Heirloom Seeds

This category contains 25 posts

Planting your Winter Garden in the Summer

Heirloom CarrotsEver wondered when would be a great time to plant a garden you can harvest in the cold of winter? Now! Believe it or not, from now till mid-summer is the ideal time to plant seeds for your fall and winter garden.


If growing a winter garden has piqued your interest, then read up on how to best grow varieties you would like on your winter table. It will be wise to do some research and even check in with your local extension office, as not all varieties will want to be grown now and some will grow better in the fall and others in the spring.


As your spring garden begins to wane and more space becomes available in your garden beds, now would be a great time to begin selecting your favorite cool loving vegetables.   Think Brussels spouts, cabbage, kale, carrots, beets, Swiss Chard, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, celery, radishes and many more!


Keep in mind that protecting your plants from the heat, during the summer months and then protecting them from fall and winter frosts will be the key to a successful winter garden. Integrating cold-frames, row covers and clotches might be the perfect solution to extending the seasons and protecting your crops.


When deciding what to plant, think of the varieties that take the most time to mature and plant those now, while plan to seed those varieties that are fast to mature and plant those later in the season. Take into account the amount of time needed before transplanting and harvesting, this in addition to, noting plants sensitive to frost is something to consider. Lastly, taking into consideration fall factor is key to success! Fall factor represents the change in pace plants take as they move into the dark of the year.


When thinking of what you want to enjoy on those cold winter days, its important to work backwards when planning your garden. Take into account the following:


  • The amount of days from planting to transplanting
  • Incorporate the average number of days till maturity
  • Tack on an extra couple of weeks to account for the fall factor


= The number of days to count backwards for prime winter garden production


It is important to take extra care of your seedlings as they emerge. Keeping them in areas that hover around 85 degrees or below is important to make sure they are not being scorched. Some of our mini-micro climates in our yard or patios can quickly reach high temperatures. An easy solution would also be to start your seedlings inside and transplant after they have reached about an inch or so in height.


Keep in mind that mulching your garden beds now, like any other time, is only going to benefit water retention, weed suppression, added organic matter and enhanced fertility.


Succession planting is another excellent planning method to help you arrive at a continuous harvest. Keep track of your planting days on your garden calendar or journal. Keeping good notes, year after year, will ensure that you are learning from your mistakes and making the most of each season!


Take the opportunity, our entire inventory is 35% off till July 7th, 2015. Use the coupon code: “SUMMER”.



Save Water Plant a Garden!

starting-to-garden-glovesCalifornia is in its 2nd year of a historical drought. Although,our state has naturally moved through cycles of drought and abundant rain, over the past many decades, its still disconcerting that we have not had a storm for a couple of months.

Gardeners, farmers and concerned citizens a like are taking drastic measures for conserving water from tearing out lawns to integrating water saving technology and even abstaining from planting their spring gardens.   Unfortunately, the latter does little if anything, to actually conserve water. Those choosing to refrain from putting a garden in are generally still purchasing the same produce, they would be growing, from a supermarket.   Big ag accounts for 70% of the world’s water use and much of that is wasted in inefficient practices. Some of those practices include overhead watering, washing produce before and after shipping, transporting food across state and international borders and disposing of food aesthetically not marketable.

With new emergency water conservation regulations, set by the State, Californians are feeling the need to not plant a garden. Yet, a home gardener and even a small-scale farmer can grow food efficiently, while using a minimum amount of water. Integrating simple solutions can make the difference between enjoying fresh garden veggies out of the garden or compromising for store bought. Consider heavy mulching, planting more drought tolerant varieties, experimenting with dry-farming, use smart watering strategies, reuse shower and cooking water to irrigate, use intensive planting practices and plant varieties with similar water needs together.

Eliminating weeds, may seems like gardeners’ protocol, but many gardeners also make peace with their weeds and use a more zen approach to plants that are in the wrong place. But the reality is that some weeds, like lambs quarters and crab grass, are responsible for consuming 80 gallons of water to create 1 pound of plant tissue – that is a staggering number! Integrating weed control with heavy mulching can go a long way in water conservation tactics, conserving as much as 1 inch of water per week.

By integrating low-tech water saving technology in homes, such as low flow showerheads and aerators and expanding that to the garden with low-flow watering wands, rain barrels and drip irrigation, saving water while having a thriving garden couldn’t be easier.  Best of all California is offering a lot of financial incentives for water conservation.

