Finding good seed suppliers is important. If you start off with good quality non-hybrid seeds you will have many years of continued bounty. The following seed suppliers are the ones I would recommend. See also Seed Saving Networks
Chase Organics: The Organic Gardening Catalogue, UK
This supplier has dropped down my list as a seed supplier due to some Disappointing Corn Seed but still a reliable supplier of open-pollinated leafy greens and brassicas seeds and an excellent source for organic soil enhancers, seaweed feeds and organic pest controls. UK based company
List/catalogue: Good website with online listing and ordering. Also printed catalogue and off-line ordering.
Real Seeds, UK
Family run company who produce most of the seed they sell and promote seed saving. Good range of vegetable seeds selected for the home gardener as well as some rare, heirloom, and unusual vegetables. All are open-pollinated (non-hybrid) to enable gardeners to save seed for future years, full seed saving instructions are supplied with the seeds. Shipping to Europe however incurs a rather hefty charge.
List/catalogue: Great website and online catalogue.
Thomas Etty Esq. Heritage Seeds, UK
Specialist in seeds of heritage and organic vegetables, flowers, herbs, wildflowers, bulbs. Of particular interest are some rare old European varieties. No F1 hybrid vegetables, all seeds are open-pollinated and some are from certified organic sources.
List/catalogue: On-line descriptive PDF list (with history of varieties), PDF paper catalogue and off-line ordering
Association Kokopelli, France / UK
French organisation with UK subsidiary. Association Kokopelli offers a collection of heirloom varieties of vegetables, grains and flowers all of them open-pollinated.
List/catalogue: On-line listing and ordering. Printed paper list and off-line ordering. AK also produce ‘The Seeds of Kokopelli; A Manual for the Production of Seeds in the family garden’ in French and an English version is also available. Warning On several occasions I’ve had seeds from this supplier which have little to no viability. Having visited their offices and seed storage this may be because the seeds are kept in paper packets in an uncontrolled environment in temperatures too hot for me in summer! so be careful seed count is also low. But they do sell seeds that can be found nowhere else so it is worth taking a gamble and the organisation does a lot of good work with its seed saving programmes in poorer countries.
Franchi / Seeds of Italy, UK
Distributes seeds by Franchi, an Italian company dating back to 1783. They have a great selection of Italian heirloom vegetable seeds for the kitchen and generous quantities of seed per packet. Of particular interest are the Italian heirloom varieties of pumpkins, courgettes, beans, peppers, chillis and tomatoes. Franchi also have a great collection of chicories and radicchios as well as my personal favourite, Cavolo Nero di Toscana or Black Tuscan Kale.
List/catalogue: On-line listing and ordering. Printed paper catalogue and off-line ordering.
Ferme de Sainte Marthe, France
Great selection of heirloom and open pollinated vegetable and herb seeds with some unusual selections. Also supplies seeds for sprouting, organic gardening sundries, fruit trees and bushes.
List/catalogue: Good website with online listing and ordering (in French). Also printed catalogue and off-line ordering.
Plants of Distinction, UK
Family run seed company with a good selection of vegetable seeds. Of particular interest is their collection of heirloom peppers and tomatoes. I am using this company for the first time this year as a source of some interesting herbs including; serilla, salsola, rare basils and a few other interesting things.
List/catalogue: Excellent website with online catalogue and ordering. Also off-line ordering.
Tuckers Seeds, UK
Commercial seed merchant with a good range of seeds. Of particular interest is the range of green manure seeds, oriental vegetables, cabbages and organic varieties. Also sells a good range of organic soil improvers & fertilizers as well as biological pest controls. Only criticism would be that the seed count is small. UK based company established in 1831.
List/catalogue: Good printed catalogue and off-line ordering. Excellent website, online descriptive list and easy online ordering.
Nicky’s Seeds, UK
Good selection of vegetables including organic seeds; particularly good on oriental vegetables, chilli peppers, tomatoes, leafy crops and unusual stuff from around the world. Warning I have sent several reminders to this company to point out varieties, that I know are hybrids, that they have listed without naming them as F1, I no longer feel the company is trustworthy as a seed source so it’s dropped to the bottom of my supplier list.
List/catalogue: Good website with online listing and ordering. Also off-line ordering.
Here are some seed company’s I haven’t tried yet but may be worth looking into.
Seeds of India, USA
Specialist seed company supplying seeds of vegetables, herbs and spices from India, some of which are very had to get elsewhere.
List/catalogue: website order online
Simpson’s Seeds, UK
The walled garden nursery, has a wide selection of most of the things you want to grow in an edible garden at a fair price. Particularly good selections of chilli, herbs and salad leaves. Delivery is free in UK. Delivery to Europe is £1. An administration charge of £1 is payable for all orders. But do not deliver outside of Europe.
List/catalogue: Great website and online catalogue. Printed Catalogue and order by post.
Tamar Organics, UK
Seed and organic garden supplies with a good range of vegetable seeds.
List/catalogue: online catalogue and ordering.
Alan Romans, UK
This supplier comes highly recommended by a number of fellow gardeners as a specialist in potatoes. Also has a limited selection of other garden vegetables at a fair price.
List/catalogue: online catalogue and ordering. Printed Catalogue.
Beans & Herbs, UK
UK-based small independent company specialising in herbs and beans but also carries a collection of organic vegetable seeds. Seeds are open pollinated and selected to particularly suitable small-scale growing in temperate climates.
List/catalogue: On-line descriptive list, off-line ordering
Victoriana Nursery Gardens, UK
Family run nursery and seed supplier with a solid well-selected list of seeds for the kitchen garden and a few unusual finds such as Chinese celery, chinese artichoke, and catalogna. My Big criticism is that too many vegetables are sold only as blends and are not available as individual varieties, however for a beginner or if you are not sure what variety to choose these blends could be very useful.
List/catalogue: Downloadable PDF catalogue & printed catalogue for UK only. Online and off-line ordering.
Please note most UK suppliers do not to ship tubers, trees, or fruit canes outside of the UK. Be aware that some of these companies do carry seed that is hybrid (F1), not open pollinated, but do not always state the fact clearly. To be sure of buying only OP seeds use a source that only sell open pollinated seeds.