BY :Toni OkamotoPUBLISHED : January 15th, 2021UPDATED: October 8th, 2021
Need to know the best places to buy seeds online?
Before this past year, I’d buy all my seeds at Lowes or Home Depot and plan my garden based on what was available in their selection. Then, I’d go home, throw all the seeds in my containers and galvanized water troughs without rhyme or reason and hope that something would work out — not considering thinning, or timing, or anything relevant to optimal growth.
Turns out, that’s not the best system! (Shocking, I know!) To be fair, I mostly did it with all of my flowers, since I purchased most vegetable seedlings from the store.
But this year … this year is going to be totally different! I’ve become a sponge for gardening information. I joined my local gardening Facebook group, started following hundreds of gardeners on Instagram and YouTube, and sometimes I stay up until 3am obsessively reading all about the ins and outs of caring for my crops. I even got this cool seed holder (pictured below)! This is the first article in my series to share all that I’ve learned and that I’m still learning.
I’m starting with seeds because that’s where I currently am in the process. I had thought my only options for seeds were at the big home improvement stores (which are totally fine, by the way!), but it turns out there’s a vast world out there of options and varieties. Here are my best places to buy seeds online so far:
I first discovered Botanical Interests at my local Sprouts grocery store and at the nearby nursery. Both places had a really wide section of these beautifully packaged seeds with the cutest illustrations. Now, most of my seed collection comes from this company’s website, and I appreciate that they are accessible and affordable. Most packages that contain hundreds of seeds are priced at about the $2 mark, and I can use them for years to come. This year, I’m even using some of their biodegradable planters for my seedlings (which I’ll write more about later). Here’s their website.
Kitazawa Seed Company
They say that gardening skips a generation, and that’s true in my family. My grandpa, Yoshio Okamoto, whose American name was Paul, was an avid gardener. He had grown up in Walnut Grove, CA near lots of farmland, owned his home in old Elk Grove, CA (after his interment) with lots of acreage to grow food, and then helped raise me alongside him in the garden. Allowing me to ride on his tractor and harvest his produce. My grandpa is a big reason I have a very special place in my heart for Kitazawa Seed Company.
In the early 1910s, 20s, and 30s, Kitazawa Seed Company had built a thriving business selling bulk seeds and specializing in Japanese varieties. Then, very unfortunately, in the early to mid 1940s their business was shut down while the owner was forced into a Japanese internment camp. Afterward, upon their reopening, they shifted to a model of business of shipping seeds, since many of their customers had relocated because of the Japanese displacement. Fast forward a few decades, they celebrated their centennial in 2017, and are the oldest company in the US specializing in Asian varieties. I’m proud of their success and love supporting them. Here’s their website.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
If you follow a lot of gardening Instagramming accounts, you’ll find that people LOVE this company! Baker Creek has rare seeds that bring fun and uniqueness to your garden. For example, this year, I bought purple beans, kale that looks like a palm tree, multi-colored hot peppers, and some beautiful amaranth (all pictured above).
They also have a gorgeous full-color catalog that you can request to be sent to your home (p. It has a ton of information about the plants, beautiful photography, and it’s how I’m always persuaded to go above my budget (that and the fact they have free shipping). You can see my tabbed and loved 2021 copy below. Here’s their website.
Seed Savers Exchange
This is a nonprofit from which I have learned a lot. I had no idea that there were varieties of produce that were becoming extinct as our diets became less diverse. From their website, their mission is “Seed Savers Exchange stewards Americaʼs culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations. We educate and connect people through collecting, regenerating, and sharing heirloom seeds, plants, and stories.”
When you purchase from them, make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me! Sign up for their enewsletter BEFORE you buy because they’ll send you a coupon code. Here’s their website.
I found out about Johnny’s Seeds because they have a lot of really useful garden planning resources. Before I placed an order, I had watched their instructional videos, used their planning excel spreadsheet, and more. If a company provides so many free resources to help me along my journey, I feel compelled to support them back. Here’s their website.
Hope you found this article to be helpful for finding the best places to buy seeds online!
I’ll continue updating it as I learn more and gain more experience. In the meantime, you can check out some of the recipes I created from my garden last year.
About Toni Okamoto
"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez