Hey all! I’m so excited to be starting my garden soon (at least indoors). Leslie and I began Real Food Freaks last summer while we were already well into gardening season, so I decided to wait until this year to walk you through what I do step by step. I always start indoors because I want to get a good start on the season before I am able to plant outside in the garden. I even start indoors before it is suggested to because I want the plants well established. Some of you will think this is a pain because it does require transferring plants into larger containers once they outgrow their starter pot. For me it’s worth the extra effort because I get my veggies sooner (and I am kind of a FREAK)! In this series, I will be letting you know how I am doing as it happens (including transferring to larger containers). Because I start early, I need to be buying my seeds now!
Avoid Monsanto Seeds
As the weather starts to warm you will be thinking about picking up seeds when you find them. But be careful how you choose. It is assumed that
MonSATANo Monsanto owns up to 80% of the seeds in the home gardening market now too. This is bad because:
1) Monsanto is not forthcoming about its information.
2) They are the leaders in the GMO market.
3) They have destroyed the livelihoods of countless farmers by suing them or running them out of business to control the seed market. (Overly simplified statement, but you understand, right?)
4) They have technology for a suicide gene in plants. This means you will not be able to save the seeds you plant for the following year!
5) The company is just plain EVIL. (Ok, my opinion of course, but it’s totally true)
Many seeds owned by Monsanto will not be labeled as such. They are sold through other seed distribution companies such as BURPEE, PARK SEED, FERRY MORRIS, and more! (see an article regarding this here ) You can avoid buying Monsanto varieties by checking this database of all their garden seed varieties that are patented. Here is a list of places where you are guaranteed to have Monsanto and GMO free seed because they have signed a pledge. This year I purchased from Southern Exposure. They support the effort of farmers to sue Monsanto for the devastation they have inflicted on farmers. I want to support their efforts!
Once you have weeded out the crappy MONSANTO seeds, what should you buy?
1) Heirlooms! As much as possible, buy heirloom plants that are open-pollinated. This will allow you to save the seeds and get the same result the following year (providing you like the result you had). Hybrids will not give the same result — it will be a mystery and maybe not a very good quality vegetable.
2) Check Your Zone! Buy what you like but make sure that the plant is good for the zone in which your garden is located. Here is the new plant hardiness map given by the USDA. Check the seed packet to match the zone with the plant varieties you are buying. If you are buying at a local garden center (not a large big box store like Lowe’s that services the US), the seeds should all be good for the area. I live on the border of 7a and 6b. If this winter is any indication, I will be floating closer to 7a this spring.
3) Beneficials! Buy plants that will help ward off pests in addition to the plants that you want for the garden. I always have BASIL, DILL, and MARIGOLDs. I put them right in the garden where as other herbs may go in a pot. All three deter pests naturally and they have worked well in my garden in previous years.
4) Soil! In the next post I will be discussing soil and indoor seed starting. You may want to start thinking about what you are going to use for your garden soil while you are picking up seeds.
TIP: Be saving egg cartons or the cardboard from the toilet paper/paper towel rolls to use for starting seed indoors. These will break down nicely in the garden and make a nice compost when you just drop them in. It’s super easy and creates no waste like those plastic starter trays. Don’t buy ‘em!
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