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Treated Seed: Corn and Peas

All Gurney’s Pea and Sweet Corn Seed Varieties Are Now Treated!

Some people don’t know what to think when they hear the words “treated seed.” Is that a good thing? Is it bad? What does “treated” mean? Why is this blogger pretending that I am vicariously asking questions through him?

Well, folks, I’m here to dispel any predispositions you may have about treated seed. The truth is this: treated seed is a very good thing! It simply provides extra protection against less than ideal growing conditions. That means you can plant earlier without the worry of rotting seed from cold, wet early spring weather. This treatment also ensures better germination as well as enhanced resistance to soil-borne diseases and fungi.

When I heard that we were introducing treated seed in our spring 2010 catalog, I was very excited. Treated seed is so much easier to grow, because it has a hard coating to enhance germination and plant strength. This hard coating protects the seed until soil temperatures reach the proper temperature, which allows you to plant the seed earlier than you normally would. The coating also protects against diseases and fungus.

And now, for the first time, all of our pea seed and sweet corn seed varieties are treated, including customer favorite, Gotta Have it Hybrid Sweet Corn! Check out all of our pea seed varieties here, and all of our sweet corn varieties here.


24 comments to Treated Seed: Corn and Peas

  • Are any of your seeds genetically modified?

    • Great question. GMO seeds are something that we take very seriously here. We screen all of our growers and only use the most reputable sources. We take great care to inspect our seeds and do not sell any GMO seeds that we are aware of.

  • Lee

    This is a pretty vague description. There is no mention about how the seed is treated. If there is a coating of fungicide on it, then it doesn’t conform with organic standards, and we can’t use it.

    • We do treat some of our seeds, specifically our pea and sweet corn seed varieties. The treated seed is coated with a hard coating to enhance germination and protect the seed. We screen all of our growers and only use the most reputable sources. Some of our plant and seed suppliers do use certain solutions for ensuring the health of the crop. Only crops certified by the USDA as Organic can be 100% guaranteed to be organic. Having said that, Gurney’s stands by the quality of all the products that we offer. If you’re looking for a good source of 100% Organic seed/plants, our friends at Gardens Alive do have a great many Organic plants and seeds available this spring http://www.gardensalive.com/category.asp?c=426
      Hope this helps!

  • Tyler NC

    I like the idea of treated seed, and especially seed that can be planted earlier. However, I am concerned with the chemicals used in treatment of the seed. The most common treatments are neonicotinoids, especially Imadocloprin and Thiamethoxam, chemical compounds made to mimic the insecticidal and fungicidal properties of nicotine. However, the introduction of these (often persistent) chemicals to seeds and soil, which then erodes into the local watershed, has been linked to massive die-offs of honey bees- major agricultural pollinators (though admittedly, that data is subject to a modest amount of contest). Especially in the case of Thiamethoxam, the water-solubility of the chemicals makes them even more likely to make it into the water table (and flowers and pollen of the treated plants). If the seeds are treated with neonicotinoids, it seems that consumers should be made aware of it, so that they can make an informed and environmentally conscious decisions. Though, thats only an amateur gardener’s observation.

  • What are your seeds treated with?

  • tony duhamel

    I bought corn seeds from Gurneys last year and after opening them, I realized they were “treated seeds”. I planted them anyway just because I had them in my hand. Next spring I don’t want to use any “treated seeds”.

    I’ve read your rational here regarding your seed and just don’t buy into it. It seems to me, that for a small time home gardeners, we should be able to buy non-treated seeds if we want to use them.

    Sorry, but I’ll skip Gurney this year.

  • Finn McGuire

    The normal method of ‘treating’ these seeds is to coat them with the neuro-toxic insecticides: Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam and Imidacloprid – all of which belong to the neonicotnoid family of pesticides. These poisons are absorbed into the ENTIRE plant roots, sap, leaves, pollen, nectar and fruit or grain (corn and peas).

    If your seed is treated with this poison you should come out and say so. Personally, I tend not to deliberately eat food that is perfused with a highly persistent, brain-damaging pesticide. i’m just funny that way.

  • jenarij

    I came to Gurney’s excited to place my spring order, very disappointed to find that the seeds are now treated. I will be placing my order elsewhere!

  • Rosemary

    I hope that, in the near future, Gurney’s will offer a non-treated option. We have grown Kandy Korn for years. It is our main corn crop for freezing because it stays sweet and tastes just like fresh out of the freezer. It is our big treat for Sunday Dinner on a cold winter day. We don’t use chemicals in our vegetable garden, so I was sad last year to find my corn and pea seed treated. Fortunately I had leftover untreated seed from 2009 which grew great.(I had ordered online and didn’t notice the information about this before I ordered.)
    I have found another company to order from seeds from this year which offers treated and non-treated options for many of their varieties. We will grow one of their varieties of corn, but we will miss our beautiful stalks and ears (and flavor) of Kandy Korn for sure. Please consider a non-treated option for next year’s catalog.
    THANK YOU for years of great seeds, from a grandma who grows veggies for her grandkids in Michigan.

  • Karen

    I just opened the peas I ordered. Sure was surprised to see they were pink. I’ll be throwing them out, and won’t be ordering again.

  • Gary Kilian

    I do not intend to knowingly purchase genetically modified seeds or plants. I am only interested in purchasing organic, non treated plants and seeds. Please provide these options in your upcoming catalogs or I shall seek same from other vendors. Thank you!


