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Vegetable-Seed & Fruit/Berry Sellers On The Web

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While this page does not pretend to be a complete list of all seedsmen in the world, or the United States, or on the internet, or anywhere, it is—we think—a very useful one-stop resource for the home edibles gardener. One feature that helps make it useful is that rather than list every on-line vendor we could locate—just to prove that we can use a search engine as well as the next person—we have tried to make this a sizeable but still select list.

One thing that has helped tremendously is the useful Garden Watchdog (which we shall refer to hereafter as just GW), a feature of the “Dave’s Garden” web site and the direct successor to the old “Plants By Mail FAQ” lists. GW is a place where customers freely air their comments, positive and negative (sometimes very much so) about home-gardening seedsmen and nurseries. While it is not necessarily the final word, we find that its cumulative ratings pretty well agree with our own experiences and readings elsewhere. If you are thinking of buying seeds or plants from this or that vendor, always take a look at GW first, and possibly save yourself some grief. The only thing to beware is that the ratings (given as counts of positive, neutral, or negative) can be deceptive if the number of comments is very small—especially if there is only one comment; but with so very many seedsmen and nurseries to choose from in the world, sticking to those with perfect or very high GW ratings does not by any means cramp anyone’s choices.

Because we are, as described elsewhere on this site, in the “Pacific Northwest” (actually eastern Washington), we have now also included a special subsection of our full lists, that subsection being Regional seedsmen and nurseries (including both truly regional suppliers plus some outside our region whose climates seem to approximate ours). It is not so much that a local or regional supplier will necessarily have better materials than someone on, for example, the other coast; rather, it is that you have a somewhat better chance that the particular varieties they sell are appropriate for your area, because it is also their area (a point of especial significance for perennial plants like fruit trees, berry bushes, and suchlike). It is also the case that live plants, such as herbs, trees, and berries, will have a significantly shorter (and better determined) shipping time when they are coming from only a short ways off. And of course there’s the old-fashioned virtue of “buying locally.”

And further down this page is a list of yet more listing sites (sites besides this one that list seedsmen, that is).

Unless otherwise noted, all our lists of suppliers are simply alphabetical.


Specialists

Some of the seedsmen listed below carry a full spectrum of seeds, but we list them here because they have one or more specialties.

Particular Vegetables

Asparagus: Nourse Farms: hybrid all-male asparagus. With the loss to the small-scale retail market of Jersey Farms, Nourse is a fine replacement. They are a Garden Watchdog Top-30 retailer, which means a lot.


Cucumbers: Cucumber Shop: a curious specialty, but there it is.


Garlic: Filaree Farm: our source; organic seed garlics from a famous grower[regional]

Garlic: The Garlic Store: another well-rated supplier (in Colorado).

Garlic: Gourmet Garlic Gardens: yet another well-rated supplier (in Texas)

(See also the list at The Garlic Seed Foundation.)

Lettuce: Johnny’s Selected Seeds: although a general seedsman, has an unusually broad selection of lettuces and greens (in Maine).


Onions, Leeks, and Shallots: Dixondale Farms: a respected family business, over a century old.


Peppers: ChilePlants: (plants only, no seeds) claims to have the “World’s Largest Selection of Chile & Sweet Pepper Plants”.

Peppers: Tomato Growers Supply Co.: despite the name, peppers, too; an outrageously commercial site, and very heavy on hybrids, but they do have a huge selection.

Peppers: The Pepper Gal: good selection, often recommended.

Peppers: Redwood City Seed Company: Craig Dremman is a famed pioneer pepper expert; this idiosyncratic site, which has more than just peppers, is fun to explore.

Peppers: The Chile Woman: (plants only, no seeds) hot and sweet types; she includes a long, useful list of other pepper-seed vendors on her site.


Potatoes: Potato Garden: Ronniger Potato Farm, one of the oldest and most respected potato seedmen, has merged with Milk Ranch Specialty Potatoes, another well-known supplier, to form a new company called Potato Garden. It’s not yet GW rated, but the two merged firms were each well-rated (especially Ronniger).


Pumpkins: Pumpkin Nook: the name says it all.


