Where to buy Seeds for your Vegetable or Ornamental Garden in Chicago

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Starting a garden from seed is the most inexpensive way to get started in gardening. Whether you want to start an ornamental garden or a vegetable garden to grow some of your own food, nothing beats growing from seed. Chicago's garden centers carry an assortment of seeds from some of the most popular seed catalogs and online seed sellers. Purchasing your seeds locally can save you a couple of dollars on shipping and minimum purchases. Here are what some of the brands the local garden centers are carrying.
Gethsemane: Renee's Garden and Thompson & Morgan Seeds.
City Escape: Seeds of Change and Botanical Interests.
Grand Street Gardens: Seed Savers Exchange.
Sprout Home: Seeds of Change and Baker Creek Seeds.
The big box stores with garden centers are also a source of seeds for brands like Ferry-Morse and Burpee Seeds. When thinking about buying garden seeds Walgreens and Dollar Tree are probably two places that don't immediately come to mind. In the past I've purchased American Seed packets from both of those retailers and found them to be reliable annual and vegetable seeds. Once in bloom, I can't tell the difference between the Zinnias I purchased at ten seed packets for a dollar at Dollar Tree and the more expensive Zinnia packets from Burpee. 
A budget conscious seed shopper would do well to compare prices. There is normally a price difference between different seed sellers, but you may not know there is a price difference between stores carrying the same brand unless you visit them all. A few cents adds up and as we all know; money doesn't grow on trees.
Update: Don't forget to vote for your favorite seed at www.OneSeedChicago.com and get free seeds for your garden. 

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  • Hi kI5, Thanks for signing up for an account to comment. I go to that Menard's too. I purchased some seeds there for a similar themed post I'm going to make to the "MrBrownThumb" garden blog later. But I'll let you in on a secret: I like Menard's and the seed selection there, but the same Burpee seeds at Wal-Mart are cheaper. Even when you factor in the "sale" Menard's is having. Also, the selection at Lowe's is a little different than both places, but a bit pricier.

  • I have been very happy with Seed Savers Exchange. I see you have too in looking at the photo. Thanks for your comment on my blog a little while ago!

    Bill

  • In reply to billkoe:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really like SSE and I'm glad they're now in vogue as more people become interested in growing some of their own food.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thanks for sharing your seed starting tips.

  • To get your seeds started try some Ubiogrow on them check us out at

  • I (finally) organized my seeds this winter - really don't need any more this year, but I'm sure I'll end up adding a few packets to my seed collection. There's always something new to try, and it's fun experimenting. Like KL5 said, it's cheap February thrills. (or January, March, April. . . ;)

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Yeah, even if you only sprinkle them around and don't care much for the results buying them when they start to go on sale at the big box stores is something I can't resist.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Hi Mr. BT,

    Interested in trying to grow potoatoes this year. I am looking for seed potatoes. The catalogs will send me enough for 20 something rows but sadly my little Chicago lot :-) has no room for 20 rows. Is there somewhere local that will sell me smaller quantities?

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    Hi Liane,

    I purchased mine last week at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show http://goo.gl/fb/e2Ec <-There's a pic of the ones I bought from the D. Landreth Seed Company. They're only but they sell in small quantities and some unusual varieties too. I have yet to see of a local garden centers/nursery that sell them, but I'll ask around and post here if I get an answer.

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    Bummer, I was there working the master gardener booth but had to run home right after so no time to shop. (Always next year!)

    Anywhere local you'd reccamend for purchasing?

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    Liane,

    Are you still looking for them? I've asked around and one person tells me there used to be a place called The Seed Store on Cicero Road just south of the Stevenson. Don't know if it is still there and nothing is coming up on Google.

    Also, a member of the Chicago Honey Co-op tells me some people have been able to buy seed potatoes from http://www.nicholsfarm.com/ in the past. You can check out their website and see the farmers markets they'll be at in Chicago this year.

  • Kl5,
    Thanks for chiming and and offering a good tip. Much appreciated.

  • Thank you for this article. I was having trouble sourcing Zinnia seeds at the big box stores.

  • In reply to Sapporo:

    Were you really? They must have been very popular in your area this year. The Home Depot and Menards near me both had a lot of varieties available.

  • In reply to Sapporo:

    Heirloom seeds should be grown in everyones garden.
    ////////////////////
    Buck
    Heirloom Seeds, "How God plants His garden!"

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