Organic seeds are produced and harvested from organic plants – plants that are free from exposure to hormones, inorganic chemicals, fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. There are strict requirements for foods and seeds that are certified organic which include careful, detailed records making sure organic materials are not exposed to sewage sludge, synthetic chemicals, and other prohibited substances. Not all countries have the same regulations for certifying seed as organic.
Most seeds for sale are controlled by companies that regularly produce genetically engineered material (GEO) and may contain elements developed for improved profit-making growth rather than safe eating. These seeds might produce food that could prove dangerous to your health. There are many arguments and a lack of clear, definitive proof one way or the other at this point. Many seeds for sale are also coated with fungicides for better germination. You will be adding these chemicals to your soil if you use the seed. The safest way to avoid these issues is to buy your seed from companies that only sell organic, non-engineered material. If you are not growing edibles, you still can benefit your soil by avoiding treated seed.
Once you have grown your plants, you can let a number of your plants flower and collect the resulting seed for the next year’s use. Unless you can carefully control pollination, you may see variation in the plants you grow for the next generation. Cross pollination and reversion means that genes can combine differently in a natural process producing slightly different flowers and vegetables from the original plant where collection was done.
Organic plants and seeds are likely to cost more since they are produced without the efficiency of using mass-production chemical or genetic intervention. The choice usually ends up between saving money or taking the extra step of assuring your health, that of your family, and that of your soil (and the planet). In times of financial stress, the choice may not be so easy.