seed catalogs

Seed catalogs: Introducing our favorites

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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:

Cubit's is one of Tara's favourite seed catalogs.

Cubit’s is one of Tara’s favourite 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.”

Seed Catalogs, Niki's favorites.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Halifax Seeds are among Niki’s favourite seed catalogs.

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.”

Seed catalogs

Amy has lots of favorite seed sources, including Botanical Interests, SeedsNow, and others.

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.”

Seed packets purchased via seed catalogs.

Jessica’s favorite seed catalogs include High Mowing Seeds, Territorial Seeds, and Seeds of Change.

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. 

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10 Responses to Seed catalogs: Introducing our favorites

  1. Judi Edwards says:

    try Vessey,s Seeds .. from PEI… another great CANADIAN seed company!

  2. I order 95% of my seeds for the entire growing season from The Cottage Gardener- 100% germination! How good is that? I pick up little bits from Greta’s Organic Gardens and some from our local Pioneer Nursery who is good to carry Renee’s seeds, which usually have a little different selection than most. I pick up my onion and shallot sets at Make It Green. I’ve been known to buy a few organic seed packets at Lee Valley while I’m there picking up various items like soaker hose, etc. I also save some of my own seeds.

  3. Katherine says:

    Hope Seeds is amazing and has all local, non-GMO seeds from NS. I also discovered West Coast Seeds has so many brilliant varieties like blue tomatoes.

  4. David Sharp says:

    Johnny’s has gotten very expensive over the years and they refuse to stop carrying Monsanto/Seminis seeds….it was not mentioned that High Mowing Seeds now has free shipping, even for that forgotten single pack….support organics!

  5. Mike Davis says:

    I always look first at the Seed Savers Exchange catalog and order from them first because their work in protecting our food crop diversity is so very important.

  6. JessB says:

    I agree with both High Mowing and Seed Savers Exchange! I can get Seed Savers from our local gardening center and High Mowing’s free shipping is AWESOME. I ordered 30 some packets of seeds plus bulk cover crops (10 lbs worth) and it cost me NOTHING for shipping. That would have been a huge extra expense from another catalog.

  7. Renee says:

    I ordered seeds already this year from Heritage Harvest Seed which is local for me here on the prairies

    I also like West Coast Seeds. Great selection and wonderful articles and blog.

    I love how Prairie Garden Seeds catalog just reads like a letter or a book talking about each variety. And they have a great selection of grains.

  8. Alison says:

    Terra Edibles and Hope Seeds are Canadian Companies I like to order from.

  9. Frank Mosher says:

    I have a problem with Johnny’s because they make up their own names for most of their seeds, most of which are properly identified by other seedhouses. Can’t compare varieties or pricing. Veseys and Stokes have great selections, and Richters for strange herbs.

  10. Adriana says:

    Has anyone ordered from William Dam seeds? They are also canadian and from their online catalogue seem to have good prices. Would like to hear of anyone’s experience with their seeds!

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