The Best Seed Companies, According to a Garden Editor
Ready to start planning your garden for planting season? Peruse these seed and garden supply companies’ catalogs for amazing variety and quality
It’s never too early to get a jump start on your garden by planning your crops and choosing your seeds for planting season. If your local nursery or garden center doesn’t have what you need, don’t sweat it—there are plenty of mail-order catalog companies that will deliver seeds for every space, taste, and climate right to your door. Feeling overwhelmed with all the options out there? We’ve whittled it down to our favorite seed companies in the West.
Renee’s Garden Seeds
Founder Renee Shepherd is a powerhouse. She’s been in the seed business for over 30 years and her Santa Cruz-based company is one-stop shopping for tried-and-true vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers. Everything in her catalog is carefully selected, tested in a number of regions, and guaranteed to be GMO- and chemical-free. I’ve had a lot of success with her multicolored pole beans and carrots, but really you can’t go wrong. Added bonus: her seed packets feature snappy descriptions, easy instructions, and idyllic watercolor portraits.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Take a moment right now to open a new tab in your browser, type in Baker Creek’s website, and request one of their free seed catalogs. Chock full of beautiful and inspiring photos of rare and unusual vegetables (gourds larger than a child! beets the size of your head!) sourced from across the nation and around the globe, you won’t regret it. Although based in Missouri, Western gardeners can visit their storefront in Petaluma, CA, to learn more about their seeds and which are best suited for your climate.
Kitazawa Seed Company
With a history that dates back to 1917, Kitazawa is America’s oldest source for Asian vegetable seeds. Their extensive catalog includes daikon radish, edamame, Japanese eggplant, and okra—but I’m particularly smitten with their leafy greens. There are spicy mizunas, tender bok choy, beautiful amaranths, and the versatile komatsuna—all rich in vitamins with many varieties that are perfect for transitional times of year, including as winter turns into spring. Family-owned and located in Oakland, they deliver nationwide.
Attention all Southwest gardeners: these are the seeds for you and your climate. A non-profit based in Tucson, AZ, Native Seeds/SEARCH (yes, that’s the correct spelling and punctuation) offers only open-pollinated seeds that have a rich history in the region or have successfully adapted to its arid environment. This includes Native American heirlooms, wild ancestors of modern domesticated crops, and rare or endangered varieties that call the Southwest home. Check out their catalog’s corn selection to see what’s available beyond what you normally find at the grocery store, plus their website is filled with useful tips and information.
Farmers like Brian Campbell and Crystine Goldberg give us hope for the future of seed saving. With the founding of Uprising Seeds, the young couple from greater Bellingham became Washington state’s first ever 100% certified organic seed company. They trial and breed the majority of the company’s seeds in their own fields, while the rest come from trusted family farms scattered throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California. I love their collards, kales, and mustards, but they’re introducing new varieties every year that do especially well in the Pacific Northwest’s wet and chilly climate.
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply
Based in Grass Valley, CA, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply has always been my go-to for asparagus crowns, cover crops, and seed potatoes. The quality is always excellent, plus their seeds check off many important boxes: GMO-free, certified organic, and affordable. They also offer a wide variety of other vegetable seeds, flower bulbs, and gardening products, plus they ship fruit trees. And if that isn’t enough, their website is jammed with useful articles and how-to videos for beginner and seasoned gardeners alike.