Streetsboro, OH (Zone 5b)
November 27, 2020
|11/15/20. ordered cotton and amaranth seeds. did a trial on planting in my indoor greenhouse that has heat mats and lights. both seed types came up within two weeks. seeds packaged ok. I have learned to watch what amount of seeds I order due to my small mailbox size. it is 12 inches wide and 4 inches tall..in my apt. complex. when ordering larger amounts and sizes I always check how shipping is done. have to use companies that use Fed Ex or UPS. has worked well for me here in Ohio.
November 24, 2020
|Ordered a bunch of seeds and sent to another country. Wasn’t aware that I needed to get a certificate for this. Customs siezed the seeds and requested the certificate. I messaged sustainable seeds (as they have no phone number) and realized that it was too late to get the certificate as the seeds already left their facilities. I asked her to send me a mere letter that states that their seeds are safe since I could not get the certificate. I could attempt to show this to the customs team as something from the company and hope that I could get the seefs. She (sustainableseeds rep) was persistently unwilling to help in any way. She kept repeating the same thing over and over, even though the certificate could not be done and I only wanted a letter stating that their seeds are safe. No help whatever.
April 26, 2019
|Have placed multiple orders here. Germination is strong. Seeds are wonderfully packaged (I love that inside each paper satchet is a little ziplock baggie suitable for longer-term storage and also to prevent all your seeds from spilling everywhere once the paper satchet is opened). The bulk seeds are affordable and also well-packaged. My only complaint is that a few of the items I ordered were out of stock, but they issued prompt refunds and notified me via email. Will definitely shop here again.
Tuckasegee, NC (Zone 7a)
May 17, 2017
|I purchased some Henderson Lima beans from this company mainly because the quantity they offered for the price was better than others. The germination was so poor, and the few that did germinate are deformed. Beans sown on either side of these are perfect. I won’t buy from them again.
May 21, 2014
|I have ordered corn and grains from this company since they sell them larger sizes. The prices of seeds and shipping are very good. The seeds arrived promptly, nicely packaged, with some planting instructions printed on the packages. The 5 pound bags of corn seed came in a neat bag. I plan to reorder from them again.
March 29, 2014
|I have ordered for 10 years from a seed company that emails a lot (ugh). Last Fall a typical delivery took 3 weeks instead of the days it always had. Then there were 2 pkgs of ancho seeds that never sprouted. it takes a lot to drive me to change.
Last Fall I saw Sustainable Seeds on a link list and tried them. Loved the extensive variety of heirloom seeds. My order arrived in 4 days and I was shocked at how quickly the seeds sprouted compared to my previous supplier. I ordered again this Spring with the same great results so I am now convinced and converted!
I was originally very frustrated with the shipping costs from this company. Immediately after, they changed their shipping costs to a very reasonable priority mail (which has free tracking and insurance) option.
I ordered from them and am very happy with the seeds and shipping rates. Thanks. Company representative comment on August 31, 2013:
On Aug 31, 2013 10:18 AM, Sustainable Seed Company responded with:
It’s easy to blame the post office or other outsiders for a company’s poor customer service. But that doesn’t wash with me. I’ll never use this company again, and will spread the word in the heirlooms community about their lack of service. Company representative comment on June 5, 2013:
On Jun 5, 2013 7:56 AM, Sustainable Seed Company responded with:
Unfortunately, we track the package with the same tracking number and have no additional information. I am sorry you have not received your order. If a package does get returned we will let you know immediately. Once packages leave our warehouse, they are the responsibility of the Postal Service. I believe the best thing for you to do is to contact your local post office. They will have more up to date information and should be able to answer any and all questions relating to your package. None the less, I am very sorry you have not received your order.
The only information the Post Office will have is that I never got my seeds. Thanks for nothing.
