Way back in 2012, I wrote what became a fairly popular and referenced article on the Monsanto buyout of a seed company called Seminis. To briefly recap: Seminis was a provider of lots of garden seed to lots of different seedhouses. Then, overnight, they were a Monsanto subsidiary and seed companies like Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Territorial Seeds found themselves in the awkward position of buying seeds from Monsanto.
These two seed houses (and perhaps others but I’ll stick to the companies I’ve researched) – Johnny’s and Territorial – both began divesting themselves of their relationship with Seminis and, as of December 2012 when I wrote my original article, Johnny’s was carrying 15 varieties from Seminis and Territorial was no longer carrying any Seminis-sourced seed.
Fast forward to mid-February, 2018. My neighbor texts me and wants to know where his kid can buy some GMO seeds locally for a science experiment. I do a lot of hand-waving and gesticulation and sputtering (as one does when confronted with a pet peeve) and then explain that you can’t just walk into the local Big Box and buy GMO seeds.
But, because I like my neighbor and because it’s been a few years since I’ve pulled on my transgenic boots and grabbed my radiation gun and waded into the murky waters of GMO seed technology, I pop over to the Seminis website to see what they’re up to in the world of garden seed these days.
A Visit To The Seminis Website
What Seminis is up to these days is lots of research into disease resistance in peppers. See those peppers with X3R®? I will admit when I saw them an eyebrow went up. What is this X3R®? I must know.
Way down at the bottom of the detail description for a pepper called Red Knight with X3R®, I find what I’m looking for: “XR Technology refers to races of Bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria) in peppers. X3R® means the hybrid has resistance to races 0-3, and races 7, 8. X5R® means the hybrid has resistance to races 0-5, 7, 8, 9 and X10RTM [sic] means the hybrid has resistance to races 0-10.”
Ok, so X3R® (or X5R® or X10R®) is a conventionally-bred (not GMO) hybrid pepper with crazy levels of disease resistance to bacterial leaf spot. Got it. The X3R® designation is the Seminis trademark for the particular combination of disease resistance traits they bred.
Bacterial Leaf Spot and Why A Grower Might Want X3R® Peppers
Bacterial leaf spot is an infection that can be fast-moving and horribly damaging to peppers and tomatoes, especially those grown in warm, humid climates like greenhouses.
Because this disease is bacterial, controls in the 1950s used to include treating pepper plants with the antibiotic streptomycin! But then the bacteria developed antibiotic resistance (as they do) and these days the use of antibiotics in horticulture is quite limited, and targeted mostly at fruit trees. (More info on that here.)
These days pepper seeds are treated with an alkaline chemical dip to kill bacteria on seed surface, and growing plants are treated with bactericides/fungicides like copper to stop the spread of the leaf spot. Bacterial leaf spot hurts yields, and dealing with it costs lots of time and money.
I can understand why bred-in resistance to leaf spot bacterium would be a real blessing to commercial pepper growers, especially commercial greenhouse growers.
Johnny’s Select Seeds and Monsanto in 2018
When I searched for additional information about X3R® peppers, I was a little dismayed when Johnny’s popped up in my search results.
I had rather hoped (and, perhaps naively, assumed) that Johnny’s had continued to divest of their Seminis relationship. It’s been over five years since I wrote my initial article about why we should all calm down about the Territorial and Monsanto / Johnny’s and Monsanto relationships, and in that time I’ve personally purchased hundreds of dollars of seeds and supplies from Johnny’s and recommended them as a preferred seedhouse (along with High Mowing) countless times.
So my first reaction was denial. Surely, this pepper must also be grown by other seedsmen and Johnny’s is buying from one of them? Impossible. The X3R® designation is a trademark of Seminis. No one else is selling seed with that naming convention without getting a visit from the Seed Police’s Lawyers.
I reached out to Johnny’s, who confirmed for me that they are still selling seeds from Seminis. The number of varieties sourced from Seminis as of February 2018 is 15, including the X3R® Red Knight pepper. This is the same number they were carrying in December of 2012.
