ag, seeds, organic farming, propagating seeds


Seeds of Change: What’s in your Packet of Certified organic seed?

By Dr. Wesley Chun Ph.D., Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer


There are three reasons for using certified organic seed to produce organic crops. First, the National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines recommend use of organically produced seed for organic crop production. Second, it is good for your conscience since organically produced seeds inherit environmental conservation and pollution reduction benefits. Third, organic seeds are claimed to be healthier (more resistant to pathogens and pests), and better adapted to grow under organic cropping systems. NOP guidelines, and environmental sustainability benefits are compelling factors for using certified organic seed. The third reason is highly dependent on the seed producer and the source of the seed. Most plant varieties were bred under conventional agricultural systems. However, there are now university and private breeders who are breeding new varieties using organic growing methods. While organically bred varieties are available, the performance of these varieties may be regionally limited. Seed selection should be based on production needs and environmental growing conditions first, and then organic if it is available. Check the facts when organic seeds claim to be healthier, pest- and pathogen-resistant, and pesticide-free.

organic farming


Organic Versus Conventional Foods: Fifty Shades of Green
By Dr. Wesley Chun Ph.D., Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer


Organically produced food is an essential form of food production that has existed since the dawn of agriculture. It resided with the Green Revolution but has regained popularity since the rebirth of the organic movement in the 1940s. Once only available in organic stores, three out of four stores now carry organic products. From 2010 to 2019, organic food sales increased 4.6 to 12.2 percent annually. In 2018, total US organic sales reached $52.5 billion, a 6.3 percent increase from 2017. US organic food sales accounted for $49.7 billion, a 5.9 percent increase from 2017. This year organic produce sales as a result of the COVID pandemic jumped 22 percent in March, leading to a first-quarter rise of 8 percent for 2020. 


By Dr. Wes Chun Ph.D. 
Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer

Applying fertilizers pre-plant and at-planting are beneficial practices to restore soil fertility and grow a successful crop.  Pre-plant fertilizers are applied before planting seeds or seedlings into the field or into nursery potting media.  At-planting fertilizers are applied during planting.  These practices provide ready access to nutrients that are vital for seedling establishment and health.  Proper fertilizer choice and placement are essential for maximizing the benefits of pre- and at- planting fertilizers


By Dr. Wes Chun Ph.D. 
Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer

For many crops, post-harvest (the period after harvest and before leaf senescence) fertilization can play an important role in the following season crop. In many tree crops, it is one of the best times of the season for uptake of nitrogen and potassium. Trees are still active, and the roots and foliage readily absorb applied nutrients. These nutrients become reserves for the following growing season.  While there may be little difference in tree productivity between fall and spring fertilizer applications, it may be better to fertilize in the fall. Fall applications are more efficient since trees are still actively taking up nutrients, cold and wet conditions in the spring can delay dormancy break, and spring-applied fertilizers are subject to leaching and runoff.