Organic seeds

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Chickpea
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Organic seeds

Post: # 54692Post Chickpea
Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:54 pm

Ooh, this place is new. "The Local", eh? Like it.

So, organic seeds. Are they worth it? I mean, I buy normal seeds, plant them in the ground, don't put any pesticides or herbicides or fertiliser or anything weird like that on them, just manure and compost and stuff. Isn't that organic enough?

Someone persuade me that I ought to fork out for organic seeds. Or not. What do you think?

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Post: # 54699Post Milims
Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:34 pm

This whole organic thing confuses me entirely!! Supermarkets sell organic food - in chemical ridden plastic bags and probably with loads of travel miles on them!! So if we buy organic from elsewhere can we really guarantee its authenticity - after all don't birds eat all kinds of everything from everywhere and then poop on the land?? Don't seeds blow from hither and yon and plant themselves?
I guess the only way to have anything remotely near being truly organic is to plant what you have, save the seeds off the offspring, plant and save several times over without using chemicals and only grow them in an environment entirely closed to anything from outside!! :?
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ina
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Post: # 54729Post ina
Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:02 pm

Ah well - I suppose we won't be able to stop the birds doing their thing... But rest assured, if something is labelled as "certified organic", they have to undergo strict controls and stick to very precise production standards. Which I won't say too much about - it would take weeks.

However: As to food miles - food has to be labelled with country of origin, so it's up to you to buy what's as local as possible. (I always prefer local conventional to organic from the other side of the world!) Processing also underlies certain controls, so again, have a look at the standards if you want to know how it's produced.

Seeds: I try to buy organic seeds, as I then know that this variety is suitable for growing organically. If I can't get the seed I want in the organic version, I don't have a problem with buying the "normal" stuff, either. Of course, with me it's a bit of a matter of principle, too: I think organic is the only permanently sustainable way, so I should put my money where my mouth (and heart) is and buy organic seeds, too!
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Post: # 54733Post Wombat
Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:13 pm

ina wrote: Seeds: I try to buy organic seeds, as I then know that this variety is suitable for growing organically. If I can't get the seed I want in the organic version, I don't have a problem with buying the "normal" stuff, either. Of course, with me it's a bit of a matter of principle, too: I think organic is the only permanently sustainable way, so I should put my money where my mouth (and heart) is and buy organic seeds, too!
Hear, hear..............I agree entirely!

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Chickpea
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Post: # 54791Post Chickpea
Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:12 pm

I see - so it's not an issue of whether the organic seeds are "better" than normal ones, it's an issue of whether you are supporting an industry that uses pesticides etc.

A bit like organic cotton t-shirts. I don't eat my t-shirts so I'm not worried about what pesticides and stuff might have come into contact with the cotton plant whilst it grew in the same way as when I buy organic food because |I don't want eat all that chemical junk. But I'd still choose organic cotton if I could because organic growing methods are better for the planet.

Thanks for clearing that up.

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Post: # 54799Post Stonehead
Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:28 pm

Chickpea wrote:I see - so it's not an issue of whether the organic seeds are "better" than normal ones, it's an issue of whether you are supporting an industry that uses pesticides etc.
There's much more to it than that.

At the very top of the tree, IMO, is organic seed (whether certified from a commercial source or home-grown) for plants that are open-pollinated (OP), whether general heirloom varieties, modern varieties developed through selection, or regionally specific landrace varieties. Such seed should not only be grown organically, but be free of of post-cultivation chemical treatment and irradiation. I say chemical, because heat or cold treatment may be justified in specific cases (eg bean weevil).

Next down are the seed swap versions of the above. You know the people the seed came from and can be fairly certain that when they say their seed is organically grown, it is.

For me, the next tier is made up of the organic commercial hybrids - the ones that don't reproduce true to type. I much prefer OP varieties but the hybrids can be useful for pest and disease resistance, especially when you're growing organically and OP crops have proven difficult in your specific locale.

After that, there are the non-organic OP varieties from commercial seed catalogues, plus the non-organic commercial hybrid varieties. I use OP heirloom varieties that aren't available in organic form but not the modern commercial OPs and hybrids. That's my personal preference, as I can almost always find organic and/or heirloom varieties without going this far down.

Finally, there are GM seeds which I intended steering clear of if and when they start coming through. I think they're an artificial solution to an artificial problem, while giving too much control over what's sown and how it's grown to faceless multinationals that are largely unaccountable. (To my way of thinking, that makes the good science/bad science argument irrelevant.)


Finally, when seeds are labelled organic, look up the certifying body and read their standards. Some are much more strict than others.
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