This is a miniscule fraction of Johnny’s total offerings, and I think it’s important to keep the proper perspective. Johnny’s is still a great seedhouse, they consistently provide top quality information to both market growers and home gardeners and the seed they sell performs consistently.
Furthermore, you can make a strong argument that hybrid vegetables with disease resistance stacks like X3R® actually are the ecologically preferential choice compared to the multiple doses of sprays needed to control something like bacterial leaf spot. I’m very much in support of breeding for strong disease resistance in fruit and vegetable varieties, and I have no inherent problem with hybridization.
On a personal level, I’ve always had great, responsive customer service from Johnny’s, and every time I’ve asked a question, representatives from the company have been phenomenally generous with their time and have even provided me with documentation about stuff like in-house germination standards.
My Personal Reaction
Without taking away from all those good things about Johnny’s, I gotta say, I’m disappointed.
One of the peppers I ordered this year from Johnny’s was Seminis-sourced seed. Oh for f$%&s sake. Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, eh?
So that’s not a great feeling. I would never have ordered that particular variety had I known that the seed was coming from a Monsanto subsidiary. Not because I’m incorrectly worried the pepper is GMO, not because I’m panicky about moral contamination, not even because I’m rabidly anti-GMO. I just don’t want my drop-in-the-bucket seed money trickling up to Monsanto.
Johnny’s does not make their list of Seminis-sourced varieties generally available to the public, telling me they, “prefer to address [their] customer’s concerns directly at the time of purchase. This ensures that the information they are using to make their decision is up to date and accurate, since this information is subject to change at any time.”
I’m a little disappointed because Johnny’s is so transparent about so many things – exact germination rates come to mind – and is the best in the business at providing information comparing things like disease resistance across different cultivars. But that transparency doesn’t extend to this.
There may be very good business or legal reasons why Johnny’s “typically [does] not share specific vendor information,” but upfront disclosure of Seminis-sourced seeds would simplify purchasing decisions for the customer who prefers to avoid seed from a Monsanto subsidiary but would still do business with Johnny’s.
For example, if the Seminis seed I ended up buying had been tagged on the website “Seminis-sourced” or something similar, or if there had been a list of current Seminis varieties kept somewhere on the site for people who cared enough to look, I might have simply crossed that particular cultivar off my list and selected another.
As it is, if you want to buy from Johnny’s generally, but avoid seed from Seminis specifically, you have to email a customer service representative and specifically ask for that information. It feels a bit like security through obscurity, like: “if we don’t mention it, no one will notice.”
I mean, I get it. Anything involving Monsanto is potentially a huge political headache. A lot of people panic first and think….well, never. I wrote my original article about Johnny’s, Territorial, and the Monsanto buyout of Seminis specifically to help calm down irrational, viral misinformation. A big part of the web runs entirely on irrational, viral misinformation, so I know this would be a risk for Johnny’s, but as a customer, personally I’d rather know.
What comes to mind is a hashtag from the GMO transparency activists:
For myself, I’m not going to run off in a huff and angrily declare that I’ll never buy from Johnny’s again, but this has been a learning experience for me that makes me less likely to spend my seed money with Johnny’s.
Having to go through the hassle of cross-referencing my shopping list with a customer service representative every year to make sure I’m not buying Seminis seed just adds a layer of complexity to ordering from Johnny’s. That additional layer of complexity makes other seed houses more attractive to me. And that’s a little sad to me, because I’ve always appreciated the quality and level of nerdy detail Johnny’s provides.
Territorial Seeds and Monsanto in 2018
I also followed up with Territorial Seeds and asked them if they were carrying any Seminis-sourced seeds as of February 2018.
They are not. At all.
It was a very brief conversation.
Does this information change how likely you are to buy from Johnny’s Select Seeds? Would you prefer that any Seminis-sourced seeds were clearly labeled?
