‘Tis the season of seed and gardening catalogs. The first hint of possible warming weather is dashed by bitter winds and flurries of snow and gardeners sink into their warm couches to dream through seed catalogs. For a backyard farmer or homesteader, heirloom seeds are preferred because of the sustainability factor, among other reasons. Here are ten catalogs that feature heirloom seeds you won’t want to miss this year!
Annie’s Heirloom Seeds
This was a company I was unfamiliar with, but the full color catalog is available as a free mailer as well as a full color download for those who prefer paperless. (Not I, says me!) The descriptions are well-written for each entry so you know what the differences are between the varieties and they have a good selection – especially of lettuces and tomatoes. I was super pleased to see more than one variety of Alpine strawberry offered! The blog hadn’t been updated in awhile, but I did like the selection of seeds in the various kits – beginner’s garden, lettuce blends, favorite tomato varieties, etc. Annie’s Heirloom Seeds is a true heirloom company, family owned and operated, and started when one woman passed a love of growing on to her daughter.
Baker Creek Seeds
One of the leading companies in heirloom seed education and production, Baker Creek Seed produces a full-color, glossy catalog you won’t want to miss. Request a seed catalog here and enjoy the informative descriptions of over 1400 varieties – some unique to Baker Creek Seeds. Two years ago, my husband and I purchased the Large Southern Garden seed pack, and while I’m still not fabulous at saving seeds, we were still planting from that same bucket this winter. My family also had a chance to visit the gardens and country village at Baker Creek on our road trip last summer.
With a focus on untreated, heirloom and non-GMO seeds, Bountiful Gardens is also a project of Ecology Action. They have a great selection of some of the harder to find herbs – especially the medicinal varieties that aren’t available from a traditional vegetable catalog. The catalog descriptions are detailed making it easy to know which varieties to try in your area. Catalogs are free in the US with shipping charges internationally.
Comstock Garden Seeds
A good amount of vegetables and fruits offered, though not always as many varieties as you might like, but they are a well-known seed company that has been around for a long time. They also have a retail store in Wethersfield, CT, for those who want to visit in person. They are hosting an Heirloom Festival in June as part of over 200 years of being in the seed business.
The Cook’s Garden
A true favorite of mine, Cook’s Garden is dedicated to growing food and growing it beautifully with gourmet flavors. They have an amazing selection of unusual plants and herbs. I love the feel of their catalogs and they always have great details within the descriptions to make it easy to know what to buy – usually, more than you planned!
Peaceful Valley Grow Organic
Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply has an extensive catalog – one of my favorites for one-stop-shopping. They offer not just GMO-free seeds, but also organic fertilizers, garden tools and supplies, and even unique things like their chicken forage blend of seeds for inexpensive, quality chicken feed. Request one of their free catalogs here (they have different catalogs to choose from) and look for not just seeds but also bareroot and transplants as well. We planted a mixed pack of organic garlic varieties this fall and they are doing so well. I can’t wait to harvest them in a few months!
With 100% organic seeds, a gardener can feel confident about the source of their garden seeds. I like how their catalog includes a lot of pictures of the fruits and vegetables so you can compare the plants easily. There’s not as much growing information about each type of plant in the catalog as some of the other catalogs but there’s a lot of information on the website itself. It is cool how the seed packets are put in water resistant pouches in case you’re like me and take your packets outside while you’re planting. Request a free catalog here.
Seed Savers Exchange
Seed savers organization is dedicated to preserving as many of the valuable and fragile heirloom seed varieties as possible and work closely with international organizations to stock seed vaults on a global scale. They also host webinars and trainings for gardeners – personal and business alike. Their seed catalog is extensive and descriptive with plenty of photos and tips along the way, and the information on the website is more specifically geared towards seed saving gardeners, as you might expect.
Sustainable Seed Company
Growing the majority of their own seeds offered via their online catalog, the Sustainable Seed Company isn’t a catalog you can highlight and mark up as it exists only in digital form. Read the reasoning here – and then take some time to explore the website which includes some amazing historical descriptions of heirloom varieties from a hundred years ago or more in some cases. Well worth the time spent browsing the informative site and the seed offerings are numerous. They have a particularly robust grain offering, which is fabulous for those trying to lessen their dependence on GMO-heavy foods in wheat, soy and corn.