Many gardeners spend every spare moment perusing seed catalogs in the winter, looking for their family’s next favorite vegetable or flower, and dreaming about spring. The Savvy Gardening experts are certainly no different. We’ve browsed, purchased, and grown dozens of varieties from many different seed catalogs over the years, and today, we’re going to introduce you to some of our favorites.
Meet our favorite seed catalogs:
From Tara Nolan, our expert on ornamentals:
“I can’t just pick one or two favorite seed companies, because I like to share the love. I have to say each year’s seed collection pulls from a variety of companies. I get a few catalogs in the mail, the first one usually being the fantastically massive The Whole Seed Catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but I also love to support local companies. Thankfully, most of them happen to have their catalogs online. My faves include Cubit’s Organics (I’ve already purchased lettuce seeds from owner Laura at the One of a Kind Show for my lettuce table), Urban Harvest, and The Cottage Gardener (a sentimental favorite as this was the first seed company I ever ordered from). This year, I will also be ordering from Richters Herbs, and I always love to try the latest and greatest from Renee’s Garden.
Seedy Saturday events in Canada are another great way to be introduced to local seed companies. That’s how I met Rick and Allan from Anything Grows Seed Co., a company that stocks a variety of seed collections. They’re the folks who introduced me to cucamelons.”
Niki Jabbour, Savvy’s year-round veggie gardener:
“When I first began experimenting with stretching my vegetable season into late fall and winter using cold frames and mini hoop tunnels, Johnny’s Selected Seeds became my go-to seed provider. Not only do they have a very large selection of varieties – including many hard to source cool- and cold-season crops, but Johnny’s is also a leader in plant breeding, creating award-winning varieties like ‘Bright Lights’ swiss chard, ‘Diva’ cucumber, ‘Purple Haze’ carrot and ‘Jasper’ tomato, a standout in my 2015 vegetable garden. Johnny’s is more than a seed company; it’s also a supplier of season extending tools and materials. In fact, it’s where I got my new mini hoop bender, which I used to quickly and easily create super sturdy metal hoops to replace my original PVC hoops.
Halifax Seed is North America’s oldest continually operating seed company, and it celebrates 150 years in 2016! This award-winning, family-owned company has a flagship store in Halifax (where I spend way too much time!), but most of its seed business comes from its website and free seed catalogs. For decades, they’ve been a market leader, seeking out the best, most reliable varieties, for short-season gardeners like me. They’re my source for ‘Lemon’ cucumbers, ‘Sungold’ tomatoes, cucamelons, and many other crops that have become our family favorites. This year, they’re also offering the ‘Homegrown Seed Collection’ by P. Allen Smith, a selection of vegetables that have proven to be incredibly flavorful and easy to grow.”
Amy Andrychowicz, Savvy’s budget-friendly gardening guru:
“Botanical Interests is a family-owned seed company. They carry a really nice variety of seeds (which I’ve seen for sale at several local nurseries and co-ops, too), and they have the most beautiful seed packets! SeedsNow is a proud supporter of the Safe Seed Pledge which means that all of the seeds they sell are 100% non-GMO, heirloom, open-pollinated seed. You can safely save your own seeds from the plants you grow in your garden (which is one of my favorite things!).
The Sustainable Seed Company is another family-owned company, and to me, they are the best source for certified organic heirloom seed. They have an excellent selection of seeds to choose from.”
Jessica Walliser, Savvy’s insect-loving horticulturist:
“I like several different seed catalogs, each for a different reason. My go-to seed catalog is always High Mowing Seeds. I’ve been purchasing organic seed from them for about ten years now, and I’m never disappointed. Their catalog has come a long way over the years, and what was once a black-and-white booklet is now a hundred pages of beautiful photos and growing information. Another company I always rely on is Territorial Seed. Their catalog is overflowing with information on growing each and every crop they sell. I’m always astounded by all the lettuce varieties they carry.
One final favorite is Seeds of Change, not only for the awesome heirloom veggie seeds they carry, but also because of their mission. I love to learn the history of the varieties I grow, and Seeds of Change shares so many great origin stories.”
Tell us about your favorite seed catalogs in the comments below.