Garden Seeds- Hybrids vs Heirloom Variety

Overall, both heirlooms and hybrids deserve their place in any home garden. 

Heirlooms for emergency preparedness offer the ability to harvest seed for future use.  Hybrids offer disease resistance, reliable productivity, and particular maturity ranges.  Whatever seeds are chosen, gardeners should embrace diversity with the best of both worlds.  Enjoy the satisfaction of growing and eating what you grow and experiment with what grows best in your garden.  Gardening is an evolutionary joy that is fun and challenging with great rewards.

 

Heirloom/Open Pollinated seeds vs. F1 Hybrid Seeds

 

Watch out when you bring this up in gardening blog spots.  There is a war out

there.  What is the truth?  Is there a middle ground?  Both types of seeds have

their pro’s and con’s, advantages and disadvantages, but neither can trump the

other because when it gets right down to it, which is best is all a personal

preference.  Both have unique characteristics and traits that make the seed special. 

I will try to lay out the benefits and the negative points of each, and then each of

you can decide which is best for you in your situation.   

 

First off let’s lay out some definitions:

1. The term F1 hybrid means the first filial generation made by crossing two

different parent varieties, the offspring of which produce a new, uniform

seed variety with specific characteristics from both parents.  This same cross

must be done each year to produce consistent F1 hybrid seed.  The

pollination cross is done by control conditions (fields of other varieties miles

away) so that no cross pollination (from wind, bees or any other source) will

occur.   

2. Heirloom and Open Pollinated seeds are considered two different types but

for our purposes we will lump them together.  Generally the definition of

these varieties is varieties that have been around for 40 to 50 years, and that

has been preserved and kept true in a particular region.  In the case of Open

Pollinated seeds they are pollinated by wind or bees and their traits are

relatively fixed within a range of variability.

     What does this all mean?   

 I think that both hybrid and open pollinated/Heirloom varieties deserve a

legitimate place in any home garden.   

Hybrid seeds are usually the seed of choice for commercial farmers because they grow faster, easier, are disease tolerant, and create more produce than heirloom seeds.  However, there are discrepancies as to the lack of taste hybrids have.  This is true to an extent.  When hybrid seeds first were developed they did have rather bland flavors, but today many hybrids outperform heirlooms with exceptional flavor, taste, and Hybrids allow those of us with shorter seasons to grow and harvest quality produce because of shorter maturity dates.  The disadvantages of hybrid seeds is the lack of distinguