This is one of those posts that we hope will grow and grow and grow. We also hope it will be a beautiful exercise in collaboration and feedback from you. This page is going to be dedicated to helpful links. We want to share knowledge and hopefully connect you to the people you need to make your gardening venture everything you want it to be.
So, herewith the start of what we hope will become a really comprehensive list:
Online Suppliers of Open-pollinated & Heirloom Seeds:
Suppliers of the well known Franchi Sementi brand of Italian Heirloom seeds. They provide an online shop and will send you the seeds via post. We have used their service and it was both efficient and reliable. We have found the Franchi Sementi seeds to have a really good germination ratio and cannot wait to harvest our first crops. Sought After Seedlings are also educators and run some excellent beginners (and intermediate) courses in Organic Gardening, Organic Pest Control and have an amazing rooftop garden in urban Johannesburg.
Living Seeds grows over 90% of the open-polinated and heirloom variety seeds they sell, here in South Africa. There are only a handful of companies who do this. We also found the service easy to use and reliable.
Good germination rate from these seeds. Also, you know that these seeds have already been tested in South African conditions and you are supporting a local company. We keep hearing about how the advice and support from Livingseeds is really great. Have not had to ask for any ourselves yet, but when we do their email address is already saved.
The Gravel Garden supplies Heirloom seed to the home grower, small farmer and gardening enthusiast. For those of you in the Western Cape this is the closest supplier. In addition to the online shop they have a small cafe on site (on Irene Road in Somerset West) where local gardening enthusiasts gather every Friday morning between 10am and 1pm. The coffee and snacks are excellent and if you have any ‘excess’ from your vegetable garden you can take it there to exchange with others. We are in love with the idea of a local vegetable exchange and have personally learned a lot from hanging out with the local gardeners on Friday mornings.
The folks at Gravel Garden ‘farm’ in the suburbs of Somerset West with the main goal of saving and supplying vegetable seed. A lot of the old varieties are where the flavours lie. Many modern hybrids are bred to withstand long storage and transportation times and it is often the thin skinned tastier produce(especially tomatoes)that have been bypassed commercially . These amazing and almost forgotten open- pollinated varieties are fast disappearing off seed lists and being replaced by modern alternatives.
The following companies we have no personal experience with, but will give them all a try.
Organic Seeds – www.organicseed.co.za
Mahlathini Organics – https://sites.google.com/site/mahlathiniorganics
Sandveld Organics – http://sandveldorganics.co.za – Unfortunately this website does not have a list of available seeds or the ability to order them online. They are available at Organic Zone in Lakeside and at some other health shops. If you want to order these seeds online we recommend you visit Faithful to Nature, this is an excellent online shopping service for all things organic, and they stock the Sandveld seeds.
Soil for Life, Constantia
Fantastic and inspirational garden. Seedlings are available here. For the non-greenhouse gardener we can highly recommend the Soil for Life course that they run. It teaches you so much about having a living, breathing soil full of diversity and life.
Bridget Kitley’s Nursery, Stellenbosch
Located at Nooitgedacht on the way to Stellenbosch this unique, organic nursery is home to many unusual edible plants. Bridget has a large range of herbs and will happily locate plants if you require something special. We got a fantastic Elderberry sapling from here, its worth the drive.
Vredenhof Organic Farm, Somerset West
Although Vredenhof is probably more well known for its fresh produce and restaurant it is also possible to purchase seedlings here. Even if you din’t find what you are looking for, its a lovely day out in the winelands.
Please keep us informed of your favourite places as we really want to grow this list and share the love.