Ahhhh…there’s another smell in the air

…the smell of fear.

I subscribe to an organic gardening group through Yahoo, and lately the Monsanto issue has been a topic of conversation.  There are so many long and detailed posts with so many links that I haven’t fully read through them yet.  And since I’m getting a few free seeds and I have a few saved seeds that I don’t mind sharing, the thought occurred to me am I passing on Monsanto Monsters?  Terminator Tomatoes?

I grew the prettiest tomatoes last year.  Aren’t they just gorgeous!!

cherry tomato

I was so proud of them that I saved the seeds so I could have a repeat this year.  But last year I hadn’t heard of Monsanto, the company that seems to be trying to buy all the seed companies; or genetically modified foods; or, the scariest of all, Terminator seeds, seeds that are programmed to produce a one-time crop.  You can’t save the seeds because they have been genetically modified to produce sterile seeds.  Next year when you want to grow another crop, guess what?  You have to go back and buy new seeds…at whatever price the seed company decides it wants to charge you.

I remember that a fellow gardener, Sinfonian, did a post about Monsanto, so I read his article for a quick refresher course on the controversy.

SCARY, SCARY, SCARY

I’ve always shopped for the bargain, but now I’m willing to change that practice.  I will not automatically get the least expensive seed package thinking a tomato is a tomato or a carrot is a carrot.

Page Seed Company, whose seeds are sold for 5 packages for $1 at the Family Dollar store, is an alternate business name of Stuart Mill Capital Acquisition.   Acquisition?  They provide “packaging services.”  Remember that song:  Things that make you go hmmm?”   I’m going hmmm.

Now, let me see if I’ve got the basics:

  • Hybrid/bad          
  • Open pollinated/good
  • hybrid vs. open pollinated
  • Genetically modified/really, really bad
  • Heirloom/really, really good

Going forward I intend to investigate before I buy another seed because something as seemingly insignificant as buying a vegetable seed can have worldwide ramifications if we’re buying genetically modified seeds.

Happy Careful Gardening!!!

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7 Comments

  1. January 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Gosh, Cheryl, I hope hybrids aren’t bad. I have come to depend on some varieties that have disease resistance bred into them, or on that super sweet corn that I love so much. I can’t help but think that hybridizing, in many cases, is a good thing. I understand where the Monsanto haters are coming from…I’d hate to see those terminator seeds become common, and I don’t like the things I read about what they are doing to the farmers. But I liken it to the Wal-Mart haters, and I’m going to continue to shop at Wal-Mart as long as that is where I get the best bang for my buck (sorry, but we’re senior citizens on a limited income!). I’m going to continue to buy the seeds of varieties I like, hybrid, heirloom or whatever, and I’m going to buy them where I can afford them. I’m sorry, but many of the seed companies charge so much for their products and/or shipping, it just isn’t feasible for me to buy from them.

    In a perfect world…..

  2. Liisa_RWC said,

    January 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Cheryl,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on this topic. I don’t know that many of us have thought about what we might be passing on or buying. I too have just found out about the Monsanto issue and it is really scary to think this could really be going on in our world. It will be very important for all of us to take care in the seeds we buy. I will continue to support those companys that are not apart of this tragic shift in genetically modified seeds especially the terminator seeds!

    Liisa

  3. Liisa_RWC said,

    January 24, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    I don’t think we have to be too concerned with true hybrids… heck I’m sure some of the “heirloom’s” we have grown to love are a form of “hybrid” from way back. I think where we need to be concerned is when a company like Monsanto tries to take over the world… or at least our food world. The thought of them trying to patent their seeds so saving them for your own use would be illegal or developing seeds once grown the seeds they produce are useless, now that is scary… will we ever see this in our life time… maybe, maybe not…. could it “really” happen? Maybe, who knows. And as much as I hate Wal-Mart… I still shop there from time to time… you can’t beat the deals. Now I have to go look into “Renee’s Garden” seeds… I have been given a bunch of veggie seed from a friend… the package says the are not treated or genetically modified. They can be bought here at our local Orchard Hardware Supply (OHS) for $2.69. For me the price is OK and there is no shipping 🙂

    Cheryl, Sorry for hijacking you comment area.
    Liisa

  4. gardengoodies said,

    January 25, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Liisa-No problem. Glad to hear from you.

    I’ve been doing some reading on the Monsanto issue. Before I opened my mouth again, I wanted to research, a little bit anyway, the issue.

    The more I read, the more afraid I become. This issue didn’t start yesterday. Monsanto, and I’m sure others, have been producing genetically modified seeds for years. It’s just a matter of how far they’ll go. Remember, cancer starts with one cell and grows until it kills you.

    Granny-I don’t know about the hybird issue. I had some rose moss in a planter once. They were all solid colors. During the growing season, the solid colored flowers would touch each other, and later I’d have flowers with marbled leaves or flowers with colored tips. Techinically those were hybirds. But that was between Mother Nature and a plant, not a geneticist and a plant.

    And I feel your pain. It’s hard to buy the “good” stuff when it costs so much more. I’ve got my seeds from last year, which I don’t think I’m going to throw out, but going forward I will be aware of where the seeds come from.

    I admit I’ve got an overly active imagination. Remember the movie Soylent Green? (You being a Stephen King fan like I am, I’m sure you’ll remember it). It was a futuristic movie about a society in which the food supply had been depleted, so the powers that be (Monsanto?) provided a staple food supplement to the masses. The last line of the movie is Charleston Heston saying, “Soylent Green is people.”

    It’s a big jump from buying a genetically modified seed to using corpses to produce food for a society where the food supply has been decimated, but you never know.

  5. gardengoodies said,

    January 25, 2009 at 1:44 am

    If you’re not familiar with the movie Soylent Green, Wikipedia provides some good info on the movie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green

  6. Red Icculus said,

    January 27, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Hybrids aren’t bad. They just provide more variation than heirlooms. Heirlooms are just hybrids that have been back-crossed for several generations and are more stable:

    http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/seedsbulbs/hybrid.asp

  7. gardengoodies said,

    January 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Red Icculus-Thanks for the info. I’m still learning and I don’t want to pass on the wrong information. I just know I don’t want to grow something that I can’t save the seeds from.


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