The Best Seed Catalogs of 2017

By Edible Memphis | December 22, 2016
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Baker Creek Seed Catalog 2017

While the short and cold days of winter are upon us, gardeners take solace in the arrival of their annual seed catalogs. Just reading about Russian Kale or Coneflower varieties makes the true gardener’s heart beat a little faster. Our catalogs are folded-down on the corners and written-on messes by the time winter has released it’s grasp on our weather and we are near enough to planting times to get some seeds started indoors.

Sure, online versions of everybody’s catalogs are available but there is something transcendently beautiful about the touch, feel and inky-smell of the printed catalogs. Like the Sears catalog used to, seed catalogs now fill the void of anticipation – checking the mailbox everyday for something other than the cable bill. With their catalog and bit of dreaming couples could envision a new home, children a new bike, or a teen listening to a new phonograph. Now we can dream of tomatoes and basil.

Keeping with the edible standard of local and sustainable – we’ve filtered down to the following list of the Best Seed Catalogs of 2017. There are others for sure that offer local, regional, non-GMO or sustainable seeds in and amongst their hybrids and who-knows-what-seeds but we’ve left them out – just because. Click on the Company Names below to go directly to each company website to order your own catalog.

Kitizawa Seeds

This purveyor of primarily Japanese herbs and vegetable seeds celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Internment during World War Two forced this generational family-run company to get into mail order after the war and the spirit continues to today.

Park Seeds

A big company that produces a beautiful catalog full of thousands and thousands of varieties. It’s an essential catalog for any gardener just for the reference material alone.

Johnny’s Seeds

Johnny’s is a treasure-trove of seeds, gardening wisdom, and advice. This is one catalog all the pros use too.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Another of the pro-quality catalogs that everyone uses features almost 2,000 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs including many 19th century American, Asian, and European varieties. The company works to protect and save heirloom seed varieties tirelessly and is an active seed donor to the world’s poorest communities.

Seed Savers Exchange

The non-profit works tirelessly to conserve and promote America’s diverse garden and food seed varieties through a variety of programs and initiatives. Their seeds are so noteworthy and important that they have been included in the permanent seed storage at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

Seeds of Change

100% Organic Certification from top to bottom with a good variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and rooted plants to choose from. Even though they are owned by Mars, Inc. (makers of Snickers, Dove Bars, Uncle Ben’s & Pedigree brands among others) they walk-the-walk here and they do it right. Besides, we love Dove Bars.

We’ve added two other purveyors we hold in high regard especially here in the midsouth – Eden Brothers Seeds and Stark Brothers Nursery. They are different from the companies that make up our list but are notable nonetheless. Eden Brothers does not do a printed catalog (for a variety of reasons according to their site) but offers what we think is the best selection of southeast regional seeds you can find. Stark Brothers does not sell seeds only trees and plants and are the holders of many of the Luther Burbank patents for fruit varieties including the Santa Rosa Plum and others.

Finding excitement in life is so hard sometimes. It’s nice to know that sometimes it still can be achieved with a catalog and dreams. Get a catalog and dream a little bit – just like we used to do.

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