Where to Buy Heirloom Seedlings if You Can’t Start Them Yourself
on Mar 28, 2017, Updated Oct 28, 2023
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Welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden! Today’s topic is spring veggies – growing and eating. Since seedlings are also a big part of spring gardening, I’m sharing a list of where to buy heirloom seedlings if you can’t start them yourself. Finding heirloom seedlings ready to plant can be a challenge, and this list of five places to look might be a big help.
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I enjoy starting my own seeds have done so for the last 7 years in a row. But truth be told, it’s always stressful! Pulling out the shelf and equipment. Watering every day. Harding them off. What if they don’t grow? Who’s going to babysit them when we go on spring break (we always go on spring break!) In years past, I haven’t let those complications deter me. But this year, we went to Europe right at the time when I should have been starting seeds and lining up seedling babysitters. Instead of stressing about it, I decided to let seed starting go this year.
I’m not starting my own seedlings this year!!- even though I did buy new tomato seeds for varieties I’d really love to grow in my garden. But not starting my own seeds presents a challenge – because I REALLY want to grow heirloom plants. They’re hard to find if you don’t know where to look. So instead of starting my own heirloom seedlings this year, I decided to come up with a list of where I can find heirloom seedlings started by someone else instead. I’ll keep you updated with what I find – but here’s where I’ll be buying heirloom seedlings this year!
Where to Buy Heirloom Seedlings if You Can’t Start Your Own Seeds
Farmer’s Markets –
Local farmer’s markets are great places to find heirloom seedlings. I haven’t visited any farmer’s markets yet this year, but I definitely remember seeing seedlings there in years’ past. Do you find heirloom seedlings at farmer’s markets? Locally, I plan to check out Freight House Farmer’s Market in Davenport and the Iowa City Farmer’s Market too.
I have ordered lovely heirloom seedlings from Azure Standard (called Sarah’s Starts) and have been quite pleased with their quality. Last year, I grew a couple heirloom tomato plants from Azure Standard and also fun broccolis and cabbages. If you haven’t heard of Azure Standard before, they are an organic bulk food coop out of Oregon and deliver organic and non-gmo food and supplies all across the country. I’ve been buying in bulk from them for years and they are one way I keep my grocery budget low. You can read more about why I like them in this post.
Local Nurseries – Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards, even Walmart
While I haven’t found a huge variety of heirloom seedlings at local nurseries, I do find a few every year. Cherokee Purple tomato seedlings seem to be a popular heirloom for big box stores to sell and I’ve seen a few other varieties too. It does take some searching, but if you look hard enough, you might find a few heirloom seeds at the big box nurseries. And Walmart! I’m not a big Walmart fan, but I really do like their nursery sometimes. They have the biggest selection of seedlings in my rural area. I’ve enjoyed buying chocolate mint starts at Walmart and other fun herb varieties that I don’t see elsewhere.
Ask friends who garden –
It might seem an imposition to ask friends who garden, but as a person who has had good luck with seedlings in the past, I know that I happily pass my own leftovers to friends who want them! I’ve had to work hard some years to get rid of my extras and I’m always glad to find good homes for them. Facebook is a great place to advertise extra seedlings and Facebook groups are a good place to look. You can always offer your friends a barter or to pay for the seedlings, if you want!
Order direct from seed companies and sometimes even Amazon!
Two of my favorite seed companies ship out plant starts, both Seed Savers in Iowa and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri. I’ve never ordered seedlings from Seed Savers, but if you’re in the market for unique heirloom tomatoes, herbs, and peppers, definitely check out what they have to offer.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds sells heirloom sweet potato slips. I ordered a sampler last year and the plants were delightful. Unfortunately, my dogs dug up all but two of of them, and the two that were left, while prolific growers, didn’t produce much of anything. 🙁 Could be grower error, though. I have no idea why I didn’t get any sweet potatoes. The starts themselves were lovely, so it was probably grower error.
And did you know you can buy seedlings on Amazon? I want to say I am surprised to see that they sell them, but honestly, you can find everything on Amazon. I haven’t seen any heirloom seedlings yet, but it’s worth checking back for sure! Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs are all on amazon and they ship free with Amazon Prime.
And that’s where I’ve found heirloom seedlings started by someone else! Have you found heirloom seeds to buy somewhere else? Please share in the comments!
Tuesdays in the Garden!
You’re in for a treat with this week’s Tuesdays in the garden posts! From growing spring crops, to eating them – we’ve got you covered. Check out what my gardening buddies are up to this week by clicking on the photos or the links beneath.
From Shelly @FrugalFamilyHome – Tips for Growing Kale
From Angie @AngleFreckledRose – Tips for Growing Peas
From Diane @HomemadeFoodJunkie – Tips for Growing Rhubarb
From Jami @ An Oregon Cottage – Shrimp & Asparagus over White Bean Puree
From Patti @Hearth & Vine – Favorite Spring Recipes with Spinach
From @BrenHass – 5 Recipe Ingredients to Grow in Your Spring Gardens