What heirloom seeds to get to grow plants for food in an apartment

I am in NYC …

I am discovering the wonder of plants (see bellow to help me ID my plants :p )

I’d love to order some heirloom seeds to grow plants that produce some food in my apartment … as a student - I see very cheap “heirloom seeds” ones from China here - https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=heirloom+seeds&_sacat=0&LH_BIN=1&_sop=15 (or if anyone can post mail them to me PM - I’ll PayPal back a few dollars for the postage and a beer on me as appreciation :p … )

or what is a good site to order them? maybe there is a place where people trade them?

which ones to get? what would work best?

PS sunlight: I facing almost directly east on 18th floor - I have plenty of sunlight from sunrise for first part of the morning

PSS also this is in case there is ever a pandemic or alike … and I want something lively to 50lbs of rice and all that I have just in case :p - more of a long term preparation by learning how - and what works … so maybe there is a better way

PSSS if you can ID my plants here - https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/can-someone-please-help-id-these-plants-for-me/10536

Bountiful Gardens was my go-to source for heirloom seeds in the US. They closed down in 2017, but they’ve put up a page with links to their favorite heirloom seed companies.


Seeds of Change has changed a lot since they started, but they still have some good things.


I’d avoid buying any heirloom seeds from China, especially over eBay (I used to live in China and currently work in SE Asia, I have up-close and personal experience with the unreliability of product claims from China). You have no idea what you’re actually getting and the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is very true. My recommendation is to pay a bit more and go with something reliable.

Most reliable seed companies will have growing condition advice on the page describing the seed packages and you can always email them with questions.


I second the advice to avoid buying cheap seeds from China via eBay/Amazon etc. Almost all of these are scams. You don’t get what they claim, if you get anything at all. Instead, look for local seed companies. I like buying seeds from places where I can actually visit the nursery/farm. Not only will local seeds perform better than those shipped around the world, but you’ve got the benefit of having the growers close by to ask any questions you may have how to take care of the plants. (Edit to add: Also check for local seed exchanges/seed libraries that may exist in your area. Those are a great source for heirloom seeds not available online.)

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I like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. www.rareseeds.com. Grow chives they do well in containers. Radishes of course are so rewarding—they get ready so quickly.

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Most herbs are easy to grow indoors, or so I’ve been told. I’ve successfully raised roma tomatoes indoors until they reached about 2ft, then moved outside (which, barring that option, they’d probably be fine in a bigger pot). You might want to consider buying lights to grow them under, as the light filtered in the window isn’t as strong as what they would otherwise get outdoors.

You should be able to get some “heirloom” labeled seeds even at your local garden stores. Not sure what you have for that in NYC, but even many mom-and-pop owned hardware stores will have easy-to-grow starter seeds. If there is a garden center or nursery nearby, that’s your best bet.

If you’re going to order seeds online, do it from a reputable dealer, like Burpee Seeds, Jung Seeds, Vermont Bean Seed Company, etc.

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Here’s a link that has 5 Canadian heirloom seed companies. If they can grow in Canada, they can grow in NYC!


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thank you

ohh thank you … good info

for now I ordered this for $2 - OK ratings on amazon.com


  • Buy locally produced seeds/lings as they’ll be better acclimated to local conditions. Spend the money on good seed/lings as the money you save on the cheap stuff doesn’t mean jack if it doesn’t grow.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to heirloom. There’s plenty of perfectly good varieties developed specifically to be compact and more suitable for the growing popularity of container/indoor gardening.
  • Manage your expectations. Plants that require full sun will not thrive indoors. Grow to the conditions you have. You can install light kits, but at that point you need to do the maths and figure out if that kind of outlay is cost effective against grocery store prices (hint- probably not).
  • Good soil is crucial. Plants are like pets, they need to be fed well! And that comes from the soil. Different plants have different requirements, so do some research.
  • Join a local gardening group on facebook etc. Local knowledge will come in handy and gardeners love sharing, helping, encouragin and -if your lucky- passing on their own seeds and cuttings :)

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