Home and Garden: America's oldest seed company is in danger of closing
America's oldest seed company, D. Landreth, which has been in business since 1784, is in danger of having to close its doors forever on Sept. 30. But there's something you can do to help.
The D. Landreth Seed Co. was founded in 1784 and has introduced many flowers and vegetables into the United Sates, including the zinnia, white potato, various tomatoes and 'Bloomsdale' spinach. It carries many heirloom seed varieties that preserve the gardening history of our country.
Due to a series of unfortunate legal issues, the company's accounts have been frozen by a garnishment order (details on the company's Facebook page, or if you're not on Facebook, see the details here). If the company is unable to raise the funds needed by Sept. 30, Landreth will cease to exist after 227 continuous years in business.
Landreth's owner for the last eight years, Barbara Melera, is selling the company's seed catalogs for $5 to help raise funds. The catalog is worth the price; it is printed on thick, nice paper with old-style illustrations, beautiful photos and plant information.
I have always bought my seed potatoes from Landreth and enjoyed taking with Melera at various trade shows. She is knowledgeable, down to earth and passionate about seeds and plants. Even as cheap as I am, I bought a catalog, and I sincerely hope that will help keep this seed house around for another 227 years!
It's important to have smaller seed companies that sell heirloom seeds. Many larger seed companies sell only hybrid or genetically-modified seeds and offer a limited variety of plants and flowers. The amount of heirloom vegetables and seeds to choose from is much larger and diverse, and it keeps our food supply interesting.
I personally need purple potatoes and white tomatoes, for example. Because heirloom varieties haven't been genetically modified, their seeds are true, meaning the seeds you collect from one plant will grow into that exact same type of plant next year.
This is not true for hybrids, meaning you have to buy new hybrid seeds each year, instead of collecting your own.