This is very true. Monsanto, Pioneer, and Seneca sell their seed mostly to farmers and wholesalers. The companies that Monsanto owns that sells to the public only sell non-GMO seeds to the public. That is not to say that the public cannot get their hands on GMO plants either on purpose or by accident. Monsanto usually wants to control who gets their seed especially if someone is profitting from it, because they want their royalties.
When Monsanto sells their GMO seed, they make the buyers sign an agreement not to propagate the plants from the seed. Farmers complain that it forces them to buy their expensive seeds.
However, the company counters that their seeds are patented and they are entitled to recover their R&D costs. The patent laws also make it the reponsibility of the patent holder to defend their patent. If something becomes so common that it becomes synonymous with the product then the companies stand to lose a lot. Take Xerox, they almost lost their trade name because their name became synomomous with thier product. Coke was close as well as most people call colas Coke whether it is the Coca Cola brand or not.
To get the Sunup papaya seed from the University of Hawaii, I had to go down to the Ag department on the UH campus, watch an educational film on GMO and sign my life away promising that I would not give away or propagate the seeds.
All that so that I could get on the list to order the seeds. I had to get GMO papayas because PRSV was so rampant because my neighbors never bothered to cut down their infected trees and all of my Malaysian papayas were infected and useless by the time they were 3 ft tall. With squash planted all around the community garden, only GMO papayas will not get sick.
Back in those days, I never thought about the GMO papaya cross breeding. 90% of the commercial papaya is GMO or PRSV resistant. 10% is standard bred. To keep the standards non-GMO the growers have to rougue out any papaya planted by the birds and keep them isolated I think something like 600 ft from other papayas. And squash and papaya cannot be planted together. Land is very costly here so most farmers put more than one crop on the land, but PRSV is probably a mutated squash virus and the squash can be hosts. There is a way now to test papaya to see if it is GMO or not, you cannot tell by just looking at it, unless it is the only healthy papaya around PRSV infected papaya. Then it is a good bet that it has some GMO genes.
A lot of people are very ill informed about GMO plants. They say they do not want GMO plants but many don't realize that that they may already have it in their back yards.
It takes three years of growing organically non-gmo, no synthetic fertilizers, or synthetic pesticides. Organic amendments like compost and manures are allowed and some organic approved pesticides are allowed and because they are short acting, they have to be applied more often (Neem, insecticidal soap, Ultrafine oils, Bt). Seeds have to be organic and they have to have established buffer zones between organic and non-organic and you have to keep records in order to get the initial certification.
https://agr.wa.gov/foodanimal/organic/Ce ... lified.pdf
Interestingly, I asked the guys who take care of the fish if the fish food was organic. He said that there isn't any organic fish food but they were working with a supplier to get some developed. I asked if all inputs had to be organic and they are using fish food that is not organic then is the crop organic. He said since organic fish food was not available, there was an exception to the organic rules that allows the non-organic fish food in organic crop production.
There are actually some synthetics and exceptions that are allowed by the NOP. Even what is organic isn't always what you think it is.
https://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/AgNatRes/Pubs/' ... _farms.pdf
Back to artichokes. If you grow artichokes you can grow them from division of root cuttings and you will get better artichokes. If you grow them from seed. they often revert to thistles and the ones that get better usually take a couple of years before they are edible. It is a large plant and perennial in mild winter areas. Like asparagus, you have to have a long term place for them and they do not produce year round. In hotter areas, you need to plant them at the higher elevations where it will be cooler and where they can be shaded from the strong sun otherwise they can become tough and inedible.
In warm climates Imperial Star is supposed to be a good artichoke to grow from seed and is treated more like an annual crop instead of a perennial. The artichokes are supposed to be good quality even from seed. It does have to be planted in Late summer so it matures in cool weather.
Johnny's Seed sells this variety.
Although I do sell herbs at the monthly plant sale, they are not organic. I have some organic seed but I cannot get organic seeds for everything. I do use synthetic slow release fertilizers as a starter fertilizer. I try to move the plants out every 6 weeks so I usually do not fertilize them again except for peppers which I will keep in pots for three months or more. Usually the older plants, I will move into the herb garden where they will be much happier not being confined.
I do try to use organic amendments compost, vermicompost, bone meal, blood meal, green manures but it has still been extremely alkaline and poor in nitrogen. The best organic nitrogen source was organic lawn fertilizer but it was still not enough so I am using sulfate of ammonia. It helps with the alkalinity and it gives the plants the one thing they need the most, nitrogen.
For the most part I am using fennel, four o'clocks and crackerjack marigolds for pest control. I do have to use copper sulfate mainly because it is really hard to find sulfur dust, but I only use it on the plants that need it. Mainly to treat daylily rust and only after I have tried to cut them back to control the disease. Companion planting and getting rid of the sick plants takes care of most of the pest problems. I have a problem with cabbage butterflies and I have tried netting them but they keep coming back so I am trying to get dipel. It is not that easy a product to get retail.
In general, I don't use pesticides on seedlings. I will cull sick plants and I have thrown sick plants from other benches out of the greenhouse to keep them from spreading white flies. I do get sweet basil from my mother for the sale because she does not have a problem with downy mildew. I will dip them in neem the night before the sale as a preventive because the garden does have downy mildew and it is the only exception. For everything else, they just get a jet of water or they get thrown out.
Snails are not a problem at the herb garden, I have no idea why. The mongoose will dig things up, but they do eat grubs and insects. I just have to get to the figs before the birds do and net the Hawaiian chilies and I plant peppers they have a harder time getting to. There hasn't been an aphid problem in years except for one sickly Kale which was remedied by getting rid of the kale. Black aphids are taken care of by trap plants (nasturtiums) and cutting the chives and green onions down to the ground when they are heavily infested.
For the customers who ask why I tell them that if they want an organically grown product expect them to cost twice as much and be puny in 2 inch pots and struggling. They occasionally have them available at Walmart.
It is hard to do organics in a pot. Organic fertilizers are not readily available to plants and seedlings need a lot of nitrogen in the beginning and organic fertilizers are nitrogen poor. You need micro-organizms in the soil to make the organic fertilizer available and those micro organisms are converting the organics not for the plants but for themselves to use and it is released slowly, not necessarily at a rate that young plants require. In a pot the plant cannot reach out an gather other resources, everything has to be available to them in that pot.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.