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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Avoiding GMO seeds

Last year I put up a post about GMO seeds. It was rather late in the seed ordering season and into the buying plants season, and I think this subject is definitely worthy of posting about again. This time earlier in the season for the sake of seeds.
It's that time of year when we get piles of catalogs, make wish lists and orders, think about picking up that packet or few off the rack at the local hardware place. Or later on in the season, buying plants at the local big box hardware or building store, megamart or greengrower.

But do you know if you are buying GMO, or if your purchase is going into coffers you would rather not enrich? Avoiding Monsanto/Seminis seed is a good start.
Note: Not all of the veggie varieties in the below list are Monsanto/Seminis exclusives. Consequently if you spot some of these varieties in the catalog of an heirloom seed-seller or plants in a local nursery spot,  just check with the seller to make sure the seeds or plants were not purchased from  Seminis/Monsanto.
But if you find these seeds on a rack at a big-box garden center, or later spot these plants for sale in the same places, you have every right to suspect they were purchased from the evil empire.

Seminis Products as of January 2013. This is the full list of direct to home gardener as well as commercial seed so you might not see some of these in seed form, but rather you might be eating them out of the fields instead.

Beans: Aliconte, Bronco, Cadillac, Ebro, Etna, Eureka, Gina, Goldmine, Labrador, Lynx, Magnum, Matador, Spartacus, Strike, Stringless Blue Lake 7, Tapia, Tema, Brio, Carlo, Excalibur, Fandango, Festina, Golddust, Gold Rush, Grenoble, Opus, Pony Express, Romano Gold, Sea Biscuit, Secretariat, Serin, Storm, Sunburst, Teggia, Thoroughbred, Unidor, Valentino, First Mate, Golden Child, Hercules, Slenderpak, Titan, Ulysses.

Beans, dry: Black Velvet, Cabernet, Chianti, Etna, Hooter, Mariah, Medicine Hat, Pink Panther, Red Rover, Windbreaker, 
Broccoli: Packman, Captain, Castle Dome, Contributor, Coronado Crown, General, Heritage, Iron, Ironman, Legacy, Liberty, Major, Revolution, Tlaloc, Tradition.
Cabbage: Platinum Dynasty, Red Dynasty, Blue Dynasty, Constellation, Tropicana
Carrot: Bilbo, Envy, Forto, Juliana, Karina, Sweetness III, Abledo, Achieve, Cello Bunch, Dominion, Enterprise, Legend, Propeel, Tastypeel, PS 07101441
Cauliflower: Cheddar, Minuteman, Fremont, Cielo Blanco, Cornell, Freedom, Juneau, Whistler.
Cucumber: Babylon, Cool Breeze Imp., Dasher II, Emporator, Eureka, Fanfare HG, Marketmore 76, Orient Express II, Poinsett 76, Rockingham, Salad Bush, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success PS, Talladega, SV3462CS, SV4719CS, Conquistador, Indy, Intimidator, Speedway, Thunder, Thunderbird, Turbo, Arabian, Colt, Expedition,  Powerpak, Vlaspic, Vlasset, Vlasstar.

Eggplant: Fairytale, Gretel, Hansel

Lettuce: Braveheart, Conquistador, Annie, Bubba, Coyote, Dol Oro, Desert Spring Grizzly, Honcho II, Javelina, Mowhawk, Raider, Sahara, Sharp Shooter, Sniper, Sure Shot, Top Billings, Valley Heart.

Melon: Early Dew, Sante Fe, Saturno, Cabrillo, Caravelle, Colima, Cristobal, Destacado, Durango, Earli-Dew, Earlisweet, Fast Break, Honeydew Green Flesh, High Mark, Laredo, Magellen, Mission, Moonshine, Roadside, Zeus 

Onion: Candy, Century, Red Zeppelin, Savannah Sweet, Sierra Blanca, Sterling, Abilene, Affirmed, Aspen, Barbaro, Belmar, Bunker, Caballero, Cannonball, Ceylon, Champlain, Charismatic, Cirrus, Cougar, Exacta, Fortress, Gelma, Golden Spike, Goldeneye, Grateful Red, Hamlet, Joliet, Leona, Mackenzie, Margarette, Mercedes, Mercury, Montblanc, Nicolet, Orizaba, Pecos, Rainier,  Stratus, Swale, Tioga, Verrazano, Vision.

Pepper, Hot: Big Bomb, Big Chile brand of Sahuaro, Burning Bush brand of Chichen Itza, Cayenne Large Red Thick, Chichimeca, Corcel, Garden Salsa SG, Holy Mole brand of Salvatierro, Mariachi brand of Rio de Oro, Mesilla, Milta, Super Chile, Aquiles, Ball Park, Cardon, Caribbean Red, Cherry Bomb, Chichen Itza, Cocula, Coyame, Fresnillo, Grande, Habanero, Hot Spot (with X3R), Hungarian Yellow Hot Wax, Inferno, Ixtapa (with X3R), Kulkulkan, Major League, Nainari, Nazas, Papaloapan, Perfecto, Rebelde, Rio de Oro, Sahurao, Salvatierra, Santa Fe Grande, Sayula (with X3R), Tajin, Tam Veracrus, Time Bomb, Tula, Tuxlas, Vencedor, Victorioso.

