One of the reasons I grow vegetables is to save money. SO–why should I plunk down the extra money to buy organic seeds instead of conventional seeds? I will be growing the plant itself organically, isn’t that all that really matters? There’s no way the tiny bit of agri-chem which is on that little seed is going to matter, right?
In actuality, it does matter. I divide the reasons why into two categories: Good-For-Me and Good-For-Everbody.
In the Good-For-Me category:
- No yucky seed coating. Many conventional seeds are treated with fungicides to prevent mold/fungi and that can get on me and in my vegetables.
- Easier to grow in my organic garden. Conventional seeds tend to be grown for cultural methods which use chemical fertilizers and herb- and pesticides and may not be best-adapted for success without the chemicals. On the other hand, organic seeds were developed and proven using organic growing practices and respond well to the sometimes challenging conditions of going organic.
- Organic often means local. If I buy locally-grown organic seeds, the seeds will be even better adapted to my garden. Small, independent organic growers are more likely to be local than the big guys.
In the Good-For-Everybody category:
- Conventionally grown seed crops use pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, which impact the area where the crops are grown and, by extension, our environment. Also it’s worth considering that seed crops stay in the ground longer because they obviously have to go to seed so the chemical impact is even greater for seed crops than for other crops. In contrast, organic growers use more sustainable practices.
- Big Ag is involved in home garden seed as well as agricultural crops. Many of the large seed companies which supply your local seed suppliers are owned by some of the biggest names in the GMO and chemical business, Monsanto and Syngenta, for example. If you say no to conventional seed you are saying to to Big Ag and its monumental issues.
- Buying organic seed supports those companies which produce it, increases demand, and promotes more research into organic seeds.
If you want to search for organic, non GMO seeds by individual plant type, the Organic Seed Finder is a good resource. You can search for the seed with the exact requirements you are looking for, including disease resistance.
To find seed companies, this is a pretty extensive list, with addresses so you can find one near you if you like.
If you have your favorites, please feel free to recommend them in the comments.