Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

For the third year in a row, we’ve ordered our seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Here are 5 reasons they’re awesome and worth using.

Huge Selection of Seeds

When we first started gardening, I thought that, in general, a carrot was a carrot. The options at Home Depot were generally all that existed in the world.

I was wrong. I seriously had no idea there were soooooo many varieties of, well, everything. Their catalog is full of crazy varieties of, like, eggplant, that people have been breeding since colonial (yes, like George Washington) days.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Eggplants

Super High Quality Seeds

Before Southern Exposure, I assumed that you needed to plant like 100 seeds to get one to grow. Ok – that is not true either.

Except when we’ve really botched the soil prep, our Southern Exposure seeds have the same germination rate as they list in the catalog. They are super high quality!

Low Prices

Ok, the seeds might be more expensive than the cheap seeds at Home Depot…but that’s not really what I’m comparing it to. I’m comparing the quality to what plants actually grow. And compared to a pre-planted vegetable plant from Home Depot, these seed packets are a huge value. Since most germinate at 80%+ – most packets will yield plants at pennies per plant.

Education in the Catalog

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Tomatoes

The whole catalog is a quick education in traditional gardening with stories, tips, and anecdotes on growing each type of vegetable. Since the tips are in a catalog, they are concise and focused on the success of the plant rather than all the pointless tips and steps usually included in gardening books.

Hilarious, Happy Branding

The aesthetic is hilarious and happy. I love the whimsical approach that reminds me that gardening is supposed to be fun & special rather than a clinical chore.

Mission Focused Company

I love that the company / coop behind the seeds is not just dedicated to improving & preserving gardening in general but is focused on preserving heirloom seeds for future generations.

I think that every organization benefits from a singular, focused objective. And it seems that Southern Exposure is effective, efficient, and definitely makes an impact on their worthwhile goal.

Support Small Local Farmers

I never realized that seeds have to be harvested from actual, mature plants. For some reason, I imagined that seeds in 2023 were just poofed from a lab beaker or something.

Either way – all these old, heirloom plants have to be grown and their seeds harvested from somewhere. That somewhere is a network of small, local farmers who sell the seeds to Southern Exposure.

It’s a great model that provides an additional, steady income to small local farmers who don’t have the scale, capital, or land to diversify in other ways. It’s a win-win-win.

Heirloom Seed Preservation

Heirloom seeds are sort of like public domain culture (books, music, art, etc) where it’s hard to overstate how important they are to humans and our daily life…while also taking them completely for granted and expecting them to always be there.

In culture, we expect to have to pay for the latest & greatest movies, books, music, etc. But it’s our right to remix and access Shakespeare, Beethoven, and the Bible.

With seeds, I expect commercial farmers to have to pay Monsanto for the latest & greatest hyper-yielding, genetically-modified corn seed. But the right to plant, you know, food – well that’s a right as humans.

The thing is, seeds are also like human languages. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. That’s where organizations like Southern Exposure Seed Exchange come in. They set up the network, system, and business model so that these heirloom seeds don’t depend on some random guy in Virginia to preserve them alone. It’s a cool mission that’s worth supporting as a customer. Go check them out!*

*They focus on the American South. For other regions, check out other different Seed Exchanges – like SeedSavers for the Midwest.

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