Organic gardening has been promoted in recent years for being better for the environment and healthier for you. According to a study published by the University of Washington, Seattle preschoolers on conventional diets had high levels of organophosphorus pesticide exposure. Children on organic diets had exposure levels below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines (see References 1). If you want to try to start your own organic garden, you'll need organic seeds.
What are Organic Seeds?
When most people think about organic food, they think of organic farming practices. The seeds used on those organic farms are just as important as the pesticides the farmer avoids. Organic seeds are collected from organically grown plants. According to Dr. John Navazio, plant geneticist, conventional seed producers often use significantly higher amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on seed plants than what is permitted on food crops. Organic seeds are grown using the same environmentally friendly practices as organic food plants (see References 2).
Benefits of Organic Seeds
Organic seeds are ideally suited to organic gardening practices and should be chosen from the strongest, healthiest plants harvested. They have more natural drought- and pest-resistance than their conventional counterparts. According to Dr. Navazio, a seed geneticist, the best organic seeds are those grown by an individual gardener or farmer because those seeds are naturally selected to perform well in the specific soil and climate of that garden or farm (see References 2).
Buying Organic Seeds
If you are just starting your organic garden and do not have seeds saved from last year, there are many places to obtain organic seeds. Most organic seed companies sell strictly online, although you can find organic seeds in some garden supply stores.
Saving seeds from your own organic garden is an ideal way to obtain organic seed for next year. Choose non-hybrid varieties, and allow some plants to mature fully. Often produce is ready to eat before the plant has gone to seed. After you harvest the seeds from your plants, allow them to dry fully before storing. Store seeds in an airtight container in the freezer. Most seeds can be frozen for three to five years. Allow them to come to room temperature before opening the container to prevent condensation.
Tricia Ballad has written professionally since 2004. She has authored three books, as well as numerous articles on parenting and website content involving green living. Her work has appeared in Natural Family Online and Budget Artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing specialization from Bradley University.