10 Best Heirloom Seed Companies as Selected by Readers

Seed packets arranged in a store display

Jake Wyman / Getty Images

When I set out to publish the post on seed sources for foodies, Kitchen Gardeners, and Chefs I did not intend to create an all-inclusive list of seed sources. I thought I would just highlight four of them, and maybe TreeHugger readers would find one they had not heard of before.

I expected the post would be well-received because of the seed companies that I chose. What I did not expect was the reaction from TreeHugger readers in the comments of the post, TreeHugger's Facebook Page, my Facebook page, and my Twitter account.

Almost immediately, I started seeing comments pointing out that I had "forgotten" this or that heirloom seed company. Therefore, I have decided to highlight the most suggested seed companies and organizations that TreeHugger readers recommended.

Seed Saving Organizations

Seed saving organizations are slightly different from seed companies. Their goal is usually to promote garden biodiversity, utilizing of rare heirlooms, and the histories behind these seeds. To gain access to these types of organizations you may have to become a member, but they often sell seeds in order to raise funds.

1. Seed Savers Exchange

The most popular suggestion for inclusion was Seed Savers Exchange. Founded in 1975, Seed Savers Exchange is a registered non-profit and arguably the reason why heirlooms are so popular today. You will find seeds for herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers.

2. Kusa Seed Society

The Kusa Seed Society's mission statement states its purpose as being to increase humanity's knowledge and understanding of our connection to edible seed crops. The society offers cereal grains, grain legumes, oilseeds and other edible seeds.

3. Organic Seed Alliance

One commenter suggested the Organic Seed Alliance. While they are not exactly a seed source, they do list organic seed companies as a resource to organic farmers and gardeners.

Seed Companies

4. Territorial Seed

The very first Territorial Seed catalog was printed in 1979 by its founder, Steve Solomon, who later sold the company to Tom and Julie Johns in 1985. Territorial Seed carries vegetable seeds and plants, along with garden supplies.

5. High Mowing Organic Seeds

High Mowing Organic Seeds was founded in 1996 when the company's founder, Tom Stearns, tilled up a portion of his backyard to grow plants for organic seed production. By 2001, the company had grown so much that he started to contract local farms to grow seeds just to keep up with demand.

Seed Sources for Canadian Gardeners

6 & 7. Terra Edibles and Salt Spring Seeds

A couple of readers asked for recommendations for seed companies that Canadian gardeners, interested in heirloom seeds, can turn to in search of seeds. Some commenters chimed in and recommended Terra Edibles and Salt Spring Seeds. Since I don't know much about Canadian seed companies I turned to my friend Kelly, who runs the Populuxe Seed Bank in Canada, for her recommendations.

8, 9 & 10. The Cottage Gardener, Seeds of Victoria, and Solana Seeds

She wrote back, “The Cottage Gardener is my absolute favorite. Seeds of Victoria is probably my second fave. Solana Seeds has really neat rare stuff.”