Glossary of Seed Terms


Treasures. Includes trusted, new, open-pollinated varieties as well as those passed down over generations.


Also labeled (F1), Modern hybrids are produced by cross-pollinating two distinct, inbred parents. Difficult but not impossible for home gardeners to save their own seeds.

Open Pollinated

Home gardeners’ best choice for seed saving. Produced through natural pollination without breeding controls.


A set of standards that eliminate or reduce chemical inputs. Regulated by the USDA National Organic Program. Still the consumer’s best bet for safety and health if they do not know the source of their foods or seeds.

Certified Naturally Grown

A self-regulating, nonprofit agency upholding USDA organic standards.

Seed Libraries

Public places where seeds are deposited by a community for the benefit of the community. Participants check out seeds, grow them and return new seeds the following year. A resilient way to engender local diversity and seed security.


Seeds coated with a chemical fungicide or pesticide. Not allowed in organic gardens. These seeds can usually be identified by their fluorescent colors such as pink or blue.


Collected from wild plants growing in natural environments.

Source: Native Seeds (

Sources of seed

Natures’ Crossroads (Bloomington, Ind.)
Urban Farmer (Indianapolis)
Fedco Co-op 
Fields of Agape
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange 
Sunrise Seeds (Union City, Ind.)
Find out if your seed company has signed the Safe Seed Pledge

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