Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seed Companies

Last winter I purchased my vegetable and herb seeds from the organic seed company Seeds of Change. I have no complaints about their seeds or service, but this year I decided to order herbs from a company located a little closer to home here in the Pacific Northwest. In my search, I discovered an awesome organic seed company located in Williams, Oregon. Horizon Herbs offers an incredible selection, including all standard herbs as well as interesting and rare varieties that were gathered from around the world by the owner Richo Cech. Check out the rave reviews that Horizon Herbs received on Dave’s Garden Watchdog (74 positive reviews opposed to two negative ones). Note that Mr. Cech himself personally responds to some of the reviews. I hope the company is as good as the reviews say, because I ordered a crazy amount of seeds from them! Including some really cool seed sets (my cat is going to go nuts for the catnip set, which consists of three different types! He's a catnip junkie!).

After much deliberation, I decided to order the bulk of my vegetable seeds from High Mowing. Located in Vermont, High Mowing offers a wonderful selection of open pollinated seeds and heirlooms. The company received excellent reviews on Dave’s Garden Watchdog, as well. And I admit, High Mowing gets extra points in my book for taking Monsanto to court last year over the premature deregulation of Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets (High Mowing won!).

A number of Pacific Northwest organic seed companies have either direct or unclear relationships with Seminis/Monsanto, so I scratched them off my list. Some of these include Osborne and Territorial, who still sell a number of seeds from Seminis. I was originally going to purchase my veggie seeds from Irish Eyes located here in Washington State, but I couldn’t find much information online about the company and the reviews they received were a bit spotty. A blurb on the inside cover of the Irish Eyes catalog claims that they oppose GMO in all forms, so I haven’t totally ruled them out yet. The blog Sustainable Eats gives a nod to Uprising Seeds, a company located in Bellingham, WA that states on their homepage that they have signed the Safe Seed Pledge (though I take that with a grain of salt, since Territorial Seed also signed the pledge, and they still carry seeds from Seminis). Wild Garden Seed, located in Oregon, is an organic seed company that may be another possible choice that I am looking into.

Finding a Seed Company in Your Region

Choosing a seed company located in your region can be a wise decision (particularly if they themselves grow many of the seeds they sell), since the seeds are most likely adapted and suited to the particular climate and environment in which you live.

If you are looking for an organic seed company that is right for you, here are some helpful links that might help you to get started:

List of organic seed companies by state and country

Seed Alliance’s list of seed companies


Search by type of seed