Seed exchange is evil

That’s not my view1 but it seems to be what a commenter called Cassandra is saying.

If I could bring myself to be an “evil” person I would offer tons of my “HOMEGROWN” seeds to them and even ship them for free. That way I could get even with all the idiots that are happily transporting their “noxious” weed seeds along with their lovely and so prized Pansy seeds.

It’s time for the United States Dept of Agriculture to step up to the bat and start fining these idiots that are polluting the earth with weeds, among other things.

How about the lady that bought four trees off of a seller on that four “****” letter internet auction site, lovely trees they were. Nice full rootball with plenty of dirt still attached. Little did she know that she was also buying an entire family of “Fire Ants” . Have you ever tried to rid your property of “Fire Ants”?

Those are indeed shocking examples of bad consequences of ignorant seed and plant exchange. Myself, I’m not too sure how you would miss a fire ant nest in a rootball, but then almost all the trees I’ve planted have been bare-rooted dormant specimens. As for weeds among the seeds, again, I tend to sow all seeds in trays or pots, especially those I am experimenting with, maybe growing for the first time. That gives me a chance to select among the seedlings and to discard anything untoward. But I do that regardless of the source of the seeds; public, private, large, small — makes no difference to me.

Cassandra does have a point, but I also think that her ire is misplaced. The kind of people who would use seed exchanges to broaden their experience of agricultural biodiversity probably have a wee bit of indigenous knowledge. Is there any way to stop the spread of invasive weeds? I doubt it. All we can do is be vigilant. And careful.

So if your truly interested in some “AWESOME” Dahlia seeds, they have been in my family for generations please just ask me for them. Be prepared to have your request denied. I don’t even know you and care more about the wellness of your state and property than you do.

Actually, I’ve never grown a dahlia from seed, so yes, Cassandra, I would be interested. You can use the contact form to let me know how I can get in touch, as you forgot to leave an email.

  1. Obviously. Ed. []

8 Replies to “Seed exchange is evil”

  1. I did get some weed seeds in a trade once! I asked for and expected artichoke seeds, they looked right, but what grew was something completely different. I never did identify what it was, but it started developing seed pods that would have sent seed over a long distance if I hadn’t destroyed the plants first.

    I think with vegetable seeds, and assuming some common sense, the risks are not too terribly high. At the same time, it’s not something to be ignored completely. Certainly things get a little more risky with tubers and plants that could be invasive.

    I think this is one of the advantages we have with a bloggers seed network, because there is sort of a web of trust, as we do all know each other and can deal collectively with these risks.

  2. I agree 100% Rebsie.

    What cassandra fails to realize is that the USDA is more responsible for contaimination of food and animal crops by unwanted pests and consequences than any single one of us many seed traders, home gardeners, and plant breeders out there. Surely Cassandra does not realize the importance of the work that we do in trading these seeds back and forth between one another and increasing the dwindling bio-diversity left on this planet.

    The issue at hand that she brings up is the movement of weed seeds and pests such as fire ants from place to place, but this is by no means the exclusive fault of seed traders, such movement of species has happened all across the globe since the dawn of time when the first man realized that he had something that might be of value to someone down the road. Plants, Animals, and Disease are all adaptable in some form or another and all lend to bio-diversity which is why many can adapt to adverse environments, however, as an example, fire ants will not be finding themselves living in northern latitudes at any point in the near future (excluding global warming which would bring them here without any help anyhow) due to the biology of their organism. It’s rather interesting how nature creates barriers and tends to be able to intricately balance her systems.

    This plea for help to the USDA that Cassandra makes is completely misinformed and reeks of propaganda by big ag and/or GMO advocates who use the USDA as their lapdog. Sure it’s OK to put GMO pollutants into pollen which flows freely, but invasive weeds? I mean, to me that’s a dead give away of her uninformed stance on the state of seed trade and her implied view that the word “HOMEGROWN’ has some kind of evil intent; perhaps she is trying to make the case that we are Bio-Terrorists? We are preventers of bio-terror if we are anything, we are keeping the food supply clean, the environment catered to, and the hopes and dreams of humanity alive and well, as Willie Wonka said “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of the dreams!”.

    Granted, sure your going to get some noxious weeds sent in a seed trade from time to time and yes there is a such thing as the White list which labels invasive species which are not to cross into or out of the USA, but in all truth, in all honesty let us take a look at our situation.

