Why Buy Organic Seeds?

by Daisy on 02/03/2013

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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.



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah February 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

High Mowin’ Seeds here in Vermont. They are a GREAT company and I buy them whenever I can. The whole reason of being more adapted to the area is important in my extremely short growing season here. If they can grow it, so can I!

Kathryn February 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

I also buy from High Mowing. Such a wonderful company!! We live in Maine, and we are one zone warmer than VT. They also have the most amazing selection of unusual vegetables…and I love to be different, even in the garden!

Marcia February 9, 2013 at 7:16 am

I can’t get the links for Organic Seed Finder and the list of seed companies to work.
Is there some other place I can find this information?
Thanks for your posts.

Daisy February 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

Marcia–Thanks, Marcia. I tested the links again and they work from my computer, but I’ll put them here, too: http://www.organicseedfinder.org/, http://www.beginningfarmers.org/organic-seed-sources-list/
If that doesn’t do it, try doing a search on organic seed finder and Beginning Farmers Organic Seed Sources List.

jill bailes February 9, 2013 at 7:52 am

Great article and I agree about Monsanto, they’re destroying the family farm. I haven’t bought seeds in years. I save the seeds from each years crop to plant the following year. This way I guarantee the organic and healthful nutrients. I save out potatoes, onions, and garlic bulbs to plant the following year as well. This goes for my herbs and annual flowers too. I am a huge advocate for seed stewardship! 🙂

Lisa N February 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

Territorial Seed sells both organic and conventional, here is the link to organic.
http://www.territorialseed.com/category/organic_seed

I buy most of my seeds from them at my local feed store. I don’t know that it really matters, but I feel like their seeds will do better for me since they are located about 2 hours from where I live.

Stephanie February 10, 2013 at 1:11 am

I am in agreement with author and Jill. I get flack for my boycott of monsanto and any company that does business with them (scotts-miracle gro, ferry morse, jiffy(who does business with ferry morse, etc) but when I ask the people giving me a hard time what they know about gmo’s and they can’t respond, I educate and they seem to understand. I normally buy from sese,com (southern exposure seed exchange) but goofed this year and bought from park seed instead. I’ve been able to get everything I grow either organic or heirloom so I’m pleased but will be happier when I can buy next year from a company that takes gmo’s as seriously as I do. I love sese’s creed about going to great lengths to stay physically away from gmo companies to avoid inadvertent contamination. I need to learn how to seed save. I’m as scared of that as I am home composting. Luckily we have a nearby city that will compost yard waste and add biosolids from the water treatment plant. I’m assured biosolids are not chemicals and are okay for organic vegetable gardens. It’s also only $16/cu yard (two truck beds full) so more economical than buying 40 lb bags (.75 cu ft)

Rachel February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

I’m also from Vermont and just starting the transition to organic and local seeds. I’m investing completely in High Mowing this year because last year I bought from a big seed distributor and some of the seeds had come from Tanzania! I didn’t understand why Zinnias couldn’t be grown well here, but the idea of the travel costs involved in getting that tiny packet of seeds halfway across the world gave me shivers.

KayMarie April 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

We got High Mowing Seeds by Mail, and also at the Farmer’s Mkt. downtown. We also have a smaller farmer market at the end of our sub in a historic old barn that was refurbished. It is the old Wilson Dairy Barn for those in SE Michigan. The Clements Circle Sub we live in is behind it.Our sub was actually built over the site of an old dairy farm. The down side is the soil is good for grass growing only and it has taken a LOT of work to make it grow; compost soil tilling , adding gypsum,, and other natural methods. Every year it gets a little better for growing. We only use seed companies that signed “The Pledge” of open pollinated, no Monsanto. Another 2 seed companies that do the pledge are “bountiful Gardens” and “Seeds of Change”.

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