Our Family’s Experience Growing and Selling Seeds

Last month our family finished wrapping up our 6th season of growing and selling seeds from our homestead gardens. Now in early February as the growing daylight length becomes more noticeable and the fruit tree’s buds are swelling, we are slowly entering a new season of growing seeds.

Our little family seed enterprise currently offers a humble, seasonal income stream. The best part is that selling seeds part time rewards us financially for our gardening lifestyle! In some cases we are rewarded directly for the crops we are already growing. Other times we get to try growing new plants because there is demand for their seed.

Ann and I both are passionate about growing a wide diversity of plants — organic gardeners know that diversity creates healthier gardens, but our hearts also squeal with joy when we get to co-create with a wide range of diverse plants.

Onion seed heads ripening.

Our garden plant friends help us enjoy more diversity in our income with a seasonal bonus at the end of each year. Currently we sell most of our seeds to Restoration Seeds, a woman owned seed company local to our Southern Oregon region. Amy works with sustainable farmers on down to small homestead growers like yours truly.

As homesteaders we appreciate being empowered to sell small amounts of seed. Most larger seed companies won’t consider working with small homestead scale growers, but the number of smaller seed businesses interested in supporting bioregional seed and smaller growers are on the rise. (This trend of re-decentralizing seed is so needed for the health and resilience of all of our global communities.)

Six years ago, when we were just getting started homesteading on leased land, we also sold seed directly to gardeners through our website. We did that for two seasons and absolutely loved it.

Some of our customers would followup with us and enthusiastically show us photos of plants grown from our seed. Those relationships built around plants, love and life filled our hearts with joy and gave our homesteading lifestyle more meaning. We enjoyed connecting to a greater community of gardeners through seed.

Seeds became a medium for sharing our love of gardening and our joy of being human. We also quickly learned that seeds can serve as a medium for cultural exchange of ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge.

Our passion for working with seeds continues to grow and gives our lives more meaning through connecting to a greater web of life and community.

In our gardens, seed helps us connect more closely with the plants that we tend. We spend more time getting to know their habits, needs and their reproductive cycle. Collecting their seeds and replanting them the following season helps us tune in to the cyclic rhythms of being alive on Earth.

After harvesting seeds we spend time to clean and process seeds. Often we start with a jumbled, crispy mass of plant stems, seed heads, leaves which all eventually gets whittled down to clean seed… at which point the aesthetic beauty of the seed is revealed.

Every seed is so different in size, shape, texture and color. Our toddler son often wants to help us clean seeds and since plants and seeds are so tactile he is immediately enamored with the experience.

Both he and the seeds help me connect with my own inner toddler as we revel in the sensory delights and the beautiful seeds that emerge at the end of the process.

River holding Orach seeds enclosed in their papery husks.

Ann and I are so grateful that we took a chance on seeds 7 years ago. Our mentor Don Tipping (seed farmer of Siskiyou Seeds) empowered us with knowledge and inspiration around growing, saving, cleaning and selling seed. To this day we have taken the ball and run with that foundational knowledge and inspiration as we continue the journey of growing seed in our gardens.

Working with seeds year after year has made us better gardeners and helped us earn some additional income, but really its the magic of taking part in life that keeps pulling us back to the seeds.

Seeds are responsible for everything we rely on to survive and to thrive: Our clothing, shelters, food, oxygen, clean water, our sense of well being and much more.

Allying with seeds helped us realize and embody this fundamental truth more deeply. As our dominant culture’s values continue to move away from nature, I can’t help but heed my heart’s ongoing cry to return to Mother Earth. Gardening and working with seeds are one way that we ritually become more grounded and connected to the joy of being a human animal participating in a very magical, alive world.

Want to learn how to process bulk seed at a homestead garden scale? Create more resilience and become empowered to clean the seeds that you grow to stock your pantry, share with your community, or sell to other gardeners.

See our course Seed Processing for Abundance for details!

Recommended Reading

Living Abundantly With Seeds — 27 ways seeds offer connection, empowerment and resilience for your family. A free, inspirational guide.

Rudbeckia flower head gone to seed.

2 responses to “Our Family’s Experience Growing and Selling Seeds”

  1. Avatar
    Trina King

    What a beautiful story! I am so inspired by the two of you!!!

    1. Noel

      Aww thank you for the nice note Trina! We are very proud of our journey and our story, its nice to have your recognition and support. 💚

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