When gardening it’s important to start with right kind of seed. An heirloom seed is an old cultivar that is “still maintained by gardeners and farmers particularly in isolated or ethnic communities”. These may have been commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but are not used in modern large-scale agriculture. In some parts of the world, notably the European Union, it is illegal to sell seeds of cultivars that are not listed as approved for sale. Fortunately we don’t have that problem… yet.
You can help spread healthy non gmo seeds by ordering from heirloom sources. Below is a list of the top 10 organic heirloom seed companies that offer free seed catalogs. These catalogs contain a wealth of knowledge about organic gardening, plant varieties, pest control and other important gardening information. The kids will love getting their hands dirty as well as checking out the beautiful photos inside some of these educational catalogs. If you wouldn’t use these yourself, perhaps you would consider ordering some and donating them to a classroom or school gardening program.
1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.
2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO 65704 417-924-8917
Baker Creek has been issuing catalogs for ten years now, and the current one builds on their already impressive offerings. They feature hundreds of non-hybrid vegetables, flowers, and herbs, this catalog is especially strong on hot-weather crops. It lists 44 different eggplants, 175 tomatoes, plus ample numbers of old-time corn, squash, and melons. The other garden vegies are here, too, just in smaller numbers.
2. Colonial Williamsburg Nursery
P. O. Box 1776 Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776
Gardening was part and parcel of colonial life, and this remarkable museum displays everything from the aristocratic pleasure grounds for the governor to a work-a-day kitchen garden of vegetables and herbs, all carefully researched and authenticated. Their “Colonial Nursery” sells period-appropriate vegetable, flower, and herb seeds, plus bulbs, gardening accessories, and other goodies.
3. High Mowing Organic Seeds
76 Quarry Rd., Wolcott, VT 05680 802-472-6174
High Mowing Organic Seeds was founded in 1996 when the company’s founder, Tom Stearns, tilled up a portion of his backyard to grow plants for organic seed production. By 2001, the company had grown so much that he started to contract local farms to grow seeds just to keep up with demand.
4. Nichols Garden Nursery
1190 Old Salem Rd. NE, Albany, OR 97321 800-422-3985
Offering an intriguing assortment of new and old plants, Nichols’ catalog is always a treasure-trove. It has a good selection of heirloom vegetables, including some old-timers that have become popular again, and some odd-balls nobody else seems to have.
5. Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply
PO Box 2209, 125 Clydesdale Court, Grass Valley, CA 95945 (888) 784-1722
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply originated in 1976 on tiny Peaceful Valley Road in Nevada City, California. They are dedicated to preserving the environment by providing you with cost-effective, state-of-the-art, organic growing supplies and the information and tools needed to apply them.
6. Seed Savers Exchange
3094 N. Winn Rd., Decorah, IA 52101 563-382-5990
The most popular suggestion for inclusion was Seed Savers Exchange. Founded in 1975, Seed Savers Exchange is a registered non-profit and arguably the reason why heirlooms are so popular today. You will find seeds for herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers.
7. Seeds of Change
PO Box 152, Spicer, MN 56288 888-762-7333
Seeds of Change® was founded in 1989 with a revolutionary mission: to make organically grown seeds available to gardeners and farmers, while preserving rare heirloom and traditional seed varieties, and promoting sustainable organic agricultural practices.
8. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Offering more than 500 varieties of heirloom vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other seeds, Southern Exposure has an impressive assortment of heirloom tomatoes, plus many other choice varieties. The catalog includes lots of historical information.
9. Territorial Seed Co.
PO Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR 97424 800-626-0866
The very first Territorial Seed catalog was printed in 1979 by its founder, Steve Solomon, who later sold the company to Tom and Julie Johns in 1985. Territorial Seed carries vegetable seeds and plants, along with garden supplies.
10. The Victory Seed Company
P.O. Box 192 Molalla, Oregon 97038 (503) 829-3126 (voicemail and fax)
Along with some nice information about World War II Victory Gardens accompanied by original posters and pamphlets, this family seed company offers a good-sized assortment of heirloom and more recent vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Catalog: free online or $2.00 (refundable with order) for print version email: email@example.com
BONUS: We pretty lucky to have the Petaluma Seed Bank a hop, skip and a jump away. The building, formerly the Sonoma County Bank Building (1926), now houses the west coast Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds branch (free catalog above). Entering the building is an experience in itself! Grand arched windows provide illumination as you step back in time. Marble stairs, scenic wall murals and rustic touches. And of course they have seeds and supplies that are prominently featured on wooden seed racks offer some 1,300 varieties of seeds!
Visit the Petaluma Seed Bank at 199 Petaluma Blvd. North Petaluma, CA 94952 Phone (707) 773-1336 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org