Somehow we are already in March! At this point in the garden season, things are starting to get a lot more interesting. Each evening gets a little lighter, and the birds have been chirping a little louder in the morning. If you’re anything like me, you’re also probably ruminating on where you will start gathering the seeds that will eventually supply your summer salads. This month I thought I would highlight some Southern East Coast/Virginia-based seed companies that are worth a gander or two.
There is, of course, no incorrect or correct place to furnish the seeds for your garden. Whether you’ve carefully saved seeds yourself, perused the local hardware store, or ordered them online, they will all eventually get you to the fresh veggies and fruits that tantalize our imaginations at this cold and grey time of year.
If you are interested in heirloom seeds, look no further than Baker Creek. Their website, www.rareseeds.com, is chock full of familiar and unfamiliar plants to try. Based out of Mansfield, Missouri, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is the largest heirloom seed supply company in North America. The site boasts over 1000 different 19th century heirloom varieties from Europe and Asia. The headquarters boasts a seed shop, trial greenhouses, beautiful gardens and even a pioneer village. I have purchased seeds from this company for two years and have always had success having their seeds sprout. Another great perk to Baker Creek is their gorgeous (and free!) seed catalog. The website is well-designed and contains information about the seeds available to purchase, as well as recipes and a growing guide. Additionally, since you will be ordering from the United States, all shipping is free!
Another fantastic seed company that I have discovered with more of a local flavor is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Based in central Virginia, this heirloom seed company focuses on plants that will thrive in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, but folks have found success across the country. The company is a worker-run cooperative and over 60% of the seeds they offer are certified organic. You can find them at www.southernexposure.com and their website is easy to navigate, and in addition to seeds it contains growing guides and a link to request a free catalog. The catalog is chock-full of beautiful images, and is incredibly charming from cover to cover. There’s even a garden planner available for you to explore.
Should you be planning a Virginia native garden, Plant More Natives may be your style. Based in central Virginia, this company devotes their time and energy to shipping American native plants to those that request them–with a main focus on plants native to the eastern part of the United States. Unlike Baker Creek and Southern Exposure, Plant More Natives ships landscape-ready plants with significant root structures to folks across the country. This company was started out of concern for overuse of non-native plant species in gardens and landscaping which are encroaching on native plants and their delicate ecosystems. This company is more for landscaping than typical vegetable gardening, but if you are looking to change up the landscaping at your house, they are worth a gander. The website is easy to navigate, and features resources for butterfly gardens, food sources for bees, and a botanical name cheat sheet. You can find them at www.plantmorenatives.com.
Kelly Gilbert resides in Centreville with her Kiwi husband and fairy child Iva. When not daydreaming about a perfect garden, you can find her at Chantilly Library masquerading as a youth services librarian.
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