Michigan is 2 weeks into winter and all this snow has me daydreaming of Spring. The beautiful seed catalogs that are steadily landing in my mailbox definitely help me think warm thoughts, as well as plan my upcoming garden.I am often asked where I purchase seeds and transplants, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. I order from a variety of places for a variety of reasons, and all seeds I order are non-GMO and preferably organic.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds-I love, love, love their catalog! If you haven’t received their free catalog you are missing out on a work of art! Seriously order the catalog now! I have ordered seeds from Baker Creek most year and will do so again. They offer unique seeds and have great germination rates.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds-An old stand by for me at seed ordering time. Selection and variety are similar to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Customer service is excellent and their growers library is very useful.
Seeds Now-This is a new find for me this year, but I have to say I am impressed with the selection. My favorite part of ordering from them is the sampler packs. For 99 cents to $1.99 you can purchase a smaller number of seeds. For example, Brandywine Tomato seed sampler pack gives you 15 seeds for 99 cents! This is perfect for a backyard gardener who wants to start a variety of tomatoes instead of a dozen of the same type of tomato.
Once we actually get close to planting, you can find quality transplants readily available locally. Here are three local sources we love:
Grand Shire Farm-Available at the Fulton Street Market in Spring. I have purchased herbs, lavender, and chamomile from them with great garden success. They have a variety of each and are knowledgeable about which variety will suit your needs.
Well House-We love the mission of Well House and started attending their yearly plant sale last year as a vendor. The farmer, Alec, grows thousands of transplants to sell at the sale and proceeds benefit the gardens for the Well House residents. This is more than a ho hum plant sale! There is food, music, and great vibe as well as a nice variety of plants.
Three Acre Farm-Lori from Three Acre Farm started her flower from in 2017. If you haven’t made it out to cut your own bouquet you are missing out on pure beauty! In the Spring she also offers tomato, pepper, and herb transplants. I didn’t make it out to Three Acre Farm last year, but some friends did and boy did they rave about their tomatoes!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the only places to purchase quality seeds and transplants, but they are my favorites. Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Share in the comments section below.
In 2017, (thanks to our customers!) we were able to support more non-profits and environmental organizations than ever before
The primary reason we got into the organic lawn and garden business was to make a difference. Taking care of our planet is important to us. That means we want to make soil healthier, water cleaner, loved ones less-exposed to carcinogens, pets safer, farms more sustainable, air less-polluted and plants less-reliant upon chemicals from a laboratory.
Our company's motto is “Healing the planet, one yard at a time.” We know that fixing the planet is a lot bigger job than we can handle with our soil amendments, fertilizers and lawn & garden services, which is why we make it a point to give back to organizations that believe in the same things we believe in: growing community gardens, promoting sustainable family farming, cleaning up our waterways, reducing waste and combating climate change.
In 2017, we did this in three ways:
First, we donated a portion of our profits to organizations that support sustainable agriculture and a cleaner environment. Last year, those organizations were Farm Aid and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.
Second, we partnered with West Michigan non-profits that have started community gardens, through our Give-a-Bucket program. In 2017, the two organizations that we worked with were Benjamin’s Hope in Holland and SECOM Resource Center in Grand Rapids. Individuals were able to donate Living Worm Compost at a reduced rate directly to those organizations’ gardens.
Finally, we made several in-kind donations to groups like Camp Sunshine, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Eighth Day Farm, to help support the work that they do.
And so in 2017, because of Good Sweet Earth's amazing customers, we were able to give just over $850 in cash, compost and services to all of those great organizations listed above. In 2018, we’ll be doing it again, and we hope to double, or even triple, that amount. The more we bring in, the more we give away!
So thank you, friends and family, for helping us in our mission to heal the planet, starting with your yard. Then from your yard, through donations, we’ve been able to reach even further across our planet, bringing about cleaner water and soil, a reduction in greenhouse gasses, and stronger family farms. In fact, every bag of compost or gallon of Worm Tea you buy helps heal the planet well beyond the edge of your yard!
Steve & Corey Veldheer are organic yard & garden specialists in west Michigan.