Why Buy Organic Seeds
As the only seed company in the United States offering a fully organic line of seeds, we think it is important to provide the highest quality seed to growers and to do so without the use of environmentally harmful synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. There are several reasons we think growers should be aware of how the purchase of organic seed can benefit them:
Conventional seed production is one of the most chemically intensive types of agriculture.Because seed crops themselves are not for human consumption, pesticide regulations are less stringent than for vegetable crops and therefore allow higher doses of potentially harmful chemicals. Furthermore, in order to produce seed, a crop must go through its entire life cycle before seeds are mature. This process requires a seed crop to be in the ground longer, resulting in a lengthy window of time during which pests and disease can destroy the seed crop. To combat this, conventional production models apply pesticides liberally and often. Organic seed crops, in contrast, are managed with an eye toward preventing disease; more and more this is done in protected environments that reduce disease pressure, greatly reducing the need for harmful chemicals.
Seed produced organically is better suited to organic growing conditions. As a seed company, it’s our job to find or breed the varieties that will perform reliably in a wide variety of conditions, and for us at High Mowing these are all-organic conditions. Conventional varieties are developed and selected in conventional systems where necessary resources like nutrients are readily accessible to plants through the use of synthetic fertilizers. Organic farms are different. Organic farms have nutrients dispersed in the soil, which is kept alive and healthy thanks to the absence of harmful chemicals. Options for pest control are more limited in organic systems, so we often rely on plants to have adequate vigor and disease resistance to defend themselves. Our systems are diverse with respect to weed control, so we want good canopy cover where appropriate, and we want our crops to get ahead of their competitors. These are all inherited traits that organic breeders pay attention to in the breeding process.
Organic seed production starts by breeding for flavor. Vegetable farmers who grow organically sell their food to customers who care about flavor more than anything else, and organic vegetable breeders know this. Unlike some conventional breeding programs where flavor is seen as a drag on yield, or a subjective trait that can’t be quantified, we live by a creed that flavor is first. So we taste everything. If we can’t breed an acceptable yield or resistance into a variety without keeping the full flavor palate, then we cross it to another gene pool and try again.