I am new to gardening and one mistake I have made is that I bought (and could not stop buying) WAY TOO MANY seeds – but at least I have a pretty good idea of where to buy seeds in Canada now.
Why Did I Buy SO Many Seeds?!?
Last year there was a seed shortage by the time we finished my DIY cold frame garden beds, so I was forced to order from a bunch of different suppliers to cobble together a basic list of vegetables and herbs. And then I ordered seeds again when there were some re-stocks and sales, thinking I’d plant a second “crop” and try for a late summer/fall harvest, but I ran out of time and energy. Earlier this winter, I started ordering seeds at a time I thought was ahead of the game – only to find out a lot of places were sold out of specific things I wanted already. So once again I had to place a lot of different orders and, worried about shortages, ordered a little extra. Once I had placed my orders, a friend started selling seeds so I ordered some to support her, even though I really, reall didn’t need additional seeds. And then I walked into Canadian Tire one day to see a massive display so I must have dropped another $100 on seeds, plus some little mini greenhouse things for seedlings (you can see one of them here because I made a little time lapse video).
I don’t love gardening, but I DO love buying seeds, apparently. Hopefully they will keep and maybe this time I can experiment with doing late summer/fall crops in my cold frames. For anyone feeling lost about where to order seeds in Canada, here is my two cents! And if you have a favorite – drop the name/link in the comments. I’m happy to help support Canadian businesses.
DISCLAIMER: There are definitely many, many more companies than what I have listed here, but I wanted to share my experience with the companies I ordered from. So this is not an exhaustive list. Also (very important): remember that I do not have a green thumb, so it’s possible that all of these seed companies are amazing and I’m just really good at not growing things. I did have more luck with some companies over others, so I’m sharing that, but this is not to disparage any companies – it could have just been luck/my climate/my limited abilities, lol.
Also: with all seeds and the current state of the world, be patient with these companies as they struggle to mail things. Shipping can be delayed and it’s not their fault.
My Favorite Seed Company: Annapolis Seeds
Let’s start with my favorite: Annapolis Seeds. These seeds are grown in Nova Scotia and I am absolutely obsessed with the packaging. I know it’s a silly reason to love these seeds, but they have such a vintage quality about them I enjoy when these come in the mail so much. They were delivered fairly quickly too. Packaging aside, I had the BEST success with these seeds – almost everything I planted from this company grew and grew well. I have ordered from them three times now and am never disappointed with the experience.
Lovely, But Not for Me: Metchosin Farm
My mistake (ordering seeds from a company on Vancouver Island – and then going all rogue with things like raspberries and strawberries) meant that this was a fail for me. They have such a different climate from mine, I was doomed to fail. But Metchosin Farm Seeds are organic and they have a great selection so if you’re in a warmer climate, definitely give them a try!
Probably My Fault: Brother Nature
I ordered some rare seeds from Brother Nature, but also some “easy to grow” seeds, like carrots. Nothing grew (I got, like, two carrots, lol), so it was a big disappointment. But, again, it could be my fault entirely.
Another Winner: The Incredible Seed
The Incredible Seed Company is my second favorite company, again from NS. I had less success with these seeds than Annapolis Seeds, but still enough success to enough to encourage me to order from them again. Like all seed companies, they offered instructions on the package and had a great selection online. The packaging is simple and sweet.
Not a Fan of the Plastic: Hope Seeds
My seeds from Hope Seeds did fairly well, but I didn’t love the plastic packaging. I know I could reuse these bags and they probably help the seeds stay fresher longer, but I am just trying so hard to cut back on plastic these days. My beans did really well – and so did my dill – although some of the other seeds didn’t take at all. So a mixed bag of performance, but I’d order from them again because my beans were EPIC last year. This is another NS company, by the way!
New to Me: The Superior Gardener
I met the woman behind The Superior Gardener, this new-to-the-market seed shop, on Instagram. I saw she opened a seed shop and although I had already ordered tons of seeds, ordered from her anyway because she’s also on Lake Superior so I’m sure I’ll have success with her seeds because our climate is so similar. Plus she’s a small biz and I’m happy to show her some support!
Another Local Seed Co: Superior Seed Producers
Another source of seeds from a cold place, Superior Seed Producers seeds are also grown in and around the Lake Superior area. This is my first time ordering from them and while I hate the plastic packaging, I do love to support local so let’s hope these are good!
Available at Canadian Tire: McKenzie Seeds
You can see in these photos that I bought a LOT from McKenzie Seeds (based in Brandon, Manitoba)! I ordered from them online, just to nab a few things I could not elsewhere. And then we ran into Canadian Tire for something and I stumbled across an EPIC display of seeds – all from McKenzie seeds. I was a little annoyed because their shipping was twice the price of any other seed company (now it’s free for orders over $55), even compared to the little guys. And now that I know they sell at Canadian Tire, they’re clearly not struggling so there was no need to overcharge for shipping like they did. Plus when I ordered online they cancelled an item and just refunded my money – I’d have preferred the option to switch something out, especially because I was paying such a high flat rate for shipping. So I feel a little meh about ordering from them again, to be honest.
But still, I could not resist seeing the display and I ended up getting some more veggies from them – and then also a lot of flowers and ridiculous things, like Pampas Grass. Online ordering really is better because I don’t impulse buy so much, lol.
So there’s my two cents on where to buy seeds in Canada. I’d recommend trying local first! There’s been such a boom in gardening and so many small little seed shops opening up, that if you can find local you’ll not only save on shipping but likely find better success growing.
Be sure to pin this post for later!
I’ll be updating this with my experiences trying those new-to-me and new-to-market seeds and sharing how they performed. You can find my update after my first year of gardening in my cold frames in this post. And let me know where in Canada you order seeds (or avoid ordering seeds from) in the comments.