Company representative comment on April 18, 2013:
On Apr 11, 2013 8:55 AM, Sustainable Seed Company responded with:
As an owner of this company I’m so frustrated to see this Randy. This spring season the Post Office has lost HUNDREDS of dollars worth of packages and take ZERO responsibility putting it back on us to replace the lost seeds at our expense. This is exactly why we created the $2.75 insurance option. Sharon would have instantly sent out your seed again if you had it. I don’t blame you not wanting to pay for insurance to get your seeds. It is sad our Post Office has come to this point. Just yesterday we posted to Facebook asking our customers if they would pay a dollar or two more for FedEx and we would completely refuse to ship anything USPS…yes it is that bad. We got over 150 comments about how frustrated people were with the PO and how they wouldn’t mind paying the extra to get their seeds. So, it sounds like we will join other small biz owners in abandoning the USPS. I did check your tracking # and it says it was expected to be delivered April 1st. This is why Sharon sent you that email as they sometimes turn up. If you would like we can send you replacement seed today at no expense. If they do turn up please donate them to a charity of your choosing. Again, I am truly sorry. Soon we will no longer use the USPS. On Apr 18, 2013 11:49 AM, Sustainable Seed Company added:
They carry so many different varieties of USA-grown heirloom seeds that I had a hard time choosing which type to indulge in this year. The prices are so reasonable (I did not have a single seed packet above $2.75, and I paid extra on that one for organic seeds. Most seeds were below $2.00.) that I was able to afford more seeds than I had originally planned.
As for the company’s reliability and promptness: Not only did they ship my seeds the day after I placed my order (which I was not expecting, as I did not pay for expedited shipping), but they got my order right, and even included a handwritten ‘Thank You’ on the order slip.
When you check out at the SSC online store they include an inexpensive option to insure your package before they ship it, which I personally find reassuring. (Anyone who has dealt with mail issues with any company knows that insurance on a package is worth whatever it costs–in this case, only around three dollars.)
The seed packets were sent in a well-padded envelope for safe shipping. They are bright, colorful, and informative, and they are made of recycled materials. It is obvious that this is a small company, and that they are truly committed to their work to make the earth a better place to live.
I plan to save seed this year from my lovely heirlooms, so I won’t be ordering the same seeds next year. but I will most certainly consider ordering some new varieties from SSC to add to my garden.
I have been experimenting with small scale grain raising on my acreage, and they have just the size packages I need, not hybrid or GMO, so I can save my seed for next year.
we can finally go outside without suffering from heat exhaustion :
). Their website is great. You can just keep adding little tid-bits to your cart so easily! By the time I was done my order was $50+ (small beans compared to most I assume), and the shipping only amounted to $5+/-. I received the order quickly; and while one of the packets was incorrect, they sent the correct one to me right away, and at no additional charge!
I may have gotten voicemail the first time I called, I really don’t remember; but what I do remember is that they were so pleasant on the phone, and treated me like I shopped with them all the time. I’ve since recommended them to as many people as I can, and have every intention of ordering from them again. Their product knowledge and reference info is extensive.
These types of companies are the backbone of our nation; and if we hope to have any shot at maintaining the freedoms that our forefathers so desperately fought for, we better start recognizing it, and not quibble over a few dollars shipping charge. These people are not rolling in dough, or trying to gouge their customers. I think they believe in what they are doing, and provide a quality product for a very fair price. If there is a problem they work to correct it swiftly. It’s obvious they care about what they do.
and the seeds did great
organic gardening in S FL is not for the timid
I think our earworms must be on steroids
However, the company has apparently made some (good) changes which give you some clear options on the shipping. The changes also allow you to know exactly the cost of the shipping. The shipping was only $3.07 for my small order. I thought this was very reasonable.
I would normally not take the time to answer the company’s response, but in this case, the response was untrue, so I must. My voicemail said no such thing. it said if the shipping was $22.00, then cancel the order. At that point the company had not even told me that it would reduce the charge to $11.00. This company is obviously attempting to make the mistreatment of a customer look like something it was not. When the company told me the charge would be reduced to $11.00, I very specifically, in an email, told the company to send the order. My email was answered telling me the order was cancelled. The exact words were, “I have just cancelled your order and have refunded your card, you will no longer need to be concerned with this order.” Mistreating a customer is bad enough. misrepresenting that mistreatment is even worse. Company representative comment on February 10, 2012:
On Feb 9, 2012 1:04 PM, Sustainable Seed Company responded with:
Hi there Debra,
As we stated in our email to you, the $9.20 was only an estimated shipping charge, which is what shows up BEFORE you enter your address information. Once logged into the system with the ACTUAL address information, the shipping system gave several shipping options, one of which was $22 (which if you go on the USPS site and estimate the shipping of 7 lbs from 95428 to Ohio, shows a shipping of over $24, so we were actually “eating” $2 if shipped via priority). In response to your voicemail, we called back a few hours later (left a message w/your daughter) and assured you that we would choose the lowest price shipping option, which was a flat rate box. However that turned out to be $11.35.