Tomatoes: TomatoFest: heirloom types; they sell "only Certified Organic, open-pollinated tomato seeds".

Tomatoes: Tomato Growers Supply Co.: an outrageously commercial site, and very heavy on hybrids, but they do have a huge selection, including many O.P. heirlooms not easy to find.

Tomatoes: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds: plus some other vegetables. The site seems a little behindhand on listings, though (still pushing its 2018 catalogue).


Oddities: Cultivariable: exploring unusual specialty vegetables—notably ulluco, mashua, yacon, oca, and Andean potato, but others, too—suited to the Pacific Northwest

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Herbs

The 800-pound gorilla of herbalists, whose name you are bound to run into if you research herb seed or plant buying, is Richter’s Herbs, a huge Canadian specialist. Regrettably, their net GW rating is not good, and—judging from the posts there, including some from obviously expert herbalists—probably with good cause; too bad.

There are many, many herb vendors all with high GW ratings, so it is hard to pick out some few. One can always review the current GW list of vendors specializing in herb plants (88 found as we type this), arranged in descending order of net rating; but here are a few names one often encounters in articles.

This is a small, select list; there are numerous herb specialists, but these should meet most needs.

Mountain Valley Growers: plants, apparently no seeds; often recommended by professionals (California).

Crimson Sage Nursery - emphasis is on medicinal herbs, but they carry culinary types, too; apparently plants only (California).

Strictly Medicinal Seeds - emphasis is, obviously, on medicinal herbs, but has a huge selection; receives strong customer ratings (under their prior name of Horizon Herbs—not yet rated under their new name); has both seeds and plants (Oregon).

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Fruits & Berries

As with herbs, there are seemingly countless numbers of nurseries, even restricting the list to those with perfect or near-perfect records at GW. Just within Washington State, there are well over a dozen with 100% ratings, though most on the west side of the mountains. As noted earlier, when buying live plants, it is best to buy as locally as possible, both to get plants accomodated to your climate and also simply to reduce the transit time between the vendor and you.

In the list below, we have focussed on regional nurseries (our region, that is) and a few very well-known and well-liked houses in similar (or worse) climates elsewhere. Because of that focus, this is just a microscopic sampling of the many fine mail-order fruit nurseries around—you can see a long list (120 as we type this) at Garden Watchdog; you should also review the useful list of GW-rated nurseries on the linked GardenWeb Forum thread.

Van Well Nursery: fruit trees - a commercial orchard supplier, but will ship even single trees. [regional]

C & O Nursery: old, respected house; like Van Well, commercial but will deal with home growers.[regional]

Willow Drive Nursery: very little info available, but apparently a significant regional player; founded 1992. No GW rating. [regional]

St. Lawrence Nurseries - respected old nursery, in a really cold climate, so all their plants are very cold-hardy, to occasional -50° F! (Potsdam, New York).

Fedco Trees - you can scarcely go wrong with anything associated with Fedco; also, they are a northerly supplier.

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Mushrooms

Not enough gardeners trouble to grow this important food, but instead settle for the few—and often old and dry—types available at their local supermarket. They’re really rather easy to do, and most vendors explain the whole thing very clearly—so now you can have those expensive, exotic types more often. For these—considering how they are grown—regionality is immaterial.

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Exotics

These are houses that specialize in either plants for exotic climates, or rarities, or both. In our region, and most of North America, tropicals will require very special protected growing conditions, typically a greenhouse.

There are, as usual, many highly regarded houses. Rather than try to extract a list here—because there are not going to be any regional suppliers—we simply link you to two GW searches, each sorted by rating: one is a search for suppliers with the word “exotic” in their names and the other is for suppliers with the word “tropical” in their names (both sorted by GW rank).

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Gardening Equipment & Supplies

With garden tools—as with so many things—it pays to spend a little more and get top quality that will make your tasks easier and last far longer than cheap stuff ever does. The English Bulldog line is always highly praised, but there are other good ones, too. For pruners and like items, Swiss maker Felco is much admired.

For items where a particular brand is not critical, you should always start with local sources—even (perhaps especially) your neighborhood hardware store. Or, if a brand is critical, see if a local retailer can obtain it for you. Dealing locally is wise for many reasons. For mail order, there are, among many, many others, these (all well rated on GW):

Gardener’s Supply Co.

