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Westwind Seeds & Gardenscapes began in 1980 with the goal of finding heirloom and open pollinated seeds that would perform well in the hot and dry climate of Southern Arizona. We found that our seeds were popular nationwide, from Oregon to New York. Gardeners report that our seeds germinate extremely well, produce consistently, and withstand extremes of heat and cold as well as resistance to drought.

Our seeds are all open pollinated and chemically untreated. None of our seeds are hybrid. We choose to source seeds from growers in the United States who use minimum chemicals and fertilizers. Many small growers simply can't afford to certify that their seeds are organic given the cost of USDA Organic Certification.

Open Pollinated Seeds
Seeds that produce "true" are called open pollinated. Only open pollinated seeds allow you to save the seeds from your prize zucchini and save them for the next spring. For those who may want to save seeds from each harvest, allowing the gardener to replant stronger, better adapted seeds, open pollinated seeds are the answer. Hybrids are modified so that they only produce "true" for one season. Hybrid seeds are sterile in terms of their ability to reproduce the next season. This requires you to buy seeds every year. If you try to save the seeds from your favorite hybrid zucchini, the seeds will not produce plants that have viable fruit. If you want viable seeds for the next season, you must grow open pollinated vegetable, flowers and herbs. Open pollinated seeds guarantee genetic diversity, while hybrid seeds simply do not have the ability to adapt to their environment.

For the last 30 years, I have saved seeds from my prized snow pea plants. Today those plants can withstand a hard freeze and produce pods in ninety degree weather. The seeds grow more than six feet tall and gardens throughout Tucson flourish with hardy plants that produce an abundance of sweet pea pods.

Chemically Untreated Seeds
We require that all our growers supply us with only chemically untreated seeds. Chemically untreated seeds are not treated with any chemicals after harvest. Fungicides and insecticides are often used to treat post harvest seeds as a way to "insure" that seeds will withstand storage and the stresses of planting. Many seed companies are now offering pelletized seeds that are treated with microdoses of systemic insecticides. The ideas is to protect the seeds from damage before it sprouts. There is no need to use fungicides or insecticides on seeds if the seeds are properly prepared, stored and planted carefully.

Irradiation of Seeds and Food
Today we are faced with major concerns about the health risks associated with pesticides and chemical additives in our food supply and environment. We regularly hear of dangers to our food supply from Salmonella and other contamination. In addition to these concerns, food technologists are promoting ionizing radiation as a method to preserve food. Food irradiation is a dangerous and untested process that has profound ramifications not only for our food but to our environment. Currently herbs and spices and some vegetables are allowed to be irradiated without being labeled.

Genetic Manipulation of Seeds
We are proud to be support the goals of the Safe Seed Initiative. We pledge that Westwind Seeds & Gardenscapes will not knowingly purchase or sell any seed that has been genetically modified. Since the early 1990's, I have written about the dangers of genetically modified foods and seeds. Our seeds are our future, we believe that hybrid and genetically modified seeds do not allow for genetic diversity. It is this diversity that allows for plants to adapt to their environment. The seeds produced from hybrid plants are sterile; unable to produce viable vegetables the following season.

Genetically modified (GMO) seeds contain gene combinations that appear nowhere in nature. Today, seeds exist that contain genetic material from Icelandic flounders that allow the seeds to withstand freeze. Soybean seeds have been genetically modified by Monsanto to resist the killing effects of Round Up pesticide. These GMO soybeans sprayed directly with pesticide will not die but the weeds and plants around them will die almost immediately.Genetically modified organisms threaten our food supply and have the potential to wipe out large viable natural seed by mutating that seed.

The effect of this genetic manipulation calls into question the very nature of seeds. These living entities, seeds breathe and grow into the most amazing plants that supply us with food and nourishment. Growing your own food is an alternative. You control what soil amendments you wish to use, you control the type of seeds you select and you control your own food supply.

Westwind Seeds & Gardenscapes supports the many organizations working to make our food supply safe and support and heal our environment. Save your heirloom, open pollinated Seeds!

With the exception of the Safe Seed Initiative information above, I wrote most of this information 35 years ago in my 1980 Seed Catalog. As I prepared information for this new web site, all of the information that was relevant 30 years is even more pressing today. We will not shy away from these issues or water down our concerns about the importance of open pollinated, chemically untreated seeds. This is why I started Westwind Seeds and this is why we are "a growing business" in 2018.

Thank you for your support.
Reggie Smith
Owner/Master Gardener