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Garden-based Education

Roberta Eaglehorse-Ortiz
gathering calendula flowers and seeds

Seed (and plant) gathering, collecting, purchasing

As we gather ourselves during wintertime, it is a good time to focus on seeds. This is the time to inventory the seeds we have. And, to think about seed collection and gathering from what we grow. Some seeds are easier to harvest than others. A very good reference book to explore is Seed to Seed: Seed saving and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners, written by Suzanne Ashworth in 2002. She covers over 150 types of vegetables from the major vegetable families.

Additionally, I am fond of seed and plant catalog reading on cold rainy winter evenings. Once the catalog companies discover where you live, you will receive many types of catalogs. I have listed a few of my favorites, and why I love them. I also provide a link, as most have websites for online shopping. Some of the catalogs sell live plants, and other strictly seeds.

Annie’s: Annual & Perennials

Annie’s sells seeds, plants and supplies. I love her collection. They grow all their own plants, rare and native cultivars – they are colorful, unique and a few can be found at Garden Fever.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Baker Creek is collective of seed growers; they have a west coast and east coast presence. Each year they host the “The National Heirloom Expo” in Santa Rosa, CA, from Sept. 15 -17 this year. An amazing array of seeds. Prepared to get lost!

Bluestone Perennials

An excellent source for ornamental perennials, with beautiful photos and they guarantee their plants!

Johnny’s Selected seeds

47 years of experience. I love their microgreens, and other short season crops. Great prices, and an encyclopedia of seed knowledge.

Nichols Garden Nursery: Herbs and Rare Seeds Catalog

Nichols Garden has created an open source seed initiative:

Many seeds are patented and unavailable to farmers and gardeners. “Inspired by the free and open source software movement that has provided alternatives to proprietary software, OSSI was created to free the seed – to make sure that the genes in at least some seed can never be locked away from use by intellectual property rights.” Check out the website for an interesting movement here in Oregon to save seeds. Located in Albany, Oregon, Nichols has plants and seed suited for Pacific Northwest gardens.

Pinetree: Garden seeds & accessories

I love their packaging, flower and herb selections. We have used their seeds for community and learning gardens here in Portland.

John Scheepers: Kitchen garden seeds

Guaranteed no GMOs! And, all seeds are untreated. The catalog is a work of art. Their safe seed pledge creates a community of trust to support safe agricultural progress!

Territorial Seed Company

Another Oregon seed company with an amazing offering of organic, non GMO seed. They also offer the “safe seed pledge.” They have plants too. I love their encyclopedic catalog and the variety they offer.

There are many more local and organic seed companies growing fabulous seeds. A few more I love are: Adaptive Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, Renee’s Garden Seeds, and Seeds of Change. Portland Nursery has a great selection and Garden Fever carries a great selection. Buy now, and start your peas, greens, onions and carrots soon.

Happy Late Winter in the garden!