Thursday, August 20, 2009

Heirloom, OP and Hybrid Seeds

As often happens during this time of year, the season's harvesting, our thoughts turn to seeds. Which ones performed well, which didn't; and of the good performers, which were OP (open pollinated) or Heirloom seeds (they can be both) worth saving for next year?

The debate about OP seeds vs. hybrid seeds almost always enters the discussion: hybrids were developed to include traits not evident in the parent seeds. Those traits include things like tomatoes that are now resistant to tobacco mosaic virus.
So, not all hybrids are bad.

In fact in the last few years, some really cool hybrid vegetables have been introduced. However, there are probably that many, and more, OP and heirlooms that have been lost
. My hat is tipped to all those dedicated seed savers out there who have rescued many of them from total oblivion! You cannot save hybrid seeds with any reliable hopes of growing them out next year into anything resembling the vegetables they came from in your garden.

My personal preference is towards OP seeds, and for several reasons. I really don't care if my tomatoes are capable of shipping well since they are only for my own use, but I DO care if they are tasty. Same for melons, and a host of other vegetables. I'm learning that with good balanced soil I can increase the Brix, which increases the nutrient density of what I grow, and along the way it eliminates a lot of pest and disease problems.

Another reason for OP seeds in my garden is that I am able to save some seeds for the following year. With a gardening budget based on my social security income, that's a big plus.

On the hybrid sign of the coin, there is Monsanto to consider. Their efforts in developing seeds resistant to their own pesticides and herbicides frightens me. (They are not the only BigAg doing this, their name just comes easily to my vocabulary.) For one thing, it means more foods at the stores have received huge doses of chemicals, whether it's fresh produce or frozen and canned vegetables. You cannot convince me that our soil doesn't suffer from those chemicals either.

Vegetables are good for us, and the more nutritious they are, the healthier our bodies will be. I could tell you to eat lots of broccoli even if you don't grow your own, but most of our broccoli comes from Dole Foods, and they buy their seed from Monsanto.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.