If you garden, you should use nonhybridized, untreated, non-genetically modified seeds, known as “heirloom.” Much of what you get at the local nursery has been chemically treated or mildly radiated to not produce offspring (so the seeds cannot be stored for more than one season). Or their genetic components have been changed, so that we don’t know what deleterious effects that will have on our environment or our health.
I like www.heirloomseeds.com, not just because their seeds are untreated, unhybridized (many of the varieties dating back well over 100 years), and non-genetically modified, but also because they have a huge variety and good prices. When I first read Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest, I got very excited about winter gardening. I wanted to plant all the greens, like mache, that would grow even at zero degrees in my winter grow boxes. But I couldn’t find mache anywhere, locally. It, and every other variety of greens I read about in Coleman’s book, can be found at www.heirloomseeds.com. For instance, New Zealand spinach, which isn’t really spinach, but similar, with a lot of vertical growing capacity up against my fence–and it doesn’t bolt in the heat.
If you’re going to plant this fall and/or winter, though, order now. Heirloomseeds.com takes several weeks to fulfill orders.
For more information about how long you can store seeds, those of you who do food storage, this is a good source: