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Exploring Seed Catalogs

Get inspired and grow your best garden ever! Here are some catalogs you can order for free.

Seed catalogs in mailbox
Seed catalogs are full of possibilities!

Seed catalogs are filling my mailbox now. I love it! Spring is coming!

I love seed catalogs. When I was a kid, my friends read comic books. Not me, I read seed catalogs.

Seed catalogs are full of possibilities! The weather may be icy and frigid outside, but my heart warms up while reading these pages full of colorful veggies and flowers.

Now is the time to order your seed catalogs for 2019. Almost all seed catalogs are free and can be ordered online. You can spend a few moments on your computer today (click on the following links) to order all the catalogs you need to grow your greatest garden ever! Discover new varieties, new possibilities and become inspired!

My favorite seed catalog comes from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Johnny’s has an aggressive breeding program that has developed many of the finest varieties for the north. They offer many organic and heirloom varieties.

The best thing about the Johnny’s catalog is that it is full of good gardening advice. Tips on sowing seeds, managing pests and harvesting are provided for every major crop. I keep the catalog by my side all spring and summer. Even if you don’t want to buy any seeds, I recommend you get the Johnny’s catalog for its helpful tips.

You will enjoy the catalog of Jung Seed Company since it’s full of varieties that flourish in the north. Jung has purchased Totally Tomatoes (offering a huge selection of tomato varieties) and the Vermont Bean Seed Company (full of—you guessed it—beans!).

Fedco Seeds has an impressive selection of untreated seed varieties and their prices are attractive. Their black-and-white catalog is full of unique drawings and full of interesting stories on the varieties they offer.

Many gardeners tell me how much they like Pinetree Seeds. Pinetree offers many outstanding varieties. This company is famous for offering smaller seed packets at very affordable prices—impressive! 

HEIRLOOM AND ORGANIC SPECIALISTS

Most heirloom varieties are not as reliable or as productive as modern varieties. Nonetheless, some heirloom varieties offer special flavors and other fascinating qualities. If you like heirlooms, get the catalog of Seed Savers Exchange. It’s been a leader of preserving heirloom varieties for decades.

I think the most interesting and colorful catalog is offered by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This is the seed catalog I would put on my coffee table (if I had a coffee table). Baker Creek offers some of the most unusual varieties from the past and from all over the world.

HarrisNatural Gardening, Prairie Road Organic and Siskiyou will send you printed catalogs of their organic seeds. Prairie Road Organic is based in North Dakota and develops varieties for our climate.

LARGE QUANTITIES OF SEEDS

I’m a big fan of Harris Seeds, which has an outstanding selection of quality varieties at good prices. Harris is well known for its disease-resistant pumpkins and it has a giant collection of sweet corn varieties.

HPS (Horticultural Products and Services) is Jung’s seed company for commercial growers and a good source when you need a large volume of seeds.

I’ve been very impressed with the seed quality, packaging and pricing of Osborne Seeds. If you are looking for untreated seed of a popular variety, this may be the place for you. They offer some unique varieties too, but they have not done especially well here in North Dakota. Perhaps this is because Osborne is based in the Pacific Northwest and our growing seasons are very different.   

OTHER NOTABLE SOURCES

Other companies you can order free printed catalogs from include Burpee Seed, Farmer Seed, Gurney’s Seed, Kitchen Garden Seeds, NE Seed, Park Seed, Stokes Seeds, Territorial Seed and Twilley Seed.

Kitazawa Seed specializes in Asian vegetables and offers a most impressive collection. This company is from  California, so be careful to select only short-season varieties.

Many companies have stopped printing their seed catalogs but still offer seeds online. A sampling of online seed companies include Eden BrothersEvergreen (Asian), Henry Field’s, Irish Eyes, JordanNichols Garden, Prairie Road Organic, Renee’s Garden, Seeds of Change, Shumway, Sustainable, Swallowtail GardenTrue Leaf Market and Veseys. Some of these companies print a limited number of catalogs for customers who have ordered from them in the past. 

What are you waiting for? Get online, start clicking and get your catalogs! It is never too early to begin planning your gardening adventures for this year.

Note: This article is provided for educational purposes only. No endorsement is implied for the companies mentioned and no discrimination is intended for companies that were not mentioned.

Written by , Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University.

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