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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.

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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.

 

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