If you’re ready to get your garden off to a great start, then you’ll want to make sure it has the best foundation possible. This begins with choosing the best organic seeds for your garden. In this guide, you’ll learn all about organic seeds, including what to look for in quality seeds, how to get the most from your seeds, and top tips for setting up a garden no matter the size.
Why Choose Organic Seeds?
Organic seeds are seeds grown with organic farming methods and conditions without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and other such ingredients. Instead, only organic soils, fertilizers, and pest control methods approved by the USDA National Organic Plan are used.
When it comes to growing your own food and feeding your family, you want to make sure you get the best quality fruit and vegetable seeds you can. There are several advantages to choosing organic seeds over conventional ones, but below are a couple of the most common reasons for starting your garden with organic seeds.
- Plant a Truly Organic Garden:While you can embrace organic gardening methods, like minimizing chemicals and pesticides, the best way to have an organic garden is to start with organic seeds. When purchasing your seeds, look for a seed company that offers USDA certified organic and non-GMO garden seeds. Starting with organic seeds lays the foundation for a truly organic garden.
- Know Your Seeds: One of the pitfalls of choosing conventional seeds is you can’t be sure they’re non-GMO seeds, which may not be something you want to have in your garden. Even if a seed company has a large selection to choose from, you’ll want to look for transparency about where the seeds are grown. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust what you’re getting when it comes to seeds.
Back to the Roots is the safe seed choice. We have a wide selection of high-quality organic seeds for you to choose from. All of our seeds — fruit, vegetable, and flower seeds — are 100% USDA certified organic and non-GMO. Each and every seed is grown domestically, so you can always be sure you’re nourishing your family with top-quality, organic seeds.
Check out your local Home Depot Garden Center for a selection of Back to the Roots grow kits, organic seeds, potting mix, and other garden must-haves.
How To Get the Most From Your Organic Seeds
An organic garden needs the appropriate conditions. While it doesn’t take much, there are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to plant your fruits and vegetables.
Manage Weeds and Pests Responsibly
If your goal is to have an organic garden, you’ll need to manage pests and weeds in an organic way. Choose eco-friendly options instead of chemical-laden sprays and pesticides. Insecticidal soap is easy to make at home and is safe to use on all of your fruits and veggies.
While this DIY soap is generally safe for all of your plants, it’s a good idea to do a patch test first. Spray a few leaves with your soap mixture and check back the next day to see how the leaves look. If everything looks OK, you’re good to go, and unwelcome bugs will be packing their bags.
Aside from pulling weeds when you see them, try spreading mulch around your plants. Pine needles, grass clippings, fallen leaves, and wood chips all work well for keeping weed growth to a minimum.
Once your plants are established and healthy, you can think about other natural ways of eliminating weeds, such as cornmeal, salt, vinegar, and boiling water. It’s important to note that these methods may damage your existing plants, so exercise caution if you decide to give them a try.
Nurture Soil Health
Maintaining soil quality in your backyard garden is as important as it is on an organic farm, just on a smaller scale.
Your seeds will grow their best in proper soil conditions. While this will vary depending on what you plant and which region you live in, you can still do a lot to give your organic seeds what they need to grow.
When possible, choose organic potting soil for your garden. Not all potting mixes are going to be a good fit. Some may lack nutrients, and others could have synthetic ingredients you definitely don’t want in your garden. An organic potting mix solves both of these issues.
Organic potting mix contains an array of nutrient-rich ingredients such as coconut coir, earthworm castings, bat guano, humus, and beneficial bacteria. All of these components work together to nourish your plant’s roots with everything they need.
Composting is another fantastic way to maintain soil health. Given enough time, old kitchen scraps can be repurposed into something that will help your garden thrive. Here are just a few of the ways composting can help your garden:
- Saves water by helping soil retain more moisture
- Provides extra slow-release nutrients
- Balances pH of the soil
- Protects plants from drought and freezing temperatures
- Encourages a healthy root structure
Looking for another way to improve soil quality? Try cover crops. Growers will often plant a cover crop to improve soil structure, limit pests and disease, and replenish soil health. Try planting clover, hairy vetch, or field peas to nurture your soil.
Heirloom vs. Hybrid Seeds
When you’re shopping for seeds, you might notice some are labeled “heirloom” or “hybrid” on the seed packet. Give some thought about which seed varieties you’d like to include in your garden as each has its advantages.
