Friday, January 21, 2011

Herb Garden Planning - Seed Catalogs

The seed and garden catalogs have just started to come in and I am studiously getting ready for the next season.  It is still a bit early to plant any seed (even indoors) in Illinois, so I thought I would share some of my favorite seed producers and you can start planning too!
I have used all of these catalogs at one time or another.  Some I like to use every year, like Seeds of Change and Nichol's Garden Nursery, others I use when I am looking to put in a theme patch or try something new, those times I look to Garden Madicinals & Culinaries or Crimson Sage.  Sometimes it is better to start with a smaller offering like Renee's Garden and Prairieland Herbs then work up to those that offer hundreds of varieties.  I shop for plants locally in Illinois at the Oak Park Conservatory Herb Sale becasue I like to touch and buy plants, but when it comes to seeds I look at reputation and speedy delivery.  All of these places have that.
Richters Herbs
Richters is a fantastic herb nursery that is located in Goodwood, Ontario, which is approximately 30 minutes NE of Toronto, CANADA. Their greenhouses and gift shop are open to visits by the public. Visit their website to request a copy of their free catalog by mail or view the complete catalog online.
Richter's sells a variety of herb seeds, herb plants, herb books, dried herbs, herbal extracts and aromatherapy products. Many of the plants, such as arnica, bloodroot, comfrey, ginkgo, licorice and belladonna are hard to find at the average gardening center. Their plants are available individually, in 12 plant plug packs and in 120 plant plug trays for the serious grower.
Sandy Mush Herb Nursery
Sandy Mush is located in western North Carolina, approximately 23 miles NW of Asheville. They are open to the public, in season, Thursday through Saturday, but they suggest calling ahead to verify someone is there and to get specific directions.
Their catalog can be viewed online or sent through the mail at a cost of $4. Sandy Mush sells over 2,000 varieties of plants including traditional culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, scented geraniums, perennials, trees and shrubs along with a selection of herb seeds and books.
Mountain Valley Growers
Mountain Valley Growers, which is located in Squaw Valley, CA, specializes in USDA certified organic herbs and perennials. Their 40 page catalog can be downloaded from their website or a free copy can be sent by mail upon request. Mountain Valley offers a great selection of herbs, perennials and vegetable plants along with an assortment of books, gardening supplies and hydroponic equipment.
Crimson Sage is an USDA certified organic nursery located in Orleans, CA. They offer an extensive line of Ayurvedic, Native American and Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs for sale. They charge $1 for their 80-page catalog, to help cover the cost of postage, or it can be downloaded for free on their website.
Well-Sweep Herb Farm
Well-Sweep Herb Farm, which is located in Port Murray, NJ, is open from Monday through Saturday in-season. Visit the farm to view their display gardens, or shop for unique gifts in the gift shop. Their 84-page catalog can be viewed online, or request a free copy by mail. Well-Sweep offers a variety of herbs, flowering perennials, dried flowers, gardening supplies and aromatherapy products for sale.
Horizon Herbs
Horizon Herbs, located in William, OR, offers medicinal and USDA certified organic herb seeds and plants for sale. Co-owner Richo Cech, is a prolific author of many herb books, DVD’s and audiotapes, which can be purchased through the website. View the catalog online or request a copy through the mail.
Garden Medicinals & Culinaries
Garden Medicinals, which is located in Earlysville, VA, offers a great mixture of medicinal and culinary herbs along with a selection of heirloom vegetables and flowers. Garden Medicinals does not have a print catalog, it can only be viewed online.
Territorial Seed Company
Territorial Seed Company carries many varieties of herb, vegetable and flowering plants and seeds, along with some gardening supplies. Request a copy of their free catalog or order products through their online shopping cart.
Territorial products are available at select retailers in Alaska, Washington, California, Oregon and Virginia. The Territorial Seed company store, located in Cottage Grove, OR, is open to the public.
Seeds of Change