With new rebate programs, homeowners can integrate solutions such as:

Laundry-to-landscape system components

  • Rain barrel
  • Pool covers
  • Hot water recirculation systems

By growing your own food you can control the amount of water used and limit water waste.   By doing a little research and some minor adjustments, gardeners can still grow an abundant garden year round!  Best of all dry farming practices add more flavor while using drastically less water – what a concept Less water more flavor! All these simple practices can make a big difference in the bigger picture.  It’s now all of our responsibilities to conserve every drop!



Seed of the Week – Italian Parsley

ParsleyEvery week we are going to introduce a Seed of the Week, where we are going to select one seed to highlight.  We will share the historical attributes, the story that makes this variety an heirloom and why we love it so much!

A wonderful herb fresh or dried. Parsley is widely used in American, European and Middle Eastern cooking. Great ingredient in stocks, soups and sauces. A complement to salads, potatoes, fish, stews and many other dishes. Remember germination can be slow!

Cultivated as an herb, spice and vegetable.  Considered one of the healthiest foods, consider planting parsley this spring and begin sprinkling it in your morning omelet, your afternoon sandwich and even in your evening soup!  Organic parsley is on sale today for only $1 in our store – get it today!


Seed To Table Dinners

The idea for hosting farm to table dinners had been something we have been thinking about for quite sometime.  After repeated encouragement from friends and family to share the delights that are served in our kitchen, we decided to create themed Seed to Table dinners. HI5A8559_2

Our first dinner, back in October of 2014, was a complete sold out success!  One of our guests enjoyed the dinner so much that he requested that we do these on a bi-weekly basis instead of bi-monthly!

Our Seed to Table dinners support our Giving Seed Program.   Proceeds from the dinner and donations will help us continue our work in giving heirloom and open pollinated seeds to schools and organizations growing gardens to feed the body, mind and spirit.

Dinners are all prepared by Chef Matthew and are created out of freshly
harvested wonders from The Living Seed Company’s farms and local
West Marin producers. Dinner is $75 per person and includes, hors d’oeuvres, soup, salad, a main course, dessert, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

All dinners will take place in Point Reyes Station, CA.  For dates and information on upcoming dinners, please contact Astrid at astrid@livingseedcompany.com

Valentine’s Day Seed to Table Dinner – SOLD OUT!

Valentine's Day Seed to Table DinnerFor More Information email info@LivingsSeedCompany.com

Seed of the Week | Lemon Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber

Every week we are going to introduce a Seed of the Week, where we are going to select one seed to highlight.  We will share the historical attributes, the story that makes this variety an heirloom and why we love it so much!

This unique, pretty cuke is prized by gourmet chefs for its delicate flavor and crisp flesh.  Deriving its name from its yellow skin, shape and size.  An old heirloom that is sure to still please the discriminating cucumber lover and is easy to digest.

This one is easy to grow, works well in containers, and is extremely productive. Best when harvested young. Great for slicing, salads, on sandwiches and makes delicious pickles!

Please meet … Lemon Cucumber

A perfect vegetable to plant now and enjoy towards the end of summer – a perfect time to cool with cucumber water or salad!  Best of all?  It’s on sale, for only $1.50 – time to eat cucumber

The Giving Seed Program

Denver Urban Gardens

The Living Seed Company believes everyone should have access to vital, pure, open-pollinated seed varieties and through their The Giving Seed Program, seed donations have been sent to Haiti, India, Africa, Europe, South America and throughout the United States.

Over the past three years, The Giving Seed Program has given away over 4,000 packets of fresh heirloom seeds to school garden programs, inner city youth programs, community gardens, seed libraries, food banks, correctional facilities, veteran programs and others.  The Living Seed Company also covers the cost of shipping.

We take recommendations for seed donations, feel free to email us at info@LivingSeedCompany.com.  Interested in donating to our program?
Donations can also be made by calling us at 415.663.8002 or by sending a check to:

The Living Seed Company

P.O. Box 177

Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

India Donations

Women’s Earth Alliance Seed Donation India

The Giving Seed Program began with a vision to give back to our local, national and global community.  We kicked it off with donating a collection for every ten collections sold.

