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which seeds are best to use?

Posted by normathenewbie (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 08 at 21:20

I haven't purchased any seeds yet and not sure which ones work best for this area. I live in the Bath area if that helps. lol. I don't know what zone that is. this is my first year at attempting a veg. garden. Not sure if certain brands like Burpees seeds or what not are better than others. if you have some suggestions it would be wonderful
thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Zone doesn't matter if you're not growing in the winter. I'm linking to zone info below. Most seed companies don't grow their own seed, they buy from warehouses. One particular supplier controls more than 80% of the seed supply. Brand name doesn't matter much since they're coming from the same place unless you seek out a company that specifically grows their own seeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Hardiness Zones Explained


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Norma,

Seed companies that are located in the North usually have varieties that are more suited to our climate. Johnny's Selected Seeds is a good Maine Seed Company with selections for both home gardeners and commercial gardeners. Pinetree Garden Seeds is another good Maine seed company. There are other Maine seed companies, but I haven't purchased from them, so I don't have the basis for making recommendations about them.

Veseys Seeds is based in Canada, but has a branch for the U.S.A. I usually send them an order.

Stokes Seeds is also Canadian based with a branch for the U.S.A. Their online catalog doesn't have a lot of pictures, but their paper catalog is well illustrated and well worth requesting. They also have separate branches for home gardeners and commercial gardeners. I order a lot of my seeds from Stokes.

Harris Seeds is based in upstate New York, so their varieties are suitable for our climate.

I also order seeds from Burpee and Park Seed, although they are not limited to just Northern varieties.

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

I've been ordering from Johnnys for years, even though until this year I lived in Northern NY. This year I ordered a lot from Fedco too, also located right here in Maine. I like the ethical stand Fedco has taken by refusing to buy any more seeds from Seminis, the Monsanto-owned corporation. Johnnys is also phasing out or has phased out Seminis seeds from their offerings.

If you are opposed to genetically modified seeds or Monsanto's corporate philosophies, this makes them among the best sources of seeds.

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Wayne,

"If you are opposed to genetically modified seeds or Monsanto's corporate philosophies, this makes them among the best sources of seeds."

I'm beginning to wonder if genetically modified organisms (GMO seed) in seed catalogs is just an urban legend.

I haven't been able to find a single seed packet offered by ANY seed company that has genetically modified seed. As far as I can tell, home gardeners can't buy genetically modified seed from any company, even if they wanted to. So I don't see why it is even an issue.

Fedco is certainly trying to make it a reason to buy from them, implying that if you bought from a competitor you might run the risk of getting GMO seed. I wonder if Fedco even believes that themselves. I think it is a bit ironic that Fedco's slogan on the cover of their seed catalog is "30 Years of Spring Fiction."

In any event, I don't buy from Fedco because they have a very limited selection of varieties and they offer almost none of my favorite varieties. And I don't buy their fear mongering.

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

wow thank you all, this is all very useful information. Thank you al for the wonderful links. I think I will buy from a Maine company, just because if there is a choice I think we should all buy locally and support our local economy and businesses.
I bought some conainers yesterday and thinking of doing a lot of container gardining and then some raised beds in different areas of your property. I know lettuce works well in containers as well as tomatoes in hanging baskets, if you all have any info on other good container veggies, please let me know. thanks
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

I'm beginning to wonder if genetically modified organisms (GMO seed) in seed catalogs is just an urban legend.

By now it should be common knowledge that this is misinformation passed on by people who believe what they're told without taking the time to do their own research. Common seed catalogs can't legally offer genetically modified seeds. They are not available to common gardeners unless a farmer growing GM crops are willing to break his contract and provide seeds to someone who has no legal right to the seeds.

Fedco is certainly trying to make it a reason to buy from them, implying that if you bought from a competitor you might run the risk of getting GMO seed. I wonder if Fedco even believes that themselves. I think it is a bit ironic that Fedco's slogan on the cover of their seed catalog is "30 Years of Spring Fiction."

