There are many great seed companies you can use to get organic seeds for your garden. Here are a few of the companies that have risen to the top of my list over the years and the reasons why.
First, What Makes A Good Seed Company For Organic Gardening?
Recognizes The Importance Of Organic and Heirloom Seeds
Many companies are profit first above all else but many seed companies have a true belief and mission when it comes to selling organic seeds and even heirloom seeds. This is because they have an ethical understanding of what is best for people and the planet.
This goes a long way with me and many other gardeners who believe the same way. We need to reduce the use of GMO seeds in order to reduce the amount of herbicides and pesticides contaminating our air, water, and soil.
It is also nice when the seed company you’re purchasing from has the seeds you want in stock when you need them. This isn’t the most important thing to me as there are many small privately owned seed businesses that just can’t possibly have as many seeds or varieties of seeds in stock at all times like the larger companies.
Good Customer Support
I have dealt with seed companies before that I have had shipping and product problems with but this doesn’t necessarily make them a bad company. How they handle those problems will determine that. A great seed company will do everything they can to do what is right for a good customer.
I want my seed company to be honest about everything. When the seed description says there is a low germination rate with these seeds or describes potential issues with a plant or even explains if there is potential shipping issues, this only makes me appreciate the company more.
I just want honesty and I will do business with a seed company that is forthcoming about things rather than just getting a sale. Nothing turns me away quicker than clickbait marketing that just tells me what they think I want to hear.
Now that you know what my criteria is for picking a great organic seed company, here is my list of 11 of the best I know of.
1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Most gardeners have heard of Baker Creek Seeds headquartered in Mansfield, Missouri, they are recognized as one of the best for service and seed availability. You really can’t go wrong shopping for seeds at Baker Creek.
Founder Jere Gettle started Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in 1998 as a hobby, and it has since grown into North America’s largest heirloom seed company with about 1,000 heirloom varieties.
Their website is packed full of great information about every variety they sell and their catalog is one worth having in your home. They actually have two catalogs, one is free and the larger one has a modest cost but both are great and worth having.
2. Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy in Missouri and now call 890 scenic acres in Winneshiek County, Iowa home. They maintain a collection of over 20,000 different varieties of heirloom and open-pollinated plants, varieties with the ability to regenerate themselves year after year.
They have a strong belief in the importance of preserving plant biodiversity and work hard to protect plant varieties from disappearing from the plant.
“We can only preserve heirloom seeds through active stewardship. If we don’t use them, if we don’t allow them to grow again, they become lost.”-Diane Ott Whealy, Co-Founder of Seed Savers Exchange
3. Johnny’s Selected Seeds
I believe Johnny’s was the first online seed company I ever bought seeds from. Founder Rob Johnston, Jr, at age 22, with $500 in savings started his seed company in a New Hampshire farmhouse attic in 1973, talk about humble beginnings of what is now one of the largest organic seed companies in the U.S.
Now headquartered in Winslow, Maine with administrative offices in Fairfield, Maine they employ over 100 full time employees and many seasonal workers to provide excellent service.
The Johnny’s seed catalog is without a doubt one of the best catalogs you can get your hands on. Packed full of beautiful pictures and an abundance of information that can help you plan your garden.
4. Fedco Seeds
This company is mostly recognized for there cold-hardy varieties specially adapted to the demanding Northeast climate. Fedco breaks its inventory down into 5 divisions; Seeds, Potatoes, Onions and Exotics, Organic Growers Supply, Trees, and Bulbs and work out of three warehouses in Clinton, Maine.
Fedco Seeds has been in business since 1978 and is actually a cooperative without an individual owner. The company is owned 60% by consumers of the cooperative and worker members own 40%, This formula might be the secret to their excellent customer service.
If you live in an extremely cold climate then this company may be the seed company for you. Because of their location and inventory of cold-hardy varieties, they can provide the best options for that particular climate.
5. High Mowing Organic Seeds
Tom Stearns started this company in 1996 with just 28 varieties mostly grown in his backyard. Now with over 700 heirloom, open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seed they have truly grown into a leading organic seed company but still with a passion and a vision to re-build food systems that can support health on all levels – healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities, and healthy bodies.
I really like what this company stands for and represents but not only that, they sell great seeds and have excellent customer service.
6. Territorial Seed Company
Located in Cottage Grove, Oregon, this organic seed company is owned by Tom and Julie Johns since purchasing it in 1985 from its founder Steve Solomon. I think their mission statement says pretty much everything you need to know about this company, “Our purpose is to improve people’s self-sufficiency and independence by enabling gardeners to produce an abundance of good tasting, fresh from the garden food, twelve months a year.”
Known for excellent customer service, so much so that they actually have a full 100% satisfaction guarantee when it comes to their seeds. They are a great company with a great catalog packed full of information about their seeds.
7. Southern Exposure Seed Company
Based in Mineral, Virginia, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange started in 1982. They produce all of their seeds through natural methods, 99% of which are open pollinated. They too have a 100% satisfaction guarantee ensuring great seeds and great customer service.
I really like their approach to being forthcoming about seed germination rate. Germination tests are performed in their own facility and they print the results on the packet that you receive so that you know what you are getting. That kind of transparency is appreciated.
I first found this company through the YouTube channel. Luke Marion wanted to inspire others to grow a garden, live healthier lives, and have fun doing it. He and his wife Sindy started selling heirloom seeds after having a lot of success on social media.
This is a small company but with adequate inventory and excellent seeds at a great price. Their YouTube channel is an excellent source of information as well as the website. This is definitely a seed company worthy of your seed purchase.
9. Sow True Seed
This company was founded in 2008 by lifelong gardener and food activist Carol Koury. Based in Asheville, North Carolina they work with farmers in their area to ensure the survival of heirloom varieties that would otherwise become extinct.
The company puts its beliefs and convictions into action by giving discounts to school gardens, donating seeds to programs that support their communities and offer free garden education and harvest donation programs, and actively campaigns against the continued expansion and infiltration of GMO seeds.
10. Mary’s Heirloom Seeds
I love supporting small business owners who have a passion for what they do and love serving customers with a high quality product. That’s why I love doing business with Mary’s Heirloom Seeds.
Mary was actually a guest on my podcast a few years ago clearly explaining the difference between GMO, Hybrid, and Heirloom seeds. It was a great episode that truly educated the listener.
This may be a smaller seed company but the service is great and the variety of seeds is sufficient although not as vast as some of the bigger companies.
If like me you’re all about supporting small businesses then Mary’s Heirloom Seeds is worthy of your business.
11. True Leaf Market
You can certainly get a huge variety of high quality seeds for your organic garden from True Leaf Market with excellent service. However, I believe where True Leaf Market really shines is with their bulk seed orders for things such as cover crop seeds and microgreen seeds.
Their prices and purchase options on these bulk orders is the best I’ve found anywhere and the customer service is second to none. So even if you don’t use them for your kitchen garden seeds definitely consider them for bulk seeds for your food forest, cover crops, sprouting, and microgreens. You won’t be disappointed.
There it is, my list of 11 of the best organic seed companies you can shop at to have the best organic garden you can have. So get those seeds and plant that garden and get on your way to being even more self-sufficient and sustainable on your permaculture homestead.