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Best Heirloom Seeds – Recommended by Home Gardeners

We're sharing the best places to buy heirloom seeds for home gardens. I'm sharing my favorite seed companies, plus reader recommendations and some unique seed sources to investigate.

These heirloom seed companies will help you bring old fashioned flavors, scents, and colors back to your garden for beautiful and delicious crops.

heirloom seed catalogs

What are Heirloom Seeds?

Heirloom seed varieties are passed down through generations in a family or community, like heirloom household items. This allows them to adapt their DNA to the local conditions, creating unique and interesting variations. Most sources say the seed variety must be at least 50 years old to qualify as an heirloom.

Heirloom seeds grow True to Type. This mean that if you save seeds, they will match the parent plant. See “What are Heirloom Seeds? (And Why it Matters)” for more information.

Best Places to Buy Heirloom Seeds

These are my favorite sources for heirloom vegetable seeds, plus reader favorites and one we want to try. Most of these companies also offer some fruit, herbs, and flowers. Some offer heirloom potato varieties, onions, garlic and other root crops.

Note: Many heirloom seed companies are experiencing higher than normal order volumes. Please be patient with your orders, and allow extra time for delivery.

1. Pinetree Garden Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds – I've been ordering from Pinetree the longer than any other company. They are located in New Gloucester, Maine.

Their prices are reasonable, and they give smaller quantities of seed per packet, so you don't end up with too many leftover seeds if you have a small garden.

2. True Leaf Market

True Leaf Market has been providing seed under the brands Mountain Valley Seed and Handy Pantry since 1974. They provide seeds for home gardeners and professional growers, for planting and for sprouting.

Their website also features related products, like growing kits, juicers, and fermentation supplies. The company is located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

3. High Mowing Organic Seeds

High Mowing Seeds is located in Walcott, Vermont. They offer 100% certified organic seed. One unique section of their site is their crops that grow well in high tunnels, a useful option for market gardeners.

Their organic seed collections provide a small discount when you buy a group of seed packets. They include a Bee's Garden Collection for pollinators, a Container Garden Collection, and several others.

4. Seed Treasures

Reader recommended Seed Treasures is located off grid in Northern Minnesota, a plus for northern growers. They specialize in preserving heritage open pollinated seeds. Some are heirloom seeds, others Native American crops or modern open pollinated varieties.

5. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange carries about 800 varieties of vegetables, flower, herb, grain, and cover crop seeds. Located in Mineral, Virginia, they specialize in varieties that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

They are certified organic, and offer many unique southern heirlooms like butterbeans and naturally colored cotton.

6. Stover Seeds Company

Stover Seed Company is located in Sun Valley, California. They feature water wise choices and vegetables and herbs for western climates. They also sell large quantities of native forbs and grasses for landscaping.

7. St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

St. Clare Heirloom Seeds is located in Cecil, Wisconsin. They only sell non-hybrid, untreated, heirloom varieties and open pollinated garden seeds. Their website is conversational, with things like suggestions for use of heirloom flowers. They are a conservative, family run company.

8. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – Baker Creek has gorgeous photos in the print catalog and online. They have many unusual heirloom seeds and open-pollinated varieties.

Their headquarters is in Mansfield, Missouri.

9. MIGardener

Amy says, “The MI Gardener has some great seeds and are very reasonable, most are $2!”

Luke Marion, founder of MIgardener, has a popular youtube channel. The MIGardener retail store is in St Clair, Michigan.

10. Seed Savers Exchange

Seed Savers Exchange – I love the idea of Seed Savers Exchange, and they have a beautiful and inspiring catalog. They share the stories of the heirloom seeds they feature.

I ran into some problems with their seeds in the past, but I think it was related to a transition at the organization. Recent seed purchases performed well.

favorite heirloom tomato variety
Opalka tomatoes are my favorite heirloom tomato

11. North Circle Seeds

Located in Minnesota, North Circle Seeds partners with Midwestern growers, who produce regionally adapted seed using chemical-free, sustainable and organic practices.

12. Territorial Seeds

Linda shares, “I want to tell you about one of my favorite heirloom seed companies, Territorial Seeds in Cottage Grove, Oregon. They have been a favorite of mine for many years.

I enjoy trying something new, but of all the places I order from Pinetree and Territorial are my favorites. And Territorial has the best packaging of any of them, providing a picture and great instructions.”

Michele agrees, “Other seed sites I recommend are Territorial Seed Co. (carries some good OP varieties, even some from our good Dr. Kepuler) and Annapolis Seeds (Nova Scotia). I love Baker Creek, too.”

