Seed Companies You Should Know About: Adaptive Seeds

Adaptive Seeds is part of the same network of growers as Wild Garden Seeds and it really shows in their concern for the future of gardening. Strangely, before this year I had somehow missed them and I am really saddened by this. The company has a few items I don’t want to live without. I learned about them due to one of their dehybridizations (see the Great Extras below).


Opening their doors in 2009 from Sweet Home, Oregon, they see themselves as the stewards of rare, divers and resilient seeds. They focus on smaller scale gardeners, seed savers and those who care about the world’s ecology. The owners are Sarah Kleeger and Andrew Still, though I couldn’t find out more than their names. There isn’t a whole lot of information about the company or it’s founders available outside of the website itself and at this time I haven’t secured an interview with anyone in the company. That means the details of how they got started are a bit fuzzy, but considering their offerings and the network of growers they are a part of, I imagine it stemmed from an amazing love of OP plants.

The website is clean and easy to use. The main topbar has information about ordering, your cart, etc. All the things you might want to look over quickly. A second topbar offers seed and book related listings. Grains get their own section in this case, as does a Highlighted Varieties section full of useful categories of seed.

Their catalog is small, but not too thin and offers clear seed information. It is newsprint type paper and lacks photos, which is disappointing from a visual standpoint. Then again, those pictures only sell the seeds if one is looking for something specific visually. Most of it find it easy enough to skim over the website if we are in need of visuals.

In a lot of these catalogs for smaller companies, I find there are often several articles in addition to the standard introduction. Adaptive Seeds only had one article located at the very back of the catalog. It was an unusual change for me, but at the same time many people will consider this an obvious boon as it means more space is dedicated to the seeds themselves.

GMO policy
All of their seeds are tested in an independent laboratory for germination and meet the standards for certified organic. The strict guidelines on certified organic include prevention of GMO contaminated seeds from being sold. They go so far as to ensure not a single variety they have is patented, pvp, or a proprietary hybrid either. That means nothing you buy there is going to be something you aren’t allowed to save the seeds for.

Where the seeds come from
Most of the seeds they offer seem to originate on the farm itself, with a few varieties coming from other members of their network. A number of the varieties will have a notation in their description of who it was sourced from either originally (if grown on their farm) or currently (if grown on another farm).

Pricing and Shipping
Just about everything is 3 to 4 dollars a packet, so no stunning deals, but also no price gouging either. Shipping starts at $3.50 for a ten dollar order and tops out at $12 for anything over a hundred. International only adds $2, so the price isn’t terrible regardless of where you live, though you can obviously get a pretty good deal by ordering several hundred dollars of seeds and books at once.

Great extras
They have a number of landrace plant varieties. I’ve mentioned those before, but just as a refresher, that is a mix of diverse genetic plant stock able to adapt to your own local conditions or needs through doing your own plant selection. They also have several useful categories such as a section for perennial plants only or their own original breeds.

Far and away the biggest reason I dove on this company as soon as I found out about them is their dehybridization program. This is the only company I know of who has dehybridized my favorite hybrid pepper variety. I’d planned on doing so myself at a point in the future, but now I don’t have to! To understand, go buy a pack and grow this pepper. It is delicious when in the green stages and incredibly sweet when red (more orange in the dehybridized version). It’s the sweetest pepper I have ever eaten and having it dehybridized means I don’t have to go to a less ethical company to get it.

Looking to the future
The company will continue to breed new variations of favorite garden plants and dehybridized some of the best hybrids on the market, creating amazing new OP varieties. They will fight the uphill battle against GMOs along with many others. In the next few years, all of their varieties will be considered Certified Organic! At present, all of them have been raised that way from the start, but the certification only came in the last few years, so it will be a few more before the last of the seeds from the application period gets counted as such.

Adaptive Seeds is a part of the Seed Ambassador project, which I have already gone over in previous entries of this series. I hope you’ll give this company a look and consider buying from them. They are locally adapted in much the same way many of the smaller companies I mention are, but they offer some really amazing seeds. Now if you don’t mind, I am going to sit and decide how best to use all those peppers!

What are your thoughts?

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