Avoiding Monsanto!

It’s been a long winter this year in Nova Scotia, and although we had a few warm spells that chased away some of the snow, the ground has been white since November. March has been unseasonably cold and with only two days left until the first days of Spring we still have a thick white blanket covering the garden, sometimes referred to as ‘Poorman’s Fertilizer’DSCF8509DSCF8510 The upside of all this is that there has been plenty of time to snowshoe and ski, or simply sit by the fire and recharge our batteries, there’s been opportunity to catch up on some reading, as well as enjoying lots of good food, often in the company of friends.

But all the signs are telling me that spring is just around the corner; the days are growing longer, and each day the sun sits a little higher in the sky. Our maple trees are tapped and the woodpeckers are flitting amongst the branches. DSCF8512So, it’s time to dust off the tools and make a start on this year’s growing season.

DSCF8445 Back at the end of February I started my first seeds of the year in the warmth of our kitchen and  I now have baby pepper and eggplants along with a couple of flats of onions seedlings. DSCF8503DSCF8504

Peppers and eggplants both need warm temperatures to germinate, about 25C, so they were started using heat mats. Onions are a cool season crop, so a warm kitchen was all that was needed to kickstart the tiny seeds into life. Once the new plants emerge through the soil they are placed under grow lights to prevent them from stretching towards the window and becoming long and spindly.

DSCF8539One of the pleasures of winter is leafing through all the seed catalogues that drop in the mailbox. This year, while thumbing through the pages, and clicking through the websites, I came across several articles regarding Monsanto; that huge corporation closely linked with Genetically Modified practices, pesticides and all the other horrors that the home gardener tries to avoid.

It seems that Monsanto has been swallowing up the seed market at such a rate that even the discerning home gardener could unknowingly be supporting the development and growing market of  genetically modified crops. Even by buying organic or heirloom seeds, I could still be supporting these practices.

In 2005 Monsanto acquired Seminis, a corporation that represents 40% of the US vegetable seed market. As a result of this acquisition, Monsanto now owns the trademarks of many of our favourite, heirloom seed varieties and so by purchasing these varieties I could be opening my garden gate to Monsanto. It’s hard to believe that a company is so powerful that it can take ownership of plant varieties that gardeners have been growing for decades, such as Big Beef tomato, Royal Chantenay carrot, Salad Bush cucumber and Golden Acre cabbage, to name just a few. To see a full list of Seminis/Monsanto varieties click here.

Whilst these heirloom varieties have not been Genetically Modified, they are owned by Monsanto and purchasing from companies affiliated with Monsanto/Seminis is effectively supporting the work being carried out by this corporation. If like me, you want to keep Monsanto out of your garden it’s important to know the seed company that you are buying from; check that they are not affiliated with Monsanto/Seminis and that they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. To see a list of seed companies that have taken the Pledge, click here.

So with the first day of Spring approaching, here’s to a safe and healthy gardening year ahead, with my garden gate securely locked against Monsanto!

Dreaming of Spring!

Dreaming of Spring!

Shared with theprairiehomesteadheritagehomesteaders.com

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About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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10 Responses to Avoiding Monsanto!

  1. Carol Duran says:

    So glad you raised the Monsanto issue, their control of the market is insidious and terrifying. Happy gardening! carol Duran, Bear River.

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  2. Jane says:

    I agree Carol, the fact that they can ‘own’ the old fashioned heirloom seeds that have been saved by gardeners for generations is particularly frightening.

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  3. Eumaeus says:

    ya’ll got nice set ups. Where do you get fancy taps like that? And i wish we had nice lamps for seed starting. Cool

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    • Jane says:

      The taps came from our local hardware store and cost just a few dollars each. The pipe is just a length of tubing and the buckets are recycled sunflower oil buckets from a nearby bakery. The set up for each tree costs about $5.00
      The growlight system also cost very little – the lights came from the hardware store and are hung from racking that was made using lumber from our woodlot.

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      • Eumaeus says:

        thanks, Jane. the closest local hardware store (where we buy our taps) is 30 miles and the taps themselves are sure not as nice as those and they cost almost 6$ alone. guess this is bc we don’t have enough folks making a market for them. i looked on line and couldn’t find anything good and not too expensive like you got. maybe if i can’t figure anything out, i’ll send you a check to get me 20 tap and pay for shipping costs?

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  4. pmcmullan says:

    Reblogged this on Two go forest gardening and commented:
    The march of Monsanto is of concern to us all, wherever we are. Hear the thoughts of Blueberry Hills Farm in Novia Scotia.

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    • Jane says:

      Thanks for reblogging my post. I hope your readers find the links useful when choosing seed companies to buy from.

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      • pmcmullan says:

        Indeed! Already had one person questioning why we’re concerned though as you will see from the comments. There was a huge storm of protest in Europe over heirloom variety patenting which Monsanto tried to push through, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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  5. Swimminhill says:

    Reblogged this on Tales From Swimmin Hill and commented:
    Just came across this post and thought I would share. I’ve been paying extra attention to avoiding potential GMO crops both through what seeds we plant and the ingredients in our grocery cart. I’m very pleased to know that both Vessey’s and Hope Blooms have taken the pledge to provide only safe seeds, check out the links for more info.

    And happy gardening!

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  6. Swimminhill says:

    Great post, thanks for the links! Reblogged!

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