Our Seed Symbols Explained
The symbols that we use on the seed product pages are designed to be fairly self-explanatory. We have tried to create a quick and easy reference for the seed properties by using the same symbols both on our website and on our seed envelopes. Here's what all those symbols mean:
Pure & Natural - Our seeds are all grown organically but are not certified. Not all organic seed producers are willing, or can even afford, to tackle all the red tape involved in acquiring an organic certification. Some of our seed suppliers are so small in fact, that they only specialise in and grow out one or two varieties for us every year. They are part of our growing network of home gardeners who are passionate about helping to preserve our seed heritage and assisting us in expanding the range of available seed varieties back to the same levels it was 50 or 60 years ago.
Our Pure & Natural range also covers seeds that are sourced from our overseas suppliers who, in turn, have their own vast networks of home gardeners, market growers and small organic farmers to supply them with the seed.
Although our Pure & Natural range of seeds are not certified organic, they can certainly be used in an organic garden and many are grown by organic farmers. You can be assured that all of the seeds that you buy from us are free of any chemical pesticides, herbicides or other chemical treatments.
Open Pollinated Seed - All of the seed that we sell is open pollinated.
Open Pollinated (OP) means that the plants are left for the bees, wind, or other source to pollinate naturally. Note that all heirloom varieties are OP but not all OP varieties can be considered heirlooms. OP seed is generally kept true to type through selection and isolation and their traits are relatively fixed.
The seeds of OP plants that are kept in isolation and are either self pollinated or pollinated by plants of the same strain/variety, will produce new generations that are (almost) identical to the parent plants. This is generally referred to as "breeding true" or "true to type".
Also note however, that if an OP variety is not kept in isolation and it is cross pollinated by a different strain or variety then any seeds that are saved from that plant and then resown could result in a plant that has traits from both parent plants.
Open-pollinated varieties are important because they allow farmers and gardeners to produce their own seed supply, and to adapt specific variety strains to their region by selecting the best plants from which to save seed each year.
We do not knowingly, nor will we ever intentionally support or sell GMO's - A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) results from the practice of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another. For example, genes from an arctic flounder which has "antifreeze" properties may be spliced into a tomato to prevent frost damage. It is impossible to guide the insertion of these new genes and this can often lead to unpredictable effects. Also, genes do not work in isolation but in highly complex relationships which are still not fully understood. Any change to the DNA at any point will affect it throughout its length in ways that scientists cannot predict. The claim by some that they can is both arrogant and untrue.
We believe that all outdoor GMO plantings should be banned outright due to the ease of them cross-pollinating, causing a serious loss of genetic diversity as well as the invariable patent infringement issues which follow.
The neccesity of using increasing quantities of potent chemical herbicides on these GMO crops has also resulted in an explosion of previously unheard of 'Superweeds', threatening the livelihood of all farmers - GMO, conventional and organic.
Heirloom Seed Variety - Heirlooms are open-pollinated varieties that either pre-date or are unaltered by modern breeding work. Because most heirloom varieties precede the commercialization of agriculture, the seeds for these varieties were not originally produced by seed companies and sold to the public, but rather grown on a localized and small scale and passed along from neighbor to neighbor and handed down within families for generations.
Many heirloom varieties are currently enjoying revivals as the public gains appreciation for their importance in maintaining genetic diversity, their interest appeal and their superior flavor. All heirlooms are open-pollinated, which means that properly saved seed will produce consistent off-spring from year to year.
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