HEIRLOOM: Heirlooms are open-pollinated varieties that either pre-date or are unaltered by modern breeding work. Because most heirloom varieties precede the commercialization of agriculture, the seeds for these varieties were not produced by seed companies and sold to the public, but rather grown on a localized and small scale and passed along from neighbor to neighbor and within families for generations. Many heirloom varieties are currently enjoying revivals as the public gains appreciation for their importance in maintaining genetic diversity, their interest appeal and their superior flavor. All heirlooms are open-pollinated, which means that properly saved seed will produce consistent off-spring from year to year. Click here to see the wide variety of organic heirloom varieties we carry.
OPEN-POLLINATED: If properly isolated from other varieties in the same plant species, open-pollinated varieties will produce seed that is genetically "true to type", meaning that the seed will result in a plant similar to the parent. Open-pollinated varieties are important because they allow farmers and gardeners to produce their own seed supply, and to adapt specific variety strains to their region by selecting the best plants from which to save seed each year. If allowed to cross-pollinate with another open-pollinated variety within the same species, the resulting seed will produce a hybrid.
HYBRID: Hybrids result from the deliberate crossing of two different parent varieties from the same species. F1 refers to "first generation off-spring" from these two distinct parent varieties. If you plant seed saved from an F1 hybrid variety, you will not get the same result as the parent plant (will not be "true to type"). The off-spring will revert back to the different traits of the separate parent varieties. In order to produce new seed for hybrid varieties, the parent plants must be crossed each time to create the same combination. Plant breeders began producing hybrids as a way of combining the best traits of separate varieties into one creating what is known as hybrid vigor. Hybrid varieties offer greater disease resistance, vigor and uniformity than open-pollinated or heirloom varieties. Click here to see the wide variety of organic hybrid varieties we carry.
GMO: Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) refers to varieties that contain a genetic trait not normally occurring in the plant's DNA. Genes from one species are artificially implanted into the DNA of another species, the seeds of which contain combined genetics that would not exist in nature. However, once artificially created, certain GMO crops have demonstrated the ability to pass along their modified genes to other plants within the species. Transgenetic corn and canola have cross-pollinated with non-GMO crops, thereby contaminating the seed produced by the non-GMO parent. This inability to ultimately control the dispersal of genetically modified traits is one concern that exists about GMO seed. Under NOP organic guidelines GMO seeds are not allowed in organic practices, and High Mowing Organic Seed will never knowingly sell GMO seeds.
SEED COATING: Certain varieties of beets, carrots, spinach and onions we carry receive an organic film coating applied to the seed. This coating was developed by Bejo Seeds, a wholesale vegetable breeding and production company, in response to requests from many organic growers to give natural black or brown seed a color coat to help with visual inspection of the seed after sowing to insure proper depth and planting density. NOP has approved the coating for use in certified organic operations. The new light-colored film coating will also smooth the seeds, improving flowability in mechanical and vacuum seeders. Seed with this coating has been successfully tested on several brands of seeders. For more information, download Bejo's flyer. (PDF)
PELLETED SEED: Pelleted seed is coated with a clay-based material, the purpose of which is to make each seed larger and more uniform in size and shape. This allows for easy
and consistent flow while seeding, resulting in a more precise
planting. Once in the soil, the clay coating breaks open upon contact
with moisture and the seedling can easily emerge. Our coating of choice
is ProBio ProPellet. All of our pelleted seed is done by Incotec, and is approved for organic production by Agricultural Services Certified Organic(ASCO). For more information on the particular varieties of pelleted seeds we carry, please see our Pelleted Seeds flyer. You can also see a copy of our Pelleted Seed Organic Certification.