13. Kitazawa Seed Company

May shares, “The Kitazawa seed company (Salt Lake City, Utah) has a large inventory of Asian plants. They will mail you a catalog, which has Asian recipes in the back.”

14. Mary's Heirloom Seeds

Laurel's favorite: “I have ordered from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds (Ben Wheeler, Texas) and she is very helpful and very personable. She is down to earth and she is growing as a company. I think they have over 400 seed varieties and she takes the safe seed pledge.”

15. Sow True Seeds

Patty gives a shout out to Sow True Seeds: “Living in SC, I have used the seed company Sow True Seeds. They are based in Asheville, NC.

They have a smaller than usual selection, but it is still wonderful and very useful for someone growing in a mountainous area, as they have certain varieties that do well in those conditions. I’ve pre-ordered my garlic and potatoes from them for this year.

They are a small company that is very responsive to their customers. I also second the company Pinetree Seeds. I have had wonderful germination from them and appreciate the smaller quantities in the packs (and the price to go with them).

16. Ohio Heirloom Seeds

Gigi's choice: “I love Ohio Heirloom Seeds too… I have really enjoyed their seeds and the guy who owns it is super nice. The seeds come packaged very nicely, their prices are good and they come quickly.

They are located just outside of Columbus, Ohio. All varieties are open-pollinated, and usually ship within 2 days.

17. Heirloom Mountain Seedswoman

For Colorado gardeners, Shannon says, “You should add Heirloom Mountain Seedswoman. It’s local to me so I love it they ship super fast.”

Heirloom Mountain Seedswoman specializes on gardening in the harsh desert climate. They offer unique heirloom tomato seeds, as well as rare melon, watermelon, squash and pumpkin seeds.

18. Siskayou Seeds

Siskayou Seeds has some of my favorite open pollinated seeds, including Nutri-bud broccoli and Swan Lake melon. They also carry many heirloom seeds and seed collections, and permaculture focused plants.

19. Sow Right Seeds

Sow Right Seeds is based in Greenwood, Missouri. All of their seed varieties are heirloom and non-GMO. They have a Planter's Library with gardening tips and growing guides.

20. Bear Mountain Seeds

The Bear Mountain Seeds homestead is located around the Buffalo Valley area, near Bear Mountain in southeast Oklahoma. Carissa Byrn, who owns the company with her husband, shared:

“It has been a mission of mine for many years to preserve as much seed as I can. While we still have quite a lot of heirlooms out there in the world, we have also lost many over the years.
I take every possible opportunity to educate people on how to become self -reliant and sustainable. We take the Safe Seed Pledge and do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds.”

21. Thresh Seeds

Becky and Dave Weeks operate Thresh Seeds in Guthrie County, Iowa. Sharon says, “Great small family seed company. I have had excellent germination rates, 2 years now and someone actually answers the phone or returns your email, worth the look.”

Their shop by Region and Interest page is a helpful option on the website.

22. Hudson Valley Seed Company

Louann likes Hudson Valley Seed Company. “They have beautiful artwork, heirloom seed and open-pollinated seed. Online and brick and mortar in Accord, New York.”

Art Packs – their artist designed seed packages – are beautiful and unique.

From their website:

Like seeds, artists bring us beauty, meaning, and joy. Each year, we work closely with a diverse group of artists to create the visual seeds stories on our Art Packs. Visual art provides a window into the history, culture, and stories surrounding seeds.

assortment of catalogues from Heirloom Seed Companies

Honorable Mention – Experimental Farm Network

The Experimental Farm Network Cooperative seed store is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of their seeds are grown in Minnesota and New Jersey. As an experimental seed developer, they have varieties I have not seen for sale anywhere else.

Did I miss your favorite heirloom seed company? Do you have other questions about garden seeds? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Some of my Favorite Heirloom Seed Varieties

These are some (but not all) of my favorite heirloom seed varieties that do well in our northeast Wisconsin garden.

  • Opalka tomato
  • Mortgage Lifter tomato
  • Hungarian Heart tomato
  • Jimmy Nardello pepper
  • Howden pumpkin
  • Green Arrow peas
  • Ailsa Craig Exhibition Onion
  • Hollow Crown parsnip
  • Kalibos cabbage
  • Early Purple Vienna kohlrabi
  • Di Sicilia Violetto cauliflower
  • Crimson Sweet watermelon

More Gardening Articles

Author & Homesteader Laurie Neverman Profile Photo

This article is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie and her family have 35 acres in northeast Wisconsin where they grow dozens of varieties of fruiting trees, shrubs, brambles, and vines, along with an extensive annual garden. Along with her passion for growing nutrient dense food, she also enjoys ancient history, adorable ducks, and lifelong learning.

