The Difference Between Organic Seeds and Heirloom Seeds

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The Difference Between Organic Seeds and Heirloom Seeds

It’s that time of year again…yep, time to order seeds for your garden.  Wahoo!  If you are new to gardening, you have probably heard people toss around the words “organic” and “heirloom,” but have you ever wondered what each one meant?  Before you buy your seeds, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of the difference between the two.  Even though they are occasionally used interchangeably, they really aren’t the same thing.

organic vegetables

Organic seeds/plants must be certified “organic,” which here in the U.S. requires the Department of Agriculture {though, other certifications are more reliable}.   They must adhere to specific growing guidelines, i.e. natural fertlizer, pesticides, fungicides, only–no chemicals whatsoever.  They cannot have been genetically modified in any way.  Organic plants/seeds can potentially be “hybrids,” though, meaning that they have been artificially cross pollinated with other varieties to get the best possible characteristics out of each variety.

pineapple tomato seeds

Heirloom plants/seeds are a little bit different.  They are seeds {or plants grown from heirloom seeds} that have been passed down from generation to generation.  They have only been open pollinated, which basically means that any changes in the characteristics of the plant {i.e. fruit production, hardiness} have happened completely naturally over time.  Because heirlooms are kind of the “old school” method–where nature did the work, there is no worry of GMO’s with heirloom seeds/plants {unless it unknowingly has cross-pollinated with a nearby GMO crop, I guess}.

parsnip seeds

Typically, to qualify as an heirloom, the variety must be at least 40 years old.  The advantage of heirlooms is that they have developed, over time, certain resistances to pests and diseases.  They have also learned to thrive in certain climates, despite conditions that might otherwise knock newer plants out.

While you can definitely buy heirloom seeds, they best way to get them is locally through seed exchanges.  That way, the variety has become well-suited to your area, over years and years of growing seasons.  Typically, heirlooms have superior taste, quality, hardiness, etc. when compared to all other seeds.  Most of the time, whether intentional or not, heirloom seeds will have been grown under organic conditions {though, that is not a requirement of the heirloom title, so you can’t count on it.}

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Once you find heirloom varieties that you love, saving you own seeds is the best way to ensure that they quickly adapt to your soil and growing conditions over your lifetime.

At the very least, I hope that kind of cleared up any confusion over the two.  I swear, everytime you start a new hobby, the biggest hurdle is learning the vocabulary.

Now, go plant something!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Mavis Garden Blog – Organizing Seed Packets and Waiting for Warmer Weather

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sorting seed packets

Yesterday I had dentist appoint smack dab in the middle of the day so I didn’t feel like I had enough time to dive into a full on gardening project like pulling weeds or cutting tree limbs. But I did want to get SOMETHING garden related done, {there is so much to do!} so I opted to sort my seed packets.

heirloom tomato seeds

First step: going through the seed packets I had leftover over from last year. Which wasn’t much. Mostly heirloom tomatoes to be exact. I don’t know what it is about tomatoes, but man oh man, I feel like I need to grow one of each variety. Ha! I suppose there could be worse addictions, right?

seed packets

So how do I sort my seeds? Well, it’s pretty easy really. First I group them together by variety. Lettuce in one pile, carrots, squash, herbs in another.

starting vegetables from seed beets

Then I simply turn the packets over and find either “when to start inside” or “when to sow outside” timeline on the back of the packet. If you are unsure of what to start indoors under grow lights or what to sow directly into the garden, the back of the packet will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know.

botanical interests seed packets radish

Then I grab a bunch of sticky notes and go to town. Some things, like radishes, lettuces, carrots and beans, I know I’ll be succession planting {one right after another} so I have a continual harvest all summer {and fall}. I try to space plantings at as best I can and usually end up planting those types of seeds about a month apart. This allows us enough time to harvest, eat {or process} the fresh veggies before the next round of yummy goodness arrives.

organizing seed packets botanical interests

Now all I have to do is wait until February first to get started.

Yee-Haw! Planting season is almost here. Are you ready? Do you have your seeds yet? Huh? Huh?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!

Get crackin’ people. ;)

~Mavis

botanical interests seed packets

If you’re looking for some great seeds for your garden, Botanical Interests Seed Company rocks! I posted the list of the seeds I’ll be planting in my 2015 backyard garden HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Time to Order Free Garden Seed Catalogs

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seed catalogs{photo credit kissmyaster}

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking about ordering seeds for this years garden.  I added to last years list with all of your suggestions {thank you!}–it’s like Christmas all over again :) .

