Q&A: Organic Seeds

Question: What is the difference between organic seeds and just plain ol’ seeds? Are there any advantages of one over the other?

Answer: Organic seed is seed harvested from plants that are grown organically. In terms of germination and seedling health, there probably isn’t much difference between organic and non-organic seeds.

However, organic seeds represent another way to live an eco-friendly life. Seed producers grow thousands of acres of plants from which they harvest their seeds for sale. By buying organic seeds, you can support producers who do not use toxic, persistent pesticides and fertilizers. This becomes more significant when you consider how seed crops generally require more chemical applications than food crops, because the plants must go through their entire life cycle for the seeds to mature, and they are usually left standing even longer so the seeds can dry.

Plants grown from organic seeds may also be a bit tougher than those from non-organic seeds. Organic seeds’ parent plants have to thrive in organic growing conditions, where they are not pampered with fertilizers or protected with pesticides. Their offspring are well-equipped to thrive in a similar setting. This is especially important to consider if you garden organically yourself.

Because the demand for organic seed is still relatively small, there hasn’t been as much research and development of organic varieties. Therefore the advantage of non-organic seed is the wider range of varieties to choose from.

Read about genetically modified seeds

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