Here's where the Safe Seed Pledge comes in. There are contaminated seeds. Fedco and others don't knowingly sell these. As for Spring Fiction, you had to have been there to get it I guess. There is a specific meaning to this and it has nothing to do with your insinuation.

One of the reasons Fedco, Johnny's and other companies don't sell or are phasing out Monsanto seeds is because Monsanto is the major player in genetic engineering. Some of us intentionally avoid Monsanto and do not support companies that support Monsanto. Fedco's catalog notes this when a seed variety has been dropped for the year because of contamination. If gm seeds are ever made available to the general public the companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge will not offer them.

It's not fear mongering when you understand the issues. If you support Monsanto's philosophies and practices you will not agree with the stand more than 100 companies and many consumers have taken.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fedco, GE and Safe Seed Pledge


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Certainly not a myth if you look in catalogs selling commercially. Big companies like Asgrow selling the Monsanto Round Up Ready corns to smaller companies like Elk Mound Seed.

Many if not most seed companies selling to gardeners have signed the Safe Seed pledge and will not knowingly sell GMO seeds.That's why you may not think others are selling GMOs. Some, like Johnny's & Fedco will not sell any Monsanto-linked seeds, GMO or non-GMO, or are phasing out their inventory because of Monsanto's involvement with GMO and for the larger social issues for which they are becoming infamous. Issues like their staff of lawyers and investigators to track down and prosecute small farmers who might unknowingly be growing crops from their infected seeds. Their social issues such as contracting with growers in India employing child slave labor. Their campaign to fight tooth and nail any attempt by state governments to require labeling of their seed as GMO or the inclusion of GMO plants in prepared foods.

You may see it as fear-mongering or as a ploy to steal business from their competitors. I see it as a large group of companies in the seed industry joining together to listen to their customers and do what's right. Just my opinion.

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Beat me to the post, Robin.

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

okay that all confused the wits out of me. lol but did learn something I think. I went to johnny's and found alof of the veggies I plan on growing, wow didn't realize starting a garden could get so costly. Wanted to do this to save some money, but I guess all things cost more in the beginning. Being a family of 5 on a single income it will be tough this first year and might have to omit a lot of the veggies I was hoping to have.. and just add on next year. A friend told me I could buy some organic veggies from the grocier and get seeds that way... does anyone know if that will actually work? It certainly would be cost saving for me, but have no idea if it would really work. please let me know what you think
thanks again for all of your wisdom and knowledge
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Saving seeds from unknown varieties from the grocer is risky in that the plants may have been grown from hybrid seeds. (A cross between two or more varieties.) Hybrid or open-pollinated seeds may both be grown organically but there is no telling what differences you may see in new plants resulting from planting next-generation hybrids seed.

If you know the veggie you are buying to be an open-pollinated variety, the seeds may be ok if they are mature, but most veggies are harvested long before their seed is mature.

When you do buy seeds, avoiding hybrids will let you save your own seed for the next year. Like everything, this comes with it's own set of conditions, so do a little research into seed-saving, avoiding cross-pollination, etc.

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

thanks wayne, I didn't realize you should avoid hybrids. Great tip. Also I went to pine tree and they seem to be a lot cheaper than johnny seeds. is it like with anything else, you pay for quality, or with seeds does it matter? wow, who knew gardening could be so overwhelming. lol, good thing the actually gardening process is soothing, so I can recoupe from getting started. lol
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Robin,

"Common seed catalogs can't legally offer genetically modified seeds. They are not available to common gardeners..."

My point exactly. That is why I think that Fedco should not imply otherwise. They are suggesting that a danger exists that doesn't exist, and that you should buy from them to be "safe". That is why I said previously, "As far as I can tell, home gardeners can't buy genetically modified seed from any company, even if they wanted to. So I don't see why it is even an issue."

Can you give me a good reason why I should buy seeds from Fedco?

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Fedco (and Johnnys) both offer bulk seeds to commercial growers as do many other seed companies. The Safe Seed Pledge (which over 100 seed companies have signed) means you will not find "Round Up Ready" corn seed or other genetically modified seeds being offered even if you are a commercial grower.

