FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Please read through and make sure that your question hasn't already been answered in the FAQ below before using our contact form to get hold of us.
Q: Do you export or sell bulk seed? or Are you a "big business" and can I order larger seed packets from you? or Can you quote me on 'x' kg's of carrot/lettuce/maize seed? or I need to plant 'x' hectares of beetroot, can you supply me with the seed?
Are any of your seeds GMO's or Hybrids?
No they are not. All of our seeds are open pollinated, organically grown, heirloom varieties. Please read our webpages "Where Our Seed Comes From" and "Our Seed Symbols Explained" for more info on our seeds. We have also signed the Safe Seed Pledge (scroll down to the bottom of the page for South African seed producers).
Do you sell seedlings/live plants or just seeds?
Unfortunately, as much as we'd like to, we do not have the space to grow out thousands of seedlings or live plants for sale. Also, being an "online only" business, the shipping of live plants is quite a challenge in SA. We do not have the packaging or the courier infrastructure to support this type of business as they do overseas. So, nope sorry, for now we have to stick to selling seeds only.
How many seeds are in a packet?
Our target market is the home gardener and as such the seed counts in our retail-sized seed packets reflect, and are suitable for, this type of market. We do not sell any of our seed in bulk for larger scale plantings (i.e. for farmers). Each vegetable type has a different number of seeds per packet based on how many plants a reasonably sized home gardener might grow. For example:
Carrots: min 200-250 seeds
Cabbages/Cauliflower/Broccoli etc: min 50 seeds
Tomatoes/Peppers: min 20 seeds
Beetroot/Radish etc: min 50 seeds
Lettuce: min 150-200 seeds
For more precise information please see the minimum seed counts per packet that are listed in the product description, on the product page, for every seed variety on our website (the seed count is listed in both the short description and the long description of each variety).
Do you export or sell bulk seed? or Can I order larger packets of seed from you? or Can you quote me on 'x' kg's of carrot/lettuce/maize seed? or I need to plant 'x' hectares of beetroot, can you supply me with the seed?
Unfortunately no. We are a home based business (i.e. very small) and we source our organic heirloom seeds from a few selected small growers scattered around the country - some are on small-holdings or small farms and might grow a dozen or so varieties out for us each year, whilst others are simply passionate heirloom gardeners and seed savers with largish gardens and can only do one or two varieties for us per year.
We sell our seeds, via our website only, to the home gardener market and our seed counts per packet reflect, and are suitable for, this scale of planting. We do not export any of our seeds and we ship orders via registered mail or counter-to-counter courier service throughout South Africa only.
The heirloom seed industry is still very small in SA - in that we can only grow and provide enough seed each year to supply to the home gardener market. There are very few professional seed growers in SA who are growing heirloom seed and of those that do exist, none of them are doing so on a particularly large scale (i.e. large enough to supply farmers or the bigger market growers). Most of us in the heirloom seed industry are concentrating on expanding the range of varieties that are available (i.e. a greater number of varieties available as opposed to a larger quantity of seed for each variety).
We also cannot just accept any home-saved seeds, from any Tom, Dick or Mary, for resale. We have pretty strict standards that all of our growers must comply with, especially regarding the prevention of cross pollination, preventing inbreeding depression (via the use of proper population densities), ensuring seed purity and varietal stability (through the proper rouging out of weak and undesirable plants), preventing the spread of plant diseases etc, as well as ensuring that only organic growing practices are used in the production of our seed.
Do you have any 'xyz' seeds available or can you source any for me?
All of the seeds that we have in stock are listed on this website. If it is not listed here then no, unfortunately we do not have any stock. It should be remembered that our small scale growers have neither the space, time nor the resources to grow out every single variety in their possesion, each and every year. So whilst we may indeed be able to source a grower who has some saved "planting stock" of that particular variety, it may take a season or two for them to get it planted, to grow it out and to produce enough seed for sale.
You had 'xyz' seeds in stock last week/month/year but I don't see it on your website anywhere now?
