How to Start Saving Seeds

Want to save seeds? Go open-pollinated. These seeds reward the grower with better tasting and more diverse yields, and also save money. Unlike hybrid varieties, which require planting new seeds every year, open-pollinated seeds can be saved and replanted. And over time, each generation of seeds will adapt further to the location and climate. Here’s where to start:

 

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1. Seed Savers Exchange

Members-only non-profit Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook offers more than 12,495 unique varieties to members from members, making it one of the best sources of heirloom seeds in the world. seedsavers.org

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2. Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants

At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson created a visionary farm and monument to American agriculture. Their website sells Southern heirloom favorites, such as Carolina Lima beans. monticellocatalog.org

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3. Comstock, Ferré & Co.

Established in 1811, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, Comstock, Ferré & Co. is the oldest and likely the prettiest seed store in the U.S. The store’s staff still parcels out the seeds individually and stores them in antique tin-lined oak drawers. comstockferre.com

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4. Arcoiris

Arcoiris is the place to find the best range of organic seed varieties from Italy. Their selection of Northern Italian chicories is particularly covetable. arcoiris.it

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5. Native Seeds

Indigenous varieties from Northern Mexico and the American Southwest are the focus of these Tucson-based seed savers. Their well-loved catalog is the go-to place for rare varieties of amaranth, chile and corn. nativeseeds.org

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6. Irish Seed Savers

These Irish seed activists have compiled an in-depth catalog full of whimsical varieties like the Tipperary turnip and Lucky Leprechaun tomato. irishseedsavers.ie

(Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to seeds sold as “heirloom,” when a more accurate term would have been “open-pollinated.” We regret the error.)

How to Start Saving Seeds