Supporting an Awesome Seed Company - Fedco Seeds

Way back in the day when I started to really delve into vegetable gardening, I heard about an amazing seed house called Fedco, a co-operative seed company that's been around for over 40 years.  Located in Maine, it specializes in seeds for northern/short-season growers.  While the vast majority of their offerings are edibles - from veggie seeds to garlic to certified seed potatoes - they also have a nice selection of herbs & flowers.

In years past, I would read about other veggie gardeners experiences as they thumbed through the Fedco catalogue, trying to decide amongst the hundreds (1000's?) of choices.  Now this is not your typical glossy booklet filled with full colour photos & two line descriptions.  Rather, it's a thick newsprint catalogue (170+ pages) with extensive descriptions and beautiful line drawings.  It spoke to my nostalgic self, especially as I'm one who appreciates detailed info over colourful photos any day of the week.

Some light reading at my local coffee shop 😊

You'll notice that I mentioned 'reading' about other veggie gardeners experiences - that's because, at the time, Fedco only shipped within the U.S..  That's right, I said 'at the time'.  A few years ago, they opened their doors to those of us north of the border - hurray!  Of course, I was one of the first to sign up for their catalogue - and let me tell you, was I ever thrilled when I received it.  Call me old-fashioned (I don't mind!) but there's simply no comparison between online browsing & a real paper catalogue.  Nothing beats flipping through those pages - highlighter in hand - on a blustery winter day.  It's pure heaven!

A couple of my onion choices....

Just like other U.S. seed companies that ship to Canada, Fedco only ships seeds, not tubers, bulbs or plants.  See HERE for their page on Canadian orders.** And before I go on, I want to make it clear that this is not a sponsored post - Fedco doesn't know me from a hole in the wall.  I just really felt great when I received their catalogue this year and wanted to share the love.

One of Fedco's claims to fame is their commitment to transparency and ethical seed sourcing.  They cut ties with Monsanto, for example, almost 20 years ago and have now done the same with Syngenta Group.  And while I whole-heartedly agree with their decisions, I do appreciate the lack of furrow-browed judgement should you, as a consumer, decide to purchase varieties from these companies.  While they encourage customers to 'try something new, for the long-term benefits of autonomy, ethics and greater sustainability', they also make a point to note that 'the varieties we are dropping are widely available in other seed catalogues (as are varieties from Seminis/Monsanto, which we dropped for similar reasons in 2006)'.

In addition, they make it easy for their customers to make an informed choice.  Every variety in their catalogue is followed by a 'Supplier Code' that specifies the type of company a seed is sourced from, ranging from small farmers to multinationals.  So if you want to stay away from corporate suppliers and stick to small seed farmers and family owned companies, just check the code at the end of the description.  Fedco is also proactive when it comes to recognizing those unsung heroes who have sustained and maintained seed varieties, past & present.  Of their own accord, Fedco pays royalties to Nibezun (an Indigineous non-profit), Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust as well as the current generation of 'backyard' & independent breeders who receive little, if any, economic benefit from their work.

Look at those gorgeous line drawings!

Now, I have to confess something.  Much like I did a few years ago, I'm going on a bit of a seed-diet this year - take a look at THIS POST if you have no idea what I'm talking about.  I have a ton of seeds in my stash and I really don't NEED more, especially when it comes to veggie seeds.  Having said that, I am still purchasing a handful of packets from various places, both to try out some new varieties but also to support a few select suppliers that I really believe in, and this includes Fedco.

I'm sure you're curious so to finish off this post, here's a list of the seeds that ended up in my Fedco cart this year:

  • Broccoli:  'Jacaranda' is a broccoli-cauliflower blend that 'boasts large, broad, easy-to-harvest purple heads high on tall, bushy plants' - with a description like that, I HAD to try it!  And since I was low on broccoli in my seed stash and am very appreciative of any variety that claims to have abundant side shoots, I'm also trying 'Green Magic'.
  • Onions: These are one of the few veg where seeds lose viability after only a year or two, so they are always on my list.  I'm purchasing an old favourite, 'Rossa di Milano' (red storage), as well as a few new-to-me varieties:  'Walla Walla Sweet Spanish' (I'm very late to the game in trying this popular variety), 'Clear Dawn' (yellow storage), Evergreen Hardy White (bunching).  I'm also ordering seed for wild leeks aka ramps!  These look like a challenge to both grow from seed & find a spot where they will reliably come back each year but hey - I'm up for giving them a go!
  • Basil: 'Spicy Globe' - I'm growing this one primarily as an ornamental & will be placing it in one of the ornamental borders.  I also added 'Flowering Thai Basil' to my cart - this variety is grown equally for it's culinary and ornamental properties with a bushy, umbrella-like form.
  • Achillea:  'The Pearl' will be the 2nd variety of Achillea ptarmica that I try, after adding 'Marshmallow' to my garden and loving it!
  • Calendula:  'Solar Flashback' sports a variety of coloured petals from yellows & pinkish-blonds all the way to maroon with contrasting red backs - 'cause I love me an atypical calendula 😉.
  • Shasta Daisy:  A double with quilled petals - 'cause I also have a love affair with quilled petals.
  • Lupine:  'Russell Hybrids Choice Mix' - I've never had luck with lupines, but I'm not ready to call it quits yet...10th times the charm??  This one is mainly purple with some bi-colours.
  • Perennial (!?!) Sweet Pea:  Gotta try it for obvious reasons - never mind that, just like lupines, sweet peas have also been elusive in my garden.  This is the traditional sweet pea grown by Jefferson in 1771 & it's hardy down to zone 3.
  • Wildflowers:  Northeast Wildflower Mix - A mix of perennials and annuals native to Northeast U.S. & Canada.  I had so much fun growing wildflower seed mixes in an extra bed a few years ago so have decided to do it again!

Happy Gardening!

**A Quick Note on Ordering Seeds from the U.S.
Since I live close to the border, I do have a U.S. mailbox and often ship my U.S. seed orders there to take advantage of free or less expensive shipping options.  I've never had to pay duty when crossing the border but do have to pay HST if my total purchases (seeds plus whatever else I happen to be bringing back) exceed a certain amount (usually around $200 or so).  This is the way I've always ordered from Fedco so I don't have any personal experience with their Canadian shipping.  Having said that, in the past I have had seeds shipped to me directly from sources such as Baker Creek, Renees, etc., and they arrived with no issues & I've never had to pay either taxes or duty.  It's important to note that my orders are usually fairly small, typically not exceeding $100.  Also, while this has been my experience up to as recently as last year, processes and policies do change so it's important to be aware that there is a chance you may have to pay taxes and/or duties on cross-border purchases.


  1. I need to follow your example and go on a seed diet myself, Margaret. In terms of sweet peas seeds alone, I purchased more than I had space to sow (again). Ditto with larkspur and Nigella. And I don't even want to talk about dahlia tubers or zinnia seeds ;)

  2. That is great that they ship to you. Since moving and downsizing I haven't had need of many seeds, but I forgot they ship flower seeds too which I do plant. So thanks for the reminder. I love their nostalgic looking catalog. Enjoy those seeds.

    1. Thanks Donna :) Whether your garden is big or small, growing a few plants from seed brings a lot of joy!

  3. Wow, that's a lot of seeds considering you're on a seed "diet." But I have so much shade, so I'm mostly a perennial gardener. When I do order seeds, however, Fedco is one of my favorite sources. :)

    1. I guess a 'lot' of seeds is relative, lol! P.S. I LOVE shade gardening - I'm actually looking forward to some of my new beds maturing and giving me a few more shady spots to plant up :)


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