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Why I'll not order from Mariseeds again.

10 years ago

Year after year I have ordered from this company and have been disappointed. I continue to use them as they tend to have the bulk of the varieties I want to grow that year.

Maybe this time I've finally learned!

The initial frustration is that they don't have ANY communication with the customer. Maybe because I'm a backyard grower ordering $30 of seed I just don't matter to them. You order online & get an email from Paypal and that's it.

This year I ordered from them and 3 other online companies. I actually ordered from them 5 days BEFORE the others (Johnny's, TGS, Territorial seed) and the other seed arrived sooner with emails saying when they would be there & "thanks". I left a VM and an email to response. The seed eventually arrived.

At least one variety every year doesn't germinate. It's not like I order anything exotic either, just relatively common heirlooms. One year it was Kosovo, another, Cherokee Purple. This year, Matt's wild cherry didn't germinate AT ALL. Arkansas Traveler barely did (2 seedlings). The seed from the other companies was fine so I don't think it's just ME.

Yes, I'll eventually complain. And they'll maybe send a check for the $3.50 I spent on the seed which will never be deposited as I bank online and it's too much of a pain to drive to the bank to deposit that tiny check. This has been the case the past few years. I'm sure they count on that.

I DON'T WANT A REFUND. I want seed that will germinate!

All I know is I'll never send my $$ to them again.

Comments (22)

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    10 years ago

    I believe that you mean Marianna's Heirloom Seeds. I looked them up in the Garden Watchdog and they have an overwhelmingly positive rating.

    Just thought I'd give the other side. I've never used them myself.

  • andyinnyc
    10 years ago

    I have ordered from them for years as well. I too have had the odd packet which doesn't seem to grow - for me it was Opalka last year.

    The company has been quite responsive - they've sent out additional packets and otherwise tried to fix the problem; as such I keep coming back.

    They've also sent out a 'free gift' of seeds with my order each year. I think I got Camp Joy last time.

    I get the impression that it is run as a side business rather than a full time endeavor with lots of staff - and I like supporting small businesses when I can.

    Sorry you had a dud.


  • KCKook
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Yes, Mariseeds is Marianna's Heirloom Seeds. will redirect you to the main site.

    The reviews on Dave's site are positive over a 12 yr timeframe. If you look on other seed rating sites the reviews aren't as positive. Germination rate is a complaint with others.

    That said, I do appreciate that they include a package of 'free' seeds, but that really doesn't help when my selected varieties don't germinate and the freebie is not a something I want. I might understand a few dud seeds, but not the entire pack.

    I've not seen them ever as "quite reponsive". This year my email & voicemail weren't responded to.
    If it's a side business I can understand to an extent but I'll never order from them again.

  • missingtheobvious
    10 years ago

    I'm a Google Map fan. Sometimes when I'm buying from a different part of the country that I don't know, I search the address in Google Maps.

    Mariseeds showed up as a house in semi-rural TN with, IIRC, a few acres. I could guess at where on the property the tomatoes are grown. Maybe other people grow some for her too; I don't have any idea. But it's certainly a home business.

    When I began starting my own seedlings I wasn't too confident and used 4 seeds per cell. Since then, I only use two or three (depending on the age of the seeds).

    I've bought tomato seeds from many different sources, and as far as I can remember, there were maybe one or two times that none of a particular variety came up -- and I have no idea which vendor that was. (Tomato seeds seem to be much more cooperative than flower seeds; maybe it's the size of the seeds that matters.)

  • WillysWoodPile
    10 years ago

    I have ordered from Marianna plenty of times with no problems whatsoever. However, if I did have a problem I would tell her about it and she would make it right EVERY time. I know this because she has integrity.
    What I do not do is get online whenever I have problem with germination, [which I sometimes do] and trash the person's reputation and/or stir up the masses to rebel. I COMMUNICATE with them to rectify the situation. And if for some reason I can't reach the person [which I have that problem right now with one] I don't let it ruin my day by sitting and fuming about it. Life has to go on... whether seed germinates or not. You are not going to get 100% germination every time. Please learn to deal with it in a responsible way. Sometimes you have to take the loss and move forward. What you don't do is try and trash someone's livelihood over a few ungerminated seeds.
    If you are having problems communicating them KEEP ON TRYING: have some patience; once you talk with her she WILL make it right... again, because she has integrity.
    In the future [this is for everybody] please [re]consider how we go about handling our problems dealing with seed companies. Getting mad, ruining your day [or week] is not going to lead to a resolution: It will only fester bitterness and hurt.
    I have a problem of NO seed germination from a well-known person at a tomato-site right now. Should I go to all these sites and trash this person's highly respected reputation to no good end? No, I won't do that. I will communicate with that person and work it out: And if it does not work out then I will still go on with my life as I normally do every day.

