In my last blog on Aero gardening tomatoes, a visitor commented on a statement made by Amazon website Red Heirloom Cherry Tomato Pod kit. The question she asked was “Are the seeds purchased from Amazon non-GMO?” Hey, I thought this is a great question and is now the basis for my post on everything you wanted to know about Non-Genetically Modified Seeds.
Are they safe?
Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) and Non-GMO
But first, let’s clear up any misunderstandings regarding the difference of Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) and Non-GMO.
GMO and Non-GMO is a well-known topic of debate. Are the seeds safe to grow? Eating the produce grown from GMO seeds is it safe? What about seeds purchased from different suppliers? Are they non-GMO?
Why do we not favour GMO seeds; Is it because they are treated with other plants’ genes, to protect them from frost, weed killers, insects or disease?
We seem to assume that seeds treated are similar, but this is “not so”, say the Non-GMO project group. GMO seeds are created and sold to commercial farmers; GMO crops include cotton, crops, and sugar-beet, to name a few and are not made available to home gardeners who grow vegetables or tomatoes in their gardens or an AeroGarden.
As a gardener, I tend to let my vegetable plants run to seed, saving them and then planting them out the next season. By doing this, I get good organic seeds.
But what is meant between Non-GMO and Organic? It isn’t clear all these Organic, Non-GMO, GMO, and Heirloom can send a beginner gardener into a state of frenzy. The video by Gardener Scott explains the difference between them really well.
What do Non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) mean?
So, what do they mean when we see written on packaging Non-GMO or Organic?
Many of us become confused between Non-GMO and Organic, and the reason for this is understandable because the experts say, Non-GMO and organic mean the same thing. According to Stark Bros, this is not so, and they go on further to say the names are interchangeable because they have similarities.
Non-GMO means Non-genetically Modified Organic seeds. They are produced “without genetic engineering” via pollination. They don’t rely on treatments at the “genetic level”. And are not always referred to as organic even though they say “not treated with pesticides or hormones”. (Source: www.nongmoproject.org)
Seed Savers organisation say there are two types of Non-GMO seeds. They are
- Cross-pollinated Hybrid seeds done with “two different parent plants” and
- Open-pollinated seeds that are pollinated naturally by wind, birds, or insects such as bees.
Organic seeds are natural; they have not been treated with harmful chemicals, exposed to pesticides, nor any other synthetic treatments to make them viable (Native Sun); and includes insecticides, fumigants, herbicides and fungicides.
Certified and non-Certified GMO – What is the difference?
Certified Organic seeds go through a process by another party, and rigorous testing done is to ensure the sources are free from fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and GMOs. They test the seeds to ensure “integrity and purity”.
Non-Certified GMO goes through a similar process made up of three key components say’s Non-GMO Project. The points are
To prevent tomatoes cross-pollinating, seeds crops of tomatoes is segregated from other types of tomato plants.
When GMO is detected, the seeds will not go to other growers. How do they know which farm the faulty source came from? Well, it seems the seeds are batch coded and are issued lot numbers. Therefore, if there is any indication of contamination, the farm is informed.
Are Heirloom seeds certified?
How do we know that the seeds of Red Heirloom Tomatoes are non-GMO? The is no better way to describe this that I can relate to, but I look at it this way; an heirloom seed is like a family tree; genetics are passed down from “generation to generation”.
Heirloom seeds are preserved to not cross-pollinate with other tomato plants; otherwise, hybrids will form naturally. It is essential to protect the seeds genetics for the following year; otherwise, the seeds will revert to the parent plant; if the plant stabilised, it is considered an heirloom.
Heirloom tomato plants considered as heirloom because they:
- Produce good yield
- Are Reliable
- Have good growth
- Are more resistant to disease
- Are Popular and saving the seeds will save you money.
The hybrid seeds of a tomato plant is a combination of genetics from two species of the same plant. Collecting seeds of a mixed tomato plant can produce unpredictable results. Buying hybrid seeds will typically have written on the package the word “Hybrid.”
Brands that say they are non-GMO
In answer to the question “Are the seeds purchased from Amazon non-GMO?” All seed companies cannot afford the have their organically grown seeds certified. We must trust that they are what they say, that seeds saved are organically grown. What trusted brands of seeds can I buy that are non- GMO?
Life-Force Seeds in New South Wales, Australia, guarantee their “seed tested for germination percentage and quality” on their website. There is a good range of inexpensive tomato seeds that to purchase from Life-Force Seeds.
Another popular organisation is “The Diggers Club”. Here you can purchase a range of Heirloom seeds that are certified organic. Joining Diggers as a member will provide you with a range of membership benefits, including support, advice, magazines, free seeds and discounts.
So how do we know that Organic and Non-GMO seeds are safe and uncontaminated from GMO? In answer to the question. We can safely assume that Heirloom tomato seeds purchased for the Aero Garden system from Amazon are non-GMO and are safe to grow in Aero Garden and eat.
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I hope you enjoyed reading my article on Non-GMO. If you have any questions or wish to share information on this topic, please leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you.