16 comments on “How To Tell Who Owns Your Seed or Catalog Company

  1. I’m new to gardening, and I’m interested in heirloom seeds (seemed like the best way to avoid monsanto). Someone told me about rareseeds.com which is all heirlooms, so I’m going to try it this year. I’m so new (and a bit young) that I’ve never even seen a seed catalog! :)

    • That’s great Lauren! Heirloom seeds are a great route (even though the definition is often a bit loose), but you can’t go wrong if you do a little research. Not sure where you live, but it’s often a great tactic to at least find a seed supplier who tests stuff for your region. Still, you can’t go wrong with seedsavers exchange at seedsavers.org. Fully monsanto free and dedicated to preserving some genetic diversity. you’ll find plenty of heirloom stuff there. for me (I live in Connecticut) i get most of my seeds from pinetree seeds in maine at superseeds.com. And definitely get yourself on some catalog lists! You don’t have to order from the catalog (i always do the order online) but it’s a great way to figure out what you want to plant. Good luck! Send photos of your garden…

  2. I never get seeds from Cooks Garden, but of course at this white-covered time of year I do appreciate their catalog for their green porn…especially their multicolored lettuces. However even during my rather cursory perusal, I did notice a couple of “Our own variety, from Burpee’s” in its pages. Bingo!

    Great for you to go down such a rabbit hole to find who owns them, though. Whew.

  3. Johnny’s Selected Seeds of Winslow, Maine is not affiliated with Monsanto. Johnny’s began as a privately owned company and is now employee-owned. They conduct field trials on their gorgeous farm in Albion, Maine. Johnny’s develops many of their own varieties which is great for northeast gardeners. Johnny’s does sell Seminis varieties, but is actively working to replace them with others.

    Check out Founder Rob Johnston’s response to the rumor that Johnny’s is affiliated with Monsanto here: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-ownership.aspx

    I’m a big Johnny’s fan — they are an honest and ethically run company which is really taking a hit from this rumor. Please help spread the truth.

    • Thanks Ali. Good to know. I personally think there’s a difference between a supplier who sells some seeds from Seminis/Monsanto vs. a company that is in some way owned by them. I have heard the confusion around Johnny’s Selected Seeds before and I’m glad that Rob Johnston is working to eliminate the Seminis taint completely.

  4. Having moved in September, within Western CT, to a home with a pre-built, fenced in garden, I’m really eager to get back to veggie gardening. We received our first catalog, Burpee, last week and I went searching for heirloom seeds. Obviously the definition is different than what I thought. One of their heirlooms was introduced in 1950. Hmm.

    I thought I was going to have to do some major research to find good seed companies, but I’m going to be lazy and go with those that you’ve been using. Now, if I were being SUPER lazy, I’d ask what seeds you were planting this year and start there. ;-)

    I love being past the holidays with time freed up to plot and plan. Thanks.

    • Laziness is a virtue Sonya! I think that the heirloom definition is pretty loose, but even one from 1950 is probably pretty good. To me, the heirloom is a preserved variety that is open pollinated. For those of us in CT, choosing Pinetree seeds in Maine is a good choice – so is Johnny’s.

      I’ll be putting my garden plan up soon, but it’s pretty simple. I am going less diverse this year and just focusing on the stuff I like to grow and the family likes to eat. It will mostly be peas, beans, broccoli, garlic, greens (lettuces, spinach, chard), cucumbers and if I’m productive I’ll build a separate potato patch.

  5. Very interesting article! I’m glad to see more ideas on how to find out where our seeds are coming from. And thanks for visiting my blog!

  6. Good tip for finding out who owns these smaller seed companies. I talked to someone from Burpee recently and was surprised at them being open about owning Cook’s, here I thought it was a big secret.

  7. Monsanto/Seminis Seeds

    *PINETREE (Superseeds) buys some seeds from Monsanto/Seminis. The list of the varieties are listed below:
    SEMINIS GARDEN VARIETIES
    44. PACKMAN BROCCOLI
    48 EARLY DIVIDEND BROCCOLI
    51 BUBBLES (DISC)
    70 DANVERS HALF LONG CARROT
    83 MINUTEMAN
    8402 CHEDDAR CAULIFLOWER
    133 SWEETER YET CUCUMBER
    137 SWEET SUCCESS CUCUMBER
    138 EARLY TRIUMPH CUCUMBER
    142 SALAD BUSH CUCUMBER
    151 DUSKY EGGPLANT
    158 LAVENDER TOUCH EGGPLANT
    20501 SIMPSON ELITE LETTUCE
    215 RED SAILS LETTUCE
    224 ALASKA MELON
    22601 AMBROSIA MELON
    230 FASTBREAK MELON
    237 ANNIE OAKLEY II OKRA
    239 CAJUN DELIGHT OKRA
    257 MR BIG PEA
    27101 BIG BERTHA SW PEPPER
    274 RED BEAUTY
    279 FOOLED YOU PEPPER
    281 HOLY MOLE PEPPER
    293 SPIRIT PUMPKIN
    300 ORANGE SMOOTHIE PUMPKIN
    340 AMBASSADOR SUM SQUASH
    342 GLODBAR SUM SQUASH
    34601 SCALLOPINI SUM SQUASH
    347 SUNDANCE SUM SQUASH
    348 GREYZINI SUM SQUASH
    34801 PAPAYA PEAR SUM SQUASH
    349 GOLDRUSH SUM SQUASH
    350 LOLITA SUM SQUASH
    362 TABLE ACE WINTER SQUASH
    371 EARLY BUTTERNUT WINTER SQUASH
    38001 AUTUMN CUP WINTER SQUASH
    38202 HI-BETA GOLD WINTER SQUASH
    389 ALPINE STRAWBERRY WHITE
    390 BEEFMASTER TOMATO
    391 BETTER BOY TOMATO
    393 GOLDEN GIRL TOMATO
    395 CLUSTER GRANDE TOMATO
    400 CELEBRITY TOMATO
    407 SUN SUGAR TOMATO
    41401 POLISH LINGUISA TOMATO
    446 SWEET DIANE WATERMELON
    W120 STRAIGHT N NARROW BEAN
    W130 COOL BREEZE IMP CUCUMBER
    W479 THAI NIPPON TAKA HOT PEPPER

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