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Urban Farms and Survival Phoenix Message Board › Recommended Seed Vendors

Recommended Seed Vendors

A former member
Post #: 23
This list is from Steve Solomon's book "Gardening When It Counts". It's a list that to my knowledge he compiled in '89, the book is (c) 2005, so this list should still be good; if anything is out of date please let me know. Anyway, these vendors have high laboratory germination percentages and conduct vigorous trials on their seeds to ensure they're of high quality to the home gardener.

They're organized by growing region, of which we're the "Warm" variety.


Stokes Seeds
Stokes Seeds, PO Box 548, Buffalo, NY 1240 USA
Stokes Seeds, PO Box 10, Thorold, ON L2V 5E9 Canada

Johnny's Selected Seeds
Johnny's Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901 USA

Veseys Seeds
Veseys Seeds, PO Box 9000, Charlottetown, PE C1A 8K6 Canada

William Dam Seeds
William Dam Seeds, PO Box 8400, Dundas, ON L9H 6M1 Canada


Stokes Seeds
Stokes Seeds, PO Box 548, Buffalo, NY 1240 USA
Stokes Seeds, PO Box 10, Thorold, ON L2V 5E9 Canada

Johnny's Selected Seeds
Johnny's Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901 USA

Harris Seeds
Harris Seeds, PO Box 24966 Rochester, NY 14624 USA

King Seeds
King Seeds, PO Box 283, Katikati 3063 New Zealand; (07) 549-3409
King Seeds, PO Box 975, Pentrith, NSW 2751 Australia; (02) 4776-1493

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, PO Box 460, Mineral, VA 23117 USA


Park Seed Company
Park seed Company, 1 Parkton Ave., Greenwood, SC 29647 USA

No details posted on any of these yet, got in a rush ;)

Territorial Seeds

West Coast Seeds

New Gippsland Seeds


More info to come.
Karlene & N.
user 4913857
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 31
I would like to add "". They have certified organic and heirloom varieties too.

There is plenty of information on their website and you can see the catalog and order online. Shipping was fast and I have ordered from them several times with no complaints. There were a couple items that were back ordered but both came through with no problems.

A former member
Post #: 25
I would like to add "". They have certified organic and heirloom varieties too.

I'll check 'em out. One point I should've emphasized, those vendors are not necessarily organic or heirloom (they may be), but they're based on Solomon's questions for vetting a vendor. I'll post the list of questions later, and send off the questions to Seeds of Change.

Actually, it might not hurt to send that list of questions to each vendor and post their responses here.
A former member
Post #: 14
As a side note. Always be mindful to buy Heirloom. Do NOT buy hybrids!
A former member
Post #: 26
As a side note. Always be mindful to buy Heirloom. Do NOT buy hybrids!

Well, buying hybrids isn't necessarily horrible, they can have some desirable traits. BUT in an emergency, where you can no longer obtain seeds reliably every year anymore, you'll be wishing you had heirlooms. The hybrids are likely sterile and saving the seed would do you no good.
A former member
Post #: 15
Yes, we can all thank Monsanto for their brilliant ideas to control, I mean feed, the world. Of course they are not the only players in that game.

About heirloom seeds: Baker Creek Seed Company is one I've had excellent success with. This is the first year I've used them because I just happened across them on the internet when looking for heirloom. I ordered and received all of my seed for the year. One of the things I like about them is they have a vast variety of heirloom seeds from all over the world.

Of their seeds, I have planted 2 varieties of cucumbers, 2 varieties of tomatoes, yellow strawberries, honeydew, 2 varieties of basil, and wonderberry. Of these, only the wonderberry has not germinated but then the seed package says 'low germination.' I have found the seeds to germinate quickly and grow well.

Additionally, Elgin Nursery is a local small place with a very knowledgeable staff. One of my favorite people there is Jacob. I have hyperlinked both to their websites.
user 7742982
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 8
yes, Baker Seeds is great - especially if you are looking for a great variety in herbs. Also, checkout heirloom seeds and Big John offers a time capsule package that is reasonable. He also offers you the chance to sell back seeds, for a little money back.
A former member
Post #: 39
Finally getting around to posting the list of questions, and criteria for evaluation. Steve Solomon, a former seedsman himself, would then call and grill management on other aspects of their business. I've emailed him for a more detailed list.


  • Do you have a trials ground?
  • If so, how large?
  • Do you have your own in-house germination laboratory, even if uncertified?
  • If so, how often do you test the seed lots on your shelves?
  • What germination standards do you use to decide if a lot is fit to sell?
  • What percentage (or how many) varieties in your catalog are actually grown by your company?


  • Eliminate those that do not respond.
  • Eliminate those with no trials ground.
  • Eliminate those with poor germination standards.

Germination Standards
USDA minimum standard germination %
Johnny's Selected Seeds minimum germ at time of sale %
Commercial quality minimum germ %
Storage potential in years

Beans, snap and dry 75 80 85 3
Beans, lima 70 75 80 3
Beet, Swiss chard 65 75 80 6
Broccoli 75 80 85 6
Brusels sprouts 70 75 85 6
Cabbage 75 75 85 6
Carrot 55 70 75 6
Cauliflowr 75 75 85 6
Celery 55 60 65 5
Chinese cabbage 75 85 85 5
Collards 80 80 85 6
Corn 75 80 85 3
Cucumber 80 80 85 6
Eggplant 60 70 80 5
Endive 70 70 80 5
Kale 75 75 85 6
Kohlrabi 75 75 85 6
Leek 60 70 75 3
Lettuce 80 80 85 4
Muskmelon 75 80 85 6
Onion 70 75 75 3
Pak Choi 75 80 85 6
Parsley 60 60 70 6
Parsnip 60 60 70 2
Pea 80 80 85 3
Pepper 55 70 80 4
Pumpkin 75 80 85 6
Radish 75 80 85 6
Rutabaga 75 80 85 6
Squash 75 75 85 6
Tomato 75 80 85 4
Turnip 80 85 85 6
Watermelon 70 80 85 6

Storing Seeds
Basic rules, the opposite of these generally hold true.
Every 10 degree increase in temperature = 1/2 life
Every 1% increase in seed moisture = 1/2 life

Dry, cool storage is highly recommended. Toss them in the fridge in a sealed mason jar with some desiccant.

Keep some seed in case some disaster ravages the crop, but otherwise GROW your seeds. I'm on my 3rd (and most serious) attempt at a garden. It's something you really should have figured out already and having working when disaster strikes. Crops take time to come up and if you're new, you may likely fail the first time around. We'll help one another succeed, but start now.

I'll email Baker Creek and Seeds of Change today.
A former member
Post #: 5
f you're wanting to stay away from Monsanto and their subsidaries, the list of seed companies owned by them is HUGE.

This list I have bookmarked, and refer to it quite often.

Even Seeds of Change is owned my M&M Mars... :(

My personal favorites are:­



A former member
Post #: 3
Definitely don't every buy hybrids. They aren't worth it since you can't save the seed and use it. Plus, if you grow a hybrid next to your heirloom variety they might cross polinate and you'll ruin your heirloom seed stock.

Never, never, never grow a hybrid. I repeat, never.

Someone on here mentioned Southern Seed Exchange. They're pretty good. I also buy extensively from Territorial Seed company. Their germination rate is very high. They do grow and maintain all their stock.

-- Chris
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