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {These are my seed of choice!  I’ve visited their warehouse several times, and they totally care about the quality of product they put out.}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Great place to get rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog {Best place to get tomatoes, but you can get other seeds here too}

Burpee Seed Catalog {HUGE company, the website says they are committed to selling only non-GMO seeds, though}

Ed Hume Seeds – {Specifically selected varieties for cool climates}

Gurney’s – {Large selection, website has tons of useful planting information too}

Seeds of Change Catalog {100% certified organic seeds}

Seed Savers Seed Catalog {Non profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds}

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange {Sells varieties specifically suited to grow in the Southern part of the U.S.}

Sustainable Seed Company {Certified organic heirloom seeds}

Territorial Seeds Catlaog {Untreated seeds.  Family-owned business from Oregon.}

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog {Promotes organic gardening}

Uprising Seeds {Open pollinated, organic certified seeds}

Victory Seed Company {Rare, open-pollinated, and heirloom seeds}

Johhny’s Seed Catalog {Employee-owned company out of Maine.}

High Mowing Seed Catalog {100% organic seed, out of Vermont}

Gardens Alive {a great source for beneficial insects and fertilizers}

D. Landreth Seed Company {oldest seed house in America–catalog is not free, but it is available online}

Amishland Heirloom Seeds {Owned and operated by one woman.  She ONLY sells her OWN  seeds, and has signed the safe seed pledge}

Cherrygal Heirloom Seeds {Eclectic company selling non-GMO seeds and hand-crafted items}

Bountiful Gardens {Seed company out of California selling untreated open-pollinated non-GMO seed}

Pinetree Garden Seeds {Family-owned company promising to never sell GMO seeds or support anything that in any way supports Monsanto}

FedCo Seeds {Adapted to be cold-hardy, specifically for the Northeast United States}

Stokes Seeds {Carries a selection of treated and untreated seeds}

The Cook’s Garden {Seeds for gourmet gardeners}

Renee’s Garden Seeds {Heirloom, organic, and specialty seeds}

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds {Great selection of heirloom seeds}

Irish Eye’s Garden Seeds {Sells quality potato, vegetable, flower and garden seeds}

Hudson Valley Seed Library {Great seeds, beautifiul artwork on the packaging}

Seeds Now {They sell only 100% natural NON-Hybridized and 100% NON-Genetically Modified seeds}

Potato Gardens {Out of Colorado, good place to get potatoes, garlic, onions}

Seattle Seed Company {They encourage people to buy locally and to grow their own food when possible!}

Osbourne Seed Company {Out of Mount Vernon, Washington–seeds designed to thrive in the NW}

Heavenly Seed {Heirlooms, open-pollinated, organic seeds.  Good spot to get sweet potato plants.}

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?  Let me know in the comment selection below and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Save Seeds for Next Years Garden

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How to Save Seeds for Next Years Garden

Saving seeds year after year can be a real money saver in the garden.  By saving the BEST of what you’ve grown year after year, the plants will adapt to your soil/climate and become naturally disease resistant.  The best part is that saving seeds is waaaay easier than people think.

If you are new to seed saving, here’s a quick guide to get you started:

silica-gel-packets

You’ll Need

Silica gel packets {I’ve been known to save these from other things that I buy}
Envelopes or Containers {to store seeds in}
Plate and/or bowl
Paper Towels
Sieve

how to grow bean seeds

Directions

First, make sure the seeds that you are saving are from open-pollinated plants {the original seed packet should tell you}.  Hybrids and cross pollinated plant seeds will not produce the same plant/fruit year after year.

Each plant is a little different. For beans and peas,  dry pods on the vine and harvest when they rattle in the pod and their skins are papery thin. remove the beans, and freeze them overnight to kill any bugs before storing them in an airtight container.

yellow pepper seeds

For peppers, melons, and squash cut open the ripened fruit and scoop out the seeds.  Rinse the seeds thoroughly {for sweeter fruits, like melons, you may want to use a mild dish soap to get all of the sugars off of the seeds.  Lay the rinsed seeds on a plate and gently pat them dry with a paper towel.  Leave the seeds on the plate to air dry completely.  This may take a few days {make sure to keep the plate in a pretty non-humid place}.

How to Save Your Tomato Seeds

Tomatoes are the most time consuming seeds to save {also the most worth it}.  For a full set of instructions, go HERE.

For cucumbers, gently cut open the fruit {so as not to cut the seeds while opening it}.  Scrape the seeds into a small sieve and rinse well.  As you are rinsing, gently rub the seeds along the bottom of the sieve to remove the coating.  Allow the seeds to dry as you would the peppers, melons, and squash.

When the seeds have dried completely, place them into marked envelopes.  To store the seeds long term, you’ll want to throw in a silica gel package to keep the moisture out.  Seeds can be stored indefinitely in the freezer {place envelopes into an air tight container and place several silica gel packets into the container}.  For year to year storage, a cool dark place like the fridge is best.  Either way, when it is time to use the seeds, DO NOT OPEN the container until is has come to room temperature.  That will keep the moisture out of your seeds.

That’s basically it.  Have any of you saved your seeds year after year?  Do you have stronger plants because of it?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Gardening Tips – How to Organize Seed Packets

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How-to-Organize-Seed-Packets_opt

I thought I would repost this clever tip for those of you who didn’t see it the first time around.

