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Buying Organic Seeds

By January 8, 2014 December 8th, 2015 Garden Planning, Garden Tasks, Uncategorized

Choosing your crops and buying seeds for the upcoming gardening season is always one of the most fun things to do as a gardener.

Buying high-quality seeds is critically important for a healthy organic garden. At The Urban Farm Company we buy over 75% of our seeds from Fedco Seeds and Johnny’s Seeds. There are dozens of great seed companies out there, but we suggest only buying from companies that don’t sell GMO seeds. We suggest buying a mix of hybrid and heirloom varieties.

Open Pollinated Seeds

Open Pollinated plants are simply varieties that produce seeds that grow into seedlings just like the parent plant. Not all plants do this (keep reading).   

Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom vegetables are open pollinated varieties that have been grown for many, many years (mostly since before World War II) and, therefore, are often more rare varieties in which the seed is passed down year after year through family and community tradition. Heirlooms are the prized garden vegetable because they often taste superior—and look more interesting—than grocery store vegetables.

Hybrid Seeds

Hybrid vegetables are created when plant breeders cross breed compatible types of plants in an effort to create a plant with the best features of both parents. These are called hybrids and many of our modern plants are the result of these crosses—in fact, farmers have been doing this for centuries. They are completely safe, and often grow much better than the original species. However, they are not open-pollinated so they produce seeds that are different than the parent plant. Hybrid seeds are indicated by “F1” on the seed pack.

GMO Seeds

GMO seeds have specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering—for example, inserting a mouse gene into a tomato’s DNA. Problems with GMO seeds include: possible public health issues, serious environmental concerns, and corporate abuse and control of our seed supply through unjust intellectual property rights.

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  • Marina says:

    Home Grown Food Colorado also loves Johnny’s and Fedco. Come to our Seed Swap on March 1 at Avo’s from 11-2, and pick up some, or swap some of your own!

  • Tyler Grant Hartung says:

    Just a note here: we went to FedCo’s website to buy seeds and they were sold out of all types of Kale?! So we went to Johnny Seeds, which also was sold out of a lot. Just good to know you need to get on there early!

    • Oh wow. So sorry those were our only two suggestions! Usually they are very well stocked, although the big kale seed growers have had multiple crop failures in the last two years and so seed companies are getting low in stock for kale seeds in general. If you only need a few seeds, you can always get some organic seeds at a local nursery. Baker Creek Seeds, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and Harris Seeds are also great online companies. And to prevent missing out on varieties due to seed crop failure, learn to save your own seeds!

  • Denise says:

    Thank you for your work and for blazing a trail for otrhes to follow! It’s wonderful to have the resource of the internet to ‘meet’ folks like you, even if we can’t walk through each otrhes’ gardens and chat face to face. SLOLA has really hit a chord here in Los Angeles; our membership is somewhere around 50 and we are only two months old. We are just beginning to acquire seed and establishing the ground rules on growing things out. It’s a great adventure! A little daunting, but a great adventure! david

  • Jan says:

    You can also get Heirloom Mountain SeedsWoman seeds from Colorado.

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