Pepper, Sweet: Aristotle (with X3R), Baron, Bell Boy, Big Bertha PS, Bounty, Camelot, Capistrano, Cherry Pick, Chocolate Beauty, Corno Verde, Early Sunsation, Fooled You brand of Dulce, Giant Marconi, Gypsy, Jumper, Key West (with X3R), King Arthur, North Star, Orange Blaze, Pimiento Elite, Red Knight (with X3R), Socrates (with X3R), Aladdin (with X3R), Antillo (with X3R), Archimedes, Biscayne, California Wonder 300, Camelot X3R, Early Sunsation (with X3R), Enterprise (with X3R), Ethem, Excalibur, Mar Rojo (with X3R), Petite Sirah, Plato (with X3R), Prophet (with X3R), Revelation (with X3R), Sir Galahad (with X3R), Sweet Spot (with X3R), Valiant, Wizard (with X3R).

Pumpkin: Jamboree HG, Orange Smoothie, Prize Winner, Snackface, Trickster, Appalachian, Buckskin, Longface, Phantom, Spirit, Spooktacular, Wyatt's Wonder.
Spinach: Hellcat, Avenger, Barbados.
Squash: Ambassador, Canesi, Commander, Dixie, Early Butternut, Gold Rush, Grey Zucchini, Greyzini, Lolita, Peter Pan, Richgreen Hybrid Zucchini, Storr’s Green, Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Taybelle PM, Conqueror III, Consul R, Daisey, Depredator, Embassy, Gemma, Independence II, Judgement III, Justice III, Papaya Pear, Patty Green Tint, Prelude II, President, Progreen, Quirinal, Radiant, Senator, Terminator, Autumn Delight, Butternut Supreme, Pasta. 
Sweet Corn: Devotion, Fantasia, Merit, Obession, Passion, Temptation, Obsession II, Passion II, Temptation II, Absolute, SEneca Arrowhead, Sensor, Synergy, Vitality.
Tomato: Amsterdam, APT 410, Beefmaster, Betterboy, Big Beef, Biltmore, Burpee’s Big Boy, Caramba, Celebrity, Cupid, Debut, Health kick, Heatmaster, Husky Red, Husky Cherry Red, Lemon Boy, Patio, Phoenix, Pink Girl, Pio, Poseidon 43, Sun Sugar, Sweet Baby Girl, Tye-Dye, Viva Italia, Yaqui, Crown Jewel, Empire, Flora-dade, Florida 47 R, Florida91, Huichol, Maya, Picus, Puebla, Quincy, Sanibel, Seri, Sunbrite, SunChief, SunGuard, Sunoma, Sunstart, SunShine, Tygress.
Watermelon: Charleston Grey, Crimson Sweet, Jade Star, Mickyle, Apollo, Coopers Town, Crimson Glory, Cronos, Delta, Majestic, Omega, Regency, Royal Sweet, Sentinel, StarBright, StarGazer, Tiger Baby, Wrigley. 
Who to avoid that sells Monsanto/Seminis seeds? Well, pretty much anything that is found in regular hardware, farm, or gardening stores. Pretty much all the regular big seed catalogs too- right now on my desk is a stack of no-no's- I like to make origami seed envelopes out of them :)

Miller Nurseries
Thompson & Morgan
Jung Seeds
Totally Tomatoes
Vermont Bean
Gardens Alive
R.H. Shumway's
Now I'm not trying to say that any of the No-no companies exclusively sell Monsanto or Seminis seeds. All of them have products that are pretty likely not M/S related. If you don't care about GMO stuff, don't really matter if you buy from them or not. However, if you want to do seed saving and/or sharing, smart advice is just don't get seeds from these kinds of sources. If you think you are being nice to that seed collector you know... Well, they will probably be happy to get seed, and might grow it, but it's unlikely they will try to save seed from it.

Here's the handy link to the 2012 safe seed pledge- http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=261
There isn't any information out yet about the 2013 pledge, sorry about that. I also got a stack of let's go catalogs. I could only dream of getting all the seed I want from these folks :) And yeah, I save their catalogs too for making into envelopes :)

The Potato Garden
Wood Prairie Farm
Nichols Garden Nursery
Seed Savers Exchange
Territorial Seed
Baker Creek Seed
High Mowing Seed
NE Seed
Pinetree Seed- I use this one the most
Johnny's Selected Seeds
Botanical Interests

Now I am trying to say you should get seed from sources like these.  I know I've seen Baker Creek, Seed Savers, and Botanical Interests on the shelves at good stores. Sometimes it really is worth it to be patient and get your seeds in the mail. For the seed collector, these are viable seed sources worth growing, saving, and sharing and growing again.

Terms to look out for while looking :)
Heirloom- while this isn't a 100% guarantee of seed goodness, it's a lot less likely there has been any genetic tampering.
Re-introduced- Old seed makes a comeback. Sometimes these are great heirlooms.
Pre-1960 seed origins- GMO really only has been around for a few decades. Until then there was some intense breeding, but no monkeying around with cell or DNA stuff really.
University of whatever school- Chances are they are doing intensive breeding more than genetic tampering.
F1, su, VW, and a whole bunch of other letters that go with seed. Don't be scared of these, most of them were created through intensive breeding, not genetic tampering.
Open Pollinated- usually those are good for seed saving.
Pelleted, coated, inoculated, dusted, whatever- Usually it's ok, but if you aren't positive about your seed source, be leery of what they are putting on your seed.

Organic. This is a term to be really wary of. Organic has a lot of different meanings, some of them are clearly legally defined, some of them not so much. Principally, it means that your seeds were grown in an organic environment. It can also mean that the parent seed was organic and all that jazz. It can also mean that the parent seed is not GMO and the offspring seed has been found not to be adulterated with any GMO substance. But it does not always mean the parent seed was organic or that the offspring seed was tested for adulteration of GMO cross pollinators.
I can buy some pepper seed from a questionable company, grow it 100% organic, and call my offspring seed organic seed.

So.. Plan a Victory early this year in your garden.

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