Nurseries, Seeds, Soil

As the 2023 gardening season approaches, Rideau 1000 Islands Master Gardeners have compiled a list of local seed houses, nurseries and soil suppliers. Some businesses are closed during the winter months, so please check individual business websites for spring opening dates/hours, if not listed here.

Image credit: Anna Sadura Healey

Local Seeds

NEW! Seedy Saturday is back and in person in 2023. Join us on Saturday March 11, from 10 a.m – 2 p.m at St. Luke’s Church. More details to follow

Seeds are available online from many seed companies in Canada and beyond, but here in the Kingston area we are fortunate to be able to support several local companies and organizations, which specialize in producing seeds adapted to our regional conditions.

  • Bear Root Gardens: Locally adapted vegetable seeds, all organically grown and packaged on their property in Verona.
  • Kitchen Table Seed House: Produces certified organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds with with a focus on supplying open-pollinated, regionally-adapted, farm selected seed. Located on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ont.
  • KASSI (Kingston Area Seed System Initiative): A non-profit, volunteer run organization founded by local farmers, gardeners and  concerned community members who want to ensure seed and food sovereignty in our region. Their seed commons is a living collection of locally adapted open-pollinated seeds, available on a sliding scale donation. 

Index of Canadian Seed companies: If you can’t find what you need locally, Seeds of Diversity maintains this great map listing companies from across Canada

Seeds for cover crops are available TCO Agromart, Selby (north of Napanee), Willows Agriservices, Harrowsmith and through online seed houses.

Local nurseries

Those listed are within a short from Kingston, Ontario, but of course there are many other nurseries beyond that, should you feel inclined to explore. Please let us know if you have a favourite local nursery that we have missed.

  • Connon Nurseries: 956A Highway 2, Quinte West. Over 8 acres of nursery stock, seasonal products and garden accessories at the Trenton, Ont location.
  • Gemmell’s Garden Centre. Offers a range of plants, flowers and trees, as well as gardening tools and maintenance products, for gardeners in Smiths Falls, Brockville and beyond
  • Kiwi Gardens 687 Harper Rd, Perth, Ont. Ten acres of mature show gardens, garden art and a nursery with perennials propagated, grown, and dug from gardens on site. Open May through September.
  • Patchwork Gardens: 4649 Milburn Road, Battersea, Ontario.  Certified organic vegetable farm, growing vegetables since 2004 for Kingston area grocery stores and restaurants. Pre-order spring plant sale available online in January
  • Made in the Shade Perennials 3626 Hwy 2, Gananoque, Ont. Nursery dedicated to growing large, high quality perennials for both sun and shade. Pre-orders open in January, open to in person shopping April 20.
  • Natural Themes 219 Maybee Rd, Frankford, Ont. Grower of North American native plants for gardens, restorations and rehabilitation projects
  • Potter’s Nurseries: 690 Golden Mile Rd, Kingston.  Specializes in quality nursery stock including shrubs, evergreens, hedges, fruiting plants, roses, large specimen trees and colourful perennials. Open year-round.
  • Riley’s Garden Centre: 2129 Bath Rd, Kingston. Locally owned independent garden center carrying annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, roses, vegetables, planters, garden wares.
  • Sheila’s Greenhouse: A small, family run, rural farm greenhouse grower, offering spring season plants for sale at their retail outlet at McCormick’s Country Store 2561 County Road 4 Camden East
  • Simple Country Pleasures: Family owned business growing unique and hard to find perennials, annuals, herbs & vegetable plants. Selection also available at the Kingston Farmer’s Market.
  • Sun Harvest Greenhouses 2542 Perth Rd, Glenburnie. Family owned since 2002, growing hydroponic greenhouse produce and a wide variety of garden annuals and perennials. Re-opening March 2022

Native plants

The Friends of Lemoine Point developed and manage a Native Plant Nursery at the north end of Lemoine Point to grow their own plant stock for reforestation activities, using seeds and cuttings collected from native trees and shrubs. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers are also available for sale to the public. All proceeds go back into the operation of the nursery. 1440 Coverdale Dr. Kingston ON. 

Friends of Lemoine Point native plant sale

Credit Valley Conservation maintains a list of Ontario native plant nurseries (check for shipping availability)

Fruit and Nut Trees Nurseries

When buying a fruit tree, ask about the source. Often nurseries and and box stores source their fruit trees from Oregon. These trees may not have the same hardiness as trees grafted and grown in Ontario or Quebec. Nor can they list which root stock the fruit tree is grafted onto. Ideally, choose a fruit tree from a nursery where you can select a root stock best suited to your soil.


Limestone City Hydroponics, Locally owned, providing indoor and outdoor gardening supplies. 10-105 Sutherland Drive, Kingston

Soil and Compost

Soil and compost in bulk quantities (including delivery) is available at:

Soil testing

Urban gardens that are intended for food production should be assessed for the presence of any soil contaminants that may be present as a result of past site activity.  Toronto Public Health has produced a helpful step-by-step guide to determining the level of soil safety for a proposed urban garden.

From the Group Up: guide for soil testing in urban gardens

There are different types of soil testing:

For mineral/chemical tests: The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)  maintains a list of accredited soil testing labs in the province. Refer to company websites for testing parameters, including macronutrients, micronutrients, pH, fertility analysis and soil microbiology.

For the living fraction of the soil, testing for microorganisms (bacteria/fungi, protozoa etc.); also compost quality, plant tissue analysis:

And for an interesting experiment on soil health, try the OMAFRA Soil life test DIY Underwear Test !