Susan's Top Seed Catalog Picks

Every winter, I love getting seed catalogs in the mail. Since I live in an area with very cold winters, I always get a bit of a break from gardening. This gives me plenty of time to pore over the newest offerings in the catalogs and plan what I always hope will be my best garden ever!

If you are new to gardening, or if you don't receive seed catalogs, here is a guide to my favorite catalogs. I've included contact information, what they carry and why I think they're worth checking into.

Before I get started, there's something I want to remind those who live in the Spokane, Wash. area: remember that Northwest Seed & Pet has the best seed selection around. The gal who orders their seeds has done a great job of choosing seeds from many of these catalogs and also makes every effort to bring in seeds that I will be writing about. How cool is that?! So be sure to check them out because they might just save you a bunch in shipping charges.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( _ Sure to be the largest seed catalog you'll ever see, Baker Creek is a real favorite of mine, primarily because they offer a huge array of unusual, rarely-seen seeds. For example, they sell 39 varieties of cucumbers and 54 eggplant varieties! In addition to veggie seeds, they have lots of flowers to choose from. They are located in Mansfield, MO, and can be contacted by phone at (417) 924-8917.

Botanical Interests ( _ I have to admit I'm crazy about the beautiful illustrations on their seed packets. But beyond that, this family-owned business sells hundreds of different varieties of flowers and vegetables, including heirlooms and many that are certified organic. This company is located in Broomfield, CO; their phone number is (800) 486-2647.

Burpee ( _ It's a safe bet that you've heard the name Burpee before because they've been around for eons! They sell both seeds and plants of vegetables, flowers (both annuals and perennials) and fruits. In addition, they offer many supplies such as seed-starting kits, tools, grow-lights, cold frames, tomato mulches and so on. Located in Warminster, PA, Burpee's phone number is (800) 888-1447.

Ed Hume Seeds ( _ While this seed company doesn't have a print catalog, you can find an online catalog at the above website and, of course, you can find their seeds in most garden centers. I like how Ed Hume Seeds is family-owned and operated right here in the Northwest; they've been in business for nearly 40 years. They offer vegetable, herb and flower seeds, with many of them certified organic. Located in Puyallup, WA, the easiest way to contact them is through their website.

Harris Seeds ( _ These folks sell vegetable, herb and flower seeds, along with plants that include leek starts, asparagus crowns, shallots, flowers, veggies and berry plants. They also carry a lot of fun and interesting things such as mushroom kits, seeds for sprouts, light stands, seed-starting supplies, animal control products, pots and grow bags, floating row covers in various weights, frost blankets, raised bed kits, soil testers and way more! Harris Seeds is located in Rochester, NY, and can be reached at (800) 544-7938.

High Mowing Organic Seeds ( _ I love how their seeds are certified organic and that they have free shipping. High Mowing sells vegetable, flower and herb seeds, as well as cover crop seeds, in many different quantities -- something that really saves you money in the long run. Their business is in Wolcott, VT, and you can phone them at (866) 735-4454.

Irish Eyes Garden Seeds ( _ Here's another Northwest company that I enjoy dealing with. In addition to organic vegetable seeds, they also offer both organic and conventional seed potatoes, garlic, onions and shallots. They're also a good source for cover crop seeds, which is a great way to both enhance your soil and improve your plants' vigor. They are located in Ellensburg, WA, and their contact number is (509) 933-7150.

Johnny's Selected Seed ( _ Just looking through this catalog is a learning experience because they have included detailed cultural information for growing the seeds they offer. As you'd expect, they sell vegetable and flower seeds, but the variety selections are excellent. They also are a good source for microgreen seeds and exceptionally cold-tolerant greens for growing through the winter (something that is near and dear to my heart!). I love how they offer seeds in different quantities which, as I noted above, is a great way to buy exactly what you need and save money while you're at it. Johnny's is a good source for cover crop seeds, floating row cover, season extenders, composting supplies, fertilizers, tools and more. They are located in Winslow, ME, and you can contact them at (877) 564-6697.

The Natural Gardening Company ( _ One of the most impressive things about this company is that they are the oldest certified organic nursery in the U.S. They offer vegetable, herb and flower seeds, organic seed potatoes, drip irrigation systems, and organic growing supplies. Located in Petaluma, CA, they can be reached at (707) 766-9303.

Park Seed ( _ In business for 148 years, Park Seed's catalog has a wealth of items that will appeal to gardeners. They sell vegetable, herb and flower seeds; seed tapes; vegetable plants; bird feeders and supplies; berry plants; seed-starting supplies; grow lights; watering supplies; hobby greenhouses, and much more. They are situated in Greenwood, SC, and can be reached at (800) 845-3369.

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply ( _ This company has so many products designed to help you grow veggies and fruits organically. They've been in business for 40 years. Their catalog offerings include vegetable and flower seeds; bulbs; cover crop seeds; fruit and nut trees; seed potatoes; compost and vermicomposting (worm) supplies; soil testers and amendments; drip irrigation supplies; floating row covers and frost blankets; and even greenhouses! What's more, they have how-to videos, growing guides and articles to use as helpful resources. They are located in Grass Valley, CA, and can be contacted at (888) 784-1722. You can even visit their store in Grass Valley -- wouldn't that be fun?

Pinetree Garden Seeds ( _ This Northeastern company offers both vegetable and fruit seeds and plants, herbs, flower seeds. There are also seed-starting kits and supplies; soil testers and amendments; cover crop seeds; landscaping and mulch fabrics; tools; and animal deterrents. In addition, they offer spices and teas; many soapmaking and cosmetic supplies; and all sorts of helpful garden books. They are located in New Gloucester, ME, and can be reached at (207) 926-3400.

Renee's Garden Seeds ( _ While Renee's doesn't have a print catalog, there is an online catalog and you can find the seeds at many garden centers as well. I love the beautifully-illustrated seed packets! Renee's offers vegetable (many are organic), herb and flower seeds with detailed planting and growing instructions. I've found many unusual and fantastic varieties that you can't find anywhere else. There are many articles for gardening success and they also have cookbooks that focus on using one's fresh produce from the garden. Renee's is located in Felton, CA, and you can reach them at (888) 880-7228.

Seeds of Change ( _ This company offers certified organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds as well as seed potatoes and unusual things like horseradish roots and rhubarb roots. They're also a good source for onion and shallot sets, and fruit trees, too. The "Tools & Supplies" section is fun to browse through: it includes outdoor living, composting, kitchen gadgets, irrigation and watering supplies, natural disease and pest control products, seed-starting supplies and season extenders. Seeds of Change is located in Rancho Dominguez, CA, and their phone number is (888) 762-7333.

Territorial Seed ( _ Here's another favorite Northwest company you should know about, if you don't already. Offering many organic options, they sell a huge selection of vegetable seeds, cover crop seeds, fruit and berry plants, and flower seeds. Gardening supplies include seed-starting and potting supplies, raised beds, season extenders, and natural pest alternatives. They are located in Cottage Grove, OR, and can be reached at (800) 626-0866.

Vermont Bean Seed Co. ( _ If you're a bean connoisseur, you'll be impressed by their wide selection of bush, pole and shelling beans. In addition to bean seeds, they also sell other vegetable seeds and plants (however, if you live in AK, AZ, CA, ID, OR, HI or WA, I'm sorry to say they can't ship the plants to those locations). They also sell gardening books, composting supplies, seed-starting kits, tomato-growing aids, and other supplies. Despite the company name, Vermont Bean Seed is located in Randolph, WI, and they can be reached at (800) 349-1071.