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Renee Shepherd


Renee Shepherd is widely regarded as a pioneering innovator in introducing international specialty vegetables and herbs for home gardeners and gourmet restaurants. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and teaching in the Environmental Studies department there, she founded the mail order company Shepherd’s Garden Seed in 1985, which she ran until 1996. She founded Renee’s Garden in 1998 to do what she likes best, offering seeds through garden centers and nurseries and directly online to give fellow gardeners access to the high quality varieties otherwise available only to mail order shoppers. Renee’s Garden features her carefully selected, well trialed choices of both Certified Organic and conventional seeds for exciting new and time-tested heirloom gourmet vegetables, culinary herbs and a wide range of fragrant and cutting flowers, sourced from seed growers both large and small around the world.

Renee authors our E-newsletter which reaches over 100,000 gardeners monthly, updates our blog, writes gardening articles, shares ideas and information on Facebook, and enjoys creating the recipes we share in our newsletter and on our website. Renee writes the descriptions and growing information for all the company's seed packets, chooses seed varieties, manages marketing activities, and directs and enjoys the company’s large trial gardens in California and Vermont where every selection is grown out and evaluated. She has written three popular kitchen garden cookbooks, with cooking partner Fran Raboff: Recipes from a Kitchen Garden and More Recipes From a Kitchen Garden and her newest book, the Renee's Garden Cookbook, combining both expert gardening advice and all new great recipes. 


Renee Shepherd in the garden with her pets

Renee lectures widely at national and regional garden shows and is a featured speaker at numerous gardening conferences. She has many community and environmental interests and serves on the Planning Commission for Santa Cruz County, California. She is currently the president of the Home Garden Seed Association and has served on the board of the National Garden Association.


In 2015, Renee received the American Horticultural Society's Great American Gardener Paul Eche Jr. award for her "commitment to the highest standards of excellence in commercial horticulture and the betterment of gardening practices everywhere." 


In addition to her passions for gardening and cooking, Renee loves trail riding on her horse, Teddy and taking walks in the Santa Cruz mountains with Ruthie, her happy golden lab.

Renee’s Garden is my practical way to spread the joy of gardening as a meaningful, productive and satisfying activity that connects us to each other and the earth.- Renee Shepherd

More About Renee

Edible Monterey Bay
Seed Sorceress

Better Homes and Gardens
Sowing the Seeds of Change (.pdf)

American Farmhouse Style
The Pandemic Created Home Gardeners

Better Homes & Gardens
Living the Herbal Life

Seed Pioneer Renee Shepherd
and the Gardening Life

The American Gardener-
American Horticultural Society
A Passion for Seeds

Better Homes and Gardens
The Herb Hunter (

Washington Post:
Renee's Seeds for the Home Gardener

Heirloom Gardener
The Generous Gardener (

Horticulture Magazine:
A Profile of Renee Shepherd

Brighton Living
In Full Bloom: Renee Shepherd, Entrepreneur

Kitchen Gardeners International
10 Inspirational Women

Santa Cruz Sentinel
The Woman Behind Renee's Garden

Country Woman Magazine
At work in Renee's trial garden (


Country Gardens
Big Beauties

Living The Country Life Magazine

Fresh Greens

New York Times
Summer's Plump Little Success Story

Ken Druse interviews Renee
Click to Listen

Listen to Renee's interview with
Lynne Rossetto Kasperon
on PBS radio's "The Splendid Table

A Visit to Renee's Trial Garden

How Soccer Started Renee's Garden

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