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This thread is all about Seed Savers Exchange




Seed Savers Exchange was founded in Missouri in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy. Diane's grandfather entrusted to them the seeds of two garden plants, ‘Grandpa Ott's’ morning glory and ‘German Pink’ tomato. These seeds, brought by Grandpa Ott's parents from Bavaria when they immigrated to Iowa in the 1870s, became the first two varieties in the collection. Diane and Kent went on to form a network of gardeners interested in preserving heirloom varieties and sharing seeds. Today, with 13,000 members and 20,000 plant varieties, Seed Savers Exchange makes its home on 890 scenic acres in Winneshiek County, Iowa, at Heritage Farm.

Who we are
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit (501(c)(3) status) organization dedicated to saving and sharing seeds.

Saving seeds
Seed Savers Exchange takes threats to biodiversity seriously. We maintain a collection of more than 20,000 heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and plant varieties, including over 1,000 varieties of heritage apple trees. We take great care to ensure the health and viability of our collection for generations of growers to come. We keep the bulk of our collection in an underground freezer vault at Heritage Farm.
Each year, we grow out select varieties in gardens at Heritage Farm to refresh our seed supply. To maintain accurate records of each variety’s traits, our Evaluation Team grows out other varieties and keeps careful track of them, updating descriptions, and checking for inconsistencies. Our seed historian researches the story of each variety, documenting its history and the lives of the people who brought it to our collection.

A network that needs you
Seed Savers Exchange relies on a two-pronged method we call participatory preservation.
The seedbank is important, but it isn’t enough without our member community. Gardeners grow out a variety and save its seeds, allowing the variety to adapt to the growing conditions of the area. Without individual gardeners, we miss our chance to help seeds adapt to changing conditions, leaving our vault as a sort of museum for varieties that haven’t changed with their environment. You can play an enormous role in preservation by growing out heirloom varieties in your garden and saving seeds.



Ships to US and Canada

https://www.seedsavers.org
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pollinator
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

I've been buying heirlooms from SSE for many years now and love the variety of open pollinated cultivars they have to offer. This is where I discovered Gulley's Favorite lettuce, which has become the go-to staple and favorite lettuce that my wife and I grow in our garden each spring and fall.

The ethics and mission of this company to preserve food varieties including rare heirlooms makes me feel good about purchasing seeds from and supporting these fine folks and the good they do.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1105
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns

I love their mission and commitment to heritage plants and clean growing.  I'm not a member so I don't know much about their "yearbook" or the options to get seeds directly from other people but that sounds awesome.

I have two small issues that kept me from rating them higher:

Once I ordered some garden peas that they said didn't need staking.  Well they got 4.5" high and seriously did need staking.  Unfortunately it was too late by then so they just flopped around and were a pain.

The other issue I have is that they use too much of their plant description space saying where the seed came from.  For instance I'll be buying Joe's Long Cayenne this year from them.  Here's their description:

Originally from Calabria, Italy.  Circulated through the Italian-Canadian seed saving community in Toronto before being sent to Joe Sestito in Troy, NY.  Introduced to SSE in 1996 by long-time member Dr. Carolyn Male.  Heavy yields of finger width thin-walled red peppers up to 12" long.  Great for fresh eating or drying.  85 days from transplant.  Hot  +/- 4600 seeds/oz

I do like the history but if they skipped half of the history they could fit in some more details about how the plant grows (size), disease info, climate preference, etc that could help me know if it will work in my area.

Don't get me wrong, I'll be buying plenty of seeds from them this year, I just personally wish they did some things a bit differently.
 
Posts: 17
Location: NE Iowa
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I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns

Mike Jay wrote:The other issue I have is that they use too much of their plant description space saying where the seed came from.  For instance I'll be buying Joe's Long Cayenne this year from them.  Here's their description:

Originally from Calabria, Italy.  Circulated through the Italian-Canadian seed saving community in Toronto before being sent to Joe Sestito in Troy, NY.  Introduced to SSE in 1996 by long-time member Dr. Carolyn Male.  Heavy yields of finger width thin-walled red peppers up to 12" long.  Great for fresh eating or drying.  85 days from transplant.  Hot  +/- 4600 seeds/oz

I do like the history but if they skipped half of the history they could fit in.....



Hahah! Mike, you have nailed it.
They really do care about the history & lineage of the seeds. And I believe it really does inspire others to 'seed save' as a hobby/way of living. People like stories now-a-days, too.
I did not realize that it was squeezing out useful information, though. Definitely a valid point.

These guys are in my back yard, so I am biased, and I enjoy being a member, and can just go to the place to pick up seeds and 'emergency' transplants any time I like.
My biggest garden had been 220 tomato plants, 25 different varieties. All from this place.

My favorite is some of the special packets they come out with. Rare varieties they finally propagated out enough of finally to reissue for 1 year. These aren't varieties I would normally plant, but it's just fun.
They also participate in the Seed Vault project out in Norway.

Here is a picture of their Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook. Great way to meet people I imagine. I haven't done it yet myself. For me, this makes my database-fingers twitch!


 
Posts: 44
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
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thanks for this.  i haven't purchase from any of these but will be in the future.  it is nice to be able to read honest reviews before i buy.  have been leery of buying on line as you can never seem to be sure of what you will get.  this will greatly help me in finding some of those plants that i really want but haven't been able to find locally.  i will come back and review once i have ordered and received from the ones i end up ordering from. much appreciation to you all
 
Posts: 76
Location: SW PA USA
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I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

I've added a number of fine veggies to my garden from their options.

I've never bought a packet of seeds that didn't grow. So in my opinion the choices are what it's about. I love their varieties, their 115 page catalog with the index on the inside back cover. What more could you ask for.
 
Posts: 13
Location: NJ
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I support SSE with membership.  And also plan to help them much farther. 7 out of 10 acorns.
 
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I have always liked the variety of vegetables as well as the plethora of choices in a given variety. The one things I have had trouble with is the percentage of germination. Sometimes, I get 90%+ germination of a given seed pack, but others do not hardly get 50%. I will admit that I do not have good statistics on which ones I had trouble with, but the pepper varieties seem to be the ones I had trouble with. Additionally, the lettuce and pepper variety packs tend to be slanted toward one of the varieties in the pack.

If no one else has had this problem, then feel free to contradict me. I am just a backyard gardener, for my own consumption, so I also buy small packets of seeds.

Tom Bachey
h2oguy@fuse.net
 
Mike Jay
pollinator
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Hi Tom, thanks for reviewing SSE.  If you'd like your review to go to the master grid, please feel free to edit your post (there should be an "edit" button at the top right when you look at your post).  Karen does a great job above of describing how to add one sentence to get your review to show up there. 
 
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10 out of 10 acorns for Seed Savers. I really like the seed history. I've planted Thelma Sanders squash and Dester tomatoes, both developed in MO, where I'm from. The Desters were particularly great. My husband is from Beaver Dam WI, so we grow Beaver Dam peppers. I grow Trail of Tears black beans descended from SS seed planted 7 years ago. We get a great sense of rootedness (pun intended) and continuity using these seeds. I haven't had problems with germination, but I'm not the most accomplished gardener - maybe the seeds aren't always germinating that well and I'm a better gardener than I thought! 😃
 
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2018 need a rental/event manager for great pay
https://permies.com/t/50293/permaculture-projects/rental-event-manager-great-pay
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