Lee Valley Tools (Canada)

Frostproof Growers (so-called because located in the town of Frostproof, Florida)

The Grower’s Solution

Florian Tools (distinctively shaped designs)

ACF Greenhouses - reported to have very good prices and service (obviously, for greenhouse materials and supplies

Hummert International - commercial supplier (you may need a Tax ID), but very well thought of

Farmtek Growers Supply - a commercially oriented supplier with a huge selection and, by report, very reasonable prices. Be aware that their GW standing, based on (as we type) 31 ratings, is only 73% positive: not bad, but not great.

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Seeds From Elsewhere

Sellers in one country will often have varieties rarely or never seen in another. Here are a few sellers who specialize in seeds imported from outside the U.S. (We exclude Canadian sellers, who are included in all the other lists.) Many home gardeners believe that European seeds, notably Italian and possibly French, have better germination rates, higher packet fills, and overall better quality than North American seedsmen supply; whether that be so or not we cannot say, but a few years ago some friends brought us back a few packets from Italy (probably breaking seventeen customs laws), and they gave terrific, high-yielding plants that grew like gangbusters. Anecdotal, but there it is.

Italian seed: Seeds From Italy

Italian seed: Italian Seed and Tool

Italian seed: The Heirloom Seed Store: Franchi seeds (no GW ratings)


Indian seed: Seeds of India


Asian seed: EvergreenSeeds (no GW ratings)

Asian seed: Kitazawa Seed Company


UK seed: Ordering British seed from the USA is a page listing, linking to, and describing five UK seedsmen (Mr Fothergill's Seeds; DT Brown & Co; Chiltern Seeds; Seeds-by-Size; and Thompson & Morgan ) who ship to the U.S. (Thompson & Morgan U.S. no longer exists.)

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Heirloom & Open-Pollinated

Just about every seedsman now has some “heirloom” items. In the list below, we have tried to select, rather arbitrarily we fear, what seemed to us a good little list of mostly well-known or otherwise particularly interesting suppliers who have primarily or entirely OP (open-pollinated) stock and who have a reasonably broad selection of varieties and, apparently, a sincere dedication to preserving genetic diversity. For simplicity, we have not distinguished houses that emphasize “heirloom” types from houses that simply emphasize open-pollinated types (with the squeeze from the hybrid marketers, it’s getting so that any O.P. type is likely to also be an heirloom, but we haven’t quite reached that sad stage yet).

These lists—as the sources linked just below will abundantly demonstrate—are not, and are not intended to be, exhaustive. They merely point to some of the possibilities.

Here are some other resources for locating suppliers of non-GMO (not genetically modified) seed; that is not the same as “organic” or “open-pollinated”, but there is a great overlap.


Non-Profit Organizations

Seed Savers Exchange: the web site lists only a few—in relative terms—of the roughly 11,000 heirloom cultivars in their annual directory, sent free to members ($40 a year membership, and worth it for many reasons); these people are a vital factor in the drive to preserve open-pollinated cultivars and genetic diversity in edible crops, and deserve support.

Native Seeds/SEARCH: southwest native-American varieties from another good organization dedicated to preserving seed diversity.

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Conventional Seedsmen

Though these are mainly generalists, we include some of the specialists (heirloom-tomato seedsmen are especially common).

When selecting seedsmen, please keep in mind that though some—many, really—of these suppliers are listed under this “conventional” heading, they might as well be thought of as non-profits, in that they are the dedicated handiwork of one person or a family whose chief goal is the preservation of species and varieties, and who earn by their efforts just about enough to live on and continue their work.

We know this is a long list, but we feel each is worth your consideration.

Generalists

Adaptive Seed - a small, dedicated seed house specializing in regional varieties [regional]

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - another sound, dedicated o.p. seedsman

Botanical Interests - they say they have “the most beautiful and informative seed packets on the market”.

Fedco - not a company as such but a co-operative, and one of the long-time favorite seed sources for home gardeners (including us), with low prices as well (and orders over $25 ship free); they specialize in northern-climate-adapted seeds.

