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January 16, 2012

How Gardeners Can Keep Up the Hobby in Wintertime. ~ Laura Ruby

As the snow continues to fall, what is a gardener to do?

With one spring-like day, I’m ready to run out with a trowel in hand and get some seeds in the ground. Then I am reminded on a day like today, with the snow gently blanketing the ground white, that we are in the heart of the cold season, and the ground is actually still frozen. Now is the time to snuggle up on the couch (or these days, in front of the computer) and look through your favorite gardening catalogs and dream about the lush fruits and veggies you’ll grow this spring and summer.

When choosing which companies to go with, consider choosing heirloom varieties, select companies that have a commitment to doing the best they can to ensure their seeds are GMO free and organic and, if possible, go with a local company that provides locally adapted seeds. If you choose seeds from an out-of-state source, the description of the seed usually tells you the growing conditions it prefers. For greater success, choose seeds that are suited for areas with similar high and low temperatures, a similar length of growing season and comparable humidity.

Below are a few companies I recommend when choosing seeds for the upcoming season.  If you are new to gardening, I recommend sticking with a few tried and true varieties, such as Black Beauty Zucchini, but then also going out on a limb and picking a wacky, fun variety of your favorite vegetable that you’ve never seen or heard of before, such as the Chinese Red Noodle Bean.

Happy seeding!

Abbondanza Farms, Colorado


Native Seeds, Arizona

Seed Savers Exchange, Iowa


Southern Exposure, Virginia

Territorial Seed Company, Oregon



Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Missouri

Comstock, Ferre, and Co., Connecticut



Adaptive Seeds, Oregon


High Mowing Seeds, Vermont

Other good resources include:

Organic Seed Alliance

Listing of organic, open-pollinate, GMO-free seed companies by state

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Laura Ruby is an avid foodie enthusiast, sniffing out fresh, local and yummy food wherever she goes. She worked as the Garden Coordinator for the Growe Foundation for the past three and a half years installing gardens and teaching garden curriculum at Boulder Valley elementary schools. She is also the founder and owner of YummyYards, an edible landscaping company, working to co-create more functioning, self-sufficient landscapes, and is a co-facilitator and teacher at the Lyons Permaculture Design Course at the Farmette. When not teaching about growing food, you can usually find her in a garden somewhere.

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