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Pesticides on Seeds and Plants

I went to both a Seedy Saturday and Seedy Sunday this weekend just gone and both had talks about helping beneficial insects. They both pointed out that the plants sold in Garden Centres with a Bee Symbol on and saying that it’s good for pollinators, a lot of these have insecticides and pesticides on them therefore they could be potentially harmful to the wildlife. It then got me thinking about growing from seed but then a lot of these seem to be covered in pesticides or insecticides. What are others thoughts on this?  And would I therefore be better getting organic seed and putting my seed into a seed swap? 


  • Mark, Hi.

    I can see why you are confused.  First and foremost.  Seed no way can carry any outside chemicals.  Botanically.  A seed or vegetive cutting simply contains a directive of the original.
    Organic seed.  No such thing.  Viz. an organic grown carrot.  Remains geneticall a carrot.  The means and conditions under which it is grown remains insufficient.  Here we have to submit ourselve to the genetics.  The seed contains all the plans life ifs and buts.  To change a seed, then science discovered gm modification.  This mainly became a method of increasing crops, such as corn and cereals.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Seeds are often coated in neonics etc. Yes, organic seed and plants are a good idea.
  • ElothirElothir Posts: 94
    edited February 2020
    It is a right mess really.

    We get warned about the dangers of neonicotinoids, and for gardeners particularly about garden centre plants sprayed with them and told it's better to grow from seeds instead, but then often get directed to places that are not selling organic seeds and so are presumably still coated with the very chemicals we're being warned away from since seed coating is one of the main ways those pesticides are applied in the first place.

    I know there was the EU ban on them, but I think (and could be wrong) that only applied to some fairly specific situations and had exceptions (e.g you could still happily spray it in a greenhouse, and I think you could still use it as a seed coating, just not for cereals/rapeseed etc).

    I know there are a few organic seed suppliers, but they're primarily geared towards fruit/veg as far as I can tell with a few exceptions.

    Whilst I honestly don't know how much exposure there would be from seed raised plants (especially perennials who take a year to even flower), it is still rather troubling. Personally I was planning to grow the annuals I've got (most of which you can't easily and reliably get certified organic seed for that I've found) and then use whatever seed I harvest from those plants going forward for them. 

    It's not ideal but I honestly don't know what else to do with them really. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,139
    The amount of neonicotinoids or other chemicals that could stick to a teeny carrot seed is truly infinitesimal.  As that seed germinates and grows into a well cultivated carrot with no further chemicals that teeny infinitesimal amount will be washed off by all the rain.

    Clearly, if you can grow your own fruit and veg you can control the conditions in which they grow, including soil improvers, fertilisers and pest controls, and then pick and eat them fresh when they are at their best for flavour and with no loss of nutrients which degrade in storage and transport.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • So if I was to plant non organic seeds would the pesticides or insecticides used (If any) actually just wash off the seed while growing and therefore there would be none in the plant? Also the same for tubers and bulbs?
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,139
    Certainly for seeds.   Any potatoes would be new tubers grown from the plants produced by the seed potatoes and by the time an onion is big enough to eat form a set any remaining residue would be in the skin layers that you don't eat and would be difficult to measure even in a laboratory with fancy equipment.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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