En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 27, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Seed sources for gardening projects for kids
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello! I want to grow some agriculture plants for my kids, namely, cotton, alfalfa, etc. Do you know of a source to buy seeds without chemicals? Thanks! p.s. If you have any other ideas for cool plants for kids, let me know!

ANSWER:

To answer your last question first, we found a great websites called The Gardening Launch Pad which is full of other links to sites that deal with garden experiences for young people.

On your other question, however, we probably aren't going to be able to help you. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America. Most agricultural products are non-native, and virtually all of them have been hybridized until they bear little similarity to their native ancestors. Our seed sources, of course, all carry native plants, and would not stock seeds from the hybridized plants. Again, they are produced for commercial use in agriculture and, not only are they extensively treated for disease and insect resistance, but sales are probably in very large amounts. The chance of your finding someone willing to sell you a handful of cotton or alfalfa seeds, untreated, is likely slim to none.

However, we did want to help you find something you could use. We searched on "organic" cotton and alfalfa. This site from treehugger describes the chemicals that are NOT put on organic cotton. Cotton originated in tropical and subtropical regions of India and Africa. Alfalfa was first discovered by the Arabs, and has been used by the Chinese in herbal remedies since the Sixth Century. It is grown all over North America but is NOT native. A company named Dirt Works actually offers organic alfalfa seeds; unfortunately, the smallest size order is 25 pounds and that costs $95. Probably not what you had in mind.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source of non-native Cutweed from Burbank CA
January 22, 2010 - Where to find Cutweed in southern California? If not, which nursery sell cutweed? or any cutweed powder to buy?
view the full question and answer

Location of Taxus baccata
March 30, 2011 - Where in the USA may I purchase taxus baccata? I can't find them anywhere on the internet or at local nurseries. I need about 125! So, saplings would be preferred even though they are slow growing...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Calyptocarpus vialis and Dalea greggii.
June 05, 2009 - What are sources for 4" horseherb and gregg dalea? I've tried nurseries listed with NPSOT. Also, would using the above and maybe wooly stemodia and/or frogfruit together become a problem?
view the full question and answer

Sources for Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)
September 21, 2006 - I live in Alvin, Texas. I am looking for a small shade tree, that is easy to care for. I only have a small area for the tree. Alvin, Texas is about 30 miles from Galveston. I saw a wax myrtle tre...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Paronychia virginica in Virginia
May 16, 2007 - Greetings, I noticed that you have Paronychia virginica for sale in your spring plant sale. Despite the plant sharing the name of my fair state, I've been unable to find a source for it. Given...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center