This post lists the best garden catalogs for the kitchen gardener. It highlights sources for seeds and plants that can be easily preserved for off-season meals through food preservation.
It’s yours, FREE to help you get the most from your Garden Catalogs this winter! Bob and I created these forms to make our gardens more organized, productive, and within budget. We hope you find them useful!
It also contains affiliate links based on my personal experience with products that support a seasonal lifestyle. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hope you find them useful.
Garden Catalogs that Offer Heirloom Seeds and Organically Grown Plants
It seems that if you are on one garden catalog mailing list, you are on them all!
Whether your snail mailbox is full, or your email promotions folder is jammed, this time of year it’s probably with seed and plant catalogs for the garden.
How do you separate the wheat from the chaff with such an avalanche of resources?
Read on for the method I use to select the best garden catalogs for my kitchen garden. I also sift through the masses with en eye for resources that will help meet my food preservation obsession.
Download the Winter Garden Planner to help keep your plant and seed purchases organized and optimized.
The Safe Seed Pledge
The Safe Seed Pledge is a statement designed by the good folks at High Mowing Seeds in 1999. They spearheaded an effort by 9 seed companies to respond to the emergence of genetically modified seed stock. The effort is designed to help the consumer know what they are purchasing.
Since 1999, 370 seed companies have signed the pledge. This affirmation of supplying clean seed, free of genetic modification, is one of the primary filters I use when selecting which garden catalogs to keep and which to pitch.
Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”High Mowing Seed
Organic, Non-GMO Seed Stock
Kitchen gardeners are growing food for their families, friends, and neighbors. They are often motivated by such considerations as:
- sustainability concerns
- soil health
- nutritional value
- spiritual factors grounded in nature-based practices
The one priority we can keep that addresses all of these concerns is ensuring our seed stock is natural, chemical-free, and not scientifically manipulated. The garden catalogs you see mentioned below have either signed the Safe Seed Pledge or become certified organic and/or Non-GMO Project Verified.
Simply stated, if your seed source won’t commit the natural, organic, non-manipulated seed stock, the best use for the catalog is under the litter box or the bottom of the birdcage.
My Top 5 Seed Catalog Recommendations for 2020
Here are my top 5 seed catalogs used for years in supplying my kitchen garden with its heirloom seed stock.
1. High Mowing Seed
High Mowing Seed is a thriving small business in Vermont. Its origins rest in one man’s Organic Garden. Tom Stearns started the company in 1996 with 28 varieties of seeds sourced from his own farm. Today the company offers over 600 varieties of fruit and vegetables seed through its catalog and website.
Gotta love the handcrafting and slow process that is their business model…
2. Seed Savers Exchange
As a nonprofit, Seed Savers Exchange aims to conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.seed savers exchange mission statement
They further explain: Seed Savers Exchange conserves biodiversity by maintaining a collection of over 20,000 different varieties of heirloom and open-pollinated plants, varieties with the ability to regenerate themselves year after year. These seeds (and tissue cultures or other plant materials, depending on how a plant reproduces) have the power to withstand unforeseen pestilence and plant disease, climate change, and limited habitat, and to stop dinnertime boredom forever.
2.a. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Local Seed Exchanges
The primary source of seeds for my kitchen garden comes from The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. They are a member of the Seed Savers Exchange and offer varieties best suited to my climate. I encourage you to find a Seed Exchange for your region and rely on them as much as possible to have the varieties of fruits and vegetables in your kitchen garden that you desire.
3. John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Not only are the seeds from Kitchen Garden Seeds of the highest quality, but they also have (in my opinion) the prettiest packaging and the best e-newsletter of any supplier I support.
The website and garden catalog highlight seed collections, which are useful in designing themed growing areas in your kitchen garden.
4. Fedco Seeds, specializing in cold weather crops
Fedco Seed Company is a cooperative in Maine.
If you are going to start your kitchen garden early with season extension technology, you’ll want to use Fedco to source seed cultivated for cold weather.
5. Johnny’s Select Seed
I have a left-over loyalty to Johnny’s Seed from my days of operating a market garden. When you grow at qualities for market sales and CSAs (community supported agriculture membership growing), price and quality need to come to some sort of compromise.
I would have loved to offer my customers 100% heirlooms from seed exchanges, but that model was cost-prohibitive. Johnny’s has established itself as a trusted source of seeds that are high quality, not genetically modified, often certified organic, and affordable. No easy tightrope walk, I assure you!
