In the colder months when the wind blows snow flurries over our lifeless garden and the fire burns cozy in the living room one of the most anticipated events in my home is the mid-winter arrival of the annual seed catalogs. There are few things more comforting than relaxing on the couch with a colorful magazine full of page after page of beautiful vegetables, flowers and herbs. Even though I rarely purchase from more than one or two companies every year it’s a wonderfully cathartic way to ward off the chilly weather.
There is an undeniable joy that comes from leafing through an old-fashioned ink and paper catalog; however, I know that there’s a lot of benefit to shopping online, including the ability to use advanced product filters and check out quickly. Two of my favorite storefronts that provide amazing selections online but don’t offer a paper catalog are True Leaf Market and Renee’s Garden Seeds. I have ordered from these two companies for many years and I love to spread the word about quality, sustainable seed sources!
While the annual addition of fun and unique new varieties offer temptation in many forms (such as that new purple-striped beefsteak tomato, or a particularly fungus-free cucumber) what really draws me in are all the stories and valuable growing information peppered in with the products. Below I have listed a few of my favorite places to get free seed catalogs so you can enjoy them too!
Baker Creek, the leader in quality rare and heirloom seed selection, offers two different versions of their catalog; the free edition is the one I get every year and while I’ve never paid for the whole seed catalog, I’ve never been disappointed by the smaller counterpart. It’s chock full of gorgeous, high resolution photos of their unique and exotic varieties. As I’ve mentioned before I always find Baker Creek’s lack of growing information a little bothersome; however, I will continue to peruse their catalog and make small orders from them for years to come, I’m sure.
Another fan favorite, Botanical Interests is a serving of eye candy similar to Baker Creek but in a much more artistic way: each variety is hand-illustrated and they take great pride in including copious amounts of growing information. Kevin over at Epic Gardening has just acquired this company and I’m excited to see the direction he takes it.
I hardly ever order from Johnny’s because I grow exclusively heirloom varieties, and they are a company that focuses a lot on new and developing hybrid types; however, I do use them if I am looking for something very specific. I also am continuously impressed with the amount of useful growing information they pack into their catalog and in their online grower’s library as well.
SSE is my favorite publication for light reading. They always include touching ancestral stories of seeds from the catalog as well as from the vault that are fascinating and enjoyable to read, and they even sprinkle in recipes throughout! Their mission is a valuable one to support and their selection of exclusively heirloom seeds can’t be beat.
My grandpa told me about Territorial a few years ago and since then I have made purchases from them here and there. I really enjoy thumbing through their newsprint catalog with oldschool feel and loads of fabulous growing info.
Chances are that after you get on some of these lists (or order from gardening suppliers, who knows) you will receive catalogs in the future that you haven’t even requested! I found one of my favorite seed companies, Pinetree Garden Seeds, this way. And that’s not a sponsored statement whatsoever!
For some quick info on how to start those garden seeds, see my post category on seed starting.
Do you have any favorite seed catalogs not listed here? Share them with me in the comments below!