Heirloom seeds are fruit and vegetable seeds more than 50 years old, so you’ll get to plant the same variety of cucumber or tomato your grandparents did in their garden. Heirloom seeds can be self or open-pollinated. Open-pollination means Mother Nature will lend a hand with the pollination process through bees, butterflies, moths, or birds. Self-pollinated seeds can typically complete the pollination process without assistance from our bird and insect friends.
An advantage of using heirloom seeds is that you can harvest them for future gardening seasons. If you find a vegetable variety you love, you can look forward to enjoying it for years to come. On the flip side, you can’t save hybrid seeds. Once you’ve planted them for the season, you’ll have to repurchase those seed packets again so you can have them in the future.
But hybrid seeds aren’t without their benefits. Some home gardeners opt for hybrids because they’re more resistant to certain pests or diseases, so you get a garden that’s a little easier to maintain. Both are good for beginner gardeners, so which seeds you plant will be up to you.
Psst: For more guidance on saving seeds from your vegetable garden, look for a seed savers exchange. These organizations work to protect biodiversity and our collective gardening heritage. You’ll learn tips for harvesting, preserving, and sharing seeds.
Tips for Getting Started With Organic Seeds
Even if you have limited space, you can find a way to keep an organic garden. From a few pots dotting your living room to an expansive outdoor space, all it takes is a little creativity and effort to have a thriving garden. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Small Scale Gardening
You don’t need a lot of room to keep a garden. If you’re short on space, start with an herb garden. Herb seeds are easy to plant in small containers, grow well on windowsills, and are a breeze to maintain. Try planting Genovese basil, lemon thyme, or cilantro in small containers for a compact garden.
There are even more low maintenance options if you need them. Here are some to check out:
- Terrarium Kits: Terrarium kits are a perfect introduction to gardening for adults and kids alike. These small, self-contained ecosystems make it easy to experiment with gardening and bring some of nature indoors. Try growing microgreens or other herbs. Back to the Roots Organic Terrarium Kids Grow Kit even comes with a STEM curriculum!
- Hydroponic Garden: If you’d like something a little bigger than a terrarium but still easy to use, check out a hydroponic system. Like our terrarium, Back to the Root’s Water Garden has everything you need to grow succulents, herbs, and more right on your kitchen counter. And you never have to worry about over or underwatering your plants.
- Mushroom Grow Kits: If you’re worried that your plants won’t get enough bright light to grow, you can make those less-than-ideal lighting conditions work to your advantage. Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit is another terrific way to enjoy gardening. In as little as 10 days, you can have fresh, gourmet mushrooms ready for pasta, pizza, or salads.
Psst: Check out our FAQ page for more info on grow kits, seeds, and other new products!
Container gardening is another option for gardening with limited space be it indoors or outside. They’re perfect for patio gardens, balconies, and people who live in more urban areas. Container gardening also makes it easy to get your organic vegetable seeds started indoors.
Soil temperature often affects germination rates, and depending on where you live, you might be working with shorter growing seasons. Container gardening is a great way to get around this.
Since containers are easy to move, you can bring your plants inside to protect them from weather. You can also make sure they get the sunshine they need or move them into the shade if necessary.
Lettuces such as arugula, romaine, or red leaf lettuce grow well in containers, as do peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries. Mini varieties of carrots are ideal for container gardens too.
Traditional Backyard Gardening
With more outdoor space, you can experiment with a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
Zucchini, radish, broccoli, chard, melons, and more all grow well outdoors. Remember to consult your seed packets for essential information about planting your organic seeds. You’ll learn how far apart to plant your seeds, how deep, along with sunlight and water requirements.
If you have poor soil quality, consider planting your organic seeds in a raised garden bed. Back to the Root’s Fabric Raised Garden Bed is a perfect way to give your plants what they need, especially if you’re short on space and time. The durable fabric is made to last through multiple gardening seasons and ensures your plant’s roots get enough oxygen while maintaining proper drainage.
Give Your Family the Best With Organic Seeds
It doesn’t take much to grow a beautiful organic vegetable garden, especially when you start with organic seeds. Whether you’re interested in having a bounty of fresh vegetables or you’d like to brighten your landscape with lavender and sunflowers, organic seeds are essential in creating the garden of your dreams. For more inspiration and tips for growing the perfect garden, keep browsing our Back to the Roots blog.