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From the Beginning…

A really big question came in to Ask Gardenerd recently:

“How do I get started and where can I buy organic seeds?”

Oh – well – where to start?… Let’s start with my favorite seed companies:

Seeds of Change – This company offers certified organic seeds in many categories: heirloom, open pollinated, rare and Seeds of Change Originals.  I’ve been growing with their seeds for years and am completely in love with them.

Bountiful Gardens – This is the home of Ecology Action, where Jon Jeavons started teaching the world how to Mini-farm.   They do amazing work in the world, and their seeds are top quality, diverse and just plain interesting. Their seeds are open pollinated and are untreated.

Peaceful Valley Farms – I think I may have mentioned this before, but the catalog from this company is a “drool-factor 5”.  Not only do they have wonderful organic seeds, but they have just about everything you can think of to garden indoors, outdoors, on a large or small scale.  They also sell organic live plants, bare-root trees and cane berries, etc.

Botanical Interests Seeds – They sell certified organic seeds. Available at many local nurseries or online.

There are a ton of other companies out there, but this should get you started. If you don’t want to order through the mail, many nurseries carry “Botanical Interests” seeds, which are offering more and more certified organic options as time passes.  I use many of their seeds in my own garden and with my clients.

Now – how to get started:

1) Get some soil – make it good soil.  I like the organic soil amendments that are made by Master Nursery Garden Centers.  Bumper Crop and Gardener’s Gold.  Call around to nurseries to see if they carry it.

2) Get a good book – I like Geoff Hamilton’s Organic Gardening book.  It covers the subject in a very accessible way and has great seasonal planting guides for each vegetable.

3) Take a class – It’s my blog, so I can plug my own classes, I guess.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, I teach out of my own teaching garden and at Santa Monica College.  There are beginning classes just for folks like you.  Upcoming classes are always listed on the Home page at – scroll down and look under “Latest News” for details and registration.  If you’re not in the LA area, check your local community college for extension courses and dive right in.

4) Make mistakes – I always say that the only way to learn how to garden is to garden.  Try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else.  My husband applies this philosophy to house plants.  He’ll buy 3 different kinds of plants, and waits to see which one lives.  Then he’ll go back and get more of the one that survives.  It’s Darwinism at its best!

You can always search the Gardenerd archives of newsletters and blog entries for answers to your questions.  There’s a search box on the Home page that scans every newsletter and blog entry ever written on the site.  A wealth of info at your fingertips!

I hope this helps, keep us posted on your gardening adventures. 

This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Christy

      Awesome suggestion, Ashkan. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Christy Wilhelmi

    Another excellent company.  There are tons of seed exchanges as well, where many of the participants grow their seeds organically.  The possibilities are endless! 

    Thanks for sharing Red!

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