Where to buy vegetable seeds for the homestead garden?
Whether you’re a new or experienced gardener, getting ready for spring includes plenty of decision-making. Not least of which, is where you’ll buy vegetable seeds for the upcoming season. Over the last few years I’ve sourced our seeds from many companies- online and offline- and have a few suggestions.
Before you order your seeds, I’d recommend sitting down and envisioning your 2023 garden. Take out some paper and a pen and take some notes on what you come up with. If you kept a garden in 2022, reflect on that experience. What grew well? What didn’t? Can you improve conditions for that plant, or should you plant something new in its place? You should also keep in mind just how much of each plant you’re hoping to harvest. More to harvest = more seeds to plant: and more garden space.
With a list of what you hope to harvest, and what you’ve gleaned from previous seasons, you’re ready to pour over the seed catalogs.
Where to buy vegetable seeds- online.
Most of the time, I’m ordering my vegetable seeds online- I prefer it for 3 main reasons:
- A broader variety of seeds to choose from
- More cost savings by purchasing in bulk
- I can buy seeds in any season- even when my local stores don’t have any seeds in stock
As far as the variety of seeds goes, you just can’t beat the internet. You can obtain seeds that have passed every sort of inspection, certification, and classification that you could hope for. From heirloom to organic, free-trade to endangered, super-hopped-up-cutting-edge to stringently old-school- if you want to grow it, someone’s selling the seeds for it. Variety is my number one reason for ordering online. I’d love to shop only local, but we just don’t have anyone nearby selling the seeds I’m looking for. Fortunately, shopping online doesn’t have to mean shopping big- there are plenty of small farms to support online.
Another benefit of the online world is discounts for buying bulk. If you’ve shopped with a food buying club (such as Azure Standard) you’ll be familiar with the concept. Essentially, the larger the quantity that you order, the lower the price by volume. For example, I can order a 1 ounce packet of beet seeds for $5.96. Or I can order a 1 pound package of the same seeds for $14.40. If I were to buy 16 individual, 1oz packets (to total 1lb of seed) it would cost me $95.36. I save $80.96 by buying the bulk package- that’s a lot of savings!
I tend to start thinking about what seeds I’ll need to order just a few weeks after transplanting our starts outdoors. This means, yes, I’m beginning to take notes on what to order that fall/winter in July. I won’t usually place any seed orders until October or November, but starting to take an inventory early means that I’m not scrambling later. As long as I’m done ordering seeds by the end of January, I’m pretty confident in what we have on-hand.
If you want to give buying vegetable seeds online a try as well, I have a few places that I highly recommend.
Everwilde Farms Inc.- visit the site here
This is my favorite company to purchase our vegetable seeds from. They have a wide variety of different vegetables, herbs, flowers, and more. Everything comes in resealable mylar bags- which means the seeds are protected and easy to store. Everything ships quickly, and with a minimum order, your shipping is free. (I make the minimum 100% of the time- it’s hard to rein in a seed order)
The biggest draw that Everwilde has to me, hands-down, is bulk pricing. I quoted their website above for the cost of bulk beet seeds. We order most everything in 1lb packages- which will last for multiple seasons. It’s much easier than ordering a dozen teensy paper packets of each variety year after year.
Seeds’n’Such- visit the site here
I ordered from Seeds’n’Such for the first time last year and was highly impressed. For example, all of their seeds are non-GMO, and they had a wide variety of organic and heirloom varieties. Not to mention an array of productive hybrids, including tomatoes, peppers, squashes, and more. They also sell flower and herb seeds. In perusing their site this morning (because it couldn’t hurt to get a few more packets right?) I noticed that shipping is $5.99- regardless of the order size. Go big or go home?
True Leaf Market- visit the site here
True Leaf Market has been in the seed business for decades. But until just a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of them. I was listening to an episode of the “Old Fashioned On Purpose” podcast, and they were the sponsors of the show.
When I visited their website I was immediately stacking up seeds in my digital cart. This year (2023) will be my first year growing their seeds. But based on the quick shipping time, quality packaging, and wide variety of seeds available- I’m not hesitant to recommend them at all. (Plus they also have bulk pricing- always a win.)
Heirlooms Evermore Seed Co. – visit the site here
This is another new company for me. I heard about them on Instagram a few months ago. While finalizing this year’s seed order, I finally checked out their website and was very impressed. I ordered some paste tomatoes, a new-to-me variety of beets, and some different packets of herbs. Their seed packets are little works of art.
Etsy- visit the site here
This one may surprise you, like it did me. I still imagine Etsy to be the online craft site that it was a decade ago. Nowadays, Etsy is more like Amazon-lite; which means it can be a viable option for buying your vegetable seeds.
I’ve purchased seeds from a handful of sellers on Etsy, and (with one minor exception) have always gotten exactly what I ordered, and quickly at that. The one exception was a packet of luffa gourd seeds I grew last year- they were actually bottle gourds- but the 10 or so other packets of Etsy seeds I grew- exactly as described. I’ve even grown rhubarb from seeds purchased on Etsy. I don’t use them for most of my seed supply, but for random experiments or an obscure variety, it’s a solid option.
Where to buy vegetable seeds- offline.
I am a committed homebody. who also sees the value in supporting your community’s economy directly. It’s a mini tug-of-war. I order the bulk of our seeds online- mostly because I want them in bulk, and I want to have them on-hand in January. Most businesses won’t be stocking seed packets until March or April- well after we’ve begun to start seeds. But every spring I’m sure to buy a few packets in person anyway.
A nursery nearby, Wyntour Gardens, has a pretty good selection of seeds to choose from. (Plus bare root fruit trees, starts, ladybugs…) When we inevitably end up there in the spring for a tree or 3, I’ll grab a handful of seed packets too. Gold Leaf Nursery- also not too far from us- is another local place to buy seeds.
If you’re lacking in the locally-owned nursery department, don’t overlook chain stores. Lowe’s and Home Depot are still good places to shop. They have large nursery sections with starts, flowers, perennials, bulbs, and seeds, of course. Believe it or not, Walmart and Dollar General both put out displays with seeds packets in the spring as well. And of course, nowadays you can just ask your phone, “where to buy vegetable seeds near me?”
It may only be early January, but the time for starting seeds will be here before we know it. Make sure you’re ready for spring by planning out your garden and buying your vegetable seeds now. The sooner you have them on hand, the less likely it is that you’ll be scrambling in the spring. (And once your seeds are here, you can start sketching out a garden plan. Read about how I lay out my garden here. With a plan in place and seeds in hand, you’ll be ready to get planting- here’s a basic overview)
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
PS. Are you interested in avoiding seed orders altogether, while also having a more resilient garden? Seed saving is exactly what you’re looking for. I have a post all about it coming soon!