For more than 40 years Johnny's Selected Seeds has been helping families and friends to feed one another. Everything we do here is focused on helping you have a successful growing experience. We understand that putting the seeds in the ground is but a small part of your total investment of time, energy, and money. When you buy from Johnny's, you can be confident that the seeds you are planting are fresh, vital, and of superior quality — we guarantee it .
Johnny's does not knowingly sell genetically modified seeds; nor do we breed new varieties using genetic engineering. Our breeders use traditional, painstaking methods of natural crossing to create hybrid seeds that are healthy and safe. We are proud to be one of the nine original signers of the Safe Seed Pledge:
Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners, and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically-engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families, or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing are necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically-engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and, ultimately, healthy people and communities.
We maintain an on-site seed lab, and partner only with certified industry seed labs for both our initial and regular cycle germination tests as per Federal Seed Act requirements. Johnny's sets and maintains minimum germination requirements that consistently exceed Federal Seed Act minimum requirements.
Pathology tests are completed only at certified outside labs following industry standards.
All labs performing germination and purity tests on Johnny's seed lots follow current Association of Official Seed Analysts rules for all crops.
To ensure that our seed germination rates remain optimal, we store our seed in a climate-controlled environment.
Seeds designated by the OG symbol are harvested from plants grown under the strict guidelines required by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP), and more specifically the laws enacted by the Code of Federal Regulations. Organic certifying agencies are the vehicle for ensuring that farms/growers wishing to become and remain certified — including Johnny's Selected Seeds as a certified seed producer and handler — meet and follow these guidelines.
To be labeled as certified organic, seeds must have been grown, harvested, stored, and handled in accord with the rules and procedures outlined by the NOP. Certified organic seeds cannot contain genetically-engineered traits; must be grown under certified organic conditions using only those inputs — eg, fertilizer, weed, and pest controls — allowable in organic agriculture; and packed in a certified facility.
Johnny's has been farming organically for over 40 years, and we have been a MOFGA Certified Organic Seed Handler since 1979. We offer hundreds of varieties of certified organic vegetable, herb, flower, fruit, and farm seeds allowable for certified organic production, and remain true to our commitment to diversify our certified organic seed offerings.
F1 Hybrid seeds are the result of a cross between two genetically distinct parent plant lines. The plants grown from these seeds will usually show more vigor than either of the two parent plants, and often more vigor and uniformity than similar non-hybrid (standard) varieties. To create a hybrid (F1), traditional breeding methods are used that involve the cross-pollination of two parent varieties that were selected for specific traits.
Commercially, hybrid seed must be produced by the seed producer each year by crossing the inbred parents. Inbred parents are used because they express characteristics uniformly, and this uniformity is also seen in the F1 hybrid plants, F1 referring to "first filial" or first generation after the cross.
Natural crossing in the field may also result in useful hybrids. However, the F2 or second generation after the cross, grown from seeds saved from F1 hybrid plants, will not be uniform, and in fact often will have numerous different types as a result of genetic segregation.
Johnny's hybrid varieties are selected for improved flavor, disease resistance, and climate adaptability. We offer numerous F1 hybrids.
We also offer Open-Pollinated (OP) varieties, which are plants that reproduce themselves through either cross-pollination (via wind, insects, water) or self-pollination (between male and female flower parts within the same flower or separate flowers on the same plant). As long as they are grown properly isolated from other plants of different varieties, plants grown from their seeds demonstrate relatively stable traits from one generation to the next.
Among older open-pollinated strains are the varieties we have come to regard as Heirlooms — carefully selected varieties whose seed lines have been maintained and passed down over generations. While the plants of open-pollinated varieties in general are fairly similar to one another, they are not as uniform as those of hybrids, and there can be a tremendous amount of genetic variability among heirlooms. For this reason we grow and carefully evaluate distinctive heirlooms every season, to offer the most reliable, fragrant, or best-tasting. In addition, organic seeds are available for most the heirloom varieties we offer.
The majority of our seeds are untreated and uncoated.
Treated Seeds (Actives)
We offer two main types of seed treatments: conventional treated and biological treated.
Conventional Treated seeds have been coated with a chemical-based fungicidal treatment that protects the seeds from soil-borne pests or pathogens during the seeding and germination phases.
Our Biological Treated seed offerings include those treated with Natural III, an enhancement comprised of beneficial bacteria and fungi to prevent seed decay. Made with NOP-compliant materials and approved for use in certified-organic operations, this treatment also facilitates the development of a robust root system and hence a healthier seedling that can perform better in less-than-ideal conditions.
Film Coating is another type of seed enhancement that facilitates ease of sowing. Film coating may be useful to increase seed flowability through better "slippage" between individual seeds; make the seeds easier to see as they are being handled or once placed in growing medium; assist with seed identification; and/or decrease dust in planting conditions. Certified organic growers should check suitability of the film coating with their certifier for film-coated seeds.
Seed products that are Film-Coated are noted as such in their product descriptions. Some, though not all of our Film-Coated seed products are also designated by an FC in their part numbers. If seeds are offered with an NOP-compliant film coating, it will not be noted in the part numbers.
Pelleting is an enhancement that coats the seeds with inert substances that render them uniform in size and shape. The pellet coating serves to improve seed visibility, handling, and sowing accuracy at uniform distances (singulation), thereby reducing seed waste and the need for thinning.
The pellet coating is sometimes additionally useful as a vehicle for delivering seed treatments. For example, the NOP-compliant Natural III seed treatment is applied to onion seeds in combination with an NOP-compliant pellet.
We have recently introduced multi-seed pellets for certain varieties. As the name suggests, there is more than one seed (generally 4–5) in each pellet, which makes the multi-seed pellet ideal for retail container or hydroponic production. In placing of sowing several seeds per container or growing-media cube, just one pellet is sown, saving labor time and expense. These are conventional pellets and are not approved for use on certified organic farms.
Conventional seeds with Conventional Pelleting is designated by P in the product number.
Conventional seeds with NOP-Compliant Pelleting is designated by JP .
Certifed Organic seeds with NOP-Compliant Pelleting is designated by GP .
Priming is a seed enhancement that improves germination speed and uniformity, or breaks the dormancy of the seeds. Priming can be offered alone, or in combination with pelleting.
The process of priming involves hydrating seeds in a solution within a controlled environment, allowing germination to take place, then arresting the process at a certain point, at which time the seeds are dried down to storage moisture levels. The materials used in the germination solution, usually salts to control water uptake by the seeds, dictate whether the priming process can be certified organic.
Pelleted lettuce is commonly primed (though not always), and we do not indicate this with a special part number as it varies based on the characteristics of individual seed lots. Be assured that certified organic seed is only primed with certified organic methods if the process is necessary. Currently, we only offer one specially primed variety, conventional Primed Rosemary, which is indicated with an E in the part number.
Because primed seeds are sold in a germination-ready state, we recommend purchasing only enough primed seeds for the current growing season.
Seeds that are known to be Primed are designated by an E in the product numbers.