18 April 2013

Planting The Right Seeds For An Eco-Friendly Garden

If you’re looking for high quality seeds to plant in your garden this year, consider buying from organic seed companies that sell open-pollinated varieties. These varieites are good choices both economically and environmentally.
Economically: You can save the seeds from these plants and re-plant them next year. If saved properly, these open-pollinated seeds have the same characteristics as their parents.
Even if you decide not to re-plant the same variety of seeds, you can still save them and give them away to friends or trade them at your community seed exchange. Such events are known as Seedy Saturdays. To find a Seedy Saturday event near you, visit www.seeds.ca
Environmentally:  having the choice to save seeds is an important part of a sustainable food system. It allows the gardener to participate in preserving the existence of nourishing plants for generations to come. During the process of planting, caring for, eating and harvesting, a connection to Mother Earth and her cycles can be felt and appreciated.
Even if you decide not to save your organic open-pollilnated seeds, you are supporting the important work of seed companies that do.
Buying hybridized and/or trademarked seeds developed from corporate GMO companies like Monsanto-Seminis don’t give you (or anyone else) the option of experiencing the natural cycle of saving seeds. If the seeds are hybridized, they will likely produce sterile seeds that don’t germinate (these are referred to as terminator seeds).  If the seeds are trademarked, it is illegal to plant second generation seeds in proceeding growing seasons.

Because the conventional food system uses mostly hybrid seeds developed by corporate seed companies that cannot be saved for future years (they must be purchased from the developer year after year), the population of heirloom seed varieties are in danger.
Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds that have been saved and grown over many generations. Heirloom varieties often produce more interesting and tastier vegetables than those found in large chain grocery stores. In order to help save heirloom varieties, it is important to either learn how to properly save these seeds yourself or to support seed companies that do.
In summary, buy from seed companies that are passionate about preserving open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds that can be saved year after year. The best also grow their seeds organically and follow sustainable growing practices.
The Stone Store carries Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds (www.hawthornfarm.ca), a Canadian seed company from Palmerston, Ontario. Hawthorn Farm is an example of a seed company that helps to preserve open-pollinated, non-GMO varieties. They are also active members of the Organic Seed Alliance, an organization that encourages the stewardship and ethical development of seed.