I am currently in the midst of choosing seeds for 2017, as are many other gardeners. Although these reflections apply to last year’s growing season, others may learn from my experience and I am inspired to make a report.
In November 2015 I received a High Mowing Organic Seed catalog offering free shipping. I took the bait, ordering 8 varieties on November 15th, 2015.
Starburst Carrots arrived 5 ½ months later (April 2, 2016), well beyond the winter window that would have allowed me to prepare carrot seed-tapes in my “non-busy” season.
Eleonora Basil, developed to resist mildew, was badly affected by that malady despite our very dry summer. A competitor's Eleonora fared much better.
Provider Bush Beans had a 2016 date on the package, but I encountered germination poor enough to call for a second sowing. Once they got going, they were excellent and this is the bright spot in this order.
For my annual indoor seeding of Allium each February, the Cabernet Onions held 125 seeds in the pack (not merely 100 as stated, which felt generous) but only 54 sprouted, a germination rate below 50%. I allotted considerable space on my seed starting shelf for these with little reward.
Jaune Flamme tomato seeds were “packed for 2015”, not the upcoming growing season of 2016.
The same was discovered for Lemon Basil.
Flat Leaf Parsley and Green Arrow Shell Peas both had “2016” stickers placed over “2015” stamps. Sadly, I bought 2 packets of Peas, planning to use the second one for 2017, and now those seeds are 2 years old instead of just one.
These 4 date discrepancies came to light upon my April sowing day. It went over like the lead balloon it is. Boy did I feel stupid for ordering early…. and also for not looking closely at every seed pack the day it arrived. Blind Faith. I have not encountered this from any other seed company in the past. My revised seed shopping strategy for the future will include waiting until the new year begins prior to placing seed orders. Although it may be common and legal and even ethical to sell 2015 seed up until December 31st, by failing to give me their freshest seeds, High Mowing lost me as a future customer.
I'm not an experienced gardener, and my garden has the kind of clay soil that builds huts better than it feeds plants. :( But through High Mowing Seeds and one other heirloom seed organization (Seed Savers Exchange), I've been able to get healthy seeds and garner enough gardening information to spend at least three days canning great produce each fall. This company has my hearty "yes" vote. And I like the seed comparison charts they provide -- with information about days to maturity, taste, appearance, and so on.
cactusman8 San Marcos, TX (Zone 8b) (10 reviews) March 7, 2015
This has long been one of my favorite sources for seed. Always good to great germination rates, true to type, excellent customer service,and prompt shipping, And now they offer free shipping on any size order. Hard to beat that.
dsnystew Collierville, TN (1 review) February 26, 2015
Terrible customer service. No response to several voice mails and emails. They sent an email stating they sent me a package of seeds, even gave me tracking number, but the USPS does not recognize the number (as in, it doesn't exist). But they won't respond to me to see if we can figure out what happened. Company representative comment on March 6, 2015: On Mar 6, 2015 11:59 AM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
Thank you for your feedback and for making us aware of this customer service failure. Please accept our humble apologies for the breakdown in communication. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to speak with you earlier this week. Our Sales and Customer Service team is eager to help! We can be reached by phone at (802) 472-6174 or by e-mail at [email protected].
luvmygarlic erie, PA (Zone 5b) (1 review) February 9, 2015
I ordered seed garlic from this company in the fall of 2014,it arrived promptly and was some of the most beautiful garlic that I have seen! I cant wait until its ready to harvest in July! I can highly recommend this company and will order other things from them.
Lilyhazen Ellijay, GA (13 reviews) February 6, 2015
This is the first time I have ordered from this company. I look forward to trying the corn seed I ordered. I am especially pleased with how quickly they filled my order!
I am quite pleased with High Mowing Seeds. I mistakenly thought my order should have arrived within 3 days, but did not allow for processing time and the Christmas holiday.
I received exactly what I had ordered, well packaged and good details on the seed packets in addition to the detailed info in the back of their catalog.
Upon placing my order, I had requested a catalog to be included. It is a rather large and colorful catalog with lots of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
I received a very nice email response from "Christy" in regard to my email concern about the shipping delay. My order had actually gone out prior to my email arriving, yet she offered to let me refuse the shipment if I wished to do so.