    In agriculture (keep in mind this is not wildcrafting or hunter-gatherer society we are speaking of here) there is not a single plant growing in your garden that is not in some way either foreign and or invasive. Agriculture in and of itself, even sustainable agriculture, is an invasive operation regardless of how it is looked at and how much stewardship and biodiversity is involved, it’s just a matter of dampening just how invasive the operation is, one could argue even that humans are an invasive species, but I doubt that anyone wants or needs to have that argument since it is almost as irelevent as Casandra’s case above is. In the United States for example, everyone has a lawn growing in domestic grass, the problem is, this in and of itself is an invasive species, a noxious and chemical loving, health endangering weed if you will, most of our native grasses and prarie grasses have been killed out by way of such varieties, but I am willing to bet that Cassandra has a lawn and isn’t any time soon going to take the pro-active approach of hand weeding the lawn of all of that useless grass in order to replace is with native species, this makes Cassandra a hypocrite. How many tomato seedlings do you have pop up in your garden every year? How many of those produce fruit which is actually of use and or any meritable quality? I don’t like tomatoes, the foliage is poison, they are highly invasive, to me that makes them a noxious weed. Perhaps Cassandra would like us to stop growing anything that self replicates where it either A is not wanted and or B is not expected, this list would include nearly all garden plants, what then shall we eat. How many weeds do you have in your garden that you do not see in the surrounding un-tampered area? All of which are invasive. Perhaps Cassandra likes blackberries, if so, then once again she will be proving my point, the Burbank blackberry is one of the most invasive species alive on earth today and yet it’s population is both reviled by land owners and praised by wildlife enthusiasts, if the Burbank blackberry did not exist there would be little shelter left in the forests across the country due to the over abundance of logging operations and inability of decidious forrests to quickly regrow, surely leading to a demise in many creatures who’s very existence depends on the berries in some form or another.

    Maybe Cassandra should lobby the USDA to put strict controls on migrating birds which spread seed via excrement all accros the globe? Surely those birds are doing more harm than we are. Perhaps Cassandra would like to have a limit on the number of deer and other mammals moving these foreign seeds across the globe.

    The truth is, it was going on long before us evildoer seed traders came along to help increase bio-diversity and keep people like Cassandra well fed, and it will go on long after we are gone. Nature has this amazing ability to regulate itself. If you don’t believe me then please, for your own sake open your eyes and look at the natural world, maybe you should take a moment to read about the chaos theory.

    Now if you do want to talk about what is dangerous in seed trading, then yes the conversation can be had, but that conversation is based more on seed that is commercialized and treated with any number of toxic substances, tainted with GMO’s, and generally disproportionately bred for big ag compared to those concerned with self sustainability and the feeding of ones family and community.

    In closing, I would like to state to Cassandra, that I am openly challenging her to defeat me in this argument, a task which she is incapable of doing and a challenge I fell worthy of commitment too.

    Cassandra, it is time for you to educate yourself on just exactly what truly is Evil, your attack upon my orginization is unfounded and completely unfounded and I will not stand for it.

  3. I should have added that such a challenge be dealt with on my blog perhaps, and possibly my tone was a little intemperate, but no more so than Cassandra saying that seed traders should be in prison, that we are idiots, or that we are evil, all of which to my ears and eyes are intemperate and a direct insult if not a direct challenge to those involved in such a network which in turn prompted me to become passionate about the situation, if I have offended you then I am sorry, but I have no desire to start a flame war on your site or any other, only to pose an open challenge to the charges levied against those of use in the seed trade, if I were wanting to rant and rave I would do it on my blog, not someone elses.

  4. @Alan R. Bishop – You haven’t offended me, not one bit. It’s just that keeping your own cool when others are patently losing theirs is often a good start to a discussion.

    And I hope you get the discussion you want on your blog — which I’ll keep an eye on — but also doubt that you will. “Cassandra” didn’t leave an email; I doubt that “she” wants to have a conversation.

  5. Alan, you do great work. There are plenty of people who support and appreciate what you’re doing. But there will always be dissenting voices and there will always be trolls.

    It was a post on Agricultural Biodiversity that introduced me to Homegrown Goodness in the first place, so my thanks to Jeremy for that.

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