Since we deal with such small scale growers, our varietal selections and stock levels can change quite rapidly. Our in-stock quantities of any particular variety might range from a few tens of packets to a few hundred, depending on what kind of year the grower is having. We may not have any stock of a variety for a season or two due to a crop failure caused by adverse weather conditions, or very limited stocks due to a partial crop loss from pests (or when the growers rabbits escape and manage to flatten most of his crop overnight - these kinds of things do happen). Also, some vegetable types are biennials (i.e. they only produce seed in their second season of growth), or they have very long growing seasons, so replacing a failed seed crop may take some time.
Do you have a printed catalogue that you can send me or a product list that I can download?
No. Since the availability of many of our varieties changes on almost a weekly basis, we do not publish a catalog or have a static product list that we can send out via email. We did try it once but found that people were trying to order from a list that they had downloaded/received weeks or even months before and which was way out of date by the time they were placing the order. We now only use our online shop where the stock levels are updated in real-time, as the orders are being placed. You can go to the "View all Seed" category on our website to see everything that we have in stock at the moment.
Do you have a shop/farm that I can visit in ....?
No we don't. To give you a better understanding of our small business - We do not have a storefront or physical shop nor do we have big farms/gardens or warehouses that you can visit. Our seeds are either grown by our network of small growers that are scattered around SA, or (a small selection of seeds) are imported from small heirloom seed producers overseas (organic family run farms). The seeds are then personally sorted, cleaned, germination & viability tested, counted, packed & labeled by hand and then sealed & stored in a spare bedroom in our home that has been converted into a walk-in cold room.
The legislation in SA, concerning the production of seed potatoes, is very strict in order to prevent the spread of late/potato blight (Phytophthora infestans) - which is the same disease that wiped out the Irish potato industry and caused widespread famine in the mid 1800's. Seed potatoes in SA (i.e. those potatoes grown specifically for seed purposes, as opposed to those being grown for consumption) are grown under very strict standards and disease control measures, as dictated by our Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF). Only seed potatoes that are produced under these control measures and which are then heavily treated, lab tested and certified as 'disease free', are allowed to be sold to the farmers who grow out the potatoes used for our consumption. We can indeed get our hands on these treated and certified seed potatoes, but it very much goes against the grain of our organic principles.
Do you recommend all of your varieties for any region in SA or are there some that might do better than others in specific regions?
Yes, all of our vegetable varieties can be grown in any region in SA. However... some will do better than others, there is no getting around that. Unfortunately it is not as simple as just defining a broad climate region (or section of the country) and saying that one particular variety will perform better than another. There are far too many variables that come into play, from soil and water quality, to sunlight, pests & diseases and everything in-between.
Each and every garden is in itself a micro-climate. For example, our Lunar White carrots do not perform as expected in my own home garden (they come out all skinny and straggly), however, my neighbour a few houses down grows exactly the same variety and hers come out nice and plump & strong. All of our other carrot varieties do well in my garden though.
There are also differences to be found in growing the same varieties in the same gardens during different years. Some varieties, for example, may do very well one year and not so well the next (or vice versa).
Growing plants, unlike math, is not a precise science and we still don't even fully understand all of the functions of the many billions of different microbes to be found in our soils. Your best course of action would be to try a variety once or twice and if it doesn't work then put it to one side and go on to the next one. Don't exclude that variety from your garden forever though, just try it again in a few years time, or in a different position in your garden. Once you have found a variety that does well and that you are happy with, keep it... and save the seed yourself.
There are of course broad climate and temp. differences in various parts of the country that can be divided up into climate regions, but these mainly define the different optimum planting periods/times rather than what can or can't be grown there (I hope that makes as much sense to you as it does in my head) You can download the planting calendars for the various regions from our website here.
I would like to resell your seeds, do you have a wholesale or a discounted reseller program?
Yes, we do have a program to make a small selection of varieties available for resellers (at discounted prices depending on quantities ordered) which are pre-packed in our "home gardener" sized packets (i.e. not bulk seed packet sizes). See this page for more info.
If you have a question that is not answered above, please do not hesitate to use our Contact Form to get hold of us.
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