This is one of main reasons I love Fedco. They seem to me to have most of the same varieties as johnnies, and with smaller/cheaper seed pack options which are great for home gardeners. Bonus for the cool cooperative business structure and the hilarious catalog. They asked members about dropping Seminis and then did, and their seed catalog has a lovely supplier code which lets you choose:
① Small seed farmers including Fedco staff.
② Family-owned companies or cooperatives, domestic and foreign.
③ Domestic and foreign corporations not part of a larger conglomerate.
④ Multinationals not to our knowledge engaged in genetic engineering.
⑤ Multinationals who are engaged in genetic engineering.
⑥ Syngenta, manufacturer of neonicotinoids.
And they feature “Open Source Seed Initiative” suppliers. One more thing to think about when choosing seeds but will often help me choose between varieties I am debating on. You’re right in that labeling is the best way to let consumers choose and I’m more trustful of businesses that do all that research for me!
(Not an affiliate, just a longtime customer ????)
I am a HUGE fan of OSSI – High Mowing’s founder is very closely involved in that project. Thank you for reminding me of it! Honestly the only thing about FedCo that stops me from being a customer is mild user interface annoyance with the form of the website. But it looks like they have tons of search function that should override that pickiness. 😀
There website and customer service has improved a lot the last few years, it made me glad I stuck through the rougher years, ha.
I have had excellent customer service from Fedco, and their catalog is very informative (as well as decorative!) I like their open source seed policy as well. They only carry one or two trademarked seed types, and they are clearly labeled along with an explanation of why they think it is worth it to carry them.
Thanks for doing all of this leg work! It has been years since I have bought from Johnny’s but this is helpful.
Thanks Misti, glad you find it useful.
Thanks so much for the update. I have loved all my interactions with high mowing seed. They’re one of my favorite seed companies.
I’ve had great experiences with High Mowing too.
I purchase the majority of my seeds from Fedco, but have purchased from Johnny’s in the past. Thank you so much for your research and sharing. It is hard to know the truth about where so much of our food is coming from, so we grow our own and then have the same issue with our seed sources. Aghhhh!!!! The best thing we can do is keep them on their toes and ask the hard questions. Thanks.
Thanks Kim, appreciate your comment.
AS Jones says
Well, that’s disappointing. In a perfect world, eh? I had a moment of shock and horror a few years ago, when I noticed that (I’m up in Canada) Monsanto sponsors a 4-H scholarship and our local heads were actively promoting it and encouraging all us leaders to actively promote it. At the time I was the Horticulture Leader, with a strong organic agenda, and no one found it even SLIGHTLY odd that Monsanto had a scholarship. They all seemed to find it even odder that I refused to promote it. When I told them that I’d banned my kids from ever applying for it (my own personal offspring, not the club kids) they were incredulous. So I guess Johnnys is hoping people will be of this variety when buying their seeds. Too bad.
I think Johnny’s probably is focusing on disease resistant seed for market growers, and the knock-on issues some of us are concerned about with trickle-up support for Monsanto just isn’t a priority for them. I think if enough people let Johnny’s know that the issue with Seminis seed discourages purchases, they might be more eager to find alternative options for some of those seeds.
Over the years, for my vegetable growing and buying, I’ve moved away from organic and non-GMO because I feel like it is more about marketing crap and internet hysteria and has little to do with actual science. My goal with vegetable & flower growing is to have fun, produce an abundance of food, produce the healthiest food I can, and to grow flowers for the pollinators and my dining table.
For seed purchasing, I’ve stopped buying Territorial because I feel like their germination rates and the number of years the seeds are viable are not worth the purchase price. But that may be because I usually buy them in stores vs. being shipped to me? I’ve moved to trying High Mowing the last 2 years (fine, so far, though I don’t have a lot of data), and then this year ordered from Johnny’s (we’ll see…). If a seed house can produce a seed that’s guaranteed to give me a lot of delicata squash then I’d be in love.
What I want from a seed house is (in descending order of importance):
Easy to use website
A nice selection of the types of vegetables I want to grow
Choice of organic, conventional, or whatever
Free or low shipping (High Mowing is great, Johnny’s is too expensive)
Seed packets that aren’t cheap paper (Territorial), has the picture of the plant of the seed that’s inside the packet (Territorial often uses a generic), good info for sowing out, inside, fertilization, sun, staking, harvest, etc. Seeds of Change makes beautiful, re-sealable seed packets (or at least they used to).