Today, aside from giving away collections, we are also giving away individual packets suited to particular growing regions and community needs. 

 The Living Seed Company also gives out Basic Saving Booklets to encourage and support communities saving seeds and adapting them to their bio-regions.

A Few of our Donation Recipients

Inner City Coalition

Inner City Coalition

  • Seed Lending Library | Steamboat Springs, CO
  • N.W. Regional Correctional Facility | McChord, WA
  • Denver Urban Gardens | Denver, CO
  • Mill Valley Seed Library | Mill Valley, CA
  • Hunters Point Family Girls Program | San Francisco, CA
  • The 4-H Auerfarm | Bloomfield, CT
  • Youth  Over the Rhine | Cincinnati, OH
  • AgriCorps | San Jose, CA
  • Opportunities Over the Rhine | Cincinnati, OH
  • Capital District Community Gardens | Troy, NY
  • Comida del Bosque | 4 Corners
  • The Institue of Ag | Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Huichol People | Mexico
  • Idaho Plant a Row  | Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • Church Living Stone Baptist | Chesterfield, VA
  • Alfred Community Garden | Alfred, NY
  • San Quentin Correctional Facility | San Rafael, CA
  • Alder Ave School | Egg Harbor Township, NJ
  • The Neighborhood Farm Initiative | Washington DC


Thank you so much for your seed donation and for what your company is doing to save these valuable seeds.                         M. Fay

We are so appreciative of your generosity in choosing DUG as the recipient of a seed donation. Your donation means so much to the gardening community in Denver. Thank you!                                                                                                                           J. Romer  

We are greatly appreciate your effort and helping us with the seeds program for Haiti.  Again many thanks May God richly bless you.                                                                                                                                                                                               Pastor J. M. Etienne



Not All Seed Is Created Equal

Painted Mountain Corn The world of seeds can be a cornucopia of information, images and wild descriptions, almost all with promising results.  Unfortunately, for most novice gardeners, it can be very misleading and frustrating.  How can you tell if a seed company is good or not?  Simple, if you can call them and have them provide you with where their seed crops have been grown.  Most small seed  houses would be more than happy to provide such information, as it proves that the consumer is going the extra mile to ensure where their seed source truly comes from.  You will be surprised to learn that not many seed companies grow their own seed, which leaves the consumer to trust each company for providing seed that has vigor, traits and characteristics signature to each seed.

Today, you can find prices for a packet of seed, start at a modest 99 cents and reach upwards of $8.00.  So what is the difference in that large gap?  Most seed, sold economically via big box retailers is usually grown in Asia.  Which means, it is already adapted to a region, soil type and water source, that is completely different from what you have at home.  Their organic standards may be something to question, as well as their labor practices and environmental impact, among other things.  Despite federal germination standards, inexpensive seed has lower germination.  Although this may or may not be due to the quality, it often has to do with how the seeds are stored and transported, before it makes its way into a garden.  Seeds are living breathing embryos and conditions that are too hot can inevitably kill the seed before it has even had a chance to germinate.  At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was full of regional seed houses covering the country from coast to coast.  In the 80’s there was a huge consolidation of the seed industry when large pharmaceutical and big ag companies bought out many of these family owned businesses.  This not only reduced the available genetic stock to gardeners and farmers, but began to tip the scales heavily, in a direction that did not favor biodiversity, preserving genetic stock, seed saving or family farms.    This has caused a dichotomy in the world of seeds and available food varieties, but with new seed houses sprouting up again, things are changing and rare and unusual varieties are becoming the vegetables and fruits of choice.  Most importantly, consumers are becoming more aware of what to look for in their food, what questions to ask their farmers and now, how to choose from a reputable seed company.

Not all seImageed is created equal.  A seed may have the same variety name, as seed from another company, but the quality in its traits may be vastly different.  Just imagine the difference in how a small farmer vs. a large farmer will have the ability to pay attention to his fields and truly choose crops that are only of the highest quality. The purity of a seed variety is only as clean as the attention paid to that crop. More awareness among gardeners and consumers, alike, are realizing the importance of supporting small family farms and family owned businesses, which the very back bone of what this country was created on.