  • suncitylinda
    10 years ago

    The OP states they have had a long term relationship with this seed company which has NEVER been entirely satisfactory and states the reasons. I didnt get the feeling they were over reacting, trashing a reputation, or losing sleep over it.

  • WillysWoodPile
    10 years ago

    And what if they were talking about your company Linda?

  • paul_f
    10 years ago

    Marianne is one of the good guys. Never had a problem with her seeds or service. Got a problem? Two choices: let her know to see what can be done or stop ordering from her. If I have a seed germination problem I check to see what it was I did wrong first. If it was the seeds, more than one person would have the problem and she would be expecting an e-mail.

  • suncitylinda
    10 years ago

    I like it that we have places like this to get both the pros and the cons on companies we do business with. It is (still) a free country and most folks are able to judge for themselves without the need to have a lecture on good behavior. Speaking of which I witnessed your exit from another tomato site not long ago and I suspect you would do well to follow your own advice about in the future.

  • Sprtman
    10 years ago

    Thanks for the info KC. The communication part especially. I think everyone should give feedback on seed companies. I have had a few problems myself and regret not putting the word out.

  • mickyfinn6777
    10 years ago

    Personally- I am absolutely disgusted by this attack on Mariseeds, I have always found them to be very satisfactory and the majority of their seeds are top notch material,whenever I sent in an order to them they responded quickly and the seeds were packed up and sent to me overseas all the way to the Uk and always arrived in perfect condition, with absolutely no problems with germination, some of the better ones gave almost 100% germination, but even if it had been 60% I would still have gotten enough plants out of them to cover the year admirably.

    But what annoys me the most about this particular post is that someone had the gaul to use Google maps and try to pry into their home, and business, and privacy most of all, this was way over the top and should not be part of an issue.

    This public invasion of privacy is just appalling and disgusting to say the low can you get.

  • WillysWoodPile
    10 years ago

    While I will not go into detail here for my exit from another site, suffice it to say that I requested my account to be deleted because I was sick of the infighting and division over there. When my account was not deleted for a long time I sent a few PMs to someone and THEN I was banned.
    My point of of posting here was to get people to handle their business in a more-private, and more-professional manner. Instead of burning their bridges by going off the handle and trashing somebody's livelihood and therefore by extent their reputation.
    I do not know why KCCook started this thread but I can sure guess because I have seen many, many posts like this started and they are usually posted to get people behind them so they can feel good about trashing someone.
    And the comment made to you Linda was in no way intended to offend you but to get you to think about how you would want somebody to handle a situation IF they had the same type of problem with your business. So...please forgive me if I offended you...[I did not intend to].
    KCCook obviously has a genuine beef, but I do not think this is the place to air it out. I would do it privately, and sometimes that takes patience.

  • missingtheobvious
    10 years ago

    "Gaul," mickyfinn? What's France got to do with it?

    Presumably you meant "gall." But what that's got to do with it either.... Is it brazen prying for me to stand in front of my house and look at the neighbor's house across the street? Is it unforgivable of me to note which weeds are growing in my bank's landscaping? (Dandelions and winter chickweed, as of Friday afternoon.)

    Perhaps you should read my post again. I buy from Mariseeds. I love her varieties. I was trying to defuse the situation by pointing out that the business is not a mega-conglomerate with six thousand employees.

    When I look at the Google Maps satellite view of my own property, it's pretty much a blur. There's a rectangle of a house, with something indefinite behind it that I happen to know is a rather odd deck. Driveway. Some trees. Much is hidden in the shadow of the neighbor's Leyland Cypress hedge. Since it's my own house, I can tell where the young fruit trees are, but no one else would notice anything beyond the raised veggie beds. I can also date the current view to sometime after August 2010, because the two old maples have been cut down. But anyone else would see none of that.

    I suggest you look at Google Maps sometime, mickyfinn, and see just how little privacy it's possible to violate.

    Now if you're talking the county's online property and tax data, now that would chill your blood....

  • trudi_d
    10 years ago

    I have yin/yang feelings about this post.

    First, you never get 100% germination with any seed, and as seed are natural things it's not uncommon to have any particular lot be duds. It happens, it's not what anyone wants, certainly not the seed provider, but it happens. When it happens you send an email or call or write a letter (how old fashioned but it still works) and you work it out. The customer is always right and the provider replaces the seed. No biggee.

    Next, there's nothing wrong with airing your views, that's a first amendment right, however that doesn't mean that there can be no reaction to that. People may like it, and people may want to chew your head off for it.And at some forums, you can speak what you want but TOS may get you and your post removed. I can certainly understand frustration and venting. At my home, when we're unhappy with a service provided to us we deal with it. If there's no satisfaction then there's Angie's List, BBB, and even small claims court, and there are many, many other venues to rate a vendor or service provider.

