Seed Ideas

-by Bruce Wiggins, Executive Director-

At this time of year, what we do is look at seed catalogues and DREAM. (Except this year, I still have kale growing!) Below are four of my favorite seed catalogues. But there are many, many more available.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorites. Post your thoughts to our Facebook page or send us an email here: and we’ll post your ideas in future newsletters.
All of these catalogues are available online or by paper, and all have good websites where you can order online to speed up delivery if you want to start seeds indoors soon. So the difference is in varieties you might want and other more intangible matters. Let us know which you like.

Seed Savers Exchange

Founded in 1975, “Seed Savers” is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to conserving and promoting heirloom vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. So, if you are wanting to save your seeds for planting next year, you don’t have to worry about hybrids that won’t reproduce. As heirlooms, you also avoid GMOs.
Basic membership is $40 or $25/year (discounts for multi-year membership) and members receive a 10% discount on purchases along with a quarterly magazine subscription . But anyone can order from the online or paper catalogue. Has a wonderful web page with lots of info. As might be expected with a membership organization, there are workshops and webinars and events such as concerts.
Located in Decorah, Iowa (northeast Iowa, about 5 hours drive), some of us might actually visit this farm community. (Note: The web site lists three retail outlets in Milwaukee: Fischberger’s in Riverwest on Holton St., Outpost on Capitol Drive, and the St. Francis Historical Society.) 563-382-5990

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

It’s an employee-owned company in Winslow, Maine.

The catalogue has LOTS of vegetables – many varieties, plus farm seed for sustainable farms, herbs, flowers, and tools/supplies. Some, but not all, seeds are organic. Some heirlooms. Plus interesting other info, such as a glossary, varieties that are exceptionally cold or heat-tolerant, hardiness zones, vegetable disease info in the write-ups, recipes and various tips. 877-564-6697

High Mowing Organic Seeds

Offers only 100% USDA Certified Organic Seeds. An independently-owned, farm-based organic seed company located in Wolcott, Vermont. Lots of good-looking vegetables, greens, flowers, cover crops. 802-472-6174

American Natives by Prairie Nursery

This Wisconsin company specializes in what you’d expect with the name: native plants. Meaning wildflowers, ground covers, ferns, grasses, sedges, and rushes/bulrushes. And no-mow or low-mow lawns! The catalogue has info on collections for rain gardens, butterfly gardens and lots of special situations, along with hardiness zone maps, and guides to establishing prairies or native plants. The farm and retail store includes display gardens.

— located in Westfield, about 2 ½ hours away, north of Madison and straight west of Oshkosh. 608-296-2721