I once did a series of posts on four of my favorite seed companies. These companies feature heirloom and rare vegetable seeds (and more) for the home gardener. Rather than linking to the old posts, I’m going to fresh-post my reviews this year. (I’ve copied with minor edits and noted updates from the originals.)
I’ll begin with a review of the seed company I go to– and order from– first each season…
New Hope Seed Company Bon Aqua, Tennessee (just north of Memphis)
New Hope Seeds is a small, family owned and operated organization located in Tennessee. We specialize in open-pollinated and heirloom vegetable seed varieties that are rare and not readily commercially available.
— Seed Packaging. Seeds come in a small plastic baggie within the paper package. This may not sound like a big deal but here in The South it is. The plastic protects the seeds from humidity, which is important for seed storage. (It’s also an added layer of protection in my back pocket!)
– Variety. New Hope Seed Company offers varieties that just are not available anywhere else. Aunt Hattie’s Red Okra is a spectacular plant with gorgeous red pods. Iopride Watermelon is unbelievable. I could go on & on.
– Tobacco. I discovered New Hope years ago when I was in a snit over Nanny Cincinnati. I was looking for tobacco seed to plant on city property– namely the patch of earth between the sidewalk and the street. Rare, non-hybrid tobacco is one of New Hopes specialties. There’s a wealth of information on growing it on the web site. Try it as an annual specimen plant. It’s a stunning plant, especially if left to go to seed. Plants are also available.
– Sweet potato plants (slips). New Hope functions as an intermediary. A nearby local farm specializes in sweet potatoes which can be ordered from New Hope. Slips– seedlings about 12″ long and ready to plant– ship according to your location. As with tobacco, lots of information on the web site. Nancy Hall sweet potatoes are delicious. They are a white sweet potato and bit smaller than a typical Vardaman. See the banner photo above. Those are Nancy Halls in my wheelbarrow!
– No GMOs.
What you may not like about New Hope Seed Company
– If you are looking for a one-stop seed shopping experience, this is not the place to go looking. Excluding tobacco and sweet potatoes, they offer just 13 kinds of veggie seeds (beans, corn, eggplant, and so on). This is why I shop New Hope first!
– If you are a novice gardener, you may be disappointed to see that the seed packets have no basic information on them: no planting dates, spacing recommendations (although packets do include “days to harvest”). This doesn’t bother me, and it shouldn’t bother you because the information is readily available elsewhere. I’m just noting it.
— [Added 2015] If you like to place orders on websites with bells, whistles, and sliding photos, you’ll be underwhelmed. The folks at New Hope Seed grow extraordinary things, collect seeds, and sell the seeds on a website. It’s a small operation. The look of a website has no effect on your harvest!
My order was horribly botched, (my fault), so I wrote to see if I could change it, knowing that it’s often difficult or impossible to retract a faulty order once placed. I pretty much expected a range from a polite “No”, to the usual, “We’re not responsible for your stupidity!” response that’s so common these days.
Alas!!!!!!, David replied *promptly* that the changes I wanted had been made, *AND* thanked me for supporting New Hope, in a totally non form-letter sort of way.