In this next post, we are going to cover planting your organic vegetable garden and all the wonderful green thumb activities that fall under that umbrella. I’ll go over how to start seeds indoors, proper acclimation periods for your baby seedlings, and when to transplant or direct sow in your organic garden.
To jump to the beginning of my organic vegetable gardening blog series, click here.
Okay! First, let’s quick chat about where is best to purchase your seeds.
My Favorite Seed Companies And Why
If you are sitting here reading these organic gardening posts, chances are you have a [strong] opinion on GMO seeds. Genetically modified seeds are rampant in agriculture, mainly in our corn and soy, but they are also starting to pop up in our apples, beets, and squash too.
I will be transparent and say I take a firm stance against the business behind GMO seeds, not necessarily the health risks. To me, the fact that a non-GMO farmer in Quebec was sued by Monsanto because their neighboring field’s GMO seeds accidentally pollinating his non-GMO seeds and that farmer lost the suit is absolutely ludicrous. This sets a precedent over what we as humans are entitled to “own.” In my heart, I don’t think it’s justified to patent life. I don’t think it’s fair to force second and third world countries to buy into your GMO seed for fear of losing out on international business, then force them to buy all the chemicals you made that are supposedly vital to harvesting that GMO seed. Companies like Monsanto enter foreign farming communities that have done perfectly fine farming on their own for hundreds of years and essentially force them into a contract to do business their way or the highway. It makes my heart hurt.
Personally, I laugh in the face of an entire industry that claims it can do better than nature, whose actions reveal they think they know better than evolution. I’d rather use the tools nature has generously given us (i.e. composting, vertical layering, and mulching) to reap a bounty that doesn’t rip apart our environment.
Luckily, there is an entire counter-industry to the GMO conglomerate, heirloom seed companies. Heirlooms are seed varieties that are open-pollinated, meaning the seeds they produce are viable and very much similar to their parents. In some cases, these heirloom varieties have been around for over a hundred years! The entire heirloom seed industry is built on sharing. Sharing seeds, sharing information, and sharing their bounty in the garden. Many gardeners, myself included, claim heirlooms are more delicious and hardy than hybrids or GMO seeds. My two favorite companies to purchase heirloom seeds from are Bakers Creek Rare Seeds and The Seed Savers Exchange. The sheer amount of variety they have is stunning. There is always something lovely, delicious, and robust to plant when you purchase from them. Happy seed shopping!
There’s No Shame In Starting Small
While here on Green Willow Homestead we went for 12 raised garden beds our first year, that doesn’t mean you have to too! Starting off on a smaller scale is perfectly fine as you cut your teeth on planting your organic garden.
When it comes to starting seeds indoors for the first time, sow at least two seeds to a pot to cut down on your risk of bad germination. When the seedlings emerge, snip the smaller one of the two off at the stem. When you start seeds yourself, always plant at least two seedling pots of each variety so you have back up in case one dies.
When planting cheaters (AKA store-bought seedlings) of larger plants like tomatoes, peppers, and squash - purchase at least three of a certain variety in case you lose one or two. Again, it’s nice to have back up when you make mistakes!
How To Start Organic Vegetable Seeds Yourself
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to orchard planting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live sustainably and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
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1. Joe Salatin
2. Rachel Carson
3. Wendell Berry
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Favorite Books of 2018
2. Bringing it to the Table
3. Holistic Management
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. In The Company of Women