Top Choice Vendors

When it comes to buying seed or plants you should seek out reputable companies that can boast of excellent service. John and I would like to share our top 10 picks. Since John lives on the Atlantic coast and I’m in central Missouri, our list will vary somewhat.

Also, and for those who are of a suspicious nature, The Garden Dreamer does not receive any benefit, whatsoever, from our list of vendors. We are only interested in helping others secure good quality products.

Midwest Vendors

  • Stark Brother’s – Fruit trees and vines, veg. seed, (heirloom and conventional)
  • 20947 US-54
  • Louisiana, MO 63353
  • Telephone 800-325-4180
  • Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. – Fruit trees and vines, veg. seed, (heirloom and conventional)
  • P.O. Box 4178
  • Greendale, IN 47025
  • Superior Garden Center – Fruit trees, veg. seed and seedlings (heirloom and conventional) and landscaping plants and services
  • 2450 Trails West
  • Columbia, MO 65202
  • Telephone 573-442-9499
  • Morgan County Seeds Fruit trees, veg. seed (packets and bulk), greenhouses and gardening supplies
  • 18761 Kelsay Road
  • Barnett, MO 65011-3009
  • Telephone 573-378-2655
  • Email:
  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. – Large selection of heirloom vegetable, herb and flower planting seed
  • 2278 Baker Creek Road
  • Mansfield, MO 65704
  • Seed Savers Exchange – Large selection of heirloom vegetable, herb and flower planting seed
  • 3094 Noth Winn Road
  • Decorah, Iowa 52101
  • Telephone 563-382-5990

Atlantic Coast Vendors

  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds- Large selection of heirloom vegetable, herb and flower planting seed
  • 955 Benton Avenue
  • Winslow, ME 04901

Seed Primer


Seed quality at planting time pertains to a seed’s ability to germinate, develop a normal root and shoot and emerge through the seed bed without deleterious effects to the developing seedling. Here’s the bottom line, planting high quality seed will typically result in good stand establishment in your garden plot.

While you are in the process of purchasing planting seed, make sure that seed was harvested and processed in the season immediately preceding the season you are planning for. Also, check the packet for the seed’s anticipated germination rate. The germination information allows for the gardener to estimate the seeding rate. However, when seed germination is reported as <75%, it’s an indication that overall quality and vigor of the seed has dropped. In other words, 75% of the seed may germinate (by definition) but will the seed have enough food reserves to permit the seedling to emerge through the seedbed? If you are saving your own seed from last season, be sure to perform a seed germination test before planting.


There are basically two sequential events that take place once seed are placed in a moist seedbed. The first event is seed hydration. When the exterior surface of the seed comes in contact with soil moisture, water is attracted to the seed surface as well as to other water molecules. In a sense, the seed becomes encapsulated in a water like shell. After being fully hydrated (approx. 1 – 3 days) the seed will begin to absorb soil moisture into the seed’s interior. The seed then begins to swell, food reserves found within the endosperm (food storage tissue) become available to the developing seedling and many physiological processes (metabolic activity) are activated. Shortly thereafter, rapid development and elongation of the seedling’s shoot and root occur. In the garden, we typically experience germination and emergence taking between 4 to 14 days depending on the type seed and plant species.

To clarify an important point, please allow me to elaborate. The seed’s endosperm and embryonic plant are formed within the ovary (female flower) following pollination and fertilization of the female flower. Pretty cool, huh?


In the plant kingdom, there are two basic plant types in regard to how seed food reserves are stored, the number of embryonic leaves present, seedling emergence and the eventual root system. Of course, this post will address each type in reference to typical garden vegetables. Just so you know, there an estimated 60,000 species of monocots!!

Examples of Monocots (monocotyledons) are rye, wheat and corn. The seed of these type plants store food reserves within the seed’s endosperm and cotyledon. During the emergence phase, the coleoptile (diagram) moves straight upward and penetrates the soil above. Soon afterward, the epicotyl (diagram) emerges from the coleoptile and gives rise to the plants first true leaves. Meanwhile, the root (radicle) begins to grow downward giving rise to a fibrous root system.

Examples of Dicots (dicotyledons) are bean, soybean and spinach. A dicot seed typically stores food reserves within the cotyledons. During the emergence phase, the stem (hypocotyl) is seen coming up through the seed bed in an arched position. It is preparing to lift the attached cotyledons and upper stem (diagram) through the seed bed. Although the cotyledons are short-lived, they will also produce photosynthate. The root grows downward giving rise to a branched and tap root system.


Should you have the desire to save seed from one year to the next, know that it is easily accomplished. Most vegetable seed will retain good vitality when stored under dry (low humidity) and moderate temperature (60F – 70F) conditions. I store my seed at home in a kitchen cupboard. Since my home is kept between 65F to 73F, all year longw, seed saving is doable. Even so, I don’t attempt to save seed once it has reached two years past it harvest or purchase date.

