One stop shopping for heirloom seeds

hoover67(7a)January 6, 2011

I am looking to purchase more heirloom seeds this year. The past two years I have planted Turkey Craw beans which we love. Actually we love them so much our family of 9 (6 hungry, growing boys and 1 girl) eats them faster than I can grow them. I have planned to save enough seeds to propagate them but we end up eating too many of them. So here I am again, with less than 100 seeds to start the growing season again! Oh well. I am also looking to buy Sugar Lump tomato seeds and som Sweet Mountain Yellow watermelon seeds. I cannot find everything at the same store. Am I missing a store? I hate to buy from different companies. The shipping can get quite high!

1. Is there a favorite one stop shopping on-line store for heirloom seeds.

2. Is there a tomato variety that is really good for putting up tomato puree or sauce?


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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

It is a challenge to find one store stocking all the varieties one wants. Rarely will you find that desired variety, especially heirloom, in the one catalog along with all the others. All the more need to select the seeds you want for the next year; talk about a shipping saving. ha ha

Even finding a good source with great diversity can be missing one special variety you want. Research can narrow your ordering. Find two sources having the great percentage of your wants. Try a seed saving group or start trading.

The greatest realization with heirlooms is the ability to save seeds. Educate yourself about selection, collection, cleaning and storage. Save your cash for other things.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 4:35PM
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I'm chuckling because I'm also a homeschooling mom in 7a (I'm in PNW). I would suggest that before you go to buy your seeds, why not see if someone has those varieties to trade on gardenweb? If you aren't wed to those particular kinds of watermelon and tomatoes, drop me a note. I have some Katanya watermelon seeds and some bloody butcher tomatoes I'd be happy to send you. Also, are you growing peas? My kids eat them before I can get them out of the garden. I've given up trying to get a strawberry in the house. My seed supplier of choice is rareseeds. They are heirloom only, and I prefer that because I can collect the seeds.
I can all our tomatoes for sauce, etc... On the tomato forum, they suggest that you use something other than paste tomatoes for canning because apparently paste tomatoes aren't as tasty. To be honest, we can't really tell, but I grow stupice and bloody butchers because they are super productive and grow well in our short season.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 7:57PM
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You are getting started in a healthy direction. Here are a few places to explore. Seed Suppliers is on my website and is just a huge list of suppliers. From this list, check out:

Sandhill Preservation
Baker Creek
Heirloom Seeds
High Altitude Gardens
Seeds of Change
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Victory Seeds

That is a pretty good list of the better heirloom seed suppliers.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 8:11PM
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Thanks for list of companies! I am systematically going through them!

@CarolynP I sent you an e-mail. Thanks for the offer!


    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 11:23PM
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oath5(z6b/7a MD)

I've had great experiences with many heirloom companies so far, Baker Creek is a gem, you CAN find packets of varieties they sell a bit cheaper elsewhere but prices are generally comparable all around. We had excellent germination though, buying mostly their tomatoes we had probably 100% germination of those while our pepper plants didn't do as well but that just might have been us.

A company here in Maryland for tomatoes is

I got Chesapeake and Sioux beefsteak tomatoes from them and they did VERY well. I hate shipping too, try to order from places as close to you as possible!

Best, Max

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Michelle, here's an idea for you, for saving bean seed. I don't know what kind of trellising system you use, but why not dedicate something just to seed? Here's what I do:

I grow on cattle panels. Anything on a cattle panel is "open game" for picking.

I grow on single poles. My family knows to ask if it's okay to pick.

I grow on a tripod. The family knows not to pick it. Tripods are for seed.

You could do something like that. Depending on the variety a tripod will sometimes yield a quart of seed. I like to have plenty of seed to grow and share with others.

We home schooled our three kids. They have done very well in college.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:50AM
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Hazzard's wholesale seeds has over 7000 varieties of seeds including 2068 varieties of vegetable seeds. But trouble is you have to buy large packs of seeds, typically 100 to 5000 seeds in a pack, so it isn't good for someone who only needs a few seeds. You also have to pay $5.95 shipping so again not good for someone who only needs a few seeds. But if you actually can use a large quantity of seeds their price per seed is about a third of what other online and mail order vendors charge.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 2:09PM
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I used to buy from Baker Creek. They have a great selection, however they also have a lot of incorrect seed variety issues.
They also have low-germination issues with other vegetable varieties,especially Lettuce. They are Anti Government except when it comes to the Govt."Rubber-Stamping" their low germination rates. They also sell daylength sensitive plants but don't bother pointing this out to customers. I live in S.CA so I can grow these but most people in the country cannot. This is irresponsible. I no longer buy from this company.
Sandhill Preservation also has a lot of incorrect seed variety issues. Glenn Drowns, owner was on of the people responsible for the ouster of Kent Whealy of SSE and stealing his lifes work. I avoid this company like the Plague.
Seeds of Change is now owned by M and M/Mars Corporation. They have incorrect variety issues as well. They are currently closing their farms, which used to produce their own seed because of "profit margins" and will simply be reselling seeds produced in India,Thailand and China. I avoid this company as well.
I have no problems with shipping fees and order from dozens of companies. I buy a mineral compound called Azomite from a place in Grass Valley in Northern CA.,weighs 44 lbs. The shipping cost to Los Angeles is $12.00. How they do this so cheaply is beyond me!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 11:37AM
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Hoover67, I'd be very careful before swallowing the above commentary. I don't have experience with Seeds of Change, but the others are good companies.


Here is a link that might be useful: The other side of the SSE story

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 8:48AM
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taffyj(8b LA)

macmex, thanks for posting that link. I don't like my joyous winter seed shoping sullied by gray clouds. That cleared the weather a bit!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:08AM
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I buy from Baker Creek ( and I haven't had any trouble with my seeds. The service is excellent and the shipping is always $3 no matter how much you buy.

If you should have a problem with any of their seeds or product, you owe them and yourself a phone call or letter because they will do whatever it takes to make it right. I really believe that most companies want good customer relationships and to ensure that their products/seeds are as stated. They are often quite generous when "fixing" a problem.

I think it is wonderful that so many are interested in growing these older varieties. I like to add new varieties (to us) in the garden each year.

I can vouch for making sauce from a variety of tomatotes rather than paste tomatoes. I oven/grill roast them and then freeze them as sauce or whole. Once you have made sauce or soup from roasted heirlooms, you may never go back to romas.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 2:12PM
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I'd like to vouch for Bakers Creek as well. For the past two years it's been where I've purchased all or most all of my seed - and I grow a lot of different varieties (over 80 this year). Their website is one of the best (though there's lots of enhancements I'd like to see made), they have a beautiful catalog they put out, the prices are good, and the selection is one of the best (they ship fairly quickly too).

They're not perfect by any means, and I have occasionally gotten a packet of seeds who's germination was a bit less than perfect, but I figure everyone of this nature will have at least a few issues and overall I'm quite pleased with Bakers Creek.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bakers Creek

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:16PM
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I like Baker Creek as well. Good selection, fast shipping, and good seed packaging. Seed Savers Exchange is great as well - good forums over there too. Heirloom Acres is all right, I've had some issues with them as far as packaging, shipping and communication goes, but their seed is good and they have a good selection. However, I probably won't be using them again.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:00AM
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dgbeig(SanFran -z10)

Vermont Bean and Seed has a good amount of heirloom bean varieties, and some others as well.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:30PM
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In the past I've ordered from Baker's Creek, Seed Saver Exchange, Fedco, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Sandhill Preservation. I've had good experiences with all of these companies.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:56AM
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MyPatriotSupply is offering a 10% discount for GardenWeb members, simply by entering the discount code: gardenweb. Shameless self-promotion, but it seemed that the topic warranted a reply. Peace, and happy gardening!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:04PM
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Hmmm...if only mypatriotsupply had offered free shipping. It seems to me that this topic warranted that?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:34PM
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I love Baker Creek, but Heirloom Acres is horrible!! I ordered, was charged, and never received 3 packs of seeds, nearly didn't get the rest of the order, had to blast them on facebook to get there attention, no emails were answered until then. I'm not the only one either, lots more bad reviews online for them.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 1:30AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Although Heritage Harvest Seed is a Canadian source, they do ship to the states. Lots of heirloom veggies.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:09AM
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With the strong Canadian dollar right now I found Baker Creek was a major score. They had all the seeds in my fussy list all under one roof. They're growing like gangbusters too and have really good shipping rates. I am a fan! (I even 'liked' them on facebook, now how cheezy is that!)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:19PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I've never grown heirlooms. I've wanted to, but I've been afraid of disease and wilt problems, not being hybrids. I'm almost ready now after a really bad corn crop from Ferry Morse.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 4:11PM
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keeping the soil, and thus the plants, super healthy will help them withstand a lot. There are also certain pests thar=t are attracted to weak plants; they give off something that those pests can detect. sort of like wolves or jackals singling out the weakest in the herd to bring down. In addition, read about companion planting. That can also go a long way.

Here is a link that might be useful: companion planting forum

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:46PM
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Orange Banana Tomato from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is my favorite heirloom paste tomato for sauce. It's delicious eaten fresh, as well.

It looks like they might have your Turkey Craw beans, too (see link below)! They're sold-out, though. You can check back this winter and be the first to buy them. :)

Postage is only $3.00 at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have excellent customer service as well. I think they are the closest you'll get to "one stop shopping". Also... make sure you check-out all their wonderful melon varieties!

Oh! I almost forgot... you get a free pack of seeds (their choice) when you spend over $10.00 (I think it's $10.00... you might have to ask them).

Here is a link that might be useful: Turkey Craw Cowpea Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 11:59AM
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For my free seed (my order was all veggies and one herb) they sent me a Nigella mix. Pretty flowers.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:46PM
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Turkey Craw Cowpea is NOT the same as Turkey Craw Pole Bean.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 12:37AM
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