-coded with a food-safe dye so you know which seeds grow into which plants.
3. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company: This family-owned company offers a massive number of heirloom and organic varieties. Seriously, at 1600 varieties, the choices here are nearly overwhelming—in the best possible way.
4. Botanical Interest: Another family-owned company, BI sports beautiful seed packets loaded with useful information. More than 500 varieties make up their catalog, including heirloom and organic varieties.
5. John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds: Scheepers offers varieties beloved by cooks; the catalog even includes recipes. It’s a smaller collection (350 varieties), which makes it a little easier to choose the perfect, gourmet crop.
6. Johnny’s Selected Seeds: Don’t let the agricultural-looking cover fool you. This employee-owned company offers tons of varieties in a range of quantities, including smaller packages for home gardeners.
7. Territorial Seed Company: This family-owned company offers loads of seeds, tubers, and even some fruits.
8. Urban Farmer: Here’s a local seed company, based right here in central Indiana! Urban Farmer carries more than 40 vegetable varieties, all seed grown in Westfield, IN.
9. High Mowing Organic Seeds: Based in Vermont, High Mowing sells only certified organic seeds. Their offerings focus on seeds that do well in New England, including a great variety of cool-weather crops.
10. Indiana Berry and Plant Company: Based in Plymouth, Indiana, Indiana Berry focuses specifically on small fruit. From the more common—strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries—to goji and lingonberry, their stock can help you create the berry patch of your dreams.
11. Stark Bros: This family-owned company supplies fruit and nut trees, berries, and landscape trees. Dwarf- and semi-dwarf fruit trees are available for those with less space.
12. Raintree Nursery: The mother of all fruit sources, Raintree carries not just fruit trees and the standard berries, but a host of less-common fruit. Raintree also sells rootstocks, if you’d like to try your hand at grafting your own fruit trees.