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Need: simple explanation. heirloom, hybrid. genetically altered

Posted by love2gardennc z7b NC (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 8, 12 at 20:27

I think I understand these three things fairly well but I fail miserably when trying to explain them to a new to gardening friend. She has a number of health issues and is trying to go as natural as possible and is paying a fortune for organically grown seed. Is organically grown seed really important?
Thanks for any help, Les

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RE: Need: simple explanation. heirloom, hybrid. genetically alter

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 19, 12 at 16:07

In my opinion, no organic seed isn't that important (unless you want to sell veggies and be certified organic.) Growing organically is. Adding lots of chemicals while gardening is not good for anyone.
You, as a home gardener, can not buy GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seed. Only commercial farmers can, and when they do, they have to sign legal waivers and stuff. So your friend does not need to worry about buying GMO seed. Unfortunately many companies advertise on people's fears and you will see "No GMO Seed Sold Here" or something similar. Well of course there's no GMOs because you can't buy them as a home gardener! This of course does not mean things will change in the future.
Hybrid seed is the F1 seed of a cross. F1 means first generation. In the first generation, all the babies will be identical. Subsequent generations from saved seed will not come true( plants will vary. How much depends upon the parents used to create the hybrid.) There is nothing wrong with Hybrid/F1 seed. It is done the old fashion way like the bees do it (there's not GMO stuff going on), but it is done in a more controlled environment. So hybrid seed cost more for the work involved, and you can not save seed without having the seedlings vary. So why would you want to grow a hybrid? Well hybrids may have something you like like resistance to a certain disease, or some are very good like Sungold tomato. It is an amazing cherry tomato, and it hasn't been duplicated in OP form.
OP means Open Pollinated. These are plants that can grow true from seed. Some OPs are heirlooms some are not. Heirlooms just designates that a variety has been around a long time. Most would agree a heirloom has been around for about 100 years. So they are OPs that have stood the test of time. The best OPs of today might someday become well loved heirlooms.
I hope that all makes sense. Please tell your friend that this answer came from a person who owns a seed company and knows what they are talking about.
Also tell her to be careful there are companies out there who advertise Organic and they are NOT certified organic. One in particular sells overpriced tomato seeds. So you do need to be watch for people who are pretty much ripping people off. There are well priced certified organic companies out there. Or there are people like me who do organic garden and state that as a fact that I am not certified. And also that many seeds I sell from other growers are certified, and if the person really needs to know, just ask.
Hope this helps,

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