28 November 2009

Help! What great seed companies do I not know about?

In a comment on my last post by Plumcrazytreelover (gotta love the user name) suggested I check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they turn out to be a really fantastic seed company I've never heard of before. My already impractically long list of tomatoes to grow just got LONGER. Now I can't help but wonder: What other great seed companies am I missing out on? You can post your favorites in the comments, or post about them on your own blog and just put a link to your post using the Simply Linked widget at the bottom here.
Here are my current favorites:

Pinetree Garden Seed: My main stop for vegetable seeds and standard ornamentals. Confusingly organized catalog, but great selection, and unbeatable prices for intelligently small seed packets.

Johnny's Selected Seeds: Great selection of vegetable seeds, some ornamentals, and supplies -- and the most informative catalog I've ever read. I refer to it more than my reference books when I'm starting seeds in the spring. They do a lot really cool breeding work, and since they are in Maine, they have a lot of varieties that perform well in my cool, short summers.

Seed Saver's Exchange: Insanely extensive selection of vegetable varieties -- they are devoted to preserving heirloom varieties, so I like supporting them. (Also, WmJas pointed out in a comment on my last post, an amusing name if you leave out the spaces between the words...)

Chiltern Seeds: A British company, so prices are high due to exchange rate and shipping but: What a catalog! It is more like a small book, full of crazy ornamental plants I've never heard of. No pictures, so I have to go through it with google to find out what on earth this stuff is. Since seed (even expensive seed from Britain) is so cheap it is perfect when it somes to experimenting with new stuff I don't quite know what is -- and Chiltern is the place to get that.

Specialty Perennials: My #1 favorite sources of seeds of hardy perennials. (I adore growing perennials from seed, best and cheapest way to fill a garden) Warning, though: their customer service is TERRIBLE. It takes them forever to actually ship the seeds, and they don't respond to e-mails or calls asking what is taking so long. But: They always arrive eventually, and always with a few extra packets or two. Just order early and be prepared to wait.

Plant World Seeds: Another UK company (so you get hit by exchange rate and shipping) I'm ordering from for the first time this year -- and they have an AMAZING selection of ornamentals. They apparently do a lot of breeding, and their selections of fragrant columbine  (!!!)  are making me drool in anticipation.

B and T World Seeds:
This is my last resort source of a specific seed. Their on-line catalog includes no description, so it isn't exactly fun to just browse through, and prices are high (even without the exchange rate (they are in France) and shipping, which are bad too) but they carry virtually everything. If I've read about some crazy species, and I can't find any source for it anywhere B and T almost always has it.

So, who am I missing? Share your favorites in the comments, or link to your blog below.

Added 12/09/2009: Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden also has a post on this -- check out all the great suggestions in the comments there!


Carol Michel said...

You should check out Botanical Interests seed. They have a lot of interesting varieties and their seed packets are true works of art, plus include more information that one would ever think possible on a seed pack, both on the outside and the inside. They are only online. http://www.botanicalinterests.com/store/index_index.php

Another good one is Renee's garden seeds. She always has something of interest. http://www.reneesgarden.com/

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

I was going to suggest the two that Carol mentioned. Though they're both American companies and I'm not sure seeds are easy to import/export.

If you're on Twitter, the blogger Mr. Brown Thumb has created a list of seed companies on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrBrownThumb/seedsources

Joseph said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check out Mr. Brown Thumb's list.
Fern, seeds are surprisingly easy to import -- I order seeds from the UK all the time, and it is exactly as straight forward as ordering from the US.

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