Need a good replacement for Johnny's Selected Seeds

Younger Son has getting into gardening. We've always used Johnny's Selected Seeds as our go-to.
They're good quality, they grow well, and if they grow in Maine, they'll grow here in Central Pa.

When we lived in South Carolina, I used Park's seeds for similar growing range reasons.

Y.S. went to place and order and discovered that Johnny's Seeds is not currently selling to the home gardening market.
Their primary market is market gardeners and farmers (which is why their seeds while more expensive tend to be of such high quality: their market DEMANDS seeds that will produce).

It's a combination of unusually high demand and Covid-19 restrictions.

Any suggestions for a wide range of seeds that *will* grow (as opposed to that supermarket trash) AND that will be suitable for central Pennsylvania (zone 5 in winter, extremely variable summers that can be cool and damp or hot and dry or hot and damp or cool and dry)?

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Fedco is also a seed supplier in Maine. I haven't done a lot of business with them but was satisfied on the couple of occasions I have.

SLClaire's picture

I second the recommendation for Fedco ( I buy more seeds from them than any other company. Most of them do well here in Missouri, though our summers are reliably hot. They might do even better for you.

For crops that really like hot weather I buy seeds from two seed companies that have better selections: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, based in Virginia ( and Baker Creek, based in Missouri (

Note that all three of these companies are reporting long shipping times, a month or more, and are accepting orders for only a limited period of time each day. This is unwelcome news for me as I haven't looked to see if I have enough seeds left yet, and I like to start seeds in early March. Hope I don't need much.

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

Rare Seeds / Bakers Creek is an awesome company and they have all kinds of interesting seeds. They also produce an awesome catalog called The Whole Seed Catalog. It really opened up my eyes to the kind of things I can get growing, or at least try.

Ditto what others have said about Baker Creek and their Whole Seed Catalog. I buy a lot of seed from them. In the last few years I have looked into seed from more regional seed sellers and since I am in the Salt Lake area, those seeds may not work for you. However, look around on the internet to see if you can find other regional seed houses to get your seed from.

lathechuck's picture

I know, I know. They're mass market, but they did have three suppliers of organic seed (Ferry Morse-Organic, Burpee-Organic, and Seeds of Change), a couple of weeks ago when I was shopping. If you know what to look for, you can probably find varieties that will do well. I was intrigued to see that some of the seeds were being sold in plastic packets with re-sealable ("zip-lock") closures, rather than the traditional paper packets. The idea being, you may only need a fraction of a packet this year, and you may not be able to buy a packet next year, so preserve what you have left over.

I recently did a germination test on some old seed packets. I have not, I admit, been particularly careful to preserve them, but my beets and spinach packed for 2015 just came up (in 2021), indoors. Cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and collards packed for 2010, did not. Kale, parsley, arugula, and butternut squash, that I saved seed from last summer, did fine. I won't be planting seeds for the garden for a couple more weeks. The kale that came up last week is tall and fragile, even in a south window.

In line with finding seeds, roots, bulbs, and corms at other than plant nurserys.

For the last few weeks (January in Central Pa!), the local supermarket has had a big cardboard display unit of summer-blooming perennials. Lily of the Valley, Echinacea, hostas, rain lilies, dahlias, canna lilies, etc. etc.
There's a big variety to choose from.

Too bad that many of those roots and bulbs are extremely susceptible to freezing! They're zone 8 and above for winter hardiness. The rack is located outside, exposed to all the vagaries of the weather, especially the freeze and thaw cycle.

Next time I go in, I'll tell the manager that all his tender bulbs (dahlias!) are probably already dead.
This is the problem with buying nursery stock at a non-nursery. The staff don't know and probably don't care about winter hardiness and susceptibility towards death by cold.