I found a lot of varieties I like at Fedco at prices cheaper than I was paying elsewhere. I also shop at other companies because in the thirty something years I've been gardening, I have not found a company that offers every variety I want. As for why you should or shouldn't buy from Fedco, you have to determine your own reasons. If you don't like their selection or their politics, don't buy from them. Others do and that is why I suggested them to the original poster.

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Wayne,

"Certainly not a myth if you look in catalogs selling commercially."

Norma never indicated that she was a commercial grower, so it is a myth that she was in any danger of purchasing genetically modified seed.

"When you do buy seeds, avoiding hybrids will let you save your own seed for the next year."

"Thanks Wayne, I didn't realize you should avoid hybrids. Great tip."

Norma seems grateful for your warnings. But Norma never indicated an intention to save her own seed, so I am not sure you benefited her by scaring her away from F1 hybrid varieties.

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

MM,
thanks and you are right as I am not a commercial buyer and I will only buy a packet of the things I want, a far cry from what I'm sure commercial farmers will buy. I would like to save my seeds eventually, but first I have to find seeds I like and probably wont attemp seed saving til I am a seasoned gardener. Still was helpful info. and I did find that some of the seeds I wanted only have hybrids to choose from. Such as Corn. Could you please elaborate on the F1 hybrid varieties. is there a difference?
Also if someone could answer my last question about why johnny's seeds are more expensive than Pine Tree seeds. And if it is okay to go with the cheaper? I'm hoping it's okay because I think I will beable to find everything I want and afford them this year. I think I found that Pine tree was like 1/3rd the cost of Johnny's. Of course in saying that I wouldn't want to waste my money if they aren't as good.
I appriciate all of your help and wisdom. All have you have been very helpful. A bit confusing at times but helpful non the less.
Thanks again
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

MM,

Norma indicated costs were important and said was advised to save seed from store bought veggies. That's why I offered advice about saving seed from open pollinated.

What's with you, anyway?

Wayne


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Norma, I order from Pinetree nearly every year and their seeds are just as good quality as Johnny's or other respected catalogs. Their packets do hold a smaller amount of seeds, but this works well for me as I certainly don't need 100+ seeds of a single variety of tomato. Their shipping is far less than other companies too. When I order from Pinetree early in the year, I sometimes get my delivery ONE day later. Customer service is nice too, if you do have any problems they will refund or give you a credit.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

veilchen,
Thank you so very much, I am very happy to hear this! Do you have a preference for tomatoes and cukes that work well for canning and pickleing? I would love to make some bread and butter pickles and can my spaghetti and tomato sauses as well as canned whole tomatoes. Any suggestions that you have found work well for this purpose will be greatly appriciated. thanks again.
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

For your spaghetti and tomato sauces look for the kinds that are labeled "paste" tomatoes. They are much less juicy and make a thicker sauce in less cooking time. We personally like Roma but there are lots of varieties to choose from. My husband loves a cherry tomato variety called Sweet 100. It dries very well, too, and goes great in omelets, etc.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

mainerose,
thank you very much for the tip. I will look for the ones labled paste. : )


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

My point exactly. That is why I think that Fedco should not imply otherwise.

It was? I went by what you actually said, that you were beginning to think it was a myth.

Can you give me a good reason why I should buy seeds from Fedco?

Yes. But since you've already decided against it there's really no need.

You can save hybrid seed and plant them. You won't get what you started with but you most likely will get something good. If you missed a tomato when you cleaned out the garden in the fall you've probably seed volunteers. They grow, they produce, they're edible and probably quite good. If you've tossed your pumpkins into a compost pile or let them sit over the winter on the lawn you'll probably get some very cool pumpkins next fall if you let them grow.

