Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preparing for Summer's Garden

Right around Candlemas (Feb 2) I get the urge to start planning my garden and ordering seeds. I enjoy looking through the seed catalogues I've been receiving since Christmas; perusing the fabulous new varieties and old favorites. Usually by the 3rd or 4th catalogue, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and indecisive! So many pictures, varieties, descriptions...

So, to make choosing a bit easier, I tossed (in the recycling bin) any catalogue that sold Monsanto seeds, GMO seeds or only hybrids. It was a lot of paper, unfortunately. After doing some research, I found that some of the companies I've used in the past were not organizations that I really want to patronize...they're selling seeds from Monsanto/Seminis. As Harvey Ussery says, "One vote, one dollar." If I am trying to grow heirloom seeds and I am incensenced by Monsanto, I shouldn't be giving them my money. Much easier to do than it sounds.

And I learned that it's not enough for a company to sign the safe seed pledge. The pledge basically states that the signer doesn't knowing sell genetically modified seeds. It doesn't say that they don't deal with companies that produce/sell genetically modified seeds. 

With the purchase of Seminis, Inc., Monsanto owns the patents for approximately 40% of the U.S. seed market. Seed suppliers have had to do some self examination and decide if they will still carry Seminis seeds or not; they own so many patents for old favorites. (Check out Fedco's stance.) There's the thought that Monsanto is gradually decreasing the number of Seminis varieties they're offering, that so many distributors are dependan on, so maybe in the future Seminis will be less of a factor.
On a personal level, I am trying my best to stay away from Monsanto. I've not been gardening so long that I've really developed "favorites." So, it's easy for me to switch to different varieties. 

After much research, here's a few "safe sellers" (no this list isn't all inclusive. I'd be happy to receive suggestions!

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