Your voicemail was quite clear though, that if the shipping was to be the $11.00, to immediately cancel the order, which we did. We ordinarily refund orders in 7-10 days, but since you seemed quite upset, we made sure to refund it immediately as a courtesy.
We did just as you asked. I’m sorry you misunderstood the shipping system. In order to keep this from happening again, we have removed the estimated feature of the shipping program so no one becomes confused again. Happy Gardening! On Feb 10, 2012 2:09 PM, Sustainable Seed Company added:
Sent: Wed 2/8/2012 10:08 AM
“I left a message on your answering machine. when I ordered this, the shipping shown was $9.20. then it showed up here as $22.00. If the $9.20 is correct, continue with the order. if the $22.00 is correct, cancel the order. Either way, email me with the correct amount.”
We left you a message with your daughter when we called and couldn’t get you, sent an email, and did as you requested – cancel the order.
Your voicemail asked us to do the same as your email – you were clearly upset regarding the shipping costs as you told us to immediately cancel the order if it were to be $22 and to ship it if the shipping costs were $9.20.
Your dollar amount of $9.20 as we previously stated was an estimated amount that calculated prior to your entering your shipping address. The system cannot calculate an actual cost until you log in and it has your zip code. Then it calculates the weight based on your zip code and gives you a couple of options to choose in price.
They sound like a small company and this doesn’t seem to be a common occurance. Hope its a one off and they continue to please others – though I probably won’t risk them again. Too late to plant my Goldman’s this year. 🙁 Reviewing here in case the Sustainable Seed Company turns out to not be sustainable. Company representative comment on February 22, 2011:
On Feb 22, 2011 4:00 PM, Sustainable Seed Company responded with:
As you say we are a small family owned company and to that end we are very conscientious of packages going out. In fact our mail lady has had the same route for 23 years and is excellent in taking care of our packages.
Your package was mailed 2/8/11 and assigned a tracking ID. You were emailed this tracking number 2/8/11. This information is a part of postal record. Your package was sent.
Unfortunately, we have no control over that package once it leaves our warehouse. The second time we contacted you and sent the tracking ID again because the P.O. said you failed to claim your package. We wanted to make sure you had the right tracking # to claim your package.
Getting around to thinking about growing my own seedlings a bit late (middle of March), I was dismayed to find some seed sites claiming 3 to 6 week waits. Through someone’s blog, I came upon Sustainable’s site and was immediately impressed at the variety, prices, promise to ship as fast as possible, and personal attention and comments on each seed; good stuff for a newbie like me.
I was able to find everything I was hoping to plant on their website, and then some. Other heirloom sites had fairly limited selection. I am very excited to try the self-blanching cauliflower.
I believe my order arrived with the week. So far I’ve gotten 90 to 95% germination of those I’m starting in seed trays. I would have been just as pleased if they hadn’t thrown in some “thank you” seeds, but they did, which sends a clear message they want to exceed expectations and keep you as a customer.
Their site was quite nice and easy to navigate; they offer open-pollinated, heirloom seed. vegetables, flowers, grain, herbs, wildflowers, books, etc. They had all the old, time-proven varieties I wanted and a notation of how much of each was in stock. Many of the packets were priced at 99 cents. The history and info was something not found elsewhere.
They stated that they were dealing with the order surge by working 14 hour days and were thus able to get orders out within 48 hours. Here’s the unbelievable part: I ordered at 6:57 PM (after hours) and received several emails; one came in at 7:03 PM stating that my order had shipped, SIX MINUTES after ordering! A couple of days later, my order was here, well-packaged; the packets were very pretty and had lots of info, and a usable thank you gift was included. Actual postage on the box was $4.95; I had been charged $4.99, so I guess I paid all of 4 cents for the packaging, labeling, paperwork, etc.(!)
But 2 packets were missing! An email to Farmer John produced (again in six minutes) a nice apology and a promise to send them out “in today’s mail”. He must have done that as I received them only a couple of days later. Mistakes can and do occur; the important thing is that this company goes out of its way to make things right.
Now, all seeds are planted and are showing a real high germination rate. I also appreciate them pointing out when certain varieties may be difficult and giving me advice as how best to proceed with those.
I’ve left the most important thing for last. Farmer John and his staff clearly have a mission. a most wonderful mission. While the name of the company says it clearly, you can find it better expressed than I can do by clicking on the “About Us”, “Philosophy”, and “Community” tabs on their site.