I am glad I didn't refuse the shipment. I am very pleased with the order and based on my experience so far, I feel pretty confident that I will have good success with the germination when I plant the seeds.I hope to report back about that come next Spring.
Although High Mowing has been in business since 1996, I had never actually heard of them until I did an internet search for mail order organic seed companies.
I like the fact that they only sell organic seeds and I found the price to be very reasonable---most items are $2.75 per packet, and that is for organic seeds. Also,for 2015 anyway,there is no shipping fee and no minimum. Pretty nice!
gubavision Highlands, NJ (1 review) September 13, 2013
I purchased 5 packs of seeds: Dill, Collards, DMR, Lettuce, Red Lettuce, Basil. So far the only thing that germinated was the dill. I didn't even get one plant sprouting with the other seeds I can't say I have experienced anything like it. Complete failure. I have emailed them but gotten no response. Maybe their busy.Company representative comment on September 26, 2013: On Sep 26, 2013 8:11 AM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
We greatly appreciate your feedback. Please accept our sincere apologies for the poor germination results with our seeds. As we've said before, seed quality is of utmost importance to us. All of our seeds are monitored closely by our Quality Control Team, and tested regularly for germination in our on-site lab. We have re-sent our initial response to your inquiry, which included the following link to some excellent information about the many factors that can affect germination: http://www.highmowingseeds.com/Factors-Affecting-Germination...
Our guarantee clearly states that we will offer reimbursement or replacement seeds to customers who are experiencing issues related to seed quality. We look forward to working with you to quickly reach a fair and equitable resolution.
birchoil Ashburnham, MA (6 reviews) September 10, 2013
Posted on August 18, 2013, updated September 10, 2013
Posted on August 7, 2013, updated August 18, 2013
I had hoped for better results from HMOS considering that their seeds aren't cheap and I'd rather do business with this type of company than a purveyor of Monsanto seeds. I wrote HMOS regarding my germination success rate of their seeds and I have yet to receive a response from them. On the whole I wasn't thrilled with the germination success rate and I did two separate plantings. These seeds did well - Blue Lake Pole bean, Fordhook Giant chard, Silvarado chard, Aerostar lettuce and Gourmet lettuce mix. These seeds did poorly - Surrey arugula, Gold Rush bean, Ripbor kale, Pigeon spinach and Burgess Buttercup squash (I planted at least 40 squash seeds and only two succeeded!!). I'll buy from HMOS again but only the above mentioned successful seeds.On August 18th, 2013, birchoil added the following:
Now, of the two squash that came up one just died! And it's been over a month since I wrote HMOS and still no response.On September 10th, 2013, birchoil changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I have changed my rating from neutral to positive. I just heard back from HMOS and I feel that their offer of credit of the full cost of my seeds (including shipping and handling) that did poorly is a fair response.Company representative comment on August 19, 2013: On Aug 19, 2013 3:24 PM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
We're very sorry to hear about your frustrating results with our seeds this year. Seed quality is of utmost importance to us. All of our seeds are monitored closely by our Quality Control Team, and tested regularly for germination in our on-site lab. Our guarantee clearly states that we will offer reimbursement or replacement seeds to customers who are experiencing issues related to seed quality. Please accept our humble apologies if we missed your initial contact. We'll be in touch with you shortly to learn more and see how we can help.
sher_garden Coraopolis, PA (Zone 6b) (1 review) July 10, 2013
My experience with High Mowing Seeds has been this year and so far I have been impressed. First my order came quickly but most of all the seeds look good and have germinated well! Service has been great.
I've tasted the sugar snap peas that I ordered at this point and I am very pleased! Lacinato kale was another item I ordered and have also been very happy with the progress. In fact I was looking for the site to order some lettuce seeds and saw some of the comments listed here in Dave's garden that came up when I googled their website. Felt I had to share my experience and I have recommended the company over the season to many of my gardening family and friends.