  • mark

    This is from the Thiram 42-@ fungicide PDF:
    CAUTION: Treated with thiram. Wear rubber gloves and protective clothing when handling products treated with thiram.
    Direct exposure to skin may result in severe dermatitis.
    Seeds or Bulbs that are treated with this product and are then packaged or bagged for future use by growers or researchers must
    contain the following labeling on the outside of the seed or bulb package or bag:
    • This bag contains seeds or bulbs treated with thiram fungicide (42-S Thiram). When opening this bag or loading/pouring the
    treated seeds or bulbs wear long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes, socks and chemical resistant gloves.
    • Treated seeds or bulbs. Do Not Use for Food, Feed or Oil Purposes.
    • Store treated seed away from food and feedstuffs.
    • Do not allow children, pets or livestock to have access to treated seeds.
    • Treated seeds exposed on soil surface may be hazardous to wildlife. Cover or collect treated seeds spilled during loading and planting.
    • Dispose of all excess treated seed by burying seed away from bodies of water.
    • Dispose of seed packaging or containers in accordance with local requirements.
    • Endangered Species” section of this label must be included on the seed tag.
    • After the seeds or bulbs have been planted, do not enter or allow worker entry into treated areas during the restricted-entry
    interval (REI) of 24 hours. Exception: Once the seeds or bulbs are planted in soil or other planting media, the Worker Protection
    Standard allows workers to enter the treated area with out restriction if there will be no worker contact with the seeds or bulbs.
    • Treated seeds or bulbs are hazardous to fish, birds and mammals. Do not plant treated seeds or bulbs by broadcasting to the soil
    surface. Ensure that all seeds or bulbs are thoroughly covered with soil, especially in turn areas. If seeds or bulbs are not
    thoroughly incorporated by the planter during planting, additional incorporation may be required to thoroughly cover exposed
    seeds or bulbs. Do not apply directly to water, or to areas where surface water is present or to intertidal areas below the mean
    high water mark. Do not contaminate water when disposing of planting equipment washwater or rinsate or by disposal of wastes.
    • Plant cotton, wheat, barley, oats, and sugar beet seed a minimum of 1 inch deep.
    Seeds or Bulbs that are treated with this product and are then packaged or bagged for future use by homeowners or other
    residential users must contain the following labeling on the outside of the seed or bulb package or bag:
    When using formulations that do not contain dye, to comply with 40 CFR 153.155, all seed treated with an economic poison
    must be colored to distinguish and prevent subsequent inadvertent use as a food for man or feed for animals.
    For Treatment of Coniferous Seed
    Damping-off protection: Use 2 quarts of 42-S Thiram per 100 pounds of seed. Slowly add to the seed while turning in a
    tumbler such as a concrete mixer. Tumble seed for approximately 2 minutes and then spread coated seed on a screen to dry.
    For the Treatment of Ornamental Bulbs, Corms and Tubers:
    Treat any time after drying. Dip in a suspension made by mixing 1-1/2 pints of 42-S Thiram in 8 gallons of water. Agitate the
    suspension. If bulbs are to be stored, spread out to dry. Bulbs or tubers that are treated with this product must bear distinct
    labeling that instructs:
    CAUTION: Treated with thiram. Wear rubber gloves and protective clothing when handling products treated with thiram.
    Direct exposure to skin may result in severe dermatitis.

  • carlene bacovin

    Glad I found this blog. I will not be buying from Gurney’s until they offer absolutely organic, non GMO and non treated seeds.

  • Leslie

    I have been very happy with my purchases from Gurney’s in the past. However, I am very sad to learn that you are selling treated seeds and I can no longer support a company that does not work towards a healthier environment without chemicals. I will be happy to come back to Gurney’s if you choose to become certified organic.

  • colorado gardener

    I realize this is an old blog post, but I really need to know if the treatment includes neonicotnoids. I have six beehives right by the corn and the bees are taking in the pollen!

  • Amanda Domino

    I am sorry to hear all of the information on these treated seeds as well. I will grow the seeds this year, but next year, regretfully, I will have to order from another company. This is very sad because I have really enjoyed the service from Gurney’s

  • kel

    I also, will not be buying Gurney’s seeds this year and will be asking to be removed from the mailing list. If I want treated seeds or plants, I’ll buy from the supermarket. Home gardening is too much work to just be eating the same pesticide laden stuff you get from the store. Having had cancer three years ago, I take my health, and the health of my family very seriously. You offer such a wide variety of seeds, and your plants come with different options; why not offer treated and untreated? Seems it would be cheaper not to treat them.

  • Jordan

    I’m excited to find treated pea seeds. I wish the green beans were treated as well!

  • Having read all the comments and concerns about your treated seed; I too am wondering just what it is you use.
    Are you using one of the above mentioned fungiside/pesticides to coat your seed? Is what you are using a potentially harmful agent to bees etc. as well as to humans?
    You guys have been around for a long time; how about giving us some up front answers.

  • Allison

    I was excited to buy my seeds from Gurney’s this year and was happy with the prices and quick shipping. However, as I was planting this past weekend with my 3 year old joyfully picking up earthworms beside me I was quite unhappy to find pink seeds in my pea packet! I didn’t notice a warning about them being treated when I ordered and won’t be ordering again. Let me know when I can get the good ol’ fashioned, untreated seeds… even if that means I lose a few plants.

  • Debbie

    I have bought Gurney’s seeds for years. My family used to order them when I was a child, great seeds. Sorry to say that I can no longer order treated seeds, hope you stop this practice, and I will be back. Make a big announcement.

  • Kym

    I would like to purchase your northern xtra-sweet bicolor (sh2) hybrid sweet corn, I would like your guarantee this is NOT a GMO produced/modified sweet corn variety. We live in Wyoming and there a several of us that would like to give it a try for our short season. Thanks, kym

    • Lauren Karch

      Hi Kym,

      We do not knowingly buy or sell GMO seeds – we’ve signed the Safe Seed Pledge and are committed to quality seeds for our customers! Thanks for your interest; the Northern Xtra Sweet is really popular among our northern gardeners.

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