Sources of nonhybrid seed : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

[snipped from another thead, and representing prior compilations on this subject by forum participants...] A basic Y2K issue relates to whether to order hybrid or nonhybrid (open-pollinated) seed. Hybrid seed can offer superior features like disease resistance (which could make or break the success of a new gardener). However, they do not breed true, so nonhybrid seeds become essential if disruptions in seed supply continue for more than a season, but youll need the skills to save seeds. Most seeds keep for at least a few years, so you could start out with hybrids, and switch to nonhybrids in later seasons. There may be a scramble for seeds this fall - order early and in abundance.

The following companies are all highly rated and probably sell hybrid seed and other fun stuff too. Dont forget seed exchanges and friends! Hardware and discount stores are also a good source for cheap seed packets now that the growing season is drawing to a close.

Comstock Ferre, Wethersfield, CT

Fedco Seeds, Waterville, ME

Heirloom Seeds, W. Elizabeth, PA

Johnny's Selected Seeds, Albion, ME

Park Seed, Greenwood, SC

Pinetree Gardens, New Gloucester, ME

Seeds of Change, Santa Fe, NM

Seeds Blum, Boise, ID

Shepards Garden Seeds, Torrington, CT

R.H. Shumways, Graniteville, SC

Territorial Seed, Cottage Grove, OR

W. Atlee Burpee, Warminster, PA

Willhite Seed, Poolville, TX

Suggestions for other sources to add or companies to stay away from?

-- Brooks (, July 29, 1999


We've been very happy with both Johnny's and Pinetree, both great sources for New Englanders and/or Northern gardens.

-- BigDog (, July 29, 1999.

I've been happy with the seed quality and customer service from these three companies. Please see my comments for each.

Totally Tomatoes P.O. Box 1626 Augusta, GA 30903-1626 803-663-0016 (Comment: hundreds of tomato varieties--many open pollinated.)

Gurney's Seed Nursery Company 110 Capital Street Yankton, South Dakota 57079 Customer Service: 605-665-1671 Phone Orders: 605-665-1930 605-665-9718 E-mail:

(Comment: a few good, standard varieties of open pollinated for each type of vegetable. Good prices. For instance, I just got 1/2 ounce of Black Seeded Simpson lettuce for 1.99--I think that's enough to plant several 100 foot rows. Also, after your first order they pay for shipping on subsequent orders during the same calendar year.)

Vermont Bean Seed Co. Garden Lane Fair Haven, VT 05743-0250 803 663-0217 (Comment: Scores of different varieties of beans and peas. Prices around $6 per pound for many pea and bean seeds. They have other vegetable seeds as well, mostly open pollinated.)

-- Alexi (, July 29, 1999.

We order lots of our seed from Fedco, usually with a bunch of friends. Six to ten families get together with their "want" lists, seed catalogs, and pot luck snacks, and discuss seeds, seed companies, and gardening for an afternoon in the winter. We pool our seed orders so that we save on minimum order and shipping costs, and it means that we can often order that one odd package of seed that would have been the only thing we would have ordered from one company, because someone else also ordered from them. Fedco, Johnny's , Shepard's, Pinetree, Jung's (central Wisconsin company), are some of our favorites. Seeds Blum takes forever (well, really only a year or two or three) to fill orders, so I would avoid them like the plague. Seeds of Change is owned by one of the huge international seed comglomerates- forget which one- so we order minimal amounts of seed from them. Too bad, as they offer only open-pollinated seed. We also order from Vermont Bean Seed co., Stokes, Garden City Seeds, and the Cook's Garden. These companies all sell seed for northern gardens- I can't speak to the requirements of other climates.

Pinetree and Fedco are also good sources of other garden needs, such as books, tools, seaweed fertilizer, etc. We've been gardening for over 25 years, and raising most of our food most of those years, just to let you know some of my background.

-- Jim (, July 29, 1999.

Here are ways of contacting some of the above without websites:

Comstock, Ferre: 263 Main St., Wethersfield CT 06109, (860)571-6590; FEDCO Seeds, POBox 520, Waterville ME 04903

Two points: FEDCO is worth writing to just so you can read the catalog. It is a work of art and full of useful info and inspiration! They are a nonprofit operation and cannot afford to have people answering the phone, so they do not give a tel. no.

Also, Please consider joining Seed Savers Exchange if you can afford the membership fee ($15 or 20). They have more varieties and more detailed descriptions of everything than I have ever seen. Their 1999 seed yearbook is 488 pgs long, with almost 1000 members offering 11,520 "unique varieties" of stuff. We ordered an eggplant variety and a jerusalem artichoke this spring, both doing well. I'm a new member, and I am eagerly awaiting the Summer and Harvest editions (hopefully not 488 pages!!) Their address is SSE, 3076 North Winn Rd, Decorah,Iowa 52101.

-- judy (, July 29, 1999.

Judy, I'll second your recommendation of Seed Savers Exchange. We've been members for 15 years or so, and it has been worthwhile. We haven't gone to one of the annual campout meetings for years, but they will really get you excited about seeds and gardening if you can ever make it to Decorah for the summer meeting. Our summer edition came yesterday, so you should have yours soon. Welcome to SSE! And the rest of you out there, join it if you can.

-- Jim (, July 29, 1999.

I ordered the package that Geri Guidetti has available from the Ark Institute and was pleased with it. It did contain seed for some things that we don't eat, but I figured that they would make for bartering any way. Sorry I can't make the hot link.

P.S. You might want to read her reports on the food supply.

-- Beckie (, July 30, 1999.

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