One last point, seed are alive! Even in a seed’s so-called dry state, they continue to respire at very low rates. Poor storage conditions will hasten respiration leading to a decline in the seed’s overall quality.

Let us know what your comments or questions you may have for The Garden Dreamer…

Seed Selection

Hi! Johnny L. Dose here with another contribution to The Garden Dreamer.

Just a few words on seed selection today. First, seeds are not viable forever. If they are more than two or three years old, toss ‘em in the compost pile or on top of a worm tub. Maybe some will sprout that you can use. Me, I prefer to get new seeds. You should be using up your old orders anyway and not overbuying…. um… me.

Second, now is the time to shop for seeds. Parks Seed has a beautiful catalog. I like looking at all the pictures and descriptions. Seeds are packed for airtightness. Gurney’ s has a good selection and combo packs that can make it simple to plan the garden. Also, they’re not pricy. Pinetree, also has good varieties and some hard-to-find seeds, e.g. Winter Savory (herb).

Third, as hinted above, now is the time to plan the garden. What are you going to do that’s new? What are you going to drop? What are you going to keep as standard crops? Sometimes, it’s fun to get out graph paper and draw some plots out. It’s also fun to do a kids jigsaw puzzle, finger paint, and burn crayons in the garage.

Fourth, there are many Off-Season Activities (OSAs), e.g. trade shows, Ag Extension seminars, soil sampling and testing, liming, equipment maintenance, winter garden, 2021 harvest data, expenses to review, and benefits to report. Soul enrichment is a benefit.

So, there is actually some planting that can be done in January, e.g. indoor seeds flats or float beds. Crops like onions, strawberries and herbs like Rosemary and Winter Savory are slow to get going; therefore, could be started now. 

Last, if you have a Winter garden, hoop house, or cold frame, then you already have a 
List O’ Shizz to address. The main point is that the garden season doesn’t begin or end with last or first frost dates. There’s plenty of planning, compiling, building, fixing that can get done and all without mosquitoes, flies ,or COVID masks {region and IQ dependent}.

In closing with comments on fingerlings (new potatoes only not so round), now is the time to get your order in. I like Ronniger Potato farms . The French fingerlings tend to sell out. Now, you can do Yukon gold potatoes, but then you also buy a five pound bag for $5.59. Fingerlings are worth the trouble. They can be very tasty, and are in my opinion, worth growing. At least get on the website and goof out on all the different kinds of potatoes that you can grow. Just like all the different kinds of popcorn you can grow.

Now is also a good time to go online and look for a Vegetable Planner for your area. This information is essentially a calendar of when to germinate, days until harvest, etc.

Anyway, feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences with seeds.

I’ll stop now and save some material for my next post. 

All the Best,

Johnny L. Dose

TGD Blog  03 JAN 22

Rising Above Ground

I have always been curious about seed germination and emergence.  As a youngster, I found it interesting how a tender seedling was able to punch through the soil while typically remaining undamaged.  So, how is this possible?  Well, most seed store food reserves (endosperm) during their initial formation.  These food reserves are utilized by the germinating seed to aid in the development of a root and shoot.  By the time the seedling exposes its first leaves (corn) or stem (beans) to sunlight the seedling has depleted most of its reserves.  At this point, the emerged seedling becomes dependent on sunlight for the manufacture of essential carbohydrates.  Simultaneously, the root continues to grow and takes up water and nutrients from the soil also contributing to the growth of the developing plant.

It’s been said that the most important stage in growing a successful crop takes place during stand establishment.  Unfortunately, this is not always achievable especially if Mother Nature brings forth adverse weather shortly after planting.  However, assuming that all is well, and conditions are prime for germination and emergence, we can anticipate excellent results as long as we continue to irrigate in a timely manner and are prepared to furnish supplemental fertilizer, if necessary.

To all gardeners, always plant A56ED80D-9CCD-4A36-81A3-D62B99070A4Dthe best quality seed available!

This post was prepared in memory of Dr. Tom Cothren (Professor of Crop Physiology – Texas A&M University).


Planting A Seed

Well, I guess the title for this first post, “Planting a Seed”, is somewhat fitting.  What I hope to do is combine gardening experience, science and a love of plant life to anyone interested enough to wade through this blog.  I have elected to name this blog “The Garden Dreamer” because after a good day in the garden I love to fall asleep while recounting the day’s activities.

Anyway, whatever topic is discussed, we hope that the information will be of some help and perhaps a source of encouragement for many and especially for those who have yet to plant their first seed!

Eric J. Lorenz and John G. Allan