Gardening Basics

Best Seed Catalogs for Gardeners

By Sarah Marcheschi


Curling up with a mug of a warm beverage and perusing a stack of the best seed catalogs for gardeners is one of my favorite things to do on a cold, wintry day. Freezing rain may be falling outside, but inside it’s page after brightly colored page of poppies and petunias, peppers and watermelons.

Personally, I like to plan my additions to next season’s landscape from the comfort of my living room. I love encountering unusual plants by reading a catchy description or encountering an appealing photo. Ah, for pages and pages of carrots, or more varieties of sunflowers than you can imagine, or squash of varying shapes, sizes, and colors. Then there’s the tomatoes with names like Moonglow, Missouri Pink Love Apple, and Mortgage Lifter. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one.

To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite resources for seeds and other garden supplies. All of these catalogs are available for free, and are a great place to get ideas and start planning for the season ahead. Better still, often catalog pricing is a fraction of what I might spend on plants at the garden center.

 

Seed Savers Exchange.

Founded in 1975 and based on the 890 acre Heritage Farm in Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization whose mission is to collect, grow, and share heirloom plants. In addition to selling seeds to the public through its website and annual catalog, membership opportunities are offered that come with discounts, a quarterly magazine, and even free or reduced admission to gardens, arboreta, and conservatories through the American Horticultural Society. As the name suggests, it hosts a seed exchange, that is, a community seed swap where the 13,000 members can list the rare and heirloom seeds they’ve grown in an online database and make them available to other gardeners. Supporting Seed Savers Exchange means you’ll be helping to promote the growth and stewardship of heirloom seeds by greater numbers of people every year.

 

The Hudson Valley Seed Company

This is a small, farm-based organization that began as a seed library with a focus on saving and sharing seeds. It has since expanded into a reliable resource for heirloom and open-pollinated seeds, as well garden-themed contemporary art. Most of the seeds for herbs, flowers, and vegetables are produced on their own certified organic farm, or sourced from other local farmers. Hudson Valley seeds arrive in colorful ‘Art Packs’. These packs are designed by different artists, with new artists and new designs every year. The packs make these seeds especially gift-worthy. Be sure to check out their collection of fine art as well. The posters and prints would make a unique treat for you or the other gardeners in your life!

 

Burpee Seed Company

With a comprehensive catalog of vegetables, annuals, and perennials, Burpee has been producing non-GMO, open-pollinated and hybrid seeds since 1881. With a vast selection and history of introducing innovative varieties, Burpee has something to offer the seasoned gardener, as well the beginner. In fact, they’ve curated an assortment of consistently high-performing herb, vegetable, and flower varieties tailored specifically to new gardeners, with the aim of building confidence and fostering success right from the start. The company also offers all manner of gardening supplies- from tomato cages and compost to gloves, fertilizers, and even garden carts- making it a true destination for one-stop shopping.

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