This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

more seeds in the mail! - mail order seed sources

If you're mail-ordering seeds for your garden soon, here's a list of US companies offering all heirloom open pollinated seeds:

Baker Creek Seeds
Bountiful Gardens
Fedco Seeds (Waterville ME)
Sand Hill Preservation Center
Seeds Trust
Sustainable Seed Company
Synergy Seeds
The Garlic Store
The Victory Seed Company
High Mowing Organic Seeds (Wolcott VT)
Turtle Tree Seed
Ohio Heirloom Seeds (check out my tomato photo!)

I like to grow a mix of heirloom and hybrid (F1) varieties in my garden. So I'll also list my favorite hybrid seed sources, too:

Botanical Interests
Johnny's Selected Seeds (Winslow ME)
Territorial Seed

sand hill seeds

Another seed order arrived today. This one is from Sand Hill Preservation Center, a small family run farm that grows their own seed and strives to protect heirlooms varieties. They offer many rare and unusual varieties. I'm always amazed at the length of their list of tomato varieties (567 this year!).

Well, I'm amazed at my package too. I ordered A LOT this year. 21 packages. Guess I'll have no trouble filling up my extra garden space.

... Blue Pod Capucijners peas, Oxheart carrots, Prizehead lettuce, winter radish mix, Crane muskmelon, Tall Telephone peas, White Detroit beets, etc .... Also two types of popcorn (Faribo White Hulless and Tarahumara White), plus they threw in an extra package of free seed: Baby Golden popcorn. How great!

Anyway, Sand Hill is definitely one of my favorite seed sources. Some day I'll try their sweet potato slips, which look great too. Still wish I had the time for their chickens. I almost ordered a few buff Orpingtons last year. Maybe some day....

I was interested to read a recent post about seed sources at one of my favorite blogs, Bifurcated Carrots. He points out the importance of supporting sources that preserve open pollinated heirloom seeds. Fedco Seeds also has an informative page about supporting non-Seminis seed sources.

This year, I'm looking forward to saving my own seed from several heirloom open pollinated varieties and participating in the Seed Savers Exchange. Bifurcated Carrots has a post about this organization too.


Blogger Maggie said...

I'm so jealous! I am awaiting seed deliveries- and not very patiently! I am sure I must look like a kid waiting for the bathroom- hopping from foot to foot in impatient anticipation.

Thanks for including your seed company list. There are a few I am not familiar with. I look forward to trying them out.

February 17, 2009 8:39 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Let me know if you have favorites I can try!

I hope your seeds come soon - and warm weather for planting too.

February 17, 2009 8:44 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I haven't even thought seriously about ordering seeds yet, so it's fun to see what others have ordered and received already. It's quite inspiring!

February 17, 2009 9:20 PM

Blogger carly mae said...

i LOVE sandhill preservation. i'll be trying their sweet potato slips this year. i don't know the exacts of mailing them, but i am sure i'll have a few more than i'll need and will be happy to mail you some.

for chickens, i'd recommend ideal poultry or meyer hatchery first. mostly because you can buy small orders by mail and pullets only. sandhill is straight run only. i love their selection, but in town...roosters=no!

February 18, 2009 1:19 AM

Blogger S & J said...

Your blog is just great. I am glad I discovered it yesterday afternoon, and tonight was the first time I have really had a chance to read many of your posts. It is WAY past my bedtime, but the last two hours I have spent reading your blog were nothing short of grand.

February 18, 2009 1:26 AM

Blogger TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Great post Kathy.

I found the the spring planting calender too, great stuff.

Thank you


February 18, 2009 3:10 AM

Blogger Matron said...

It is so exciting to finally be getting the season underway. I wish I had more space to be able to try all those wonderful heirloom varieties you mention.

February 18, 2009 3:53 AM

Blogger Daphne Gould said...

Thanks for the new seed source. I might try them next year.

February 18, 2009 7:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone showed me their High Mowing Seed catalog at a seed exchange recently, small organic farm in VT. Not a HUGE selection but I like he idea of supporting the Mom & Pop farms. They might be fun to check out for any of you New Englander folks.


February 18, 2009 8:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post. I'd not heard of Sandhill Preservation seeds, but will keep them in mind for next year. I've got all my seeds for this year, and have the gardens plotted down to the last inch! :)

I loved your last entry too. What a trooper your little radish is to come up in the onion patch! Last year, I had two tomato volunteers come up in the pot of oregano I brought indoors. I admired their pluck, so repotted them and grew them on. It was fun to anticipate their identity (Beam's Yellow Pear).

February 18, 2009 10:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have chickens here in Westwood. We love our three ladies, and they’re easy animals to care for, only about as much work as a cat. There is nothing better than fresh eggs from your own backyard hens. And their poo makes the best fertilizer. I'm sure Sand Hill has beautiful birds, but I noticed they sell only straight run chicks (i.e. unsexed) - a risky thing unless you’re certain you can have roosters in Belmont!

February 18, 2009 4:53 PM

Blogger kathy said...

HI Phyllis,

I even had someone I was going to share the order with for the chickens. I was going to take just 3 hens. (The max in Belmont is 5 - hens only.) I'm actually not sure if he was going to order from Sand Hill, but he was going to get 25 and give me 3.

I backed out as I worried about caring for them if I go away, caring for them in the winter (I like to avoid going out at all in the winter months, though I do give Skippy a 2 mile walk daily.) I worried they would mess up the grass in my small backyard. And if they would smell. And I worried my neighbors wouldn't like them. (I think that's all.)

Westwood is more rural than Belmont I think. Our lot is less than 1/8 acre. Its very suburban.

