Today’s post is in response to a request for help in finding organic /non- GMO food seeds. Of course growing your own food is the best way to know what you are putting on your table, and nothing beats fresh food from your own garden. Try a juicy tomato, handpicked, and warm from the sun; you’ll never go back.
Monsanto controls 90%+ of the world’s seed. Although most often associated with commercial farms they also sell (through subsidiaries) consumer seeds for back yard gardens. There are over 100 mail order seed and plant companies and even organic seeds may come from a company owned by Monsanto, so if you don’t want to support this biochemical company it can get tricky.
Seeds Now is a family owned operation right outside of Los Angeles that provides 100% non-GMO, open-pollinated and non-hybrid seeds. On their website they offer tips, tricks and guides along with a weekly give away “drawing.” Another appealing feature of Seeds Now is they have seed sampler packs developed for specific conditions that start at 99¢.
Botanical Interests, known for the art on their seed packets, is a large reputable seed supplier you might have seen in your health food store.
If you were at the Kansas City March Against Monsanto you saw the heirloom seed booth. Links to the vendors who graciously provided seeds for distribution are listed below. If you live in the Midwest they will be a good resource for you as it is a good idea to get at least some of your seeds from a local / regional grower. Local growers provide seeds from plants acclimated to your climate.
In the upper and mid-South, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a local distributor with a strong following.
In the Northwest, Territorial Seeds is a regional seed source with excellent ratings, and as of the 2012 catalog, Territorial is no longer carrying any Seminis products. Semminis is a huge seed distributer that was purchased by Monsanto.
Of the companies giving away seed at the Kansas City March Against Monsanto Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds keeps popping up on top lists with the various sources I checked. They are on Organic Gardening magazine’s list of best suppliers. I got this from Mother Earth News:
A strong sense of purpose has earned Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds many loyal patrons. A prominent spokesman against GM “Frankenfoods,” founder Jere Gettle has amassed a global selection of rare and worthwhile varieties. “What’s not to love about Baker Creek?” wrote a Mid-Atlantic gardener. “They’re making a hugely positive impact on the world. With all the GM seed obscenities going on, they’re helping make sure humans will be able to eat in the future!”
The other heirloom seed producers at the KC MAM were:
If you feel intimidated by planting seeds let me remind you it’s the most natural process there is. In fact I allow a portion of my annual (need to be planted every year) plants develop and drop their own seed which grow into plants the next spring. This makes some of my annuals into perennials (come back year after year.) Just imagine what success you can have with some time and attention.
You also may think June is too late in the year to plant seed. That depends on the seed. Some seed prefer warmer climates and seeds planted now will yield a summer or fall crop.
Some seeds you can plant in June are:
Beans – some will yield in as little as 35 days
Beets – planted now will give you a mid-summer harvest.
Carrots – Plant by mid-June and you’ll get a mid-summer harvest you can leave in the ground until you use it.
Summer Squash – Planted in June will give you fresh squash and zucchini in July and August. Heat tolerant herbs can be planted now, such as basil, oregano, sage, and thyme.
You can even plant green peas and sugar peas as late as July. Broccoli and kale can be planted mid-July to mid-August for a fall harvest well into November.
Zucchini and beets are high GMO crops which means what you find in the market is almost surely GMO. I have had difficulty finding organic zucchini and beets, for some reason, so they would be a good choice for your garden – if you like them, of course.
Heat tolerant herbs you could plant now are basil, oregano, sage, and thyme.
There are actually several benefits to planting in late spring to early summer.
- There is less weed germination
- Seeds are often on sale by now
- You may have more time
- Soil is already warm with no threat of frost
Next post I’ll review the simple process of starting a new garden.