Remember, sustainable agriculture is that which allows us to grow food and beauty year after year for ourselves, our families and friends, irrespective of what goes on in the world outside our gardens. I have been saving seeds for many years; it is easy and fun.
I placed my order 3 days ago (from the opposite coast) & I have already received my package. Everything was packaged nicely with cute seed packets and I even got an extra thank-you seed packet.
The customer service is also superb. I emailed a question in to the site & recieved an answer within literally a few minutes. They were helpful & very friendly and it was a personal response – not a computer generated one.
Oppsss. forgot to mention. They carry open pollinated seeds and that’s a definite plus for me. On May 24th, 2009, Reversemidas added the following:
Just received my first order. I am quite favorably impressed. They really got some things right! Each envelope had about 50% more seed than advertised. I spot check such things. *All* packages were over weight!
My order was received in about 4 days.
A lot of their prices were very low. Especially when considering the extra seeds in the envelopes. There were a lot of $.99 and $1.49 prices available.
They also tossed in a few extra “thank you” envelopes as a bonus. My order was modest, so extras were also pleasant surprised me.
This kind of customer care is pretty unusual these days. Very nice! They will be my first destination for my next order. Easy to recommend them.
It’s a great seed company with the quality I require. I’m looking forward to getting my sprouts ready for the garden.
Plus when I got my seeds they came with extra “ThankYou” packets that I really will use.
They had the grains I was looking to grow for my chickens plus the vegetables for me and flowers for my wife!!
I found Sustainable Seed Company prices, fast service and web-site excellent.
Sustainable Seed Company has 40 reviews (6 negative, 34 positive) at the Garden Watchdog.
Where to Buy Seeds
There are many options for buying seeds, from your local grocery or hardware store to the garden centers, catalogs, and online stores. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, here are some sources we recommend.
Seed Swap from the National Gardening Association
The Seed Swap from the National Gardening Association allows you to post requests for specific seeds and detail which seeds you’re offering to swap. Seeds can be exchanged through the mail. It’s a wonderful way to find seeds that you may not be able to find or buy locally.
Seed Catalogs / Online Sources
American Meadows – Their specialty is wildflowers (100% pure wildflower seed with no fillers and no GMO), but you’ll also find seed for grasses and groundcovers, perennials, and annual seed mixes. Online only, no catalog.
Annie’s Annuals & Perennials – Specializing in rare and unusual annual and perennial plants, including cottage garden heirlooms and hard to find California native wildflowers. They also have a nice selection of over 200 drought-tolerant plants.
Botanical Interests – Over 600 varieties of high-quality, non-GMO seed, with a large selection of open-pollinated, heirloom and organic seeds. Super informative seed packets, including recipes and detailed growing information on the inside of the packet.
Burpee – You’ve probably seen their seeds or plants in local garden centers, particularly their vegetables. They mostly carry their own hybrids, but they’re dependable.
High Country Gardens – Although they’re primarily intended for western gardens, they offer an incredible selection of waterwise and native plants that will do well across the country (except in very humid locations). Plants are chosen for their hardiness, beauty and their support of habitat creation.
High Mowing Organic Seeds – This Vermont based, family owned business sells only 100% Certified Organic seed. They carry a diverse line of vegetables, flowers, herbs and sprouts, as well as a good cross section of cover crops and planting supplies.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds – Johnny’s caters to short season gardeners, with a wide range of vegetables and annual flowers. They also offer a growing collection of certified organic seed.
Renee’s Garden Seeds – An excellent source for gourmet vegetables, kitchen herbs, and cottage garden flowers. The seed packets have a unique flap on the back that provides space for clear, detailed explanations for sowing, thinning and growing the plants. This is one of my favorite sources for quality seeds.
Territorial Seed Company – These seeds are particularly targeted for the Northwest, but you can also find many varieties of vegetables and flowers that will be just fine in other parts of the country.
Thompson & Morgan – T&M have a wonderful catalog for flower seeds but since the company was bought a few years ago there have been reports of quality control and customer service issues. Still, it’s well worth checking them out.
Wildseed Farms – All about wildflower seeds, including bulk orders.
Heirloom and Open-Pollinated Seeds
Sustainable Seed Company – With over 1800 varieties of heirloom seed – over 800 of those are certified organic – you’re sure to find something interesting here. All seeds are produced on their working sustainable farm, complete with hundreds of heritage chickens, pigs, and honey bees.
My recommended sources to buy high quality seeds, including heirloom, organic, wildflower, herbs, vegetables, perennials and more. Plus seed exchanges.