I just looked at your blog.I LOVE your coop! and your beautiful hens! And your rain barrels! I'll have to bookmark your site.

Actually, Ive never seen backyard chickens in a small yard, and this is what I would have to do before getting chickens.

Recently we have been buying organic eggs from small farm and I can't believe the difference between these and regular eggs. Like the store and garden tomato difference.

February 18, 2009 5:36 PM

Blogger Randy Emmitt said...

Never heard of Sandhill Preservation Seed I'll have to check that out. We got all our seeds this year from a small company that grows their own seeds and they have an impressive list of tomatoes too. Territorial Seed.

BTW tell Skippy to check out our garden cats just posted at my blog. They don't mind dogs as long as they don't chase them.

February 18, 2009 9:56 PM

Blogger Just Jenn said...

Wow - 567?! How do you choose? (I have room for exactly *two* tomato plants. 0.o

Territorial Seed Co. is also a great seed source noting OP/F1/Organic, etc.

February 19, 2009 12:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of my seeds are all in. I'm just waiting on my Spinach Fiorana F1 Hybrid; it's on back order. And, of course, my live fruit (blueberries, raspberries, cherry and strawberries), which won't get here til April.
A trip to Walmart yesterday, and I picked up seed starting soil, potting soil and plant food. I think I'm all set to start my seedlings! : )
Kathy, I have a question for you or anyone else who can answer it. I've been having my Mom save me her egg shells and tea bags. The container she is keeping them in was full, so I brought it over to my place to empty it in my "stash" I started. After dumping hers into mine I see that there is MOLD throughout her tea/egg shells. She didn't let the tea/tea bags dry out before putting into the container. My question is, is her moldy tea/egg shells still OK to use in my garden?

~ Dawnie

February 19, 2009 2:29 PM

Blogger kathy said...


I think the mold is fine for the compost and the garden.

I looked on Garden Web and someone else asked the same question. The answer was: The presence of mold (a form of fungus) in a compost pile is totally normal. It is just doing its small part to help break down the organic matter into the rich compost you desire.

And thanks for mwntioning Territorial Jenn,I'll add this to my post.

February 19, 2009 10:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Kathy!

~ Dawnie

February 20, 2009 1:51 AM

Blogger Gretta said...

Another seed company that specializes in open pollinated seed is Turtle Tree. I think they are located in New York:

High Mowing Organic Seed is a great "local" source of seeds, too.

Kathy, Codman Farm in Lincoln is offering a class on laying chickens. It begins in May and is taught by someone who lives, and raises chickens, in Belmont.

Shared Harvest CSA (formerly Belmont CSA)

February 21, 2009 7:58 AM

Blogger Martha Goudey said...

Amazing blog. Thank you. I've grown gardens off and on for 30 years...mostly off. I now have time for the first time in many years to again grow a garden with the help of my friend and neighbor. Your blog is great inspiration.

March 19, 2009 2:15 PM

Anonymous lewis said...

I'm a bit jealous that you are able to start so early! I'm behind in starting my tomatoes (just seedlings, now) but here in the Northeast, the earth is still quite cold. Another good place to get seeds is They also have a garden designer program that I have found quite helpful.

April 22, 2009 7:40 PM

Anonymous Sustainable Seed Company said...

Hey there Kathy! This is the guys from Sustainable Seed Company...thanks a million for listing us here among all your sources - we love the Downs' at Sand Hill - as a matter of fact we have bought quite a lot from them over the years (including some chickens!). It's wonderful to see folks from all over the country trying (and doing it too!) to grow more of their own food. We need more like yourselves!

October 29, 2009 1:06 AM

Blogger Laguna Dirt said...

i'm not garden expert, but a good source recommended d. landreth seed company. i just posted a blog on my first little winter garden using their seeds, and so far so good. thanks!

December 01, 2010 12:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Pinetree Garden Seeds in New Gloucester, ME! They're high on my preference of seed sources.

December 01, 2010 3:22 PM

Blogger Victoria said...

Thank you so much for your seed company list. I only wish I saw your post a few weeks ago. I am a bit of a novice, but am excited to learn. Do you know anything about Renee's Garden seeds? I bought some alpine strawberry seeds from there that seem to not be coming up as planned. Thanks again!

March 23, 2011 10:23 PM

Blogger kathy said...


I have not heard of Renee's Garden Seeds but their website is very nice. Looks like a great place. I will have to browse their seed list later on tonight!

I think alpine strawberry may be difficult to grow. I read that they need to be cold treated beg=fore they will germinate. Here is a link to culture information: Strawberry seed growing information.

March 27, 2011 6:24 PM

Blogger mombo said...

Hi, I have been backyard gardening in raised beds for several seasons now and my son finally convinced me to start a garden blog. He sent me to your blog because he thought it was the best he has seen. He is a computer guy..night and day. Anyway I really am enjoying your site and maybe you would like to check mine out at I am a newbie at this computer thing..
Thanks and happy gardening!

March 31, 2011 10:45 AM

Anonymous aprons for men said...

why do you have to order seeds when you can just buy vegetable in the market... you could spend less if you buy it there...

May 30, 2011 2:23 AM

Anonymous QueriesonFoodsandHealth said...

My dad has also a habit of planting, but it's not gardening but rather farming. He loves to plant squash, watermelon and beans. But I think he got those seeds from a store which sold local seeds, eh.

Thanks for sharing,
Peny@logo apparel

July 05, 2011 2:34 AM

Anonymous Charles L said...

I'm shocked to not see Peaceful Valley on this list! They have an elegant 2013 seed catalog that's out right now.


Great blog!

January 09, 2013 5:53 PM


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