Pure goodness and even better flavor, more juice and sweetness or aroma from fruits and vegetables means avoiding hybrids developed for commercial growers. If its sweet, chances are that a lot of the sugar has been bred out of the produce to increase shelf life and reduce bruising in transit. Naturally, a lot of hybridizing involves raising sugar content in things like corn – but not without including traits that make it last for weeks. You should also be concerned about GMO foods when buying your seed, for any kind of garden. This is a huge factor in so many people wanting to grow their own food and get into any form of hydroponics.
Just because a seed source doesn’t advertise varieties known to be genetically engineered doesn’t mean that their seed is GMO-free. Some of the most widely known seed companies in US and Canada leave you wide open to having GMO-crossed food in your home garden. The chances of this occurring in the UK might be lower.
Not all hybrids are bad.
Many came about naturally, or were created by ethical methods. It is however less likely that an odd plant developed naturally by accidental cross pollination would remain true to the parent if grown by seed. It is more likely that either many years of patient cross breeding to come up with a reliably stable offspring identical to the parent plant or genetic modification is present in one form or another. Not all genetic modifications include genes from other species. Still, the possibilities have brought many to seek out only open pollinated and heirloom varieties, and to buy from pledged organic seed companies. So has the fact that a seed grower raising both pure strain crops and GMO crops has no chance at all of selling uncontaminated seed.
See how important it is to know where your food is from, and what happened to it throughout it’s life? It might surprise you to realize that a plant’s life begins before its a sprout.
Your best bet is to save seed from the cross-pollinated plants you have grown, or to be sure to purchase only from seed houses known to be GMO-free beyond the shadow of a doubt. Here’s the best sources to do your shopping at below.
- D. Landreth Seed – a guarantee on quality, service and innovation that is 225 years old. The oldest seed company in the U.S.A., founded in 1784.
- Johnny’s Seed – with a focus on a healthy harvest since it’s beginning, they have signed the pledge to be GMO free forever. Huge selection! The print catalog is amazing and free of seed house hype.
- Seed Savers Exchange – a non-profit that is probably the driving force behind heirloom varieties preservation.
- Territorial Seed – a safe, reliable source for quality vegetable seed since 1979.
- High Mowing Organics – a newer company but it gets lots of good reviews.
- Terra Edibles – heirloom varieties.
- Seeds of Victoria – heirloom varieties.
- The Cottage Gardener – heirloom varieties.
- Solana Seeds – rare, unusual and heirloom seeds.
- Real Seeds – heirloom varieties. Voted Ethical Best Seeds and the winner of the 2011 Horticulture Channel Awards.
- Organic Catalog – the name says it all.
- Tamar Organics – great selection of herbs and vegetable seed.
Here’s a telling reason why you might be harvesting in less abundance with non-organic seed and having a higher rate of plant health issues:
“The best seed goes into organic packets as you cannot get away with any defects. The slightly second rate seeds can be treated and then sold as non-organic, although not all seed companies do this. Seeds that have been produced in organic systems, should be more suited to organic production.” ~ Ben Ruskin, Soil Association
If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.