Norma, have a lot of seeds. If you want to send a list of what you want to grow I'll see what I have and drop them in the mail to you. I have several pounds of some seeds, thousands of others. I can certainly spare some for a new gardener.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seeds From Hybrids


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

wow Robin that is very nice of you. my sister gave me a few of her pumpkin seeds from when she use to garden and some cukes, but weren't really the ones I was looking for. I was going to go out today and purchase what I couldn't find at pine tree because they were hybrids but now you are saying that they would be fine. to tell you the truth I'm getting quite confused. lol. It would be wonderful if you would share and if you would like I can send you a SASE.
these are the veggies I am planning on planting this year.
Canning type tomato
cherry type tomato
a smaller variety of cukes good for pickling
broccoli
onions, red, white and scallions
carrots
lettuce, loose leaf and crisp
peppers, any color
radish
bush beans
pumpkins
squash, a butternut and or buttercup
asparagus
and a few others but not sure I want to try everything my first year
so any of the above would be greatly appreciated.
I will wait to go seed shopping and putting my order into pine tree til I hear back from you.
thanks again it is very generous or you to share.
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Robin,

"My point exactly. That is why I think that Fedco should not imply otherwise."
"It was? I went by what you actually said, that you were beginning to think it was a myth."

Perhaps you misunderstood my response. I think we are both in agreement that it is a myth that home gardeners should be wary to pick only those seed companies that don't offer GMO seeds to them, since all retail seed companies are alike in that regard. You probably stated it more clearly than I did. And we are also in total agreement about your clarification that it is OK to plant seeds from hybrid varieties. And you are right that I have a rather low opinion of Fedco.

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Norma,

Aside from Robin's generous offer, check out the 10 and 30 cent seed racks at Walmart and RiteAid. I've purchased about 60 packets of seed for $7. Many duplicates, but they should last for use next season.

As for FEDco...I purchased from them and what I noted in their catalog was they withdrew their Seminis offerings in large part because most people who responded to their polling suggested they remove the Seminis seeds from their offerings.

I was impressed with the selection and pricing of the FEDco seeds...many 1/2 the price of anyplace else I checked.

BTW, I also ordered 30 packets of seed from Artistic Gardens in Smaple packets...30 cents apiece. So far none of them have germinated..I can only base this on several pepper and tomato varieties I started indoors under lights. But, compared to the seeds I bought from FEDco and from local stores and also from Heirloom Seeds, All the others germinated and grew on nicely. Maybe 2 plants sprouted out of almost a dozen packets of the AG seeds.

Norma, what about beets????

As for Asparagus...keep in mind any asparagus you start from seed will take several years to reach maturity. You can purchase asparagus roots??? already a year old, but even they will take a couple years to reach maturity.

Start your peppers tomatoes and broccoli now. Broc should be able to go out in 3-4 weeks. Carrots can go direct in the ground in early May. Early June for the squash, cukes direct in ground and early June for pepper and tomato transplants.

I've had good luck with the coir pellets Burpee sells in their dome kits. Do you have lights for growing under?

Check out the growing from seed forum for good tips


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Mark is it?
Thank you so much for the info. I knew that the asparagus would take like two years to beable to harvest it but want it in the future so will plant now and perhaps in a container. We are renters but thankfully I talked the owner into letting us have a garden in one corner of the yard. I plan on being here a few years but things happen in life as we all know and would hate to leave anything behind. lol.especially the asparagus as it takes so long to harvest it. do you know if it will work in a container? I will however look into the asparagus roots and hopefully beable to have some fresh cut next year. Thanks again for the planting tips as I had no idea when to plant what. my sister and brother in law use to plant everything all at the same time. they still got plenty of crop but I think they could have had better.
No I don't have lights for growing under. I suppose I could steal my husbands shop lights in the garage but I don't think that would make him happy. lol
Thanks again
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

I have most of those seeds. The soil temp in the greenhouse is almost 50*. I'll spend the day out there transplanting. When I come back in I'll pull the seeds and send a list to you. I'll include the name, days to maturity and anything that might be helpful and will fit on the seed envelopes. Do you know about when you'll be able to start planting outside? We still have 18" of snow. I don't think we'll plant out for at least a month.