All of the Seeds of Change seeds are USDA certified organic; they also have a selection of organic seedlings and books available. Request a free copy of either their gardening catalog, or their professional growers catalogs. There herb offerings are somewhat limited, but they have all the starting gardener will want and more.  Online ordering is available through their website.
Goodwin Creek Gardens
Goodwin Creek’s nursery center is open Fridays and Saturdays, from March through September. Request a copy of their free print catalog offering herb plants, seeds and books. Goodwin Creek, located in Williams, OR, offers a fantastic selection of medicinal, culinary and Native American plants along with plants that will attract birds and butterflies to your herb garden.
Sand Mountain Herbs
Sand Mountain Herbs was founded by outdoor enthusiast and native plant expert Larry W. Chandler of Geraldine, Alabama.  He has vast knowledge of the medical values of herb plants from around the world including North Alabama. They have an online seed catalog that you can puruse and the list is extensive.  Sorted by common name, it then provides scientific names so you know you are ordering what you really want.  When you click the link it shows a photo and detailed growing info including hardiness zone.  You can order easily online.
Prairieland Herbs  www.
Located in Woodward, IA the catalog is only available online, but you can print your own pdf version of it.  Prairieland Herbs is a mother-daughter team, Donna Julseth and Maggie Julseth Howe.  A small business, they have great quality and know their herbs.  They started Prairieland Herbs as an official, full-time business in September, 1998 and by July, 1999 they moved into a renovated shop where they offer classes.  The shop is open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays, 12-5 CST.
Nichols Garden Nursery
Nichols Garden Nursery has served home gardeners for more than 60 years, making it one of the oldest herb suppliers in the US. Still a family run business specializing in fine food gardening.   They are an original signer of the Safe Seed Pledge and offer no genetically modified seeds or plants. They are adjusting their offerings as a result of the pledge so seed names are changing a little. An online catalog as well as a paper catalog can be requested. Visitors to the gardens in Albany, OR are always welcome during regular business hours.  In addition to herb and vegetable plants and seeds, they have a nice variety of herb related gardening items, including lotions, soap, cheese and wine making supplies.
Renee’s Garden Seeds
If you’ve been gardening long enough to remember Sheppard’s Seeds, this is the same person.  Specializing in flower, herb and vegetable seed and located in Felton, CA, Renee's Garden offers varieties that are great for home gardeners, based on flavor, easy culture and exceptional performance.  Strong supporters of sustainable farming practices they do not sell treated or GMO seeds and have signed the Safe Seed Pledge developed by The Council for Responsible Genetics.   Retail resale of seeds is also available. Not a huge variety of seeds, but all of good quality and her two cookbooks, also available on the site are great.  I have owned both for many years and use them all the time.
Companion Plants

Companion Plants is an internationally recognized herb nursery established in 1982 and located in the scenic rolling hills just outside Athens, Ohio. They started with 30 varieties and now offer over 600 varieties of common and exotic herb plants including medicinal, culinary, ceremonial, aromatic, butterfly, fiber, and dye plants as well as over 200 varieties of seed, most of which they grow ourselves using environmentally friendly methods.  The catalog is available online and sorted by name and topic.  Customers are invited to come visit the greenhouses Thursday through Sunday between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm from March 1 to October 31, and stroll through the 2 acres of display/production beds containing dozens of varieties of Thyme, Salvia, Rosemary and Basil, as well as native medicinal plants and wildflowers interplanted with their cousins from around the world.

The Thyme Garden Herb Company
Also located in Oregon, this place has been around since 1990.  Their catalog offers 650 varieties of herbs as well as dried herbs, teas, spices and seasonings. Catalogs include interesting folklore. You can also visit to see the display gardens.  I can’t resist a place that knows the value of Thyme!  They sell 6 different varieties of thyme seed and some creeping varieties by the pound for making a lawn.
Later this month I will discuss how to read seed catlogs and how to start seed.

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