Here are some common questions we get from gardeners. Don't see an answer to your question? Email email@example.com or call us at (845) 204-8769.
We are passionate about our role as seed stewards, and that passion shines through in every facet of our business. We sell only non-GMO and open-pollinated seeds, specializing in rare, heirloom, and fantastic new varieties. We grow much of the seed we sell on our Certified Organic farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. Our Art Packs set us apart in the seed industry, each one utterly unique and designed by a different artist, each one a celebration of the diverse beauty of the plant world. Inside each Art Pack is the story of the seed as well as detailed growing instructions, plant preferences, and more seedy facts. If you have never seen inside an Art Pack, take a moment to gently open one up and explore!
Open-pollinated refers to varieties that are pollinated by natural means (wind, insects, birds, etc). The offspring remain true-to-type over many generations, meaning that when you save and plant seed from an open-pollinated variety, the plant that grows should resemble the former generation both in characteristics and yield.
Generally speaking, the opposite of an open-pollinated variety is a hybrid. Most people do not save seeds from hybrid varieties because the offspring are unlikely to look, taste, or yield the same as the parent. Having started out in 2008 as a community seed library, we remain committed to the history and ethos of seed-saving, and sell only open-pollinated varieties.
An heirloom is an open-pollinated variety that is recognized and cherished by a community of growers. There are differences of opinion about how old a variety needs to be to be considered heirloom, but most people would agree that any variety that has been around for 50 years or more would qualify.
All of our seed offerings are open-pollinated, but not all would be considered “heirloom.” Some are newer varieties bred by great contemporary plant breeders for adaptability, resistance to disease and pests, remarkable beauty and/or flavor. As seed stewards, we see our role as double: to preserve historic heirlooms, and to foster these wonderful new varieties for future generations. We call these our “heirlooms of tomorrow.”
The majority (though not all) of our offerings are Certified Organic, including all of the varieties we grow ourselves. Varieties that are organic will say so below the name of the variety on the product web page. It's also marked on our seed packs.
As a very general rule of thumb, most major vegetable crop seeds will remain viable for 3-5 years, and in some cases as long as 10 years. Some exceptions include alliums, parsnips, and spinach, which may only last 1 or 2 years. Others like amaranth are said to last up to 40 years! For flowers, most annuals typically last 1-3 years. Perennials tend to last 2-4 years. These estimates depend on the way seeds are stored. The ideal conditions for saving seeds is in a cold (but not freezing), dry, dark place. To learn more, check out this blog post.
Different varieties of seed need different conditions to germinate. For some (say a sunflower), the answer is as simple as planting the seed at the appropriate depth in prepared soil at the right time of year. For others (like Milkweed), the needs are more complex, as some varieties require prolonged exposure to cold to germinate, or need to be soaked or prepared prior to planting. The growing instructions on each product page indicate the number of seeds, number of days from germination to maturity, and whether the seeds should be sown indoors or directly into the ground. This information is also on every seed pack, and should be followed closely for best results.
Probably not! Different varieties have very different needs for germinating and growing happily. In temperate zones and colder, most varieties can be planted on or around your last frost date, but many of those can also be succession-sown throughout the season. (Most herbs, Asian greens and other greens, lettuce, root vegetables, beans, brassicas, and cucumbers fall into this category.) The fall garden can be nearly as lush as the summer, since many varieties do well up to last frost (especially Kale, Spinach, Turnips, Mache) and will continue well into winter with a little protection. Even in winter there is sowing to be done, since some of our favorite varieties need cold to germinate (like Milkweed and Poppies). Finally, if you have a window with enough light, many herbs and greens will grow happily inside at any time of year!
Our Pollinator Petal Patch and Good Bug Blooms Mix are great choices, but there are many others. Lacy Phacelia is also known as Bee's Friend; Milkweed is famous for being the go-to habitat for endangered Monarch Butterflies; and our Midnight Garden Mix can also help attract many of the nighttime pollinators we rarely see or think of! Marigolds and Borage make excellent companion plants in the vegetable garden, but most flowers (zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, etc) will bring bees and other beneficial insects to your yard. Birds can also make great pollinators, so our For the Birds Mix is another option. Peruse all of our pollinator attracting varieties, or grow your own flower meadow with our Wildflower Seed Shakers!
So many! Tiny Tim Tomato, Summer Sunrise Tomato, Tom Thumb Pea, Little Gem Lettuce, Teddy Bear Sunflower, Blue Jade Sweet Corn, and Cornell's Bush Delicata are all dwarf varieties that will do well in containers or small spaces. Most of our lettuces and greens will also thrive that way, and nearly all of our herbs. Most of the flowers can be planted in an appropriately-sized container (excluding all the sunflowers except Teddy Bear), but the nasturtiums and Love-in-a-Mist have the most compact habit. Learn all about container gardening with this blog post.
The best varieties for growing indoors are the herbs (excluding a few varieties like Mammoth Long Island Dill and Stinging Nettle) and lettuces, especially the mixes, which are designed to be harvested early. With enough light, warmth, and space, you may also be able to keep some of the container varieties alive indoors.
Not during the majority of the year. We primarily sell seeds, and, during certain seasons, bulbs and tubers. However, we do have a once-annual seedling sale at the Catskill Native Nursery in Kerhonkson, NY, and in the fall, we offer a seedling CSA. Both of these events are geared towards local customers; we are unable to ship any seedlings. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page and be the first to hear about these and our other great events!
Our website can! On each variety detail page, you'll find plenty of information about starting the seed, transplanting the seedling (if applicable), growing the plant on, and harvesting your crop. Unfortunately, due to limited resources, we are unable to provide specific, comprehensive garden-planning help. Two books we recommend to newbie growers are A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach, and The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman. Plus, our blog has ten years-worth of gardening advice from our seedy staff.
You can indeed! Our wholesale program allows you to sell our Art Packs, Seed Shakers, gift boxes, notecards, and calendars in your store, museum, garden center, gift shop, or other retail space. If you're interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and access to our wholesale website.
Yes! We've recently opened a walk-in retail space attached to our new headquarters in Accord, NY. Here, you'll find a seasonally-curated selection of seeds, tools, and items that make great gifts. We're also excited to use this space to display a rotating exhibition of original artworks used for our Art Packs!
If you'd like to order ahead, choose the "pick up" option in our online checkout and we will email you when your order is ready. Our retail store hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We're located at 4737 Route 209, Accord, NY 12404. Customer service can be reached at 845-204-8769.
In the past, we have enjoyed hosting tours and other fun events on our farm. However, we are currently unable to do so. We hope to have the opportunity to invite you to the farm in the near future, but in the meantime, we ask that you do not stop by the farm unannounced. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page and be the first to hear about all of our events!
Welcome to the Hudson Valley Seed Company: your source for heirloom and open-pollinated garden seeds and beautiful garden-themed contemporary art. On our site, you'll find photos and artwork that stoke your horticultural imagination—along with tips to make your garden dreams a reality.