Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >
Apr 26, 2009 07:55 AM

organic seedlings

for those organic gardeners out there....

does anyone know the health implications of buying organic vs non organic seedlings? from an environmental stand point it is a no brainer. the rest of the time they are growing in our yard they are organic. but I am curious about their humble beginnings. I am starting to look for organic seeds and seedlings more so this year, the seeds are not a problem to find but the seedlings are harder. i start tomato, peppers, strawberries and some brassicas from seedling.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In order to certify a growing area as organic it needs to be documented to be free of non approved ammendments and pesticides for 7 years.

    The assumption that they still qualify as organic simply growing in your yard is false. the soil would need to meet the above standards.

    There are many growers that follow organic standards but never bother to get certification. Mostb often the cost is the reason given. Certs are expensive.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Brandon Nelson

      perhaps I was not really clear. I am a backyard gardener, growing veggies and herbs for our own consumption organically, without the use of comercial/chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. I am wondering, from a HEALTH perspective whether or not it matters that we purchase organic seedlings.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          The health of whom?

          The initial growers?

          1. re: Brandon Nelson

            If you're implying that growing the plants organically from the start is better for the workers and the environment, then you're right, of course. But I think she was literally asking if peppers or tomatoes raised organically from conventionally grown seedlings could hurt her. I don't see how they possibly could. If she can't find organic seedlings, she shouldn't worry about it, in my opinion.

          2. re: cleopatra999

            Seedlings grown with chemicals will produce fruit with TRACES of the chemicals used to grow them. Are these chemicals unhealthful? Depends on what chemicals were used. I understand that the chemicals used to grow strawberry plants may be more harmful than those used to produce broccoli plants, for example. The biggest problem is that you just DON'T KNOW what chemicals were used.
            Having said that, since YOU won't be putting chemicals on these plants, the fruits will have much less chemical residue than conventionally grown produce you buy in your grocery store.

            1. re: Anne

              this is what I have been thinking. It is tough to find out what is used when these seedlings are grown and how much toxic residue is left by the time I harvest my fruit and vegetables. what ever I do, my veggies from my garden are far better then what I get in the grocery store. it is difficult to even find information on the difference between organic seeds and conventional and how that is transferred to my end harvest.

        2. You pose an interesting question. One I had sort have had swirling in my mind this year as I drip the seeds into the ground.

          A few thoughts - take them for what they are worth:

          Organic seeds are not treated to resist disease as are non organics. That can be a dual edged sword. There are seed borne illnesses to consider as well. Organics would be more susceptible. With organics, since they lack the treatment for diseases, then they better be as healthy as possible if you want a healthy (good and abundant) crop. I know they are trying to work on something they can treat org. seeds with without challenging its "organic" label. How far they have gotten - I don't know.

          I did organic beets, carrots and brussel sprouts this year. I also planted non organic varieties. We shall see how each does. Tomatoes - I share heirloom seeds and seedlings and they usually turn out well. I planted my usual mortgage lifter out in its own patch so it will NOT be annoying me this year and a few other garden variet (har) tomatoes.

          But to actually answer and not drone on... I don't think it makes much of a difference to your health, but I think it DOES make a difference for our seeds going forth. I want a seed that can bear up to the harsh world that is my garden and I like the idea of less intervention. I read an article a while back about big seed producers engineer seeds that do not have the capability of producing seeds for next years crop - like they would be neutered so you would have to buy seeds every year. Sort of made me nervous.

          BUT here is an interesting and germane article I just found when trying to find the article about the dead ender seeds:

          I did not know organic produce could be sold as organic when the seed is not. Hmmm...