By Sommer Cartier for Let's Talk Plants! September 2021.
When purchasing seeds, it’s important to consider the varieties you’re choosing to grow. Not only are there differences in how each variety performs, but there are also differences in how they taste. I’m sure every gardener would agree, the ultimate pay-off in the garden is a healthy bounty of fresh, delicious veggies that can be shared with family and friends or added to any culinary creations. To achieve these results, and cultivate the best crop, gardeners must start with quality seeds. Also, it’s important to consider the safety of your food. When selecting seeds, please remember that seeds are the life source for the food we feed our bodies. For this reason, it’s critical to consider where your seeds come from and any treatments they’ve been exposed to.
To assist you with your seed selection, I’ve put together a list of seed companies that I trust and have had nothing but positive results. It’s important to note that all recommended companies below have shown their commitment to selling safe, quality seeds by signing The Safe Seed Pledge. You can learn more about this pledge at the following link https://www.rareseeds.com/safe-seed-pledge
Territory Seeds is one of my favorite go to seed companies. With this company, all seed varieties go through extensive trials and evaluations on their farm before receiving approval. The seeds they select for their catalogs are the ones shown to produce the highest yield and the best quality. In order to help maximize yields, many of their seed varieties are resistant to common diseases, allowing them to grow and fruit under stress of pathogens. Each year, without fail, at least one of my tomato plants fall victim to White Powdery Mildew. While most varieties would cave under pressure and struggle to produce a healthy crop of tomatoes, their Celebrity tomatoes rise to the challenge and continue to surprise me with lots of sweet juicy tomatoes all season long. While I admit, Territory Seeds is on the more expensive side, they are worth the price if you have the budget. In addition to having disease resistant options, many varieties have shorter harvesting times and the company offers a wide range of veggies, herbs and flowers for the gardener to choose from.
If growing veggies in containers or compact spaces, Renee’s Garden is your best choice. This seed company has a line of space saving veggies that require minimal space, are highly productive, and taste amazing. With these seeds, container and small pocket gardeners are no longer confined by the size of their gardens. Renee’s container variety seeds bring high performance with more variety and flavor - from Bush slicer cucumbers to 'Astia' zucchini to Pizza My Heart peppers, there are lots of options to choose from. For those who are mission driven and enjoy seeing a social cause attached to their spending, Renee's Garden regularly donates seeds to a number of organizations and educational programs worldwide that are working towards improving the social, economic and health conditions within their communities while promoting sustainable organic gardening practices.
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San Diego Seed Company
For those looking to support local seed companies and cultivate plants that are better adapted to our environmental conditions and soil structure, San Diego Seed company is the way to go. Their seeds have been acclimated to the variety of microclimates found here in San Diego, helping to ensure a successful experience for San Diego gardeners. Because their seeds are in tune with the growing conditions here in San Diego, they are less susceptible to local disease and pests and thrive in our warmer, drier climate. In addition to quality seed, when you support the San Diego seed company, you support sustainable local agricultural practices and seed conservation initiatives. For San Diegans seeking to increase their knowledge in the garden, the San Diego Seed Company provides a variety of educational opportunities -from their online courses to their YouTube Chaneland their Garden Wisdom Blog. They are a well-rounded local company seeking to support their local gardening community in many different ways.
While these are just a few of the seed companies I use, there are plenty more that focus on providing quality, safe seeds. You are by no means limited to these three. A few more favorites to explore are Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Saver Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. Local seed co-ops and seed banks are great choices, as well. They often offer more affordable seeds and support local agriculture while providing food varieties more suited to the local growing climate. Whatever direction you take, do your research and become familiar with the company’s practices. Do your due diligence to ensure the food you are growing is safe for your body and embodies the agricultural practices you value.