Here are responses from the pros to help guide your selection, dear readers - with links to the writers' information and seed companies.
Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings said
The Botanical Interests catalog is free. They aren't sending out any more 2010 ones, but here's a link to their virtual catalog. I also thought of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I love their catalog too. Of course, Renee's is wonderful.Nan Sterman, garden designer, blogger at Plant Soup and author of Water Wise Plants for the Southwest said
Renee's Garden has the best seed packets, hands-down. Each packet is like a little book of information that answers every question before you know to ask it. How to plant, how to care, how to eat. And the illustrations are beautiful!Linda Schaffner said
I ditto that, plus the seeds are very reliable for great results.Elizabeth Peterson, writer for Log House Plants said
For the Pacific Northwest, both Territorial Seed Company and Nichols Garden Nursery provide loads of info for how to grow from seed.Jane Shellenberger, Publisher, Colorado Gardener, said
Peter Garnham, master gardener, Hamptons.com said
My vote goes to Renee's Garden seedpackets, which are beautiful and filled with useful information, and to the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog, which has detailed cultural information in the entry for each species. Botanical Interests seedpackets also bear useful instructions, with really nice illustrations.Jeff Lowenfels author of Teaming with Microbes, said
Donna Williamson of Donna Williamson Fine Gardening, author of The Virginia Gardener's Companion said
The BEST seeds I use come from Italy - I can't really read the package as my Italian is poor but for volume, germination, and taste - it's Seeds from Italy.Nancy Szerlag garden columnist for Detroit News and author of Perennials for Michigan said
Johnny's Selected Seeds ( johnnyseeds.com) is a favorite that give lots of growing information for gardeners in Zone 5. Johnnys tests the seeds it sell in their garden in Maine.Rose Marie McGee, Nichols Garden Nursery, said
If any of you don't yet have a Nichols Garden Nursery catalog either go to catalog request url below or contact me at email@example.com.Kate Copsey, host: of America's Home Grown Veggies Show on www.americaswebradio.com said
I like the information on Renee's Seeds. She gives the planting depth, germination days, days to maturity etc all on a little pull off strip that can be planted if you want to. There is also a USDA map for when to plant regarding frost etc. All on the back of a little seed packet.After reading the previous emails, Jane Shellenbarger posted
Besides those already mentioned three excellent seed catalogs that are both print & online are Fedco Co-Op Garden Supplies (great company & plenty of helpful info in the catalog though might be a little tricky for beginners to find a few things things due to arrangement of info),Enjoy browsing through the catalogs and checking the author's publications. You are sure to find something new and interesting.
Pinetree Garden Seed (superseed.com) and Seeds Trust (smallish but especially for high altitude climates including Denver at a mile high).