Would be nice if they included a bonus seed packet for fun. If you’re buying $100 worth of seeds for the first time from a company, it would be nice to receive something more than the seeds in a rubber band with your invoice, you know? Though not expected.
I also like an easy-to-use, attractive site. I’m picky about that, in fact. I would add for me that I want great customer service if there’s a reason I need to call or email. Johnny’s and High Mowing have always provided that, Territorial’s customer service has been very brusque on several occasions. There’s no specific incident I can really point to, but in interactions with them I’ve often come away with the feeling they simply don’t care if I’m a customer. That’s actually the biggest reason I shifted most of my purchases to other companies. Their $8 flat rate but fairly pricey shipping also discourages me from ordering just one or two seed packets.
In terms of hype, I agree that too much of what dominates the social media landscape about GMO is hysteria. But I think if one supports organics in general, there are good reasons to support organic seed production.
Terri Craft (Lloyd Craft Farms) says
Right ON! We are a small commercial garden in Wyoming (organic practices): 4 acres, CSA, Special Box program outside our community, and wholesale direct and through a distributor in Montana. I buy the majority of our seed from Johnny’s because of the ease of their website, the speedy answers to questions, wealth of information in their catalogue, and the great service–in short I love them! I’ve also bought from Fedco and other seed company’s with mixed experiences–but I return to Johnny’s because I can depend on them and I can focus on other things during our busy, busy, busy time. Last year I ordered our Romanesco from another seed company and we got NOTHING to sell from that seed. The plants were beautiful, but never formed their head. The only Romanesco that reached harvest was left-over seed from Johnny’s, enough to wet the market, but not enough to deliver. We lean towards hybrid (F1) but try to avoid GMO (which is getting harder and harder I am finding)–Thanks for an easy read, Erica!
I really appreciate your comment, Kate! I am a long time gardener and seed starter. I have purchased from most of the companies mentioned over the years, but have been struggling with it this year. You helped me pin-point some issues that I think have been bothering me.
That’s kinda annoying.
I think my personal preferences are similar to yours. I have issues with Monsanto as a company, and I’m less than thrilled with the deliberate manipulation on the genetic level (the science is never settled, I can’t count how often we’ve been assured that such and so is safe, and then 2, 5, 20 years later we learn that it’s not actually safe at all) that makes me wary of such plants.
I’m not going to go crazy “MUST AVOID THEM ALL”, but knowing in advance where seeds come from, so I can avoid supporting a company I dislike, would be really nice.
Having said that, I do research most varieties that I buy as I have a screwy growing season and I’ve slowly learned what key words to look for to try to tell if a variety is likely to do well here or not, so that helps me avoid things like that.
Yes, that’s a good summary of my thoughts too. 😀
What a great post, and very good, detailed information. I’m in the #justlabelit camp.
Thanks Starla, glad you liked it.
Thanks for the update. The #JustLabelIt initiative is the same reason I just buy organic whenever possible, and I’d steer clear of Johnny’s. If I have to research yet another level or ask for another layer of “hidden” data it’s just easier to skip it and go with a trusted and true source.
But, back to your neighbor’s question about GMO seed… I believe conventional yellow squash at the grocery store are GMO, so yellow squash seeds might also be GMO from certain sources. Papayas from Hawaii are (if they want to try a tropical from fruit they buy at the store). As far as I know, GMO is a lot more than just Round-Up ready or BT corn and soy for Agribusiness, so I’d be interested to know if it fact any home garden seed is a GMO and no one is telling…
For full disclosure I did a ton of research on GMOs in 2014 in order to pass the GMO-free growing ordinance in Humboldt County, CA. I recently deleted 100s of emails and studies on the subject. It was important at the time, I made my decision, but I can no longer remember all the details on the subject (they are vast!). I do remember that one particular concern was the “cassette” of genes that have to be inserted into the gene sequence before the actual desired gene. In many cases what is inserted has nothing in common with the desired variety, but makes for a good “carrier”. Such an outcome is completely impossible by common hybridization methods. I have no problem with common hybrids, F1s, etc., but feel a cauliflower gene has no business being inserted into an eggplant (or even worse, non-plant material insertions).
