We are often asked by new growers where they can purchase seed, soil amendments and other resources. The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) has produced an online publication called the Alabama Farms Resource Guide. It is posted on their website: www.asanonline.org/. This guide contains contacts, information, and ideas for making your farm or gardening venture a success. The PDF file can be downloaded at this link: http://www.asanonline.org/Resourceguide_pdfversion.pdf.
If you are looking for seed or soil amendments, there is a very thorough list of suppliers. For seed, some of the most popular sources among organic growers in this area are: Seeds of Change (http://www.seedsofchange.com/), High Mowing Seeds (http://www.highmowingseeds.com/), Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (http://www.groworganic.com/default.html), Parks (www.parkseed.com), and Johnny’s Selected Seeds (http://www.johnnyseeds.com/). The first two are devoted entirely to the sale of organically produced seed; the others sell both conventionally grown and organically grown seed. Look for the OG or Organically Grown symbol. For potatoes, Ronniger’s Potato Farm (http://www.ronnigers.com/) has many organic and naturally grown varieties. Also, check at your local Lowe’s and Home Depot department stores. They carry some certified organic vegetable seeds. Your local health food store is another option. Dayspring in Auburn carries some seeds from High Mowing Seed Company.
If it is soil amendments or liquid fertilizers you are looking for, Coosa Valley Milling Company in Wilsonville, http://www.coosavalleymilling.com/, now carries a lot of organic fertilizers such as Fertrell and Nature Safe. They also carry some livestock supplements, such as Redmond Real Salt. If you are in the southern area of the state, Gary Weil at Red Root Farm in Banks, AL, www.redrootfarm.com, sells an assortment of organic fertilizers and soil amendments. If you are in the eastern part of the state, Country Gardens Nursery, http://www.countrygardensfarm.com/newarrivals.asp, located in Newnan, GA. carries Fertrell and some other organic soil amendments and livestock supplements. If you only need a small amount of fertilizer, Home Depot sells an organic fertilizer product made by Miracle Grow, in addition to steamed bone meal.
Organic liquid fertilizers are harder to find. The product that we will be using in our drip irrigation system this year is Multibloom, www.multibloom.com, which is made of ground up catfish, a by-product of the filet industry. Worm castings is another good fertilizer and potting mix for starting your seedlings and can often be obtained locally. Don’t forget to collect compost ingredients to help maintain your soil fertility. Leaves make excellent compost ingredients and they can often be found sitting on the curb bagged and ready to be hauled away.
If you need information on growing techniques, such as cover crops or crop rotations, The Alabama Farms Resource Guide contains a list of websites where you can get detailed information. ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas), http://www.attra.org/, is an excellent source of information on every aspect of organic farming. General information for growing crops and varieties well suited to your area can be found on The Alabama Cooperative Extension website: http://www.aces.edu/.
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
New Research Report: de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):706-726. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm