Worth the higher price tag? What benefits are you really getting when you garden using organic seeds?

Credit: Joe Gardner
Credit: Joe Gardner

Whether a seed is labeled organic or not depends on the parent plant. If the parent plant was only treated with organic pesticides (yes, those exist), the seeds can be labeled organic. If the parent plant is treated with conventional pesticides, it can’t be labeled organic.

It’s worth mentioning that organic farmers don’t always use “organic seed.” If they can’t find enough seed for their needs, they can use seeds from conventional parent plants and still label the plant and produce as organic.

The seeds in these two packets are the same–same variety, same type of plant, same basil (literally the same picture too). You aren’t getting anything extra for the organic seed, except the higher price tag.

Related article:  Why grow GMOs? A farmer explains 4 environmental benefits of crop biotechnology

Using organic seeds doesn’t result in better plants or more nutritious food. They also don’t make the food you eat any safer or reduce exposure to chemicals.

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While we’re talking about it, home gardeners usually don’t have access to genetically modified varieties. So when you see the non-GMO label on a packet of seeds–especially ones of this size–that’s a given. GMOs are generally only sold for commercial purposes in (very) large quantities. And some require the user to sign additional paperwork.

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