Nancy E. Sutton says
I suspect Johnny’s has a significant commercial clientele who ‘need’ the disease resistance (maybe to stay organic?). Locally I’d suggest Adaptive Seeds (they do OSSI) and Carol Deppe’s Fertile Valley Seeds (http://www.caroldeppe.com/NEWS.html) in Oregon. (Also check out her books, if you don’t already know them 🙂 There’s also West Coast Seeds just north of us, in Canada.
Kate, you might check Carol Deppe’s Fertile Valley seeds for the Delicata which she has bred… she breeds much of her offerings.
(PS – OT do I have to check off both ‘notify me’ boxes every time I post? or do they stay ‘live’ til unchecked? Thx)
Agreed. I understand that Johnny’s clientele is more market grower than backyard gardener. In fact that is precisely why they provide all those nerdy details I like so much. I still think it’s possible to “thread the needle” on this issue with just a little more transparency.
I love Carol Deppe. I like how opinionated and knowledgeable she is, like a female Steve Solomon with ducks.
I just ordered from both Adaptive and Uprising Seeds – Uprising is even closer to me. Looking forward to getting deeper into the offerings from both.
About the notify – I think for comments yes but I’m not positive. If you want to make sure you get every post in your inbox the same day I post it, make sure you’re on my “actual” mailing list (link) and update your preferences to get every post as soon as it’s published. I think that option is still available, will double check.
I don’t think Carol Deppe is selling seeds this year. Multiple people say they ordered seeds last year and didn’t get them. I think she’s had some trouble that has disrupted her business – going to her website, there’s nothing about a 2018 catalog.
I’d recommend looking here: http://osseeds.org
Bummer about Carol Deppe. I hope she is ok!
Thank you so much for this post, Erika. I purchase seed from both Territorial and Johnny’s. I wish it weren’t so darned hard to get transparency these days. Why you gotta be so shifty, business world? While I appreciate Johnny’s great selection and info, I gotta say I’m unhappy with them. Yet, at the same time, Yay! for Territorial.
“Why you gotta be so shifty, business world” LOL! Thank you GayLee.
I’m not a huge fan of Johnny’s on the whole. They are a bit more polished and expensive than I tend to prefer. You can count me among the devotees of Fedco and High Mowing. Both seed houses are in my neck of the woods and both have impeccable business practices. Extra props to Fedco for the throw back feel, extensive info and tongue in cheek method of delivering that info.
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
One more reason to buy from Territorial, I guess. Very disappointing that you ended up buying one of the few seeds with a connection to Monsanto – but now we all have that knowledge as well thanks to your experience. Makes a long process to buying any more seeds from them.
That’s how I feel – still love much about Johnny’s but there’s another layer to shop with them now.
Yolanda Burrell says
Did you indicate which are the Johnny’s /senmis 15?
Thanks for the information! I got my seeds from Adaptive this year. Organic local farms are a high priority, whether it be seeds or vegetables or meat. It costs more, yes, and I readily admit my privilege to afford it. My own folks live in an area of WA state where the groundwater is so contaminated with nitrates that you can’t drink from a well. So I’ve seen the results of what non organic can do to our natural resources.
Ann Bazan says
Thumbs up, Erica! Territorial all the way.
Sue Kusch says
Great post, Erica.
I am in the year of “holy crap, I have a lot of seeds” so I worked really hard at ordering what I did not have and will actually grow. I am not surprised by Johnny’s decisions and like you suggested they likely cater to a lot of market growers. I also became painfully aware through two FB groups that focus on gardening that many people could care less about where their seeds come from so reading this post made me feel good about my concerns. I did a small order from Adaptive Seeds and Strictly Medicinal for my herb seeds. I want small seed growers/sellers to stick around. Thanks for your work.
