Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.
I’m getting ready to order seeds for my garden, and I’m seeing a lot of organic options. What are the benefits of using organic seeds? I don’t use pesticides in my garden anyway, so does it really make much of a difference?
Yes, if organic seeds are available, they’re a great choice for your garden. One major benefit of buying organic seeds is that you’re supporting companies that use nontoxic, sustainable methods to produce seeds. The more we use our money to push agriculture in this direction, the better for everyone!
Certified organic growers are required to use certified organic seed if it’s available. Home gardeners don’t have to worry about these regulations, but choosing organic seeds ensures that the seeds have not been genetically engineered or treated with synthetic pesticides. Also, if you’re already using organic methods in your garden, you’ll likely get better results by starting with organic seeds. That’s because the odds are good that organic seeds are from plants adapted to organic fertilizers, rather than to synthetic chemical fertilizers.
Many companies offer some organic selections, and a few, such as High Mowing Organic Seeds, specialize in certified organic seeds. The OMNI Organic Seeds Database has sources for specific crops and varieties.
Also, keep in mind that some companies, such as Victory Seeds, have chosen to follow Certified Naturally Grown standards rather than the more costly U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic rules.
Find more suggestions on seed companies that follow sustainable practices in our garden seed articles. You’ll find a list of the 20 seed companies that made our sustainable seeds honor roll.
— Cheryl Long, editor in chief
Above: Buying organic garden seeds helps support companies that follow the most sustainable growing practices. Photo by IStockPhoto/Mona Makela.
Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on Google+.