Last updated in 2023.

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56 Comments

  1. threshseeds.com

    Great small family seed company. I have had excellent germination rates, 2 years now and someone actually answers the phone or returns your email, worth the look🌷🙏

  2. Great list with new (to me) companies to check out. I have had good success with Totally Tomatoes. One new source I’ve recently discovered is my local library for free seeds! It is stocked with seed donations from local gardeners. You can donate or take seeds. Every year, even after giving seeds to my gardening friends there are so many that go unused, good to know that now I have an outlet for them and they won’t go to waste. Can’t beat free.
    Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year.

  3. Hudson Valley Seed Company – beautiful artwork, heirloom seed and open-pollinated seed. Online and brick and mortar in Accord, NY.

  4. Why even include Seed Saver Exchange when they are poor? I thought you were recommending companies “you don’t want to miss”.

    1. I still include them on the list because they offer some varieties I haven’t found elsewhere, and the stories included with the seed descriptions are very interesting. They share a lot more of the seed histories than many other seed providers. I think they may have been going through a transition period with some quality control issues when I ran into trouble in the past. When I ordered Opalka tomatoes and Yellow of Parma onions in 2023, both had excellent germination rates, sturdy plants, and produce that kept well.

      I’ll be updating the article later this week and planned to note these changes, along with expanding the list and adding more information about seed providers in specific climate zones.

  5. Brim Seed Company in Waco, Texas. No GMO and No Hybrid seeds. Taking care of Central Texas.
    brimseed.com

  6. Here are some more: Prairie Road Organic in North Dakota; Eagle Ridge seeds somewhere in Canada; a company called Adaptive Seeds; Everwilde has excellent seed packaging to make them last longer; and Native Seeds Search especially for the Southwest and dry climates….

    I love to look at unusual open pollinated seed types/plants, and also especially enjoy looking for perennial food crops…

  7. I live in the Western, North, Carolina. What seed company would you recommend I use for our climate?

    1. I think True Leaf Market, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and Baker Creek would probably have growing conditions most similar to yours. If you have neighbors who garden, you might want to ask about specific varieties that do well in their gardens.

  8. Living in SC, I have used the seed company Sow True Seeds. They are based in Asheville, NC. They have a smaller than usual selection, but it is still wonderful and very useful for someone growing in a mountainous area, as they have certain varieties that do well in those conditions.
    I’ve pre-ordered my garlic and potatoes from them for this year.

    They are a small company that is very responsive to their customers. I also second the company Pinetree Seeds. I have had wonderful germination from them and appreciate the smaller quantities in the packs asking with the price to go with them!

  9. I have ordered from Mary’s Heirloom and she is very helpful and very personable. She is down to earth and she is growing as a company. I think they have over 400 seed varieties and she takes the safe seed pledge. Love your common sense information and love the shortened name. 🙂

    1. Well ma’am, I’m a gardener, not a mind reader. Maybe it’s a translation issue, but I couldn’t clearly understand what happened to cause your seeds/plants to die. There are many ways to kill plants and seedlings.

      If you can describe in detail how your plants/seeds died, I might be able to offer more useful information, but the easiest thing for you to do might be to find a local gardener and show them the plants and describe what happened. It’s a lot easier to diagnose a problem when you can see it.

  10. The Kitagawa seed company has a large inventory of Asian plants. They will mail you a catalog , which has Asian recipes in the back.

      1. Kitazawa Seed Company: Asian Vegetable Seeds, Oriental Vegetables Seed
        http://www.kitazawaseed.com/index.html

        Oakland, California; founded in 1917 in San Jose, California; forced to relocate due to WWII internment.

        They carry a mix of open pollinated and hybrid varieties; the hybrid varieties are clearly marked.

  11. I’ve done organic gardening with heirloom seeds for years. Totally agree, Seeds of Change appears to be a part of the takeover of our heirloom and organic companies by big corporations in their attempt to strip us of our control over our food and money. Sad, isn’t it? I bookmarked your recommended sites and placed an order today with Baker- very exciting! Looking forward to having new varieties to grow in my ever-growing aquaponics system.

    Love your article, I’ll have to mention it in my blog about aquaponics, organic food, and sustainability – http:aquaponicsdiyguide.com

    You’ve given a lot of good info in one posting! Thank you

      1. I completely agree. It’s fun to plan a garden. It helps relieve the cabin fever I get from living outside of the mountains. The catalogs we use are Vermont Bean Co., Totally Tomatoes, Maine Potato Lady, Richters, and Bakers Creek. Bakers Creek is my favorite of them all! Thanks for the tips on fedco and pinetree!