Posted on November 1, 2012, updated December 10, 2012
Ordered garlic and received fine but noticed that in addition to several bulbs they had included a couple cloves. When I checked the weight it was obvious that they had added loose cloves to bring the weight up to barely what the order called for. As their sheet clearly states, the cloves should not be separated before planting as they will not be viable for more than a couple of days. How cheap is that to add cloves that will not be viable just to get the weight just barely up to what the order calls for? I notified them I was put off by this but they did not respond.On December 10th, 2012, eldonk changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I was called by Jacob within a couple days after my negative posting and he apologized that they had not called me after my email but said he could not find it. He apologized for my dissatisfaction with their policy of adding loose cloves to make up the weight. I told him that doesn't change my feelings about it but if he talked with management and they agreed to not do this in the future I would change my rating. He just got back to me today to say they have discussed this at length and, although they believe most other vendors of garlic do the same, they agree with me and will use full bulbs to make the weight up in the future. I did not expect Jacob to get back to me and I was quite surprised they agreed with me and would change their policy. I will definitely work with them in the future. Jacob was very courteous in both contacts.
The quality and germination rate of the seeds has been high! I usually order most organic seeds online from other companies, and they usually cost at least $3.50 or more per pack plus shipping. For this reason, I only order a few each season. I don't always have great results planting from seed.
I found High Mowing seeds in my local green grocer for $1.99 a pack, so I picked up another five varieties to add to my collection. I was so pleased with how well the seeds have done, even the red peppers, which are difficult to grow in coastal RI. The plants are beautiful and have just transplanted into the garden. I'm so pleased with the seeds and look forward to buying all my seeds from them next year. Online, their packs are $2.75, which is still less than the previous company I have used.
Nine positive reviews - in a single day - all from reviewers who this is their only post. Is it just me who thinks this is suspicous?Company representative comment on February 1, 2012: On Feb 1, 2012 10:07 AM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
Thanks for your concern over this matter. The reason there were so many reviews in one day is that we posted a link to this page on our Facebook page and asked our customers to post their opinion of our company - either negative or positive. We hadn't had many reviews in the past year, and wanted to increase readership of Dave's Garden & the Garden Watchdog, and let people know that this forum exists. Hope that helps to clear up this mystery!
Excellent seed quality - probably the best germination rate of any of the many seed companies I've used. Great varieties and easy to use web site. My only minor complaint is that shipping is on the high range of all the seed companies I've ordered from. Worth the cost though.
They have a great selection and it is reassuring to know that everything they offer is organic. Their prices are very well in line with other sites that offer organic seeds. Their service is polite and prompt with quick notification on out of stock items. The germination rates were solid and the plants we grew were superior to previous seeds of the same variety from others. We always go to them first and then if they don't have what we need, we'll try other vendors. Plus as a small family farm, we prefer to support other small businesses. Thank you High Mowing.
I found High Mowing Seeds based on recommendations in Mother Earth News. Love the catalog. Great information regarding planting info on the plants. Easy order through the web site as well. Nice design to it. I am particularly excited to use the cover crops mixes I purchased to build my soil. I'll have to post back to report on germination.
Edgartown Edgartown, MA (1 review) January 29, 2012
My experiences with High Mowing Organic Seeds have been excellent! I had the opportunity to hear Tom Stearns speak at an Organic Seed Conference at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, and his enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge about his product makes you want to go home, order seeds from High Mowing and start planting! My interactions with their friendly and helpful staff have been excellent. I have ordered seeds for myself as well as their seed collections and gift certificates to give to others. I am enjoying their beautiful new catalog and planning for my 2012 garden.
rsfschenck Duane Lake, NY (1 review) January 29, 2012
I found the website easy to navigate, with detailed information about each variety. Seeds arrived in a timely manner and look great! I'll be sure to update and let everyone know how our first 100% organic growing season goes!
guenardm CRAFTSBURY COMMON, VT (1 review) January 29, 2012
The customer support for this seed company is incredible - if you don't get an actual human being immediately when you call (during peak ordering times), they are quick to get back to you. Their website has timely articles to help with seed starting and specific organic remedies for all kinds of diseases. I've also gone to several of their free workshops - and came any with invaluable tips for successful growing in Northern climates. The highlight of being a Highmowing customer is their annual 'Farm to Table' field days (get on their email list!). Their field trials are timed so that the public can eat their way through virtually every variety of vegetable on their seed list. I picked my new favorites of broccoli and carrots this way. I am a very happy customer.