Bill W. says
The first generation GM corn and soybeans are now off patent, as is the Flavr Savr tomato, so it is now possible to obtain them without any paperwork. And pretty much any field corn or soy beans obtained for animal feed will also be GMO, although not necessarily off patent.
I don’t much care about GMOs, but I do prefer not to do business with anyone who sells utility patented seeds. That’s a way of potentially blocking other plant breeders out a particular trait entirely (for 20 years) and that’s a terrible idea.
Thank you for that info, Bill. I will research more. Other than your own in-house work on specialty tubers at Cultivariable, are there seed houses you are particularly fond of?
Bill W. says
Thanks for the mention. Every seed company that participates in the OSSI is worthy of your patronage. Public universities have basically abandoned public plant breeding and the torch has been taken up by a crowd of folks who don’t get big a government paycheck and rely on seed sales to survive.
I am particularly a fan of Adaptive Seeds, Peace Seedlings, Wild Garden Seed, and Sandhill Preservation Center, but those barely scratch the surface of small seed companies that do amazing work. I skip the big resellers and focus on the smaller companies that actually grow the seeds.
Good info. Thanks, I will focus more attention there.
You bring so much value and knowledge anytime you comment here, and your article on Andean root veg was so good – I would encourage you to link your profile in comments to your site. 🙂
Tomia Ma says
That’s awesome jnfor thank you Bill, and Erica thanks for the awesome info and forum.
I appreciate your non-irrational-freakout response here. I haven’t purchased from Johnny’s before, but mainly because I’ve been happy with Territorial, High Mowing, and Baker Creek (I know they have their haters, but I like how they usually do a great job pointing out varieties suited for shorter/cooler growing seasons).
My beef with Monsanto is more about politics than anything else, but especially how it seems like they have sneakily taken over almost the entire world, and taken active steps to obscure their activity. I don’t actually think GMOs are likely to be unsafe; I just don’t want to be permanently indentured to a corporation the size of a first world nation. Finding out that a seedhouse respected by the alternative ag movement carries a Monsanto subsidiary, but won’t mention it unless asked just feels kind of predictably subversive.
I have to say I really appreciate the degree of rational, reflective comments on this post. Concerned, disappointed, frustrated, troubled, questioning, all of these things, yes. But also decidedly pragmatic and thoughtful, and free of that reflexive “get the torches and pitchforks” escalation that the Internet so strongly engenders these days. Thank you, Northwest Edible readers and commenters, for being a light of hope on this morning!
fantastic and wonderful!
Mo Sloane says
If you’re in the PNW, please check out Uprising Seeds, at https://uprisingorganics.com/.
Great varieties (and unusual/different/interesting) for this climate, wonderful service and a committed group of growers. Honest about germination rates.
I think very highly of them; our local Co-op favors their seeds (san Juan Island, WA).
Hey thanks for the link I live in N. West Oregon always good to here of local folks doing good !
I’m extremely disappointed, and, yes, this will affect my decision to shop with Johnny’s Seed, because I don’t have time to deal with their service rep about whether or not it’s a Monsanto seed. So sad. Goodbye Johnny’s Seed.
Thank you so much for this article. Fantastic information I couldn’t get anywhere else, thank you thank you thank you!
I gave myself a headache when the new first came out about Monsanta buying the seed middlemen.company.The more I researched the more frustrated I grew. Not only do I live in the desert but gardening is totally different than what I learned about gardening back in the Midwest. I finally found a local heritage seed company that sells seeds specific to my crazy environment. Now I buy no seeds online and purchase local heritage seeds. Monsanto did something for me- they encouraged me to spend my money locally.
Speak with your dollars folks you will be heard far quicker that way then by writing a bunch of crooked politicians in DC !
Thank you Erica. Helpful article. Reminds me of Clorox buying up Burt’s Bees. Broke my heart.
And thanks to all the commenters who have saved me a LOT of time looking for other seed companies, especially ones for Oregon.
