I ordered several packs of seeds and a set of multiplier onions from this company just a few days before a hurricane hit my area. They had the order ready to send the next day, but made a point of not sending it until I let them know that I was ready. (Tree and leaf removal took priority over gardening for a week.)
The onions came with a planting and care guide, which I found very helpful. The seed packaging was generic, but so far they are sprouting fine.
On Feb 1, 2009, Spookycharles Langley, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers a wonderful quantity of heirloom varieties, including many difficult to find ones at great prices.
The order arrived very quickly and while I haven't yet had a chance to grow any of the seeds one of the packets arrived with extra seeds because it tested low on germination so it would seem that they are serious about ensuring good germination rates on their seeds.
A good selection, including several varieties I've never seen anywhere else. Good quality seeds, too; I think just about every Queen Anne blackeyed pea I planted came up, made a strong plant and produced well. The mustard greens and chard filled up the freezer almost _too_ full, and my lovely, bushy, TALL stand of larkspur was the hit of the community garden I'm in. I'll use this company again. Their prices aren't the lowest, but you get what you pay for.
I ordered from SESE a couple years ago. (just found this website)
At the time they were very helpful when an order got lost due to a confused mailman at our new address. They also answered my silly questions very graciously.
The varieties they offer and choices in quantity are wonderful. I agree that reading the literature was a lot of fun.
I live in the midwest, zone 5 and did well with the seeds, even when a season old at planting.
On the flip side a few varieties were shipped with kind of low germinations tests on the package. That was't inspiring. Everything went well because I ordered much too ambitiously: )
Considering product prices were fair enough to stock up so I never ran into problems, in fact I still have some left over......
Did have trouble getting the catalogue this season. Never came even after requesting it. I understand that these things come up. I just lack the time to follow up when it pops back up in my mind.
On May 15, 2008, farmertony Maplesville, AL wrote:
In Nov/Dec 2007 I ordered peanut seeds from SESE. After much delay I finally received the seeds (in the shell) at a cost of $57.50 for 1 pound in the shell seeds under order number 40626. The cost of $51.00 not including shipping is very excessive for 1 pound of peanut seeds! I had ordered more than 1 pound and didn't expect them not be be shelled (SESE did not indicate shelled or unshelled). I returned the 1 pound of unshelled seeds to SESE on 8 FEB 2008 via insured mail. After not hearing anything from SESE or a credit to my credit card, I e-mailed SESE several times requesting update on my credit for returned seeds. I have not received a reply or credit on my credit card from SESE as of this date. I am a farmer and I order most of my various seeds on line. This is the first time I have had a problem like this and SESE will NOT be one of the companies I will order from again. I did order my peanut seeds (shelled) from another company at a cost of $7,45 a pound.
On July 18th, 2008, farmertony changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
Since my first comments on Dave'sGarden concerning Southern Exposure Seed Exchange I have been contacted by them (SESE) about my return order and my credit card has been credited with the cost of the item returned. It only took six months and a complaint on Dave's Garden to get corrective action. Thanks.
On Feb 16, 2008, artemiss Toledo, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
I actually received their catalog in the mail addressed to the former occupants of the house we moved into this summer.
And I am SOO glad I did!!
I just received my order and I am VERY impressed.
Even though they specialize the "mid-atlantic" states, I was able to find plenty of organic selections that should do well in my Great Lakes area. Their catalog/site is very clear in the requirement of the plants,and the quantity of seeds I received was quite good for the price...way more veggie seeds than I will have room for..(which gives a novice like me plenty of room for error.)
Very highly recommended here!
Southern Exposure is wonderful. Their orders arrive very quickly and in excellent condition. Their catalogs are perfect for reading by the fire on a cold winter night! In two cases, I have had them include an "extra" package of seeds if something has a low germination rate.
A couple of years ago I called with a question about using "old" seeds and was told that they would probably be fine. Nobody tried to sell me "new seeds."
Very quick delivery of seeds, order was accurate and complete. I originally found them because I wanted to try their cotton, but ordered a few extra things too. I only wished they had included a catalog with my order, since I ordered via the internet and didn't get the full opportunity to browse what they have to offer (I love going thru catalogs but don't take the time to go thru every webpage). Most companies will include one if you order, but I guess this is not one of them. Small thing to complain about, but otherwise a good experience.
On Feb 2, 2006, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange responded with:
On Feb 3, 2006 12:38 AM, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange added:
I am sorry that you were disappointed to not receive our Catalog & Garden Guide with your order. Once a week we do a bulk mailing of catalogs for all new customers (and returning customers upon request). Yours will likely arrive in the mail next week."
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a wonderful source for heirloom seeds and other open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds with an emphasis on vegetables, flowers, and herbs that grow well in the Mid-Atlantic region. We support seed saving and traditional seed breeding. Seed savers and breeders are to thank for our rich selection and we will do whatever we can to support our customers and associates to carry on this noble tradition.
We do extensive germination and purity testing of our garden seeds and nursery stock to ensure that we can always provide our customers with the highest quality possible. We want your plants to excel.
We carry many hard to find heirloom tomatoes, peppers, ginseng, potato onions, okra, naturally colored cotton, southern-style greens, and much more. We think that after you try them, you'll agree that our tomatoes taste better!
On December 11th, 2006, cricketsese changed the rating from to positive and added the following:
As of 2007, thanks to so much support from all of y'all who love southern and heirloom seeds, we are going to send out our catalog and garden guide for FREE to anyone who wants it!