You can order from Johnny’s online or by catalog.
Other Suppliers Who Have Signed the Safe Seed Pledge
I did a little research and compiled a list of other small suppliers who have signed the Safe Seed Pledge. Whenever possible, purchase seeds harvested close to your own climate. Not only will they thrive more easily, but nutritional science has proved they carry more micronutrients.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Earth Care Seeds
- Ferry-Morse Seed
- Gardens Alive
- Grow Organic
- The Incredible Seed Company
- Marys Heirloom Seeds (great garden tips on Facebook)
- Northeast Seed
- Pinetree Garden Seeds
- Seeds Now
- Urban Farmer
My Top Plant Catalogs for 2020
When seeking specific native species for my wild space I’m pretty picky about my suppliers. These 3 resources should give you the variety you need whether you are looking to plant jack-in-the-pulpit or heirloom apple trees!
1. Prairie Nursery / Prairie Moon Nursery
Prairie Nursery is a native plant nursery in Wisconsin. The company is founded on a commitment to ecological restoration. They also have a website for Prarie Moon Nursery. I could not find information on why the 2 sites.
Their best product may be the pre-planned gardens. I’ve been ordering from them for years and have never been disappointed.
2. Territorial Seed for Vegetable Plants
If you have trouble sourcing organically grown vegetable plants in your area, consider buying plants from the Territorial Seed Company. More affordable than most, the plants arrive healthy and ready-to-plant.
This is a small family business and always a pleasure to do business with!
3. Spring Hill Nursery
Spring Hill Nursery is my other go-to resource for live plants. They offer an excellent product and great customer service.
Their website calculates your agricultural zone to help you choose plants and ship dates appropriate to your climate. That’s a nice caring touch I really appreciate!
This video is less instructional and more promotional, but it does capture my experience with their products.
Garden Catalogues for the Food Preservationist
All the garden catalogs listed above will serve the food preservationist well.
Organic, non-GMO seeds, often of heirloom varieties, will delight the kitchen gardener with their diversity and flavor. For instance, I simply love growing 4 or 5 different colors of beets in my kitchen garden each spring and fall. The shape f the beetroot and the texture of the leaves all affect the resilience of the plants in my garden, and the flavor upon harvest. Beets were one of our most popular products at local farm stands!
But, I use them simply as an example of the variety available from well-sourced seed stock.
Kitchen gardeners who are food preservationists often work in small batches. With seed diversity found in these garden catalogs, you can preserve batches of foods by specific varieties and become a flavor connoisseur over time.
Kitchen gardening and food preservation go hand-in-hand when creating a seasonal life!
Know your food, grow your food, and slowly prepare your meals with love for the ingredients.
Make Your Own Potting Soil for Seed starting and Plant Care
It seems you just can’t trust what’s in commercially prepared potting soil mixes these days. I don’t know about you, but I even have this problem with products marked certified organic!
Our fruits and vegetables are only going to have a harvest as good as their beginning. Give them all the nourishment they need by making your own potting soil in small or large batches.
You can do this easily with the two recipes included in this post. Click the image below to see if making your own potting soil is for you!
Use these links for detailed monthly garden tasks!
Grow Winter Greens Indoors
You don have to wait until February to start growing your seedlings!
You can use that potting soil you just mixed up to grow indoor greens. Actually, with sprouts, you don’t even need soil, just unchlorinated water and a few days’ time!
Or, just click the image below…
The Seasonal Living Framework
Seasonal wellness asks that we learn to trust nature and our bodies to guide our self-care practices. Whether learning the skill of handcrafting herbal teas or taking up a meditation practice, seasonal wellness is about the slow approach to making our wellbeing a priority.
Basically, nature-based wellness practices are contemplative. They need time set aside to experience moments in nature, and in our interior landscape. These practices can be solitary or in community, solemn or festive. They always bring us into direct contact with the present moment. They inspire an internal sense of purpose and peace.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to explore the Seasonal Living Framework with this post and the downloadable workbook.
There’s a party happening and we’re waiting for you to arrive!
We also gather over email once a week to focus on one specific garden, kitchen, or wellness topic in-depth, with lots of step-by-step how-to’s. The best way to jump into the email conversation is with the Seasonal Living Workbook, you can download it here and explore the seasonal living framework with an email course!
So much love and free information in one place, but it’s not the same without YOU!
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