msdarlene Alexandria, NH (1 review) January 29, 2012
My garden was a total success using Hight Mowing Organic Seeds. Fabulous seed company. Order came in as seeds were available, mostly all at once. I purchased a seed share this year from them, so I'll save 10%. Anxious to get my butt in gear to place this years seed order. Great, high quality company. Highly recommend them
I purchased seeds at my local Blue Seal Feed store - first year planted one of the edamame soybeans - fantastic germination and yield. Second year same seed, very poor germination :(. Did not receive response from an email to them about this.
I still will buy seeds from them as they are reasonably local and heirloom seed production is very important to me.
I would hope they bring seeds to more stores...as are not available nearby any longer.
I can't yet determine if my experience is negative, but I just received my seed order and found seven packages of seed with a label packed for 2012 placed over the packed for 2011 stamp. I feel as though I have been misled. If I am getting last season's seed that's ok, but I should be told it is going to be last seasons seed and perhaps a discount should be offered because let's face it, if I'm going to pay full price, I really want this years seed. This is my first order with this company and felt that with all the positive feedback I was making a great decision to give them a try. I have contacted customer service to see what they have to say so I will follow up this comment depending on the customer service I receive.Company representative comment on January 24, 2012: On Jan 24, 2012 9:22 AM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
Hi Lori - thanks for getting in touch with us about your concerns over our packaging process. In keeping with our desire to run our company as environmentally friendly as possible, we have chosen not to throw out seed packages with last year's date, but instead have updated the package for the current year. The seed, however, will always be fresh, and as we have strict quality control controls, we test our seed every six months to ensure that they pass federal, and our own, exacting standards. We do not mean to mislead anyone with our packaging, and apologize if that is how it came across. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us, and we wish you great abundance with your garden this year.
My wife and I received a gift certificate for High Mowing as a wedding gift from a friend who knew we'd be doing lots of gardening. We've been very happy with the selection and quality of seeds, and of the service provided by High Mowing. Our one minor complaint is that gift certificates expire after only one year--as our friend had been very generous and given us more than we could use up in two seasons, we had to be sure to renew the remaining credit each year before it expired. When a company receives advance payment (which is what a gift certificate represents), I think they should honor it no matter how long it takes to be used up.Company representative comment on February 16, 2011: On Feb 16, 2011 10:35 AM, High Mowing Organic Seeds responded with:
Hello jtellerelsberg, thank you for letting us know your concerns about the time frame of your gift certificate. If we did not have an expiration date on our gift certificates, from an accounting and management issue it becomes challenging to keep track of active gift certificates. In order manage it so that we can keep track of active gift certificates, we have set the time-frame of one year, but we do encourage people to use their unused gift certificates to buy a second gift certificate if they know they want another year to redeem it (and there is no limit on how many times a customer can do that). That lets us know it is still an active gift certificate.
We will certainly honor gift certificates that are within 3 years old. I hope that clarifies the situation, and please let us know if you have any other questions.
Been buying seeds & other garden supplies from HMS for the last 7 years. Wonderful, organic products...I live in Vermont and have been fortunate enough to be able to make the short trip over to HMS' display gardens....The staff does an exceptional job and they really focus on education.
Placed a couple of orders in 2009 - all shipped and received promptly. The last of my 2009 orders included several interesting varieties of garlic. Placed my 2010 order - including some HMS' new seeds for 2010: Sunkist and Sweetie (cherry) tomato....Again - all received promptly. One item was backordered and the communication around the backorder has been excellent. I'll still have the seeds in time for early spring planting.
Calalily Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a) (40 reviews) January 28, 2010
This is a super company. Their service is excellent, shipping was fast. I had ordered one variety that was backordered and was taking longer than expected. They called to be sure I wanted to wait.
The germination rates on the seeds was excellent. I can't say enough good things about this company. They have 100% organic seeds and offer both small packets and large quantities.
