Planning for the 2014 Garden Season from The Discerning Gardener

ladybug-lady-bug-leaf-10415411Planning for the 2014 Gardening Season by Ruth T Hill, The Discerning Gardener


Gardening has long played an important role in BALANCE in my life.  I am talking about conscious, insightful gardening, gardening in harmony with nature, gardening for healthy food, organic gardening for the environment, as well as one's personal environment, or outdoor living space.  As well as my own spaces, I also created many of these garden spaces for others (clients who often became friends and sometimes worked on their gardens with me).  Plus the time spent in the garden has always been meditative time, for me.

This is an important time of year for gardeners, especially those who grow their own food.  Even though we are not usually doing much work outside, it is the beginning of the season:  Seed catalogs have been arriving in the mail all across the northern hemisphere.  We are typically planning, pouring through seed catalogs, making decisions, remaking decisions, visualizing the abundance of our peak season garden, and usually ending up buying more seeds than we can possibly use this season. 


Many people use online catalogs, now, but I, personally, still like to have paper catalogs in my hands with photos and drawings.  This has always been a very pleasant activity, to go through these pages, reading about each possibility in numerous catalogs.  I have long planted heirlooms, with some select hybrids from Europe, Russia, Japan, that were bred for flavor, not shelf-life, so this was fun for me.  A gardener's decisions were mainly based on the length of the growing season required to harvest, mature size, flavor, disease susceptibility or resistance, heirloom or hybrid, and of course, what one wanted to try and personal preferences.  In recent years, there has definitely been a positive growth in organic growing and planting heirloom seeds, and in growing some of one's own food, in general. 


However, many gardeners are not aware of what's been going on in the seed business.  Those who are aware, now, are also aware of the dilemma.  The pleasant activity of garden planning and making seed choices has changed, as the decisions are becoming more complex.  Now, there's importance in every decision - serious decisions that have consequences on the health of the environment and ourselves, on the survival of bees (therefore, on our food supply), as well as on the conscience of gardeners. 


This dilemma began with Monsanto's acquisition of Seminis, and with one fateful move, a chemical giant controlled 40% of the US vegetable seed market.  The company has been buying up every seed company possible in the 15 years since.  The other chemical giants, Dow and Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, and Dupont have also been buying other seed companies.  Monsanto actually owns the trademark for many of the popular non-GMO (Seminis) seed varieties that are carried by popular seed catalogs, such as Burpee and Park Seed.  There are agreements among these companies that enforce dependence on GMOs and chemicals, as well as other insidious practices.  ----  Planting a healthy, GMO-free garden has become a complicated issue, if one refuses to support these practices, in any way. 


For more information on this issue, see:



This links to a revealing graphic of the chemical giants' control over the seed (food) business and supply.  The large round red symbols represent chemical companies, and the blue symbols represent the seed companies under their control. 






----- Avoid buying anything from companies that affiliated with Monsanto or Seminis, or anything that is trademarked by them, especially those found at big box "garden center".  this includes popular tomato varieties, such as "Better Boy" and "Early Girl".  Note: I have sacrificed my favorite sauce tomato for years, "Viva Italia", for this reason. 

----- Buy seeds or seedlings only from companies that Monsanto has not bought out and that are not affiliated with Seminis.  Check out the chart above. 

----- Support companies that have taken The Safe Seed pledge. 

----- Buy, plant, and SAVE seeds from heirloom varieties, that have not been bought out by these companies. 


I personally like Seed Savers Exchange and Renee's Garden Seeds. 

The "Small Footprint Family" has made it easier for us and put together lists for healthy seed suppliers, here:


Happy Healthy Gardening! 

For more information, ideas, sources, please see my related Pinterest boards:

PS:  One has to wonder, with the chemical giants now owning companies that sell heirlooms, if home gardeners will be sued when they save their seeds, as farmers have been.  Farmers have been sued for growing the GMO seeds that infected their fields by pollination..




Planning for the 2014 Garden Season from The Discerning Gardener — 1 Comment

  1. Ruth Hill,
    Saw your picture on PL/facebook and felt some connection – of course, gardening. You and your site are both awesome. I have a friend who lives in Iowa and I want to share this with her. First I have to find her in facebook.
    PS – the simple gardener….

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