188-Why Buy Organic Seeds, with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds-Encore Presentation

| Podcast, Prepare

Have you ever compared a packet of conventional seeds and a packet of organic seeds and wondered what the difference truly is? My guest this week — to demystify what it means when seeds are organic — is Tom Stearns, a pioneer of growing and selling organic seeds.

Tom Stearns is the founder and owner of High Mowing Organic Seeds in northern Vermont, the country’s first organic seed company. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom in 2018 during filming for an episode of my public television show, Growing a Greener World®. Still today, High Mowing remains one of the few sources of organically grown seeds.


Seed crop fields

Seed crop fields at High Mowing Organic Seeds. (photo: Courtesy of High Mowing Organic Seeds)


As we are at the onset of seed-ordering season, I thought it would be a good time to revisit my conversion with Tom. For more information on what we discussed, you can check out the show notes from the original airing

To help you get more organized and take stock before buying seeds in anticipation of the 2021 growing season, I have prepared two free resources to share with you: a seed inventory chart that you can customize in Google Sheets, plus a seed longevity chart for your reference when you’re deciding which old seeds to hang onto and which can be disposed of. 

You can download both charts as PDFs, or text SEEDGUIDES to 44222 to receive the free download links.

As you look ahead to seed starting in spring, know that my joegardener Online Gardening Academy™ Master Seed Starting course is relaunching at the end of January 2021. The course covers everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed. You can sign up to be notified when enrollment begins.


Tractor planting seedlings

High Mowing was the country’s first organic seed company and remains one of the few sources of organically grown seeds.
(photo: Courtesy of High Mowing Seeds)


Do you buy organic seeds? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 33: Savvy Seed Catalog Shopping

Episode 45: Succession Planting: Practical Tips for Growing More Food

Episode 64: Tomato Growing Season Lookback: Lessons Learned With Craig LeHoullier

Episode 78: Why Buy Organic Seeds: Fixing a Broken Food System, with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds

Episode 125: Saving Seeds: The Basics, the Benefits and Beyond

Episode 182: Organic Urban Seed Farming, with San Diego Seed Company

Episode 187: The Informed Seed Shopper: What to Know Before You Buy

joegardener Seed Inventory and Seed Longevity Charts

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Know if Seeds Are Still Good 

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Save Tomato Seeds 

joegardenerTV YouTube: Seed Germination – Easy Tricks for More Success

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Three popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; and seed starting!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. Relaunching at the end of January 2021.

joegardenerTV YouTube

joegardener Newsletter

joegardener Facebook

joegardener Facebook Group

joegardener Instagram

joegardener Pinterest

joegardener Twitter

Growing a Greener World® 


GGW Episode 904: Waking Up the GardenFarm™

GGW Episode 911: High Mowing Organic Seeds: The Power of a Seed to Change the World

High Mowing Organic Seeds

Open Source Seed Initiative

Milorganite® – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Wild Alaskan Seafood Box – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of – Enter code “Joe” at checkout for two special bonuses just for our podcast listeners – 2 pounds of Dungeness crab with your first order and free scallops for the life of your subscription.

*Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us. None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, and Wild Alaskan Seafood Box. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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