I liked Johnny’s although I don’t order a ton of seed from them, but now I won’t. In fact, I threw out their catalog when I read your headline. Ordering seed is enough of a hassle every year without having to go the extra step to find out who the seed producers is.
I also like Fedco, a lot, and they have signed the Safe Seed Pledge.
I’ve ordered from High Mowing before but won’t anymore because I think they’re stingy with their seed.
My current favorite seed house is Franchi, which is the oldest, continuously family-owned seed company in Italy (since 1783 and it’s still in the same family 235 years later), which I get through Seeds From Italy (growitalian.com). They are extremely generous with their seed (just incredibly generous) and charge about the same price per packet as American seed producers do. For items where the seed becomes the whole plant, like carrots, for instance, they are a bargain. They also sell nice varieties- I’m in love with a yellow carrot called Jaune de Toubs which is a French heirloom that is super reliable. The other thing I like about Franchi is they have great germination rates as well. This last summer I tried their flower seed for the first time, and maybe it was the time of year I started them but I didn’t have good germination on the flowers and when I emailed Seeds From Italy to tell them, they kindly refunded me my entire flower seed order. I can’t say enough good things about them.
On the subject of ethnic seed, I also like Kitizawa Seed from Oakland (originally from San Jose) and their specialty is Asian vegetables. They also have recipes for Japanese dishes at the back of their catalog. Last year I tried a long stemmed scallion, and this year I added Beka Santoh, which is a Chinese loose-leaf cabbage, and Tokyo Market turnips, which are supposed to be ready in about thirty days.
I also really like Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom.
Bill McDorman says
40% of the lettuce varieties I found in the Johnny’s 2018 Catalog carry utility patents. This is the most restrictive intellectual property protection available and it means it is illegal to save any seeds for any reason. Many are certified organic. All are open-pollinated.
Transparency is key.
It’s all very well having an interface where you can ring and speak to someone-And I might if it’s a big piece of equipment that’s a big investment -but when it comes to ethics and the ‘consumables’ of our trade that doesn’t really help us in Australia, or I’m sure other countries too. Ordering from the US is not only an expensive and time-consuming process but is something that we put a lot of thought into, having to apply for quarantine import licenses for every single type of seed that’s brought into our country.
In food farming that’s what seeds are -consumables; a continuous cost to your production – whether it’s for your families own enjoyment or because you’re producing for your community.
It’s just not practical to have to place an international call to ring the customer service representative each time you might have a question.
And if you’ve ever had a shipment impounded and destroyed because you were not aware it was GMO and breaching Australian law is….Well let’s just say that the cost is something you never forget.
#justlabelit and stay true to your customer base – transparent and honest
We rely on seed companies to be up front. Thank you Erica for this timely article- as always very much appreciated
Air Die Grinder says
This is the suitable blog for anybody who needs to find out about this topic. You notice so much its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I truly would wantaHa). You positively put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
Maybe a dumb question—I live in France and order all my seeds from Kokopelli and therefore know nothing about the US seed system. But I like keeping up to date on it all just in case we ever move back to the States!
Question: can’t a gardener just order organic seeds and then not have to worry about Monsanto, GMOs, or what growing conditions seed houses employ to grow their seeds (I mean, can’t a seed house ostensibly not use GMO seeds but still use Roundup on their property? Isn’t that almost worse?)?
I love Kokopelli with a fierce passion and even though the varieties can be limited, I’m so happy to have a seed source I agree with on a moral level that I hardly even notice!
For my money, the best seed company for Pacific Northwest gardeners is Adaptive Seed. Fantastic germination, great varieties, fun-to-read seed catalog and dedicated owners! Why bother w/ Johnny’s or even Territorial?
Why would Johnny’s Selected Seeds be listed as a Distributor on the Syngenta Flowers website.
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Frankly, I am disappointed and scared because I bought the seed from Johnny
I did not know he was still buying from Monsanto.
I’ve read about Johnny’s article on Facebook
But it was in 2015