The wind's wicked today! It will be noisy in the greenhouse.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

oh the wind is awful here as well... and I'm am happy to say, most of the snow on my yard is disappearing. but with the storm on its way friday I'm sure it wont stay that way. lol. Life in Maine, isn't it wonderful. I am going to try and ask around to see when poeple usually plant around here, I have no idea and don't now many people in this town, but my whole family is from the next town over so thinking it's about the same so will ask around there as well. I truely do appriciate you sharing your seeds with me.. it is very generous of you.
I will email you my address.
Thanks again
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

BTYW, I have plenty of bush bean seeds......3 varieties....I'm working on setting up a plant exchange with other members of the Portland permaculture meetup group...perhaps you can stop in as well, Norma....the more the merrier. I'm sure I can come up with a few transplants to help you get started, especially if you run into problems starting your own seeds.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

thanks Zen
that is very generous of you too. let me know when and where as it's a bit of a drive and I will have to make plans for the kids ahead of time.
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Canning type tomato

cherry type tomato - I have orange and red cherries. I'll send both.

a smaller variety of cukes good for pickling - I'll send pickling, slicing and European.

broccoli - I have short and long daysw to maturity. One heads and is done. The other heads and continues to produce very nice side shoots. I'll write the info on the seed packets.

carrots - the seeds are pelleted. It makes planting them easier and almost eliminates thinning.

lettuce, loose leaf and crisp - sending green and red

peppers, any color - green and orange

radish - Easter egg. They're red, white and pink

bush beans

pumpkins - I'll email you with a list of what I have. I grow abouta dozen varieties.

squash, a butternut and or buttercup - butternut. They're excellent keepers. I brought the last six up from the cellar in March and froze them.

How about peas? I have shell (you shell them), snap (eat the whole thing) and snow (pod, tiny peas, eat the whole thing).

Beets? Beet greens are my biggest dollar per square foot vegetable. They're as popular as peas and tomatoes.

Summer squash/zucchini? There are some things that are going to grow and be pulled. It opens up space for you to plant something else.

I don't have asparagus and onions, red, white and scallions seeds. I ordered 5,000 onion seeds but they were already sold out when I sent the order in February. There's an onion seed shortage this year. I'll grow from sets.

I'll package up seeds and get them in today's mail. You should have them tomorrow.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Robin,
thanks those all sound good, snow and snap peas both sound good, beets? well I honestly don't know if we have anyone in the family tht would eat them, summer squash is great in stir frys and such so that sounds nice. As for pumpkins, these are for the kids garden. they want them for the fall to carve, paint and give to family and friends so any med size would be great. I will look for aspargus and onions while I'm out and about today. Thank you again for your generousity.
I will look for the package to arrive and let you know when it does.
Thanks again
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

I wish we had an automatic quote here.

Perhaps you misunderstood my response. I think we are both in agreement that it is a myth that home gardeners should be wary to pick only those seed companies that don't offer GMO seeds to them, since all retail seed companies are alike in that regard. You probably stated it more clearly than I did. And we are also in total agreement about your clarification that it is OK to plant seeds from hybrid varieties. And you are right that I have a rather low opinion of Fedco.

MM

Sorry to disappear in the middle of a conversation. The wind was hell on the greenhouse and seedling houses. Both doors are broken and pieced together until later today. I'm told the snow will melt and spring will come but I kind of thing we're in the sixth month of the current 10,000 year ice age. I'm planting all these seeds and hoping they're right and I'm wrong.

I'm curious about your dislike for Fedco. Is it the Safe Seed Pledge or something else?


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Robin,

Sorry to hear about the damage to your greenhouse. The snow has finally melted off of the foundation area where I hope to assemble a lean-to greenhouse kit this Spring. I had planned to let it be a "parasite" on the house heat, since the furnace room outside door and one of the crank-out windows will open into it.

But a recent multi-day power outage has me worried about the dependability of that plan. I think I will try to install a propane tank for emergency heat before next Winter. In its lean-to location on the south side of the house, it will be fairly well protected from northerly winds, but wind damage is also a worry. This will be my first greenhouse, so it will be a learning experience for me.

