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Notes from a Sunset Garden

what makes them unique & how to buy their seeds

Buy seeds online or by phone.

Established in 2008, the Sustainable Seed Company’s focus is on environmental practices that are good for the seed and good for the earth. They specialize in organic and heirloom varieties. Unlike most seed companies, they grow their seeds locally at farms in Covelo and Chico, CA. Both farms generate their own power with onsite solar panels and a wind turbine. Paper catalogs aren’t available for environmental reasons.

Buy seeds online or by phone.

Buy seeds in SF at Flora Grubb, online or by phone.

Driven by a strong passion to improve the world through the practice of seed saving, Astrid and Mathew Hoffman began The Living Seed Company in 2011. 25-30% of their seeds are grown locally at Point Reyes Station in Marin county and additional seeds are sourced exclusively from farms in North America. They focus on organic, non-GMO heirloom varieties.

Buy seeds in SF at Flora Grubb, online or by phone.

Buy seeds online or by snail mail.

Bountiful Gardens is the seed selling project of the nonprofit, Ecology Action. Ecology Action is the work of biointensive pioneer John Jeavons and author of the popular book How to Grow More Vegetables. Ecology Action and Bountiful Gardens seeks to teach an international audience biointensive growing techniques designed to maximize food production in small-scale ecologically sustainable agricultural spaces.

Buy seeds online or by snail mail.

Buy seeds in SF at Rainbow Grocery Coop, online or by snail mail.

Founded in 2009, the Redwood family grows 95% of their organic and open-pollinated seeds at their off the-grid farm in the Lassen foothills. They specialize in Mediterranean, drought tolerant, and short season varieties. Their website has a Quick Order link I love, or you can download a pdf of their paper catalog. They do not offer paper catalogs.

Buy seeds in SF at Rainbow Grocery Coop, online or by snail mail.

Buy seeds in SF at Soko Hardware, online, phone, or by snail mail.

Kitazawa Seed Company is not just the oldest seed company in the US to specialize in Asian seeds, but one of the oldest US seed companies, period. In 1917, Japanese immigrant Gijiu Kitazawa opened the Kitazawa Seed Co. to meet a growing demand from other Japanese-Americans looking for traditional Japanese produce. Currently based out of Oakland, CA, they carry over 500 traditional Asian vegetables and grain seeds in envelopes printed in the same manner as at their founding.

Buy seeds in SF at Soko Hardware, online, phone, or by snail mail.

Buy seeds online, by phone, by fax, or by snail mail.

The oldest certified organic nursery in the US is The Natural Gardening Company Located in Petaluma, CA. They offer a large selection of open pollinated, non-GMO, organic seeds and seedlings. They have a clean looking, easy to navigate online catalog that I would highly recommend. They also offer a paper catalog.

Buy seeds online, by phone, by fax, or by snail mail.

Located in in Felton, CA, Renee’s Garden is just a hop, skip and a jump outside of San Francisco. The company has a large selection of organic and heirloom varieties and their packets are easy to find in many SF retail stores. Many of their seeds are grown overseas, but they’re all re-grown in the Felton trial garden to ensure compatibility with the Bay’s unique Mediterranean climate. Lovely watercolor illustrations and extensive growing instructions set their seed packets apart. The company doesn’t offer a printed catalog.

Buy seeds online or visit them at the Petaluma Seed Bank.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds specializes in heirloom and rare seeds, but it also carries highly sought after common varieties. I was hesitant to add them to the list of California seed companies, as they’re actually based out of Missouri. But, they do have the most amazing seed bank in Petaluma, CA. It’s a not to miss attraction for any edible gardener!

Buy seeds online or visit them at the Petaluma Seed Bank.

Buy seeds online with an email and Paypal account or order a catalog and proceed with snail mail.

Based out of La Honda, CA, J.L. Hudson is not a seed company, but rather a “seedsman.” He and his partner, Ms. Calkins, maintain a public access seed bank originally established in 1911 by Harry E. Saier. Navigating the J.L. Hudson website and ordering seeds is not for the feint of heart. You’ll know it was worth the effort when your seed packets are in hand, and it feels like you have exclusive access to the best-kept secret seedsman around!

Buy seeds online with an email and Paypal account or order a catalog and proceed with snail mail.

Descriptions of 9 California vegetable seed companies, images of their seed packets, and information on how to buy their seeds.

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