High Mowing Seeds - “100% certified organic seed, 100% of the time” and non-GMO; free shipping on orders over $10.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds - they supply excellent germination and growing information and have a good selection of varieties, though hybrids seem a larger and larger percentage every season, and their prices are not modest; excellent reputation

Nichols Garden Nursery - both seeds and plants from a respected old house; has a specialty in herbs.

Redwood City Seed Company - an amazing spectrum of unusual and obscure items, plus the usuals.

Reneeā€™s Garden Seeds - been around a while, good ratings.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange - highly rated name in OP/heirloom seeds; with, obviously, an emphasis on warm-climate varieties.

Strictly Medicinal Seeds - emphasis is, obviously, on medicinal herbs, but has a huge selection; receives strong customer ratings (under their prior name of Horizon Herbs—not yet rated under their new name); has both seeds and plants.

Territorial Seed Company - a sort of West Coast Johnny’s—good selection of good cultivars, good quality, helpful information, but a large and increasing percentage of hybrids, and prices definitely not the lowest. Very well rated.

Wild Garden Seed - varieties include many originated in their on-farm breeding program by Shoulder to Shoulder Farm.

Ed Hume Seeds: a short-season/cool-climate specialist. [regional]

Good Seed: emphasizing seeds suited for northerly climates [regional]

High-Altitude Gardens: seeds for cool, short-season areas; hosted on the Seeds Trust (see above) site.

J. L. Hudson, Seedsman (“A Public Access Seed Bank - Established 1911”), one of the steadfast pillars of sound seedsmanship (“Preservation Through Dissemination”).

Kitazawa Seed Company: long-time specialists in Asian vegetables (a lot of hybrids, but that almost comes with the territory).

Kitchen Garden Seeds (often listed as “John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds”)

Plants of the Southwest: high-desert OP vegetables, plus an excellent set of plants and resources for xeriscaping, which is no-water/low-rainfall landscaping

Prairie Garden Seeds: Saskatchewan, Canada; emphasizing seeds for cool, dry climates. [regional]

Sand Hill Preservation Center: long-time valuable resource. Slow responding (as they openly say—read their site’s front page), but with lots of scarce or rare seeds.

Seeds Trust: OP heirloom, and organic seeds

St. Clare Heirloom Seeds: very highly rated, with quite a broad selection; shipping is reportedly fast, and certainly inexpensive (as of 1/19, a flat $4 per order).

Terroir Seeds (aka Underwood Gardens); heirlooms, some hard to find elsewhere.

Turtle Tree Seeds - a small but diligent seed house

Victory Seeds respected and highly rated old-timers

Yuko’s Open-Pollinated Seeds: finding delightful, intelligent little suppliers like this one is one of the joys of assembling lists like this—do take a look at it (Ontario, Canada: ships to USA); no GW ratings.

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Specialists

Many of the specialists we list in the section above offer mainly or wholly open-pollinated types. Check them individually if you have questions.


Regional Suppliers

The following suppliers all appear elsewhere on this page; they are gathered together here for the convenience of gardeners in our target region: the inland Pacific Northwest, and places more or less like it. (That means that we have excluded the many nearby suppliers who are on “the rainyside” because their climate is not our climate.)

We want to emphasize that a supplier’s being regional does not in and of itself make it a preferred source, nor does one’s being out of the region disqualify it. Indeed, sometimes regional suppliers, between them all, will not have the particular seed or tree or whatever that we want, which leaves us no choice at all. But if a regional supplier carries what we want, and is a good seedsman to begin with, and either grows its own seed or gets it from nearby suppliers, we in our region will have a slightly better chance of getting suitable types and even suitable individual seeds than by buying from a place in a very different climate.


True Regionals

These are suppliers actually in our region.

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Possibly Similar-Climate Sources

There are some suppliers who are out of our region but who do or may have seeds especially well suited for a northern short-season area. (Mind, such seeds ought to do well anywhere; long-season varities won’t grow in a short season, but that does not cut the other way round.) Many of these houses expressly say they handle seed for short-season or northern gardens; but in a few cases, we went by the location. Caveat emptor.

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