En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Seed sources for gardening projects for kids

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

Mixed non-native sod in El Paso, TX
May 19, 2010 - Hello, My family and I just finished laying sod in our backyard. We thought we could save some money by buying scraps from a sod farm nearby. It never dawned on us to ask if the sod we were buying w...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

Sources of native seeds for California
November 03, 2006 - Hello. I am trying to locate native seed producers in California. We have 100 acres of land that we would like to plant native seeds on and possibly harvest. Can you refer me to any California nati...
view the full question and answer

Recommendations for a slope in Margaretville, NY
April 21, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We really love all of your ideas on our 60 degree bank needing plants to keep the topsoil in place. The grasses you suggested are beautiful!!!! They will look incredible against the...
view the full question and answer

Souce for Houstonia caerulea in Massachusetts
April 25, 2013 - I am looking for bluet (Houstonia caerulea or H. serpyllifolia). I can't find them anywhere. The two sites listed under possible distributors under H. caerulea have not gotten back to me. I read that...
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