Tis the season! I love this title. It is a Dr. Seuss book I read to my Kids Go Green Programs as part of our seed growing activity.. I started a seed growing program with preschoolers and elementary children a month ago…but just started mine indoors 2 weeks ago. This is step one before I transfer them out to my hot box. And bonus……I discovered great new containers to start my seeds in this year: the covered plastic restaurant take-out containers! The black bottoms and clear snap on lids provide a great greenhouse effect for seed starting! I experimented this year, using some of the containers with lids, others without and spray misting daily. The covered containers germinated quicker and saved me the need for daily watering! So save yourself some money buying the same concept and recycle your restaurant takeout containers!
There is a lot of chatter in the media lately about GMOs, genetically modified organisms, and this now has been a question of consumers purchasing seeds. People have heard that GMOs are unsafe, and want to be assured the food they grow from seeds for their families is safe. So this past February at New England Grows, I had the opportunity to chat with the folks from the Hart Seed Company,a northeast family run business since 1892. I find truth and functionality with family businesses who have lasted years in the green industry…often a tough one to stay afloat in.
These folks informed me that unfortuately, media has interchanged GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and GE, (genetically engineered organisms) in their reporting. And apparently they are not the same. The Hart Company explains it this way:. “GMO is a broad term referring to any living thing that has a different DNA no matter how slight from it’s parent”. Think of your own family. Each of your brothers and sisters has the DNA of your parents that combines to make you,….. uniquely you., not the same. In the plant world, this occurs through insects or weather moving pollen from one of the same or similar plant to the other. the mating can produce a new plant from the 2 parent plants. The seed is saved with the hopes that a new plant will incorporate certain characteristics of each parent…making it unique. Did you know that one of our favorite summer vegetables, the silver queen corn, came about this way?
GEs on the other hand, are created in a laboratory. These genetically engineered plants bypass the mating process and the DNA is introduced via host organisms such as bacterial pesticides or herbicide resistant proteins. These seeds do not occur in nature, only in laboratory manipulations. In broad terms…it is considered a form of GMO…therein lies the confusion.
In general, all crops are genetically modified from their original wild state by controlled breeding over a long period of time. But they are not Genetically Engineered. So when selecting seeds this year for you and your family, this is a good distinction to understand. I not only admire the Hart Seed Company for their history and research of seeds and longevity in the green industry, but also their desire to clarify this and commit to all their seeds being GE free.
Looking to purchase Hart Seeds locally? You can find them at Dehns Flowers and Greenhouse on Beekman Street in Sarataga Springs!
Want to learn more about Hart Seed company? Go to: www.hartseed.com