A little over two weeks ago, respected garden writer Margaret Roach had an editorial in the New York Times about growing from seed. I had to read the thing at least 4 times to figure out exactly what she was saying because, to me at least, the editorial was as clear as mud. And I believe it was deliberately written that way–Margaret Roach is not an unclear writer–to shield herself from potential consequences. I’ll leave you all to imagine what those might be in our litigious society.
When I finally got what she was saying was when I read the article online and was able to link to her sources and read more about the issues. This is something I touched on myself in a post I did just about a year ago called “Choosing Seed,or What’s Wrong With Burpee?” It’s one of my most requested posts even to this day. As you can imagine, I did come out and say that there’s nothing “wrong” with Burpee but that there are a lot of other choices out there, including choices for those who want to choose non-genetically modified seed, and those who want to choose organic seed. You can read that post here.
In posts later that week, I went on to talk a bit about the GMO debate, and the heirloom versus hybrid debate. I didn’t get too much into the organic seed issue except to say that if one is growing to eat something in the very early stages–microgreens, for example–that would be a good time to choose organic seed.
So what do I, as someone who’s been organic for 20 years, do when growing from seed? It’s not something I think about as much as Margaret Roach has. When they are available, I try to buy organic. I naturally have gravitated to the organic companies she mentioned–and on Friday, I can talk about a list of the seed companies I buy from and why.
I am growing primarily for taste, so I grow primarily heirlooms. I will grow a hybrid or two, particularly if I am testing something as a garden writer. Some of the tastiest tomatoes I’ve tested have been hybrids. They also do have the best disease resistance. Some of the most interestingly complex tomatoes, however, are heirlooms. If I can get them from one of my organic seed companies, great. If not, I go to one of my other reputable sources.
Life is too short to be stressed about seeds too!