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This thread is all about Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds



Jere Gettle always had a passion for growing things, and at age 3 he planted his first garden. Ever since, he wanted to be involved in the seed industry. So in 1998, at the age of 17, he printed the first Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog. The company has grown to offer nearly 2,000  varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs—the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the USA.

Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. Our company and seeds have been featured in The New York Times, The Associated Press, Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. Gardeners can request a free color catalog.  Our catalogs now distribute to over 700,000 gardeners nationally.  

Baker Creek started hosting festivals in 2000 as a way to bring gardeners, homesteaders and natural food enthusiasts together to exchange ideas and seeds, to listen to speakers and to enjoy vendors, old-time music and much more. These festivals gave birth to the idea for our pioneer village, Bakersville. Other projects include our trial gardens that we grow each year, seed collecting expeditions, and educational produce exhibits. 

Over the last several years, Jere Gettle and his wife Emilee have branched out into other related projects, as well. They have also expanded into a location in Sonoma County, CA, in the beautiful town of Petaluma and are continuing with the restoration and preservation of the landmark Wethersfield, CT, Comstock, Ferre & Company, the oldest continuously operating seed company in New England. 

The Gettles have published two books with Hyperion. These books feature heirloom vegetables and their work with seeds and food. After publishing The Heirloom Life Gardener in 2011, they released The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook in 2012.

Jere and Emilee also work extensively to supply free seeds to many of the world’s poorest countries, as well as here at home in school gardens and other educational projects. It is their goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and fight gene-altered frankenfood and the companies that support it.



Ships to the US and internationally.

https://www.rareseeds.com/
COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
Posts: 468
Location: 6a
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

I love this company!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds was started by Jerre Gettle out of Missouri.  The current catalog offers 2000 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

They carry one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties.

The company gives back by providing seeds to impoverished countries, hosts an annual gardening festival and has published two books.

I love the story behind many of the seeds in this catalog.  They have people scouring the planet looking for new varieties to sell.

My personal experience with this company started when I purchased seeds to grow plants and flowers for benficials.  It was pretty much a one stop-shop.

The one downside is they don't really offer cover crops

 
master steward
Posts: 10650
Location: Left Coast Canada
1812
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I give this seed source 9 out of 10 acorns

I adore the Baker Creek seed catalogue.  Such beautiful photos, I feel I intimately know each and every plant before I order the seeds.  We have to pay for this catalogue in Canada and it's worth every cent. 

The seeds are well packaged and arrive quickly and undamaged.  The plants grow true to type.

The selection this company provides is marvellous.  I especially love the large selection of gmo-free and open-pollinated seeds.  My favourite is their cotton which grows well in my greenhouse

One challenge I have is that the seeds are selected for a different climate than where I live so some of the plants don't thrive in my conditions.  However, most of them do and I just need to pay attention to the needs of the plant when I buy the seeds. 
 
gardener
Posts: 1187
Location: Middle Tennessee
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

I love the sheer variety they offer and some hard to find genetics.

My favorite part about Baker Creek are their ethics and mission, traveling the globe to preserve cultivars before they're either accidentally lost to the sands of time or contaminated by GMO's. I applaud you Mr. Gettle.
 
garden master
Posts: 4806
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns from me. They are "neighbors" State wise and they have wonderful selections of hard to find species that we love to grow.
I don't even mind the prices for the items we purchase since those are ones we have great trouble finding "good, safe to grow (for our health needs) seeds.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 4
Location: Central CT
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We love Baker Seed Co. In fact the photo of the purple podded pole beans at the top is one of our very favorite seeds that we have tried, as well as the Berkley Tie Dye tomato. I've been to both the Seed Bank in Petaluma and their homestead shop in Missouri. We've also been to their spring garden festival. My one suggestion is buy early as some of the most popular seeds have sold out.
 
Posts: 18
Location: NE Iowa
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

I highly recommend buying their big seed catalog. It's $10 (352 pages)
Even though they have a free one that is worth getting (148 pages), the one you buy has great stories. Yes! I read it for the articles, not just the pictures!
Unlike other catalogs, these have a permanent spot in my library shelves. I also buy these as gifts for other relatives/friends.

The first article that ever grabbed me some years ago was the history of brassicas, and how they all probably came from one dinosaur-type brassica, and how humans selected very certain attributes in different parts of the world, to help evolve the selection we have today: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.

This year my 12 year old son picked up a copy and got absolutely fascinated by this huge watermelon picture & description. He wanted to grow it this year.
Not only did we buy some, but we bought extra and are now hosting a Watermelon Fest this fall at our homestead. A friendly competition with our like-minded community we're a part of. My invites include 3 different types of watermelon seeds, including this monster:


https://www.rareseeds.com/carolina-cross-180-watermelon/
 
raven ranson
master steward
Posts: 10650
Location: Left Coast Canada
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Terry,  If you can start your post wtih the phrase "I give this seed source # out of 10 acorns" (replacing # with the single diget number of your choice) then your review will show up in our snazzy new seed and plant source review grid
 
Posts: 214
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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r ranson wrote:Terry,  If you can start your post wtih the phrase "I give this seed source # out of 10 acorns" (replacing # with the single diget number of your choice) then your review will show up in our snazzy new seed and plant source review grid



Now that's a nice feature!!
 
pollinator
Posts: 760
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns.

Huge selection and fast shipping.
 
Posts: 4
Location: Spicewood, United States
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This is my first year to order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. The catalog is awesome and I am particularly looking forward to trying several of their live plants! The catalog is a work of art.
 
