“Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around. An extremely yang solution to a peculiar problem which they faced.” ~ Terence McKenna
Last week, I had a chat about what prompted me to start my seed bank and how it has grown over the years.
Today, I want to focus on your seed bank.
“But Melissa, I don’t have a seed bank yet!”
No worries, I’ll get you started.
And we need to start at the very beginning.
I collect seeds from different sources, indeed you probably already have seed hiding in plain sight in your house already.
So let’s get sowing…
Nurseries, Garden Centres & Hardware stores.
When I first started with my edible garden, my go-to seed shop was our local garden center. They had a pretty decent range of seeds by well-known horticultural brands.
But it wasn’t long before I started getting frustrated. The germination (or strike rate) of some varieties was pretty awful. I discovered some seeds were sourced from overseas, from climates nothing like my own!
I still occasionally buy garden centre seeds, but I tend to stick to flowers like sweet alyssum or chard, beetroot, and carrots. Such plants are tricky to collect seed from, yet germinate fairly easily.
But it is worth keeping your eyes peeled. One year, I found a few packets of discounted saffron crocus for sale in the garden centre of a discount store. I made off with the lot!
Online Seed Suppliers
All the online seed suppliers I have listed below I have purchased from and can recommend their service and quality. All are based in Australia. (But please note, I’m not affiliated with any of these suppliers.)
The Diggers seeds are reliable and membership to their Diggers Club offers discounts, free seeds, exclusive offers and access to exclusive content. Their gardens at
Diggers also send live plants and are very well packaged to survive the journey.
Yilgarn’s seeds are cultivated in my own state and as such, have no grief with quarantine and are of very reliable quality. They have a great, unusual range, all perfectly suited for Perth’s hot, dry climate. They have a few select suppliers around Perth, or you can purchase directly from their website.
I have to say, these guys are my favourite seed supplier. Based in Queensland, the mystery couple who run Fair Dinkum are committed to their fantastic array of organically grown weird and wonderful seeds. If you are interested in “bush tucker” these are your go-to guys!
There is so much information describing each plant and written in such an entertaining, relatable way…
“Even in a survival situation I would never eat this fella. If the zombies were coming I would eat a bloody zombie first before I had a nibble on this fella.”
…describing poisonous Blackberry Nightshade, Solanum nigrum.
They send seeds via express post and always land within a week.
Four Seasons Seeds are another supplier with an extensive range of hard-to-find seedy treasures. While not especially descriptive, they include the botanical name for each plant and I usually just do a Google search for the details. 4 Seasons Seeds also offer a bulk seed option with most seeds which works for my large garden.
Pantry supply stores
I once paid $4.00 for a packet of chickpeas that weighed 25g and had them shipped from the eastern states (with a bundle of other seeds). Later, when at the grocery, I discovered the larger, West Australian grown Ord River chickpeas for $7.00 for a kilo. They sprouted just as fast as my specialty sourced seed, except the specialty sourced seed, was more than twenty times more expensive…
I now source my flaxseed, chia seed, buckwheat, adzuki beans, mung beans, sunflower seeds, peanuts and even poppyseed from pantry supply stores. A few experiments like soybeans & lima beans failed but it was a cheap experiment, and one worth a go.
I love farmers markets, not just for the delicious local produce picked at its prime, but for the seed opportunities.
I have gathered seeds from heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, capsicums, chillis, melons and even weirder offerings like carob seeds and gourds.
Enjoy the fruit, and instead of putting the inedible seeds into the chicken coop or compost, save them for your seed bank!
Friends and Family
My Mum grows the sweetest, thin-skinned little yellow cherry tomato that yields an incredible amount of fruit. I have no idea what it’s formal name is, but it doesn’t matter to me. They now happily growing in my garden too and scramble over any trellis I plant them near.
My friend Tracey grows the tastiest rockmelon I have ever tasted! Again, it’s identity is a bit of a mystery, but it doesn’t matter. Every seed I plant germinates. It’s a robust, reliable plant that has improved with each season.
I share seeds with friends and family. It’s the next best thing to collecting seed grown in your own garden, as you can easily ascertain the conditions it requires, how well it grows and when to plant. Plus, local seeds have an advantage in your garden, already acclimatized to your area.
So, Go have another look in your pantry and your fridge, and be prepared to find the beginnings of your seed bank closer to home than you expected.
Next week, I’ll help you with a few tricks on how to clean and prepare your saved seeds for your seed bank.
But have I missed anything? Is there a seed supplier you love above all others? Please leave a comment below…