    Google maps reminds me of flying in a plane over neighborhoods, looking out the window and seeing roofs and pools, driveways and roads and farmland or cities and suburbs, barns or sheds, etc etc. Google Satellite doesn't have xray eyes and it can't see under a roof or in closets or drawers. Google Street-view gives you a drive-by view similar to when you're in your car rolling down the road.

    And as to property values or taxes, as was mentioned above, you only need google an address and you can get that info in about three seconds, twelve if you're on dial-up. I know that's so because we did some Q&A before a refi to check values in the neighborhood. Realtors can provide you with a lot of info and all of it is available freely and offered without log-in or contract.

    I brought all that up because similarly, I too grow a good amount of my own tomato bulk stock. And it grows on the property here. There's a registered business here, it's all about seeds. I would not be offended if someone looked up on google the address or checked google maps and took a look. This is not an invasion of my privacy. If you come over to my house and peek in my windows, open the car and rummage through the glove box, or enter the gated property without my permission that is something different.

    Personally, I would be POed if someone trashed WinterSown and didn't give me the opportunity to speak my views. So, in good faith, someone go get Marianna and tell her she has an opportunity here to discuss her policy on customer satisfaction. KCKook, if she's unaware of the complaint she can't address it, go get her, let her know, give her this opportunity to publicly make things right.

  • roper2008
    10 years ago

    The first sentence of original post baffled me. Year after year of
    ordering from mariseed's and have been disappointed. It only
    takes me one year to be disappointed, and that's it. I don't
    care how many varieties they have.


  • robertfrank126
    10 years ago

    I've ordered from Mariseeds, Marianna for several years. I've never had a problem getting my seeds in a timely manner or had a germination problem. Not saying that it doesn't happen, it's happened to me, just not with Marianna. I only ever had one issue, and when I contacted Marianna about it I got an answer. One problem, that I've had consistently with many larger commercial operations, is wrong seed. My tomatoes turn out to be RL when they should be PL or vice versa, or are completely wrong for the variety they are supposed to be. I have never had this problem with most of the smaller companies I deal with, including Marianna's Heirloom seeds. Everything has been true to the variety which is something I really appreciate when I am trying a new variety and may have space for only one of that variety and I don't want to waste a whole season growing something that isn't what it should be.

  • mrdoitall
    10 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. I will give Mariseeds a try. You lose one customer and gain a new one.

  • digdirt2
    10 years ago

    There is a specific forum here for discussions such as this. It is called the Rate and Review Vendors forum.

    Personally I have always been happy with my results from Marianna. When I encounter a germination problem I tend to lay it off on the method I used, not the seeds or the supplier.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Rate and Review Vendors forum

  • northernmich
    10 years ago

    I would also support the business knowing that issues will be made right.

    It is not a megapolis business.

    Like me, maybe she takes a day off or goes on vacation.

    Google my address and you don't get the three areas where I grow hundreds of varieties.

    First amendment rights do not apply to private sites :)

    Don't let the issues become personal.

    Mariseeds has varieties you can't get anywhere else.

    I have met her personally and find her to be honest and charming.

    I hope customer satisfaction comes soon, I believe it will!

    Earl/45th Parallel Seeds

  • Marianna.88
    10 years ago

    Dear KCKook,
    This is Marianna of Marianna's Heirloom Seeds. I am sorry you had a problem germinating your seeds. My policy has always been to replace seeds or refund the entire purchase price for any unsatisfied customer. I couldn't locate your phone message or email, but if you will kindly email your name and order number to me at, I will promptly rectify this situation.
    Marianna's Heirloom Seeds

  • suncitylinda
    10 years ago

    I had never been on Mariseeds site before. She has the best paste/italian tomato selection I have ever seen!

  • KCKook
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Thank you for responding Marianna. I mainly started this thread because of my frustration about the lack of communication from your company regarding shipping when the other companies I order from let you know when it's shipped & expected. And yes, in the past years I've had varieties that didn't germinate at all.

    My email and vmail to you were about when to expect seed as I don't have a lot of spare time to start seed & want to start it all at the same time. I had already received my seed from the other places. To most on here this probably isn't an issue. It eventually did arrive so no biggie, but a simple email saying "It's been shipped, expect it on Tuesday" would have possibly nipped my vent in the bud.

    NOW I have to eat crow. Apparently Matt's Wild Cherry is a late bloomer. After 4 weeks I now have a few tiny little seedlings.

    Suncity - the main reason I have continued to order seed from her over the years is that she has a really diverse variety of all tomatoes. It's easier/cheaper to order from one site, even if they've had some not viable in the past.

    Willys - Where did I trash anyone's reputation or "attempt to stir up the masses"? That's just silly to say- It's a freaking tomato board. Dude, you need to get a daytime job or something.

    I don't think she's a horrible person. I'm sure she is a wonderful individual!

    I didn't "trash" her business. I posted my experience/opinions.
    I attempted to communicate and didn't get a response. I've had germination problems in the past & won't order from her again.

    My experience, my opinions. :)