I Dream of Seeds

My thoughts are constantly returning to gardening despite this wicked cold we have been having. The seed catalogs arrived earlier this year. I love looking through them and dreaming of and planning this year’s garden. The past few years I have been learning a lot about food, gardening and seeds and the importance of knowing where my food and seeds come from.

I went on a search last winter looking for non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)/GM (Genetically Modified)/GE (Genetically Engineered) Company seeds and found several lists of places that sell them.  (For more on why this is important see the Center For Food Safety and Institute for Responsible Technology.)

It appears that typical consumers would not need to worry about actually getting GM seed. It is (currently) only produced and sold to large scale farms (as far as we know). But who wants to risk that anyway. Really what we do need to be concerned about is supporting GM companies by buying their other seeds which are sold to, and then by, many, many seed companies.

So what we are looking for are companies who sell safe seeds and seeds that didn’t come from Monsanto/Seminis. You would think that would be easy enough but it isn’t. For reference here is a list (from 2/2012) of Seminis/Monsanto home-garden vegetable varieties. These are not seeds that are genetically modified but are varieties that are owned by Seminis/Monsanto and may profit from their sale. So be sure of the seed source before you buy. It is even better if the company grows them themselves and if their website states clearly that their seeds are organic, heirloom and/or GMO free!

For more info about keeping GMO companies out of your garden check out this post by The Healthy Home Economst.

I did lots of research, followed links and narrowed what I found down to seed companies in the North East.  My thought with that was the more local the better for the environment due to shipping.  Also, in the case of companies that grow the seeds they sell, if the seeds were harvested from plants grown in a climate similar to ours here they have a better chance of doing well here.

Hudson Valley Seed Library 2014 Art Packs

By far my favorite seed company that I found is the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  I love what they do and that they are near where I grew up here in NY.

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The full list of what I found (as of 2/2014) is here: (Please keep in mind this list is fluid, it changes frequently as seed companies adjust to public pressure, are acquired by other companies, sell-out existing inventories and change where they buy their seeds. Be sure to verify for yourself that the seed company is acquiring their seed from a good source before you buy.)

Non-GM seed companies in the North East:
(many untreated, organic and/or heirloom and to the best of my knowledge not Monsanto/Seminis supplied)

NY
Hudson Valley Seed Library * http://www.seedlibrary.org/
Turtle Tree Seed ~ http://www.turtletreeseed.org/
Fruition Seeds ~ http://www.fruitionseeds.com
Ommas Aarden Heirloom Seed ~ http://www.localharvest.org/store/M12935
WinterSown ~ http://www.wintersown.org
Invincible Summer Farms ~ http://invinciblesummerfarms.com
DollarSeed ~ https://www.dollarseed.com
Rooftop Ready Seeds ~ http://www.rooftopready.com/index/
(tailored for NY City/urban climate)
The Sample Seed Shop ~ http://www.sampleseeds.com

NJ
Dirt Goddess Super Seeds ~ http://www.dirtgoddessseeds.com

PA
Amishland Seeds* http://www.amishlandseeds.com/
The Ark Institute *~ http://www.arkinstitute.com/
Heirloom Seeds *~ http://www.heirloomseeds.com/
D. Landreth Seed Company * http://www.landrethseeds.com/
Good Mind Seeds http://goodmindseeds.org

CT
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds ~ http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/
Select Seeds ~ http://www.selectseeds.com/
NE (New England) Seed ~ http://www.neseed.com

MA
Organica Seed * http://www.organicaseed.com/

VT
High Mowing Organic Seeds *~ http://www.highmowingseeds.com/
American Meadows ~ http://www.americanmeadows.com
The Vermont Wildflower Farm ~ http://www.vermontwildflowerfarm.com

ME
Fedco Seeds *~ http://www.fedcoseeds.com/
Johnny’s Selected Seeds ~ http://www.johnnyseeds.com/default.aspx
Wood Prarie Farm *~ http://www.woodprairie.com/
Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories ~ http://www.superseeds.com
Groundswell Seed Farm http://groundswellfarm.wordpress.com
The Maine Potato Lady ~ https://www.mainepotatolady.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

Key:
*Approved and endorsed by Farmwars
~ Signed Safe Seed Pledge

(Found by searching these lists:
http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/ (link now broken)
http://empowured.com/seed-saver-sources-organic-gmo-free-non-hybrid-untreated/
http://www.off-grid.info/food-independence/heirloom-seed-suppliers.html)

(List compiled February 2014)

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Florida

We have been enjoying several days in FL with my parents. The weather has been perfect. Sunny and low 80’s. And the weather lady on the news just said another polar vortex is headed down. It is going to take all I have to leave to come back home.

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DIY Deodorant

I ran out of deodorant the other day. I decided before I started to stink I had better make more. Make? Yes make.

After learning about what antiperspirants do and contain, and unsuccessfully trying a few natural ones, I searched the web and Pinterest for some DIY deodorant instructions. I found lots of different recipes. Then narrowed them down to ones that were solids and contained natural ingredients that I already had, or were affordable and accessable.

I ended up combining/adapting two recipes. One from One Good Thing by Jillee and one from Frugally Sustainable.

Here is what I came up with.

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DIY Deodorant Recipe
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. Beeswax
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Arrowroot powder (also called arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch)
1/4 tsp. Vitamin E Oil
2 capsules probiotics (shelf stable)
30 drops essential
3 Empty deodorant containers 2+ oz. (I just reuse some old containers I have)

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To make this recipe, combine the baking soda, arrowroot powder and probiotics (open up the capsules and dump them in) in a bowl.

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Next melt the beeswax using a double boiler method.

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Melt the coconut oil using the same double boiler method.

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Then combine the beeswax, coconut oil, Vitamin E oil and essential oils. I use 20 drops of Lavender Oil and 10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil.

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Now mix the liquids with the dry ingredients in the bowl until well combined.

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Spoon the mixture into empty deodorant containers.

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Clean up the outside of the container and put the cap on.  I put it in the fridge to harden and then it is ready to use. Store at room temperature.

See, easy! This deodorant works really well and lasts all day. I am extremely happy with it. And it is cheap. I added up my ingredient costs, did all of the math and it worked out to about $1.15 per stick. Yeah, cheaper than what I used to buy and so much better! No nasty chemicals. No clogged sweat glands. Easy, cheap and good for you!