It's time to get some seeds in the ground for this year's garden, and if you want to ensure the very best quality organic produce, you need to start with organic or heirloom seeds. If you purchase from a reputable seed merchant, you can be confident that you aren't planting GMO seeds or any hybrids that don't produce viable seeds. My first choice would be a local garden supply store, but if you don't have one nearby, the web is a great place to source your seeds. Here's a list of excellent seed suppliers for organic, heirloom, and biodynamic garden seeds.
Wild Garden Seed - All of the seeds sold are organically grown at Gathering Together Farm near Philomath, Oregon. The seed is open pollinated, untreated, germ and vigor tested in living soil mix, and well cleaned. These varieties have proven themselves popular and profitable in farmer's markets locally and in fine restaurants on both coasts. Certified organic since 1987.
Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply - Peaceful Valley is known in the growing community as one of the originators of the organic movement. For over 33 years they have been a reliable, affordable source that offers literally everything you need to grow organic. Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply originated in 1976 on tiny Peaceful Valley Road in Nevada City, California.
Johnny's Selected Seeds - Johnny’s Selected Seeds employees own 30% of the company with 100% employee ownership expected in 2015. Their offerings include vegetable seeds, medicinal and culinary herb seeds, flower seeds, cover crops, farm seed, fruit plants and seeds, and high quality, tools and growing supplies. Not everything is organic, but they do have a great selection of organic and heirloom seeds for sale.
Seeds Trust - Seeds Trust, in Idaho, is dedicated to the philosophy of sustainable agriculture. All of their seeds are untreated and suitable for certified organic gardens and farms. All the seeds they gather or grow themselves are organically grown and clearly marked in their catalogs, and more than half of the varieties are now organically grown, and they are transitioning their entire stock. When purchasing non-organic seeds, they purchase from growers who are making the transition to organic agriculture and are trying to educate growers who still insist on supplying the market with non-organically grown seeds.
Dirt Works - Only organic vegetable seeds and hardy heirloom organic seeds are sold at Dirt Works. "All organic seed, all the time at Dirt Works!" In addition to seeds, Dirt Works sells organic fertilizer, compost, natural pest controls, books, natural soaps, and natural foods online. They don't print a paper catalog because of the waste and environmental impact of such a printing and mailing. Based in Vermont.
Botanical Interests - A family owned business in Colorado, Botanical Interests sells over 400 high-quality varieties, all untreated, with a big selection of Certified Organic seeds. They guarantee the germination rate of each variety, and do not sell any GMO seeds. The seed packets are beautiful, with detailed botanical illustrations on each one. I have used their seeds for my garden for the last two years, and really like them.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - The company's 2009 catalog offers 1275 unique heirloom varieties, all of which are completely natural and open-pollinated (no GMOs). The seeds are from 70 countries around the world, some of which were collected by the owners themselves. Baker Creek, in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, was started in 1998 by Jere Gettle as a way to preserve rare seeds.
Victory Seeds - Oregon's Victory Seeds sells rare and heirloom seeds which are open-pollinated, non-hybrid and chemically untreated. No chemicals, unstable hybrids or genetically engineered seeds are to be found at Victory. Their primary mission of seed variety preservation focuses on placing rare and threatened varieties into as many home gardens and seeds savers hands as possible, and much of what they sell is organic, though they aren't certified due to the cost and paperwork requirements. Victory is Certified Naturally Grown, which meets the same standards, but isn't recognized by the USDA.
Sustainable Seed Company - Farmer John's company, in Monte Rio, California, sells only heirloom, open-pollinated seed, and does not print a catalog either. If you have seeds that are possibly 'endangered', send them to Sustainable Seed Company. They have a network of organic growers that can take any heirloom seeds that you have and keep the varieties alive so that they don't disappear.
Turtle Tree - Offering only open pollinated, biodynamically grown seeds, Turtle Tree does not carry hybrids or knowingly carry seed that has been genetically engineered or polluted with genetically engineered products. They also do not knowingly carry products from farms where animals are fed genetically engineered feed. The biodynamic philosophy is based on Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture Course of 1924.
Image: tourist_on_earth at Flickr