Buying seeds is one of the first things we think about when the new year rolls around. But choosing a seed company can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for the organic gardener.
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If you haven’t gotten on the Do Not Mail registry, you’re probably inundated right now with seed catalogs! Let’s let our priorities guide our decisions.
Grow a Chemical-Free Garden
Seeds from the hardware store will do the job, but taking the extra step to order from a seed catalog can mean healthier crops. That’s because you’ll be able to choose companies that have committed to producing chemical-free seeds, ensuring healthier produce for your family.
Choose Organic & Ecologically Grown Seeds
The rules governing the growing of seed crops are much less stringent than those governing the growing of food crops. This means that some chemicals – illegal to use on kale that I eat – are perfectly fine to use on plants that are grown for kale seeds.
Often, the chemical residue from cultivation remains on the seeds. Moreover, the crop from these seeds is adapted to growing alongside chemical treatments. When grown using organic methods, they’re more likely to run into pest problems.
Currently, GMO seeds are not widely available to the public, so this isn’t a huge concern. But I still like to support seed companies who have declared a non-GMO stance and a commitment to my health and that of the planet.
My Top Four Seed Companies
The following are the four seed companies that I’ve chosen to use over the years. My list is based on these companies’ commitments to high quality seed, pricing, seed selection, and their pledge to the Safe Seed Initiative. I’ve received no commission for mentioning them here.
- Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
- Territorial Seed Company
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company
- Johnny’s Selected Seed
Support the Little Guy
Relying on a few mega-seed manufacturers to produce just a few varieties of each crop means our food system is just a few crop failures away from emergency (Read: Irish potato famine).
The seed industry is a tough business, but I believe we need even more seed houses. Why? The more seed houses we have, and the more we have backyard gardeners saving seeds, the more food secure we are.
That’s why I like to give small seed houses a chance. This year I’m trying Sow True Seed because of their dedication to “Open Pollinated, Non-Hybrid & GMO-Free Seeds Featuring Heirloom, Organic & Traditional Varieties”. (No affiliation).
Which seed catalogs or seed houses are your favorites?