Frequently Asked Questions:
Organic gardening is the practice of producing crops by avoiding the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Instead, organic growers use cover crops, manures, compost, and natural fertilizers to maintain soil fertility; hand or mechanical cultivation and mulch to manage weeds; and disease resistant seed varieties, crop rotation, natural biological cycles, and beneficial insects and birds to manage pests.
Yes. 100% certified organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides and therefore, harbor no residues from these chemicals. Organically grown seed produces hearty, robust plants already adapted to organic growing conditions. As an organic gardener, you are supporting the entire cycle of sustainable organic agricultural practices, which begins with organically grown seed. In October of 2002, the USDA established the National Organic Program which states that organic farmers must use certified organic seeds to grow crops.
No. Gardening is easy and safe for you, your family, and the planet. Visit the Resources Tab of our website for informative articles, videos, growing instructions and gardening tips to support your successful organic garden.
In addition, every gardener’s experience can be enhanced by knowing what grows best in his or her area. Our seed growing guides (included within every Seed Collection) give detailed instructions as to where and when to plant each variety. While most of our seeds are widely adapted to most growing regions, our product descriptions may contain information about the specific variety’s adaptability to special conditions.
Our annual vegetable, herb and flower seeds can be grown almost anywhere in the world, you just have to plant them at the right time of year for your climate. Cool season crops are planted in spring and fall, while warm season crops are grown in summer. Gardeners in the northern tier have shorter seasons and may need to select early maturing or frost tolerant varieties. Gardeners in the south have longer, more flexible planting windows and may want to look for heat tolerant varieties. These are noted in the variety descriptions.
To plan your garden, the most important piece of information you need to know is your last spring frost date and first fall frost date. Ask an experienced gardener in your neighborhood, or inquire at a local plant nursery. You can also contact your local Cooperative Extension office. Our ‘Seed Growing Guides’ for provide detailed information on when to plant based on your frost dates.
Successful perennial gardening requires an understanding of the USDA hardiness zone in your specific area. The USDA Zone information is really only relevant to perennial plants. To see a Zone Chart click here.
In addition, our ‘Growing Guides’ include growing instructions including recommended planting times for that specific variety in different parts of the country.
Each variety is different, but most will last over 5 years with many lasting over 20 years under proper storage conditions. To keep your seeds “fresh,” we recommend that you store them in a cool, dry, dark place. One technique is to put the mylar bag in your basement. If space allows, you can also store your seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow seeds to return to room temperature overnight before opening the mylar to prevent condensation that may spoil the seeds.
We offer a popular selection of open-pollinated, heirloom, as well as certified organic varieties. Many of our varieties are heirlooms (seeds that have been handed down for at least 60 years). Open-pollinated and Heirloom means it is easy to produce and save its seeds from generation to generation. Organic means basically means chemicals and potentially harmful substances were not used in production of these seeds.
- Open-Pollinated varieties are produced from a population of “parent” plants with very similar genetic characteristics. Open-pollinated plants, grown in isolation to prevent cross-pollination with another variety of the same species, will produce offspring that are very similar to the original parent population, allowing seeds to be saved and grown out ‘true-to-type’ year after year, generation after generation. These varieties can also be selected for disease resistance.
- Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated varieties that have been maintained and handed down by seed savers for at least 60 years.
- Organic seeds are those that have the USDA Certified Organic Certification. Many of the Varieties included in our seed Collections included Organic varieties.
Seeds to Avoid
- GMO seeds have had their DNA modified by scientists in a lab. Our bodies have been consuming the same strains of food for thousands of years without any alteration of the DNA of the seeds. When a foreign substance (such as Genetically Modified, or GM food) enter our immune system. Our body doesn’t recognize the foreign material and our immune system goes into attack mode (causing unnecessary inflammation). Studies have shown this to be a cause of lactose intolerance, autism, cancer, skin diseases, and a host of other issues. Genetically Modified Organisms are certainly harmful.
- Hybrid seeds are sterile after the first cross. This means that in the event of your family not having the ability to purchase seeds from a grower, you could NOT continue to collect seeds from previous years and plant them. Unlike the Open-Pollinated and Heirloom Varieties which you could continue to save and plant for an infinite food supply.
- Our own farm (and those seeds sourced from other Farms) takes great care to produce seed crops in areas that are as isolated as possible. To provide high quality 100% Non GMO seeds, we follow the best practices available in the industry, specifically:
- Our seed production locations are sufficiently isolated from fields of conventional crops that could be a potential source of GMO contamination. For example, our corn seed is produced in the western U.S., not in the midwest where the majority of conventionally-grown corn is produced.
- We are also signers of the SAFE SEED PLEDGE.
A large portion of the seed offered by Garden Seed Supply is grown here on our Farm in Idaho, USA. The balance is purchased from reputable USDA Certified Organic farms that produce their own 100% certified organic seed that meets our high quality standards. Garden Seed Supply does NOT buy or sell any seed varieties owned by Monsanto. We aim to promote practices that sustain life for our future generations, not promote profit, as Monsanto and other GM Seed companies.
‘Seed saving’ generally refers to the practice of growing a plant to full maturity and harvesting the seeds produced to plant again the next season. As much as possible, we encourage people to practice seed saving so that each of us contributes to preserving our earth’s amazing biodiversity.