Choosing Seed Companies

Peas are good to eat seeds.We’ve talked about whether or not to save seeds and the various possible outcomes of of those choices.  There has been discussion about what to do with your garden and how to manage the business end of it.  Now, lets talk about choosing the right seed company.  Sounds like it should be easy doesn’t it?  Seeds for sale in the local store should be good, right?  If only it were that simple.

The first decision is whether or not you want to keep a 100% organic garden.  If this is the case, your choices are restricted to only seeds labeled organic.  There is debate about if the seal of approval from the U.S.D.A. truly means it is organic since there are some “exceptions” to the rules the U.S.D.A. created.

To add fuel to the organic debate, deciding whether or not to buy non-organic seeds and raising them with organic methods.  According to the rules, if there are no organic seeds available of the plant you are looking for, if you raise non-organic seeds with organic methods, you now have organic products and the saved seeds are also organic.  It begs the argument why all non-organic seeds raised organic are not also now organic and so are the saved seeds.

Next up is do you care if you purchase your seeds from big agriculture companies or do you only want to support small farms?  If you only want to purchase from farms, your choices are restricted even more.  Small farms have any where from a few acres to a few thousand acres.  Big agriculture often has many hundreds of thousands of acres.  Plus you will have to do quite a bit of research on the business end to determine if the seeds you want to purchase are owned wholly or in part by big agriculture.  It could take hours to determine if you want to buy from a company or not.

If you choose to go with a small family business, or buy seeds from some local gardener, it is important to see how the operation works and talk with others who have purchased seeds from them.  Seeds purchased in this manner are more expensive.  More than that, there is more room for cross pollination which could end with plants who produce is misshapen, poorly producing, or not producing at all.  Those problems are more expensive than just money.  It’s also time, effort, resources, and lost opportunity to produce a product for your pantry.

For us, we chose to purchase seeds that are guaranteed to produce viable plants and raise them as organic.  Our concerns were for health reasons.  No G.M.O. seeds or others with health risks. From the plants we raise we may save seeds from some plant varieties and not save from other plant varieties.  By doing these things we are getting organic produce from reasonably priced seeds guaranteed to produce quality products.  We decided we didn’t much care who produced those seeds because we are concerned with preparing our family for what every might happen.  We can’t afford to spend time on matters that will resolve themselves when a world changing event happens.

photo by: jacilluch