If you are like me you probably have a bunch seed packets scattered all over the place {or you soon will!}. I like to place my empty seed packets in a mini photo album I found at the dollar store. The albums 4×6 inch pockets can accommodate practically any size packet and the photo album fits nice on a shelf for easy storage.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself find myself checking the back of my seed packets from time to time to make sure I planted everything right and that the germination process is on schedule so I like to keep them around instead of tossing them. How-to-Organize-Seed-Packets-photo-album_opt How about YOU? Do you toss you seed packets or keep them. ~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Free Garden Seed Catalogs

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Photo Credit

I received my first garden 2013 garden catalog in the mail yesterday.  Wahoooo… You can bet I’ll be asking Santa for seeds this Christmas.

Thanks to my awesome readers, here is an updated list of seed catalogs. If you have a favorite one you don’t see on the list, let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add it.

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {My boyfriend Ryan works here}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Cool rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog

Burpee Seed Catalog

Seeds of Change Catalog

Seed Savers Seed Catalog

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Sustainable Seed Company

Territorial Seeds Catlaog

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog

Uprising Seeds

Victory Seed Company

Johhny’s Seed Catalog

High Mowing Seed Catalog

Sign up for the Garden’s Alive email newsletter you’ll receive $25 off your order of $50 or more just for signing up.

D. Landreth Seed Company

Amishland Heirloom Seeds

Cherrygal Heirloom Seeds

Bountiful Gardens

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?

Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Free Seed Catalogs

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Photo Credit 

Okay, so maybe I am a total garden nerd, but every year around this time I start thinking about what I’m going to plant in NEXT YEARS garden.

And because I am a super nerd, I like to get on the mailing list for my favorite seed companies so I’ll be the first to get their new catalog when it comes out in late fall/early winter. Here is a list of a few of the seed companies I’ve ordered from in the past.  If you have a favorite one you don’t see on the list, let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add it.

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {My boyfriend Ryan works here}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Cool rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog

Burpee Seed Catalog

Seed Savers Seed Catalog

Territorial Seeds Catlaog

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog

Gardens Alive {$20 off a purchase of $40 or more}

Johhny’s Seed Catalog

High Mowing Seed Catalog

And if you are looking for bulbs…

Breck’s {Save $25 when you order $50 or more}

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?  Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Gardening Tips and Tricks – How to Organize Seed Packets

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If you are like me, you probably have a bunch of seed packets scattered around your house and you’re not quite sure what to do with them.  I don’t know why, but I have a really hard time throwing out empty seed packets.  The Botanical Interests ones especially.  It must take days, if not weeks for the artist to create one drawing.  And to throw away one of their seed packets seems like such a waste.  Especially since there is so much valuable information on the back {and inside} of those packets.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself find myself checking the back of the seed packets from time to time to make sure I planted everything right and that the germination process is on schedule.

So this year, I finally got my act together and I organized my seed packets.

It took me about 5 minutes.

The last time I was at the dollar store I picked up a mini photo album for a buck.  The small photo album holds 52 packets of seeds and I can store it on the bookshelf alongside my garden books.  When I have a question about a particular seed, or want to know when I planted it {I mark the back of my packets} I can quickly pull out the packet and get the information I need.

And best of all, there is no more clutter.

How about YOU?  Do you toss you seed packets or keep them.  Please tell me I’m not a nut for hanging on to them.

Still looking for seeds?

Here are a few of my favorite seed companies

Botanical Interests
Ed Hume Seeds
Rare Seeds
Seed Savers
Territorial Seed Company

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

{Giveaway} Garden Book, Gloves + 9 Packets of Seeds

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Today I am giving away a copy of the book 1000 Gardening Questions & Answers, 9 packets of Ed Hume Seeds and a pair of garden Digz garden gloves.

There are 3 ways you can enter to win.

Leave a separate comment for each form of entry. Comments must be made on Onehundreddollarsamonth.com to count as a valid entry. {You may leave three separate comments}.

#1 Simply answer this question: What is your favorite fruit or vegetable to grow?

#2 “Like” Onehundreddollaramonth on facebook, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, and/or subscribe to my daily email and leave a comment below telling me you’ve done so {or already do}.

#3 Leave a comment on the Onehundreddollarsamonth facebook page telling me if you could eat 1 fruit or vegetable for the rest of your life what would it be?

This giveaway ends on April 15, 2012 at 10pm PST.

1 Comment will be randomly selected via the random generator on random.org. The winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize.

Good Luck! I hope you win!

Mavis

Go HERE to check out to view 1000 Gardening Answers & Questions on Amazon.com

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

When to Start Seeds: On-line Vegetable Garden Planting Calendar

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I’ve been meaning to tell you about this awesome On-line Vegetable Garden Planting Calendar I found a few weeks ago.  It is so RAD!  This planting calendar takes all the guess work out of when to plant your garden seeds.

It took me all of 30 seconds to plug in my zone’s last frost date and print out a copy of when I should plant my seeds for my garden journal.  No guess work.  No math skills.  Nada.  Nothing.  It almost feels like cheating to tell you the truth.

If you are a home gardener and unsure as to when to plant your seeds head on over HERE to find out when to plant your crop.  It’s free, easy and kinda fun too.

Happy Gardening,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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