Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sowing the Seeds

It is time to begin sowing our garden seeds indoors in the greenhouse, so today we picked up several varieties. The tomatoes are from Territorial Seed Company. They are untreated, heirloom, organically produced seeds.

Territorial celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Located in Cottage Grove, Oregon, it was purchased in 1985 by Tom and Julie Johns. Noticing the alarming trend of disappearing diversity and quality in the seed market caused by large conglomerate consolidation, they set out to invest in land and equipment that would allow them to grow commercial quality home garden seeds that consumers were then unable to obtain. They have been offering these quality seeds to customers ever since, and this makes them an independent seed company that consumers can trust. (Territorial Seed Company history, Territorial Seed Company Spring 2009 Catalog.)

When selecting seeds, it is very important to look for the following:
  1. Open pollinated (this means non-hybrid). You may see it as OP on seed packets. This means that the plant is pollinated by natural means, such as by wind, bees, and other insects. It also means that my seed packet says "Indeterminate Habit." This just means that because of the uncontrolled pollination of the plant, the seed company does not know from whence the male pollen is derived and that the traits of the mature plant may vary (widely) from 'norm' expectations. To me, this means I have seeds that are heirloom quality. For more information, take a look at Nature's

  2. Heirloom. This means that you can save the seeds from the bounty of your harvest and they will grow into new, healthy plants if you plant them. Many people are not even aware that seeds which are not heirloom do not produce seeds that may be saved and planted to provide a reliable new generation of crops. Avoid F1 (hybrid) and GMO (genetic modification) at all costs, especially if you wish to save seeds from your crop(s) to plant later. These are said to add heartiness and desirable traits to plants, but what it really means is Frankenfood for which each gardener is dependent on the seed company EACH year. For more information on this topic, visit Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

  3. Non-GMO (as discussed above).

  4. Untreated. Often, seeds are treated with fungicides, insecticides, and/or other chemical substances to protect them from damage, insects, and blight. This is supposed to be a positive selling point, but to those of us who care about what we put into our bodies, it means more unnecessary chemicals. If my seed is coated in chemicals before it ever even goes into the ground, how am I going to grow chemical free plants and crops? I cannot.

  5. Organic. Remember in High School biology class, when we all learned the definition of organic (basically, ..."of or pertaining to living organisms")? Now, the term "Organic" has emerged on the food circuit to mean..."pertaining to, involving, or grown with fertilizers or pesticides of animal or vegetable origin, as distinguished from manufactured chemicals: organic farming; organic fruits." (Definition extracted from According to, it means...grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. When discussing seeds, it means that the plants from which the seeds were harvested were grown using organic farming principles.

More than you wanted to know? Well, take this away with you: Request your tomatoes HEIRLOOM; hold the pesticides, sewage sludge and any form of radiation.

1 comment:

cloud9design said...

Thanks for shedding light on this topic. My heart was right all along. I knew you had to start with an organic seed to grow an organic garden. :)