"I'm curious about your dislike for Fedco. Is it the Safe Seed Pledge or something else?"

The Safe Seed Pledge might be suitable for farmers, but is irrelevant for home gardening, and could be considered an unfair marketing practice for home gardeners, since the implied "danger" to home gardeners is non-existent and Fedco knows that, even if many of their customers don't. With the help of the organic gardening community, Fedco has apparently succeeding at scaring some gardeners away from other competing seed companies. By using this ploy, they have lost my respect.

MM


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

Robin,
I recieved the package today and am overwhelmed by your generousity. Thank you so much. I went to get some starter soil to start the april indoor veggies but got to the store and they locked their doors ealry, of course just before I got there. GGGGrrrrrr. So I guess that will have to wait til tomorrow. Thanks again and I will keep you updated on how they are doing.
Norma


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

You're welcome Norma. The weather forecast calls for sunny and 50's. YEAH!

I don't think it's irrelevant to home gardeners. Many of them don't want to support genetic engineering. Some are saving seeds. As the price of food gets higher more people are going to have to start providing some of their food. There are a lot of new gardeners these days. Consumers are becoming as interested in what isn't in their food as what is in it.

Did you know Johnny's has taken the pledge too? They are phasing out Monsanto as they find replacements. Johnny's is ridiculously over priced but I stick with them for a few things because they're a Maine business, they donated seeds to my school garden program and they're phasing out Monsanto. Those reasons are mine personally, not as a farmer.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

If you are looking for organic seeds there is a good source for information including a list of companies selling organic, open-pollinated, non-gmo, and heirloom varieties at http://www.beginningfarmers.org/organic-seed-sources/


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

not a Maine based business but for getting started in an inexpensive manner sample seeds at http://www.sampleseeds.com/ has some great deals, again, smaller packets but some very nice varieties.


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RE: which seeds are best to use?

I just stumbled onto this thread. I'm usually posting in the New England forum, but once in awhile I click on the Maine forum button that is at the top of the NE forum page. I was also getting ready to order seeds, so this thread caught my eye.

I also have ordered from Fedco, Johnny's Seeds, and Pinetree. I used to order from Pinetree every year, because I only needed small amounts and their prices were so reasonable. But after doing that for about 6 years, I decided that the plants I ended up with, were often not the quality that I was expecting. I started to question whether who ever was 'saving' and packaging the seed, knew what they were doing as far as choosing the strongest and best plant to save seed from. So I stopped buying from them. I think they are fine if you are starting out and on a budget, but you be the judge if you think the quality of the plant is what you were looking for.

I order from Johnny's but I find them pretty expensive and I only purchase seeds that I can't find other places.

Which brings me to Fedco. I've bought from them in the past specifically because of their opposition to Monsanto. It doesn't matter to me if the possibility of getting a genetically modified seed is small to non existent. I'm happy that this company and all the companies that sign the safe seed pledge, are aware of the GMO issue and are stating their intentions as far as that goes. The fact that I have read enough about Monsanto to oppose them and what they do, makes Fedco's efforts to do the same, right in line with how I feel, so that is a major reason I purchase seed from them.

If someone is unaware of what Monsanto is up to and why so many people are concerned enough to make an attempt to oppose them, it's a quick google search to find out more about it. I offer a link from a magazine article as a starting point, below.

I also garden organically and Fedco offers a selection of organic seed at a reasonable price. But there are other companies too, who offer organic seeds. Here are a few...

Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Winslow, Maine)
Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, Iowa)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (Mansfield, Mo.)
Territorial Seed Company (Cottage Grove, Ore.)
Seeds of Change (Rancho Dominguez, Calif.)
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Mineral, Va.)
High Mowing Organic Seeds (Wolcott, Vt.)
Fedco Seeds (Waterville, Maine)

And I'm sure there are others, if you need more sources.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monsanto's Cruel and Dangerous Monopolization on American Farming


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