OrganicOhio Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) (3 reviews) February 20, 2009
During winter, I ordered over $100 in seeds from this company. I did it over the internet. All of my seeds arrived, except the Brandywine Tomatoes which were back ordered, safe and sound. The seed potato will be shipped in April and the packing slip clearly stated such. I have spoken to them on the phone prior to the order and they were VERY friendly. I love this company so far. Their web site and their catalog are a fabulous resource for a newer gardener like me!
bears15 Platte Center, NE (Zone 5b) (10 reviews) November 25, 2008
I ordered from High Mowing this fall. Their customer service is fantastic. They were out of an item and personally called me. Then they sent an email the day the seeds were shipped. Very fast shipping...I can say one thing negative or even neutral...it;s all positive...I am definitely going back, about to place another order.
Have been ordering from them for several years now. They have all organic products, fast service, good germination rates. There are many good seed companies but I especially like High Mowing since they are from the same northeast US area as myself. It is easier to find plants that do well for them that also do well for me.
lisaoliver Foristell, MO (Zone 5b) (3 reviews) March 9, 2007
I have ordered from this co. two years in a row now and have been VERY pleased. My order was received within four days of on-line placement. In 2006 the vegetable seeds I ordered from them faired better than any of the others I planted and ALL their seeds are organic. If you do order anything from them please try the Matt's wild tomatoes. They are wonderful and in my first year bed still more clay than soil, a month of over 100 degree temps and no rain we still had more than enough from just two plants.
yentzn1 East Orleans, MA (12 reviews) July 7, 2006
great germination on seeds!
everthing came up rapidly!
willowman Kingsport, TN (4 reviews) March 26, 2006
One of the HMS packets I recently bought at a retail display was empty. After I sent them a note complaining, they really went out of their way to make it up to me (and they were sucessful in doing so). Their display had a lot of stuff I haven't seen before, and I look forward to ordering from them directly in the future.They seem like good folks.
northwds Northern, MN (Zone 4a) (1 review) March 14, 2006
Have received my correct seed order in a timely manner. I have ordered from HMS in the past and have had no problems. Notice was given in catalogue or on-line if a seed type was sold out or had production problems . Germination rates were great, even seed that was saved properly from past years. Seed saving information on packets and growing information in catalogues very helpful. Greatly appreciate the northern heirloom varieties. Cucurbits and tomatoes grew well in Zone 3 with cool summers.
I didn't order seeds, but I did order seed flats from High Mowing Organic Seeds. I was impressed with their prompt service, and extremely impressed with their prices. In addition, shipping and handling was only $2.95, but it cost them more than twice that amount to send them USPS. High Mowing Organic Seeds is a first rate organization.
phossie False Pass, AK (1 review) February 9, 2006
I met Tom back in Vermont in 2003 at a talk he gave on seed saving, which covered a lot of biology on the way. Great guy and totally dedicated to making the world a better place through responsible (and very enthusiastic) growing. High Mowing really is an amazing place. I learned a lot. That said, I didn't use their seed until last year while taking care of a remote homestead here in Alaska. My hunch that their northern-bred seed would do well here (Alaska Peninsula) turned out to be correct - it performed beautifully!
Seed arrived in time for planting despite large mail delays on my end (weather), I was notified of a seed shortage far in advance, and plants were great. Very highly recommended.
cvg Lake Isabella, CA (3 reviews) September 5, 2004
For the last few falls we have ordered cover crop seed from
High Mowing Organic Seed Farm.
It is are goal to order garden seed from High Mowing Organic Seed Farm for 2005.
We are very happy that High Mowing Organic Seed Farm is expanding the Heriloom Seeds they carry!
I am so happy to have found this source of certified organic seed. Wonderful selection, good prices, super fast delivery and the quality of seed seems to be great!! I also appreciate their online reference to grower source and organic certification agency which makes it very convenient for me when I'm filing my organic application. Nice and organized!!! What a find!!
I ordered vegetable seed from this company in 2003 and was very impressed with the germination and the quality of the plants. I was also very impressed when I received a very polite and apologetic letter informing me (well in advance of the growing season) that they had run out of one variety of bean seed due to a crop failure. It recommended alternate varieties, but also alternate sources for the variety I had ordered. My refund, in small coins, had been taped to the letter with scotch tape. Talk about a personal touch.