        1. I just got a catalog of seeds by the former owner of Vermont Bean Seed Company. That means that someone bought them out, as well. I think it was Jung’s Seeds. I have not been nearly as satisfied with them since they started acquiring other companies either. The new catalog seems promising. It is called SeedsnSuch. The front of the catalog claims untreated and non GMO seeds. They have several pack sizes that seem to favor the home gardener. I will let you know my experience if I order from them!

  12. SO happy to see Fedco at the top of your list! We have been extremely satisfied with this company and have gotten to the point where we buy almost 90% of our seeds from them…tho we always have to give a few of the Baker Creek beauties a spot in the garden and a local company supplies us with heat-tolerant tomato seeds.

    Also, a big ‘ditto’ on your issues with Seed Savers Exchange….love the idea and their commitment to heirloom vegetables, but have had disappointing results as far as germination rates.

  13. I bought seeds from Seed Savers Exchange last year and had a poor germination rate as well….Live and Learn.

    Thank you for all of the tips!

  14. Hi there! Just ran into your site and I’m really enjoying perusing it. Some other seed sites I recommended are, Territorial Seed Co. (carries some good OP varieties, even some from our good Dr. Kepuler) and a little seed-saver, Annapolis Seeds. I love Baker Creek too, and thanks for the Fedco tip!

  15. I appreciate your attention to detail. This particular post is extremely useful. I just came back from the store with at least a thousand seeds. I feel so overwhelmed about organization. Where in the world do I start? I want to be able to keep up with the maintenance and also the effectiveness of my heirloom seeds versus these “organic” seeds I have purchased. I’m a new gardener and I don’t wish to waste inexperience on my precious heirloom seeds. Then, of course, I’ll need to keep track of my seeds from harvesting. What a chore!

    1. Hi Bonnie! Take a deep breath. 🙂 The seeds don’t care how meticulous your records are – they just want to grow. There are lots of different ways to track things, so you need to find what works best for you. Confession – I am not a great record keeper. I’d rather be knee deep in the project instead of tracking the project. I largely garden intuitively, simply remembering from year to year what worked and what didn’t. That said, there are a couple of things I do track.

      Germination rates on seedlings started inside – I make up a simple spreadsheet showing date planted, variety, seed source, number of seeds, number of cells, date of first seedlings, date of later seedlings, # of seedlings, date of transplant. Because I keep seeds from year to year and buy from different sources, this helps me track bad seed and lets me know when to plant a little thicker to make up for lower germination.

      Simple Garden Chart – I have a hand drawn diagram of my garden, and I label what was planted in each area from year to year. This allows me to rotate crop families and plant heavy feeders in areas that have been more recently manured. (My neighbor brings over several loads of rotted manure each year, and that rotates through the garden along with the crops.)

      I keep my seeds in plastic shoe boxes, and bundle “like” seeds together. I grow over 100 different varieties of this and that, so I’ll just start working my way through a type of something, say carrots, for instance, in a block planting. I make a block 3 feet wide, and mark rows in it about one foot across (so I end up with a series of three foot long rows). I’ll plant two rows of Atomic Red carrots, a row of radishes, two rows of White Satin carrots, a row of kohlrabi, two rows of Scarlet Keeper carrots, a row of turnips, and so on, until I end up with a large bed of root veggies. I may put some annual flowers or herbs along an edge or mixed in. That way, I can compare the growth habits almost side by side, but not mix the different varieties up. The more you work in your garden, the more you’ll get a feel for how much space you need and how much of a fruit or veggies you use.

      If strict record keeping is your thing, put together a loose leaf binder and make some pre-printed forms in a spreadsheet format. Anything you can do to make record keeping easier will make it more likely to happen. Don’t stress over the details so much that you forget to enjoy your garden. That’s one of the best parts. 🙂

  16. Shannon – I hear you. The last seeds I bought from them were Swan Lake melons, which are a lovely marbled orange and green inside and very tasty, but I don't order from them regularly anymore.

  17. Those are some of my favorites too, except Seeds of Change. I don't have a problem with their seeds, but the company is owned by Mars, who I am not comfortable supporting.

  18. lol – sometimes I swoon when I see my planting list, too, but I don't think it's for the same reason. 🙂 My mache and spinach survived the winter, so hopefully if it ever warms up a bit I'll have more fresh greens kicking in soon.

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  19. Thanks for sharing Laurie – I always swoon when i see your planting list. Someday I might have more space to garden…but I love vicariously gardening through your blog and facebook posts!
    xo!