If I wanted to start selling seeds (for example, tomatoes), how would I go about doing that? Do I have to grow my own strains, and then harvest the seeds, or is there places where you have to buy seeds (like a wholeseller)?

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    well tomatoes are a little more complicated as strains run true... that is are almost the same as their parents... and someone can trademark and essentially copywrite a strain... a lot of tomatoes are going to be public domain, while some will not be... unless there is some specific tomato specific case law I am unaware of. For most seeds you should be able to buy them, but for seed to be valuable you need to know what it will produce, this seems simple but in fact is no trivial task... ie. you are growing acorn squash... but a bee can travel 2 miles, so is there a zucchini within 2 miles... Jul 8 '12 at 14:43
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    One thing I would ask you to think about is what makes your seed business different from the other seed businesses. Better local knowledge, customer service, etc? You don't need to have an answer, but think about how customers would find you and why they would end up deciding to do business with you.
    – Jonathan
    Jul 9 '12 at 5:45
  • reiterating the point by Grady Player - you have to be careful with plants that cross easily, like pumpkins, squash, etc, or you will end up with hybrids and not know what they actually are when you come to sell them. In this case you need a tunnel house or something to keep them isolated I guess. Actually - I just assumed that you meant you wanted to produce your own seeds for sale, which is not necessarily the case.
    – standgale
    Dec 11 '12 at 3:39
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the business of gardening. Please see the help center for more information.
    – Niall C.
    Aug 28 '14 at 20:15
  • @NiallC. Was a perfectly fine and appropriate question for two years, but congrats on your newfound mod ability! Sep 28 '14 at 21:56

I know someone who started a seed business with a suburban garden and a kitchen table. You don't need a lot to start but you need drive and determination to stay in the business. Seed buyers want to buy seeds in uniform quantities that are cleaned and accurately named. If you want to grow your own seeds

  • plant in quantity
  • clean the seeds and test for viability
  • know how to germinate them. Norman Deno's work is the bible for the trade
  • do not plant seeds from copy righted or patented plants
  • know the Latin and common names of what you are planting
  • ensure you are harvesting what you think it is. With pollination, hybrids and what else plants get up to you must ensure that plants are true to name
  • A good web site will assist in sales but mechanics of e-commerce are beyond the scope of the question.

You can also buy wholesale seeds in quantities ranging from a kilogram to much larger quantities.

EDIT: plants that are copyrighted have this information on the tag when you buy them.

  • How do you know if seeds are copyrighted/patented? Seems like it would be simpler to buy from a wholesaler to get started. I feel fairly comfortable with the e-commerce/web side, just cause I do iOS/web development for a living (but am a farmer at heart :-)). Jul 8 '12 at 23:04
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    IANAL, but I believe they're patented, copyrighting doesn't seem to make sense in this situation. The danger I could see with patented plants is if you had drift from nearby crops then your seeds would be "infected" with "infringing" genetic material. It's critical for seed saving at this scale that you know how to properly isolate your seed crop.
    – bstpierre
    Jul 11 '12 at 15:34
  • There are very few tomatoes you're likely to want to sell that have intellectual property issues, but some do exist (e.g. Indigo Rose). Typically, the form of intellectual property you'll find is called PVP or PVPAF (you can't sell or give away seeds, but you can save them yourself and breed new varieties). Patented plants are different (you can't even save seeds with those), but you shouldn't find any of those for tomatoes in catalogs for home gardeners (maybe Flavr Savr and Kumato are patented). You may find some trademarked varieties, but you can use a generic name instead. Nov 29 '17 at 9:48
  • Authorized sellers of PVP seeds are required by law to state that they're PVP. However, not all sellers do. Any variety that's been around about 20 or 25+ years shouldn't be PVP anymore, and very few newer ones are PVP. There are a number of F1 hybrids that are classified as PVP (probably because they must have had a PVP parent; F2 hybrids are no longer PVP, however). Nov 29 '17 at 9:54

Instead of trying to grow a number of varieties to sell yourself you could contact one or more seed companies to try and contract with them for a season to grow one of their varieties. This could be a good learning experience since you’ll have their guidance throughout the growing season.

I just read an article in the summer 2011 issue of The Heirloom Gardener that was someone's experience growing Boldog Peppers for Fedco Seeds. It's a good read since it shares some of the obstacles faced with growing enough plants for viable seed to sell.

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    It looks like the article got moved. May 13 '15 at 16:46

I hope this helps,,,


Don't forget there are allot of regulations sending certain seeds across state or country borders due to invasive species

  • can you summarize the contents in the web link to make a better answer?
    – kevinskio
    Jul 10 '12 at 15:04

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