Posts: 50
Location: Western Oregon
10
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I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns.

The good:
Tons of heirloom and open pollinated, non-GMO seed options
Lots of rare varieties from around the world
Often good information in the user ratings for each plant type
Fair pricing

The not-so-good:
Often limited information about cultivation, ideal growing conditions, etc.  May be fine for veteran gardeners but I like a little more guidance. 
 
Posts: 3
Location: Central Minnesota
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns.

I've been buying most of my seeds from them for 10 years or so. Love their free catalog, online descriptions, customer reviews, and huge variety.

Most of all, love their commitment to heirloom and open pollination.

Can't think of any cons.

 
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I give this seed source 7 out of 10 acorns.

Baker Creek offers a wide selection of a whole bunch of veggies and flowers, and then some.  If there is a particular variety of something that you're in search of, Baker Creek is probably your best commercial bet.  Their prices are very reasonable, shipping is timely and economical, and they always offer a host of new products each year, though not at the expense of tossing out the old standbys.  They are staunchly opposed to genetic modification and are careful to offering all non-GMO varieties, even if this means, for example, a reduced corn selection because of difficulty sourcing uncontaminated seed.  Throughout the year, they'll offer short time periods where all proceeds from seed sales go for a particular cause, such as aiding Syrian refugees.  The website is active, and most varieties have been reviewed by other gardeners multiple times, with their locations given, allowing one to get a better idea of what to expect.

There are a few downsides, however.  Veggie varieties with a listed days-to-maturity are relatively few and far between.  I'd like to know, when making selections, how certain varieties compare in this regard, but it's often not possible (at least, not without looking elsewhere).  Over the years, I've had a few seed packages that simply didn't germinate (two last year alone).  They offer money back, as they should, but it's still an annoyance, and it happens over often.  Though I can't recall a specific incidence myself, I've heard multiple reports from other gardeners of seeds that didn't grow true-to-type, or that were just flat out hybridized (most particularly with brassicas).

On the whole I can't help but recommend them, but sometimes it feels as though the company is so focused on what is new and flashy that they lose focus on what should be their core.
 
Posts: 28
Location: Northern AZ
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Excellent experience with live plant orders.
 
Posts: 178
Location: ALASKA
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns.   I've been getting seeds from them for several years and have always had good luck with their seed.  They sometimes have varieties that I cannot source elsewhere.
 
gardener
Posts: 203
Location: Morongo Valley
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns. 

Now I have found a good bit of the seed to not be true to type.  I personally don't mind that, because I view it as more genetic diversity to work with; however I admit that could be a downer for some people and also with some varieties of plants.  But it's been a plus to me.  I liked ordering the poona keera cuke and getting three shades of them, for example.  It seems more authentic for a variety from another country, which is likely a landrace anyways.

Their mission, catalog and variety is amazing.  I don't mind that they don't have maturity dates on everything because I haven't found that very accurate in the microclimates I've lived in.  I love that they test corn for GMOs, educate customers, and tell great stories to boot.  One of the latest fun things I bought from them was a dwarf moringa.  Where else can you find that? I love the tropicals they carry, too... including the live plant selections. Their catalog is a source of endless daydreams for me. :-)  I've given their Big Seed Catalog to people as a gift.  The whole thing is just a joy for me to read page-by-page... the only other catalog that really compares for me in that way is Fedco's, with it's awesome customer anecdotes.  But Fedco has no photos!
 
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I give this seed source 9 out of 10 acorns.

They have been my only source for three years with nearly 100% germination rate. Too good to be true. The first year with them they were very knowledgeable. This year the people responding to my emails have not a clue; that's one acorn for another seed provider. Of course, the seeds themselves sell so they are still my exclusive seed provider.
What's kind of weird to me recently is they accept reviews from non-buyers. Yesterday checked the broccoli selection and most had terrible recent reviews. How do I know it's not a bad actor writing those reviews?
 
Posts: 56
Location: Saskatchewan zone 2/3
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I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns.

I actually love a lot of things about Baker Creek, and have made large seed orders with them every year that I've had a big garden (since 2011).  They have some amazing varieties, the prices are more than reasonable, and they ship very quickly to Canada (and shockingly cheaply).  We always get good germination from Baker Creek seeds, and the plants have generally been as vigorous as we expected.  They seem to be an ethical company, with a commitment to 'doing good', which I appreciate. 

That being said, we've run into a lot of trial-and-error issues with figuring out which of their plants we can actually grow in our season - the general lack of days-to-maturity information can be really frustrating.  The growing information often lacks detail, and things like plant spacing are not clear...which can really matter with a potentially huge, sprawling plant like squash.  Reading the reviews can help, as lots of commenters have put a lot of detail into their reviews; however, it would be nice to have the necessary information without having to dig for it.

As well, we've encountered issues with impure seed that throws obvious off-type fruit.  We've come across this the most in squash, but squash is also the thing we grow the most of from Baker Creek seed.  We've noticed it the most in c. pepo squash (pumpkins/zucchini/spaghetti squash), where the 'pie pumpkins' have come out with spaghetti squash textured flesh, and vice versa, where the spaghetti squash didn't 'spaghetti'.  It is still worth ordering from Baker Creek, but if you are depending on the food you produce, and need it to turn out exactly as expected, I would recommend planting extras to account for impure seed, and/or not relying on Baker Creek seed for the majority of any one kind of your produce. 
 
Posts: 418
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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i give them 10 out of 10 acorns. great prices on seeds that are hard to find anywhere else.
 
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