10 Heirloom Seed Companies & Why To Buy Them

Years ago when we first started gardening, we got a seed catalog from a friend and just ordered whatever looked good. We had no idea what we were doing and especially didn't know about different types of seed. I remember seeing "Heirloom" tomatoes in the store and I knew that they looked funky. I also remember that they were so delicious (according to Casey and the general public.) But we weren't necessarily in any hurry to figure out how to grow them. We just wanted whatever we could order right then.

Now, our second time around with starting a brand new garden, selecting seeds is very different for us. I find myself wanting ENTIRELY heirlooms varieties for a lot of reasons. So what are those reasons? Let's chat...


When you buy heirloom seeds you:

1. Get different and unusual varieties with history. Some places will tell you where the seeds originated from, and if you get them from a friend or family member, they can often tell you a story about where the seeds have come from. Plus, you can get some of those more special varieties like vegetables in crazy colors, or unusual shapes- cherry sized cucumbers, yard long beans, and white tomatoes. 

2. Grow fruits and vegetables with better taste. Remember what I said about those tomatoes? Yeah, that's a real thing. If you have ever had an heirloom vegetable or fruit, you know that the taste is superior to what you are used to in the grocery store.

3. Grow plants with more nutrition. They are better for you as they have not been hybridized time and time again. They are also non-GMO which is super important as GMO seeds can have a host of issues and are thought to be linked to several health problems. Here is an article talking about how the nutritional content is lower in fruits and vegetables that are grown conventionally.

4. Can save them and save yourself money! This is a big one for me. All heirloom seeds can be saved by not all hybridized/non-heirloom seeds can be saved for a variety of reason. I love the idea of being able to keep the same plant variety year after year without have to repurchase them every year. And in turn, you can save money! Seed costs definitely add up. So having the option to save seeds at the end of the season opens up more choices for you. Here is a great blog post explaining the different types of seeds.

5. Develop seeds that are better adapted to your land. When you are saving your seeds year after year, you are saving the seeds of a plant that has adapted to your exact land and climate. Whatever plants have done the best are the ones to save.


So where do you buy heirloom seeds? There are plenty of great places online where you can order seeds and have them delivered straight to your door.

1. Botanical Interests
2. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
3. Annie's Heirloom Seeds
4. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
5. MI Gardener
6. Eden Brothers
7. Johnny's Seeds
8. Seed Savers Exchange
9. Sustainable Seed Company
10. Victory Seeds

Another seed option is to join a seed swap. It's a great way to accumulate some cool varieties of seeds and try them out in smaller quantities. We were part of a seed swap this year and we got a lot of seeds that we would have never thought to purchase- hello hibiscus! And this is why heirlooms (and seeds in general) are so fun.




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