Seeds naturally adapt to where they are being grown, the  more they are planted in the same place the more resilient they become to pests, disease and inclement weather.  Seeds, sold from a reputable seed house can offer seeds that were probably grown in conditions where plants are rouged and seed is never harvested from diseased or weak plants.  This practice in turns builds strength and purity in a genetic line, assuring vigor in future generations.  Choosing seed that has been grown in your local area or in similar climate will assure that the seeds you plant will naturally be more acclimated to your climate and will thrive with your love and attention.  This inherently builds regional resilience in the food supply of an area.Image

It wasn’t too long ago that most gardeners and farmers saved the seed from their fields, but with the on-slot of modern agriculture, that ancient practice began to fall away in favor of hybrids and petroleum-based pesticides and insecticides.  The chain was broken, but only temporarily. There is a resurgence in returning to these practices, these ways that have been tried and true for thousands of generations and they are reminding us of how things were done.  In such a way that is in reverence to the plants and the earth, where a relationship of reciprocity is developed and trusted.  One of our main principles, as a small family owned seed company, is for more and more farmers and gardeners to begin to tap back into the beautiful cycle of life, known as seed saving.  We believe seeds are not meant to be stored, we believe the most vital seed vault is in your very garden.  The living embodiment of life and death, the place where we find ourselves and learn about the nuances of life.

There is a strong opposition, happening globally, to reject what is happening in modern ag and the truth is that growing a garden may be one of the most radical acts anyone can do.  It directs the energy into what works, locally grown food sourced from your backyard.  For those without a yard, supporting local farmers via CSA’s and farmers markets can be as rewarding and powerful.  Starting a garden with pure seed is essential in growing a healthy vibrant garden!  When folks buy seed from us, we see it as though they have joined our growing family.  Where they will received the support they need to assure their plants thrive in the ways that they are meant to!



Seed of the Week | Vermont Cranberry Bean


With the amazing response we have received from highlighting our favorite seeds, we have decided to do a seed of the week!

Every week we are going to introduce a Seed of the Week, where we are going to select one seed to highlight.  We will share the historical attributes, the story that makes this variety an heirloom and why we love it so much!

The Vermont Cranberry Bean is an extremely versatile heirloom, able to be enjoyed as a snap, shell or dry bean.  Originally dating back to the 1800’s from Northern New England,  this bean is truly timeless in its taste, texture and appearance!   Known as mild bean, that can easily absorb the flavors it is cooked with.

This is an excellent bean for West Coast climates that has a tendency towards cooler nights.

Interested in trying your hand at seed saving?  Beans are one of the easiest crops to start with!  Let the plant dry completely down, harvest pods, remove beans and store in an air tight (not vacuum sealed) jar.  If rain is approaching and you have not harvested your beans yet, pull the entire plant, roots and all and place in a dry and rodent-free place, until the pods are completely dry.

Please meet … Vermont Cranberry Pole Bean

What a wonderful heirloom pole bean from Vermont!  Multipurpose, maroon with cranberry stripes, bean can be used as a dry bean with a rich flavor for soups and makes an outstanding baked bean.  Also an incredibly beautiful pink-striped snap bean and great as a shelly.

This bean will do great in cool-weather, short season climates.  Dry bean keeps great in storage.


What do you Favor?

Custom Seed PacketsGetting married or know someone who is?  Looking for a favor to give your guests, something to remember your event by? Look no further, our custom seed packets can be filled with any vegetable, flower or any herb seed. The packets can be designed in honor of you and your beloved with an image or a gorgeous botanical drawing.

With wedding season in full swing, it’s no wonder brides all over the country are at their most excited and stressed states of mind. With so many decisions from dresses to food to flowers, it’s not a surprise that party favors are low on the priority list.

Chocolate covered almonds and small mementos are usually the simple go-to solution. Unfortunately, favors are often leftWedding behind or end up in a landfill. With the advent of the farm to table movement and more and more people interested in gardening, offering customized seed packets for special events is a natural and often long-lasting favor.

Just think, whether you choose herbs, vegetables or flowers, your guests will be sure to remember you and your special event every time they enjoy one of the fruits or flowers from the favors they received.

Leave a lasting memory that will feed your guests, provide forage for bees and butterflies or simply bring color and life to a home.

For more information on varieties available and pricing, contact us at info@LivingSeedCompany.com


We're dedicated to the preservation of the genetic diversity in our food chain through the distribution and growing of open-pollinated seeds and educating about the life affirming art of seed saving.


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