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Organic SFG

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Organic SFG

Post  Healing Garden on 3/2/2011, 1:12 pm

I have an organic SFG that I just started last July. This will be my first full season. I have a number of questions I'm hoping you all might be able to help me with.

1) I ordered all my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds thinking that natural, non GMO seeds were the same as organic seeds. I am slowly realizing that this might not be the case. I can't afford to reinvest in new seeds. Any idea how much impact the seeds will have in terms of my produce being organic? I'm assuming that the seeds from plants that have not been raised organically might produce vegetables that reflect that. I'm not sure what matters more: the organic soil and pesticide free treatment of the seedlings to produce or the source seed?

2) How important is the impact of plastic used to hold seedlings or compost on the "organic" nature of the contents. For example if my organic compost is in a plastic container that may leach plasticizers into the compost is the compost still organic?

3) If I use water from the city that is piped through PVC is this going to affect my soil quality?

Thanks in advance to any info on the above. I think I already posted on the plastic issue here and another organic gardener said that he has used plastic containers and never felt that it was a concern. I don't know to what degree do I need to be watchful in order to get "organic" grade produce.
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Re: Organic SFG

Post  southland2 on 3/2/2011, 3:16 pm

Hello, we eat almost exclusively organic. I was looking at your questions and I can only answer what I would do.

1) I get my seeds from Baker Creek Seed Co. also. Personally if I was given a choice I would rather have non-organic heirloom seeds as opposed to organic hybrid/GMO seeds. I am thinking that next year when I go to harvest the seeds from these heirloom plants then they will reflect my garden and my life gardening choices. If you are using this food for your own consumption then I wouldn't worry too much. You are way better off than with store bought foods. If you are planning on selling this at like a farmer's market or something, then you can be upfront about the seeds but also say that this is organically grown food. Personally I think it is the way it is grown that is more important then where the seed came from. Like I said you can change that with time. That is the nice part about heirlooms, that you keep it going throughout your veggie generations and improve the seed quality yourself.

2) Personally I hate plastic. It is chock full of petroleum chemicals. But we cannot avoid it entirely. What about organic peat pots? I prefer the peat pots myself. I think I saw some organic ones somewhere. The bags that the organic soils and composts come in I don't think we can get away from except for maybe making your own compost. Even my compost is not technically organic because I cannot afford to feed my herd of goats organic. I do stay away from corn and animal by products and such. And we give no chemical medicines (although I would if it meant life or death for my animal), we use natural remedies on our animals and ourselves.We just do the best we can with what we have.

3) Water? Do you have a choice? How do organic farmers pump their water? That I do not know. I would say that you will just have to go with the choices that you have and again just do the best that you can. It is all better than the store bought stuff.

Anyway these are just my thoughts on the matter. Very Happy I hope this helps at least some anyway.



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Re: Organic SFG

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/2/2011, 5:21 pm

I think that the treatment of your plants matter more than the treatment of the parent plants that provided seeds. Technically, if a neighbor put fertilizer on his 50 year heirloom tomatoes and gave me the seeds, those wouldn't be organic. That doesn't bother me.

I understand organic to mean that the _inputs_ (soil treatments and sprays) are derived from natural products. I know one of the inputs is a seed, but I think that counts the least.

Even California permits the use of PVC pipes. When they add softeners to plastics (phalates sp?) I know that can be problematic. I'm not all about plastics, but metal pipe can be a problem as well...

Along these lines... What's your opinion on using re-purposed pvc sign boards for a SFG? Would you throw them in the landfill and buy pine boards? (I have a pile of 8' boards and am weighing the cost/benefits.)

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Re: Organic SFG

Post  camprn on 3/2/2011, 6:12 pm

I would encourage you to visit http://www.organicgardening.com/ there will probably be good answers to your questions there. sunny

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Re: Organic SFG

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/2/2011, 6:45 pm

Check the website or catalog for Baker's Creek. I think they are all organic and not GMO. They do not tend to sell hybrid's. I do not think I would worry about plastic. You cannot avoid it and it solves a lot of problems. I believe you also have to practice organic farming methods for a number of years (6-8 years) before you can claim to be an organic farmer. It is that problem/requirement that makes it difficult for small farmers to survive. Again, I bet a little web research will put to rest some of your concerns.

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Re: Organic SFG

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/2/2011, 8:44 pm

@camprn wrote:I would encourage you to visit http://www.organicgardening.com/ there will probably be good answers to your questions there.


On Q#1: Your organic garden is your organic garden. It will be as organic as you choose to make it. The parent plant probably will not have their DNA affected by the fertilizers and pest deterrents the company chooses to use in order to bring your seed to market. However, My priority is to support farmers who care about the land and the life that shares the land.... organic producers. By buying organic, you and I are supporting a clean place for our grandchildren. The one and only reason that organic costs more is because the government (that would be us) pays a bunch of money in the form of subsidies to factory farms. If not for subsidies, factory farms would be forced to charge far more for their product.

You have to look at your budget, knowing how you will care for the garden entrusted to you. Organic isn't just about the end product.

On Q#2: Who can know for sure? I have bins made of recycled plastic, as far as I know, I am safe. I don't really know what is in the bags of compost that I buy (in plastic bags BTW) but I have used them. I suppose I should have things tested, but really, I use deodorant daily, as a young woman I drank soda from aluminum and plastic containers, I spread hydrogenated margarine on my whole grain bread, there is chlorine in my city water and for over 25 years I showered in well water (radon). I do not know how to avoid inorganic garbage in my life, I do not want to worry too much about what I am unable to control now, but I do what I can. Which leaves a bigger footprint? New lumber for boards? Irreplaceable peat from bogs? What exactly is vermiculite and where does it come from? Do what you can. Enjoy the rest.

On Q#3: What are your choices? Collecting rain water in a plastic bin, maybe a steal barrel with lead paint and rust? A cement cistern with the stuff that leaches out of cement? Do what you can, enjoy the process, teach us what you learn and how you are solving the problems.

Deborah....who likes the way you think.
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Thank you

Post  Healing Garden on 3/19/2011, 8:38 pm

I so appreciate all of your comments. In the vein of doing what I can and enjoying the process I have eliminated as much plastic as I can. Clearly maintaining a non toxic garden is complex and often requires choosing lesser of evils. I am using plant based biodegradable plastic (Burpee eco greenhouses) for my seed germination and soil blocks where possible. My raised beds are all ceder (not pressure treated). My MM is from all organic materials. My compost will stay in my plastic container for the time being because I don't have space or arm power to do a dual row flipping technique. I have potable hoses only and will use the water after it has been running a bit.

Thanks again for all the support and advice.
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Re: Organic SFG

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