Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Heirloom Seeds

There are many people who don’t know what Heirloom Seeds are. Most of the seeds we buy in the feed store or Wal-Mart are hybrid seeds. Hybrids are artificially germinated and are easy to grow. There is nothing wrong with the vegetables that they produce. In most cases they are better than heirloom plants. What hybrids will not do: They will not reproduce themselves. If you plant the seeds from a hybrid plant you will not necessarily get the same thing that you just ate: Most of the time you will get nothing at all. They will not grow. They are sterile.

An heirloom seed is naturally germinated and will reproduce themselves in the same form using the seeds that are produced by the plant. Why is that important?

If the time comes when there are no more Wal-Marts and grocery stores to buy seeds from you will have no garden. You must be able to sustain your garden without benefit of seed suppliers. There are loads of sites where you can buy “Heirloom Seeds”. Go check out those sites to educate yourselves on reproducible gardens. Don’t buy anything just yet….or at least until you’ve finished reading this article.

In the event that self-reliance becomes necessary, hybrid seeds will do you no good. You must be able to replant your garden next year using the seeds you produced in your garden. Do your research and know what you are buying when you buy seeds. There is one other thing that you must know. This is at least as important as knowing that you will need heirloom and not hybrid.

Many of the sites that offer heirlooms suggest buying a large quantity and storing them until you need them. Who knows how long that will be? Most organics have a shelf life and seeds are no exception. There is a better way to do it.

Get some heirloom seeds in small quantities of the veggies you hope to grow. Start your plants from these seeds this year. Go ahead and plant your normal hybrid varieties so you are sure to get a good garden. Plant the heirlooms as a learning opportunity and to test out their authenticity.

{The cynical Me} I could sell you anything and tell you to hold on to it until an emergency takes place and then plant it. If they don’t grow….”who ya gonna call?” Plant them now!!! Learn how to make plants grow from seeds. It is not as easy as buying young tomato plants from the store and sticking them in the ground. It takes a lot of work…exact work…and you have to start earlier than when you start from a young plant that was grown by someone else in a greenhouse in Florida.

Hopefully your seeds will grow and produce the veggies you like. If they do, save some of the seeds for next year. Plant them. If the seeds produce the same type of product that their parents did and you are satisfied with them, you have an heirloom seed if you ever need it. Don’t hoard the seeds. Maybe a couple of plantings worth in case mother nature throws you a curveball, but you don’t need to “stock up” on things you can easily reproduce.

Short form:
Buy some heirloom seeds.
Plant those seeds to test them.
Save the seeds from those plants and plant them next year.
If your seeds are successful: Skip step one and repeat steps 2 and 3 for as long as you like.
If your seeds are not successful: Start at step one and do it all over again until you get it right.
Live long and Prosper!

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