THANKS to all of y'all that have made this possible and continue to support our work to preserve our plant heritage!
We're also going to host a the first ever Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello here in Virginia. There will be all kinds of food, music, and fun for the whole family, as well as lots of great workshops, speakers, and learning opportunities. Check our website for more information, as we'd love to see you there.
Be sure to sign up for quarterly email newsletter while you're there, and check out all the new photos we've been adding from our gardens.
We wish you an abundant harvest!
On Aug 20, 2005, eukofios Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:
This year I bought several seed varieties from Southern Exposure, and last fall I bought multiplier onions from them.
They have many seeds and plant varieties, heirloom varieties, that I have been unable to find elsewhere.
Their seeds and the onion sets were well packaged.
The onions grew great. The multiplier onions were the same as my German Great-aunt grew in the midwest 50 years ago. It was like a renewed memory.
The tomatoes and peppers have done well. This is not the best climate for tomatoes and peppers, but the catalog is detailed and gives expected time to harvest, so I bought early ones. The tomatoes and peppers are fruitful and look like I expected.
The growing information is detailed and very helpful.
On Apr 6, 2005, Zeppy Shenandoah Valley, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:
Had only good experiences with SASE: good & honest service by phone or by email, quick shipping, good germination, great advice. Fine heirlooms are here, and almost everything else open-pollinated & organic (AND they're the only place you can get the gorgeous Tashkent French marigold, found outside a mosque in Uzbekistan). Their catalog/garden guide - no glossy photos here! -- contains tons of culture info, including a great table of planting dates for southern regions. Really great resource, and it's online, too.
On Feb 3, 2005, tomatojam Winchester, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
My experiences with this company have been 100% positive since 1987 when I got my first catalog. This was the company that got me hooked on heirlooms.
I still grow most of the varieties that I first ordered from SESE, even though half of my garden each year is mostly new varieties.
Seeds come quickly, are packed professionally, and germination is high. Occasionally I will receive a packet that says "low germination, extra seed included", but I've never had trouble with germination from this company.
Great customer service, great history of each heirloom. Very nice folks answering the phone.
On Jan 24, 2005, Innoma Kingsburg, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Their website is a little slow (for me, anyway) but I always have great luck ordering from this company -- prompt replies, speedy shipping, generous amount of seed at reasonable prices, plus the added benefit of a wide range of interesting varieties. Definitely in the top 5 choices for my own supply and look forward to using them again in the coming years.
Talking to them on the phone is like talking to your mama. They're warm, they care. They'll steer you off rocambole if you live in Zone 9, as I do, and they listen to your comments. Red Turkish Italian eggplant came out bitter because (1) I let it ripen fully and (2)the skin is bitter. Now I grow it as an ornamental. Next catalogue they incorporate the comments. They also have odd and interesting things like natural brown cotton and red currant tomatoes and tell the complete story behind Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter (tomato).
I have ordered from this company for the last 3 years. I have enjoyed many of their unique varieties. The seed was always what I expected and had great germination. Last year I had ordered some popcorn seed that didn't come up. When I contacted the company about the sterile seed they made it up to me with another vegetable variety I was interested in for the fall. The price difference was small but the fall item was more. They told me not to worry about the small difference, that their customers satisfaction came first. I recieved my fall item right on time. I want everyone to know what good quality service they can expect even when things go wrong. These are folks you can count on and I will continue to be a loyal customer.
Neat company. Interesting catalog, with some varieties I haven't found anything else, and fast service (usually 1-2 weeks to get an order back). Prices on some of the more easily available varieties seem a bit high, but I happily pay whatever they ask for the more difficult to find stuff.
I noticed some comments about how "fast" their delivery was. Maybe it's faster in the South? I live in Seattle and learned about the "seed exchange" company from Sunset Magazine. I ordered 6 packets of seeds using my credit card. It's now been eleven days and their catalog arrived today. No seeds, yet...
I would gladly "exchange" the catalog for my seeds. 8>)
I ordered 'Star of David' okra last summer and the seeds arrived on time in the mail. I live in central NC and we happened to have a severe drought at that time. The okra did very well considering. It is now winter 2003 and I have placed another order for various vegetables, sunflowers and 2 colored varieties of cotton. I don't think I'll be disappointed!
I used a credit card and ordered about a dozen packets of seeds. Delivery was fast, and I appreciated the little percentage-count on the package fronts about how many I could expect to germinate. I planted the seeds Saturday and the radishes are already poking their little heads up. Entirely pleased with the turnaround, prices, and seeds so far.
What a wonderful company. My order came complete in short order (less than 7 days both ways via U.S. mail). So far, I've only planted out the onions and a few lettuces this year and all but one lettuce seed has rapidly germinated. The catalog is as informative as a high priced book. I have yet to find such a wide selection of great tasting heirloom tomatoes. This company will receive much of my business in the future.
On Jan 15, 2003, WillowPolson Groveland, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:
I love Southern Exposure! They have a terrific selection of heirloom and OP seeds, the catalog descriptions are very complete, the seeds are top quality.... I always recommend them when people ask me where to get "old fashioned" veggie seeds.
For those of us NOT in the New England states these people are invaluable. The seeds have a very good germination rate. The catalog has very good descriptions of the plant and fruit. It also contains helpful planting and growing advice.
Dr. Jeff McCormack is the director, and he makes a creditable effort to grow out and stock heirloom and open pollinated flower and veggie varieties. If he doesn't grow it, he gets his seeds from specialists such as Dr. Carolyn Male. She grows out over 300 varieties of heirloom and OP tomatoes annually.