First off you have to wade through the label inconsistency mess.
“Organic” should mean that no pesticides or herbicides have been used to grow the plants that the seeds were pulled from. It also should indicate that only “Natural” fertilizers were added to the growth soil instead of petroleum derived nitrogen.
The purpose of using “Organic” seeds is to limit the amount of chemicals entering our bodies through the food we eat and to keep our yards free of “Unnatural” chemicals that persist in the soil.
Hybrid seeds can be labeled “Organic” or not. They are cross pollinated varieties done by hand to achieve a desired characteristic in a plant. The result will be a plant that can resist mold, tolerate heat, or produce larger fruit. It is a onetime planting because the next generation if you save the seeds might revert back to the female parent or the male parent plant or continue the trait or become a new variety. This is the basis of genetic mutation coaxed out of plants using Mother Nature to modify plants.
Heirloom varieties are carefully isolated so that no other species of pollen can “Hybridize”, or change the desired plant through the next generation. They can be “Organic” or commercially harvested from fields that use chemical farming techniques. The result is the same plant year after year unless they have been altered by design – not God to be sterile through the use of “Trans-Genics”.
Genetically Modified is actually a misnomer because “Hybridization” does the same thing naturally instead of artificially. Gene Manipulation on the cellular level is done by man to get results that would NEVER occur in nature. In Fact the genetic manipulation of genes by artificial insertion of enzymes or forcing non-compatible genes into a strand in order to alter the mutation process so “new” genes can be incorporated into a plant should be labeled “Trans-Genetic”. We have just gone so long calling the artificial Trans-Genetics process GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) that it is too late to stop calling it that to avoid confusion. GMO is globally recognized as a human engineered attempt to patent new forms of life. (Only God can create a tree – and Dow and Monsanto and Pioneer and Dupont…)
So “Organic” is chemical free for labeling but really only means “has life”.
“Heirloom” is not altered from the original plant for generations.
“Hybrid” is mutation allowed by God. Accidentally in nature or assisted by man.
GMO is manipulation that does not occur naturally by God.
“Natural” has no meaning other than not processed by man. (using natural ingredients counts)
Small Northern seed mail order company seeds may not grow in Florida climate. We have an unusual sub-tropic climate with extreme temperature ranges and most of the soil is actually just sand.
Some store bought companies (most have web sites) are: 2bseeds, NK Lawn & Garden, Better Homes and Gardens, Burpee, Baker Creek Heirloom, Park Seed, American Seed Company, Ferry-Morse, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (available at Earth Works Design Nursery on Beach and Kernan in Jacksonville), and Martha Stewart Living (usually Organic on label but I have had poor success rates/possibly because I chose a variety seed that only does well up North).
Seeds from Lowe’s are fine. Ferry-Morse is a respected name that does not sell GMO seeds. They do label Hybrids. It is the Hybrid varieties that cannot be saved from crops for next year. I often buy at K-Mart and Walgreen’s.
Store bought seeds are OK. Hybrid variety seeds produce some very good veggies and can be saved but most likely will not be the same plant next year; Either the mother or father plant or some new variety.
Warning – Packets labeled ‘American Seed’ with 2 red flag symbols on either side are NOT from the true American Seed Company! They are the discount $.99 Walgreen’s seasonal rack display and are actually Plantation Products Company using the phrase “American Seed” to show they are not imported. Nothing wrong with them; My best Danvers Carrots, Head Cabbage, Broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts have come up from these seeds. Just trying to fool you that they are the original company.