Grow your own from seed

Red Veined Sorrel (Rumex sanguineus) which is perennial in our zone 5 garden

When you learn to grow from seed your plants, you are no longer dependent on what the local nursery/garden center sells each season. A whole new variety of annual/perennial edible foods can be grown right where you live in the city. I grow all my annual vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed and do not use any chemicals in the process from start to finish. My seed does not need to be labelled organic if the seed savers do not use any pesticides in the life-cycle of their plants. The important thing is to know the companies you decide to purchase from online.

Most companies have a website that has an about page and if you take the time to research them you will know how your seed is grown. I also look for the Safe Seed Pledge which was created in 1999. Their logo is usually placed somewhere on their website. The Safe Seed  Pledge allows  seed businesses to declare that they “do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds.”

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) a native herb that is easy to grow and useful in our Urban Potager

I have created a list of some of the companies that I have found had high germination! You can visit their sites from this page. If you use safe seed pledge seeds you will find they grow well with organic growing methods. These companies are not in any particular order and occasionally I may add  a new company to the list.


Growing your vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed will be one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. Trust me, once you start growing you will not be able to stop! It can become addictive for you will start reading all the interesting stories behind each plant and wanting to try them ALL in your garden. I have been growing my own edible annuals/perennials for the past ten years and each year, I find a new one I just have to try.

For the past decade, I have grown a variety of Swiss Chards in our urban potager (a potager-French name for vegetables, herbs and flowers growing together) each season.I have enjoyed all of the Swiss Chard I have grown over the years, but eventually, you will find when you grow your vegetables that particular ones do better in your gardens. When you prefer one over another; it seems pointless to have six varieties of one plant when you only use one type in all your cooking.

Macgregor's favorite Beet ( seed sold by Wild Garden Seed)
Macgregor’s favorite Beet ( seed sold by Wild Garden Seed)

My favorite is an heirloom from Scotland called MacGregor’s Favorite Beet. I just love this little beauty! It has the most striking red leaves( filled with flavonoids good for your health!), and it is tender. Swiss Chard is an excellent annual vegetable and this little chard is easy to grow in containers or to edge a garden bed.

I can’t find this heirloom grown by anyone locally. I know it is not sold at the local big box garden centers, so when you learn to grow your organic vegetables from seed you can discover new edible vegetables, herbs, and flowers that no one else will have in your urban area. You also open up your world to new edibles that can help you live an organic life right in the heart of the city!