seed catalogs

seed catalogs photo by Dunbar Gardens

It’s the end of January and I should be ordering seeds for the garden. I have a pile of catalogs on my desk to sort through, but there are a few that I go back to each year. Here are some of my favorite retail seed companies:

  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine – Johnny’s has been my favorite seed catalog for quite a few years. Their catalog is informative without resorting to hyperbolic descriptions of new varieties. They offer varieties that grow well in our northern latitudes and seed is always of good quality. They are actively involved in breeding and trialing of seeds. To top it off that they are becoming an employee owned business.
  • Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, Oregon – WGS is a great catalog for salad and leafy greens. I like the great selection of organic lettuce seeds.  They also have the best Delicata squash variety I have grown. Best bet is to order on-line because they don’t usually send out their print catalog until spring since they are mostly wholesale. One of the interesting aspects of WGS is that they grow their seed crops as part of a working organic vegetable farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
  • Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, Oregon – Territorial has made a name for themselves catering to the needs of Pacific Northwest gardeners. Lately it seems they have expanded their reach, so you have to use discretion when choosing seeds from their catalog.
  • High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, Vermont – This is a growing company with a commitment to organic agriculture. They only offer seeds grown organically, but they offer a wide selection from open pollinated to newer hybrids. Good service and a nice website, too. High Mowing is one of the companies that is starting to ask if you would prefer to view their catalog on-line rather than automatically sending you a print copy.
  • Seeds from Italy in Winchester, Mass. – This catalog is run by a gentleman who imports mostly seeds from the Italian seed company Franchi. There are some good vegetables to be found here. If you like vegetables like broccoli raab, escarole, radicchio, romano beans there are quite a few varieties to choose from. Also, Italian seed packets tend to be quite large.
  • Fedco Seeds in Waterville, Maine – Fedco is a cooperative seed company that offers seeds for colder northern climates. Good prices because of the wide range of packet sizes, lots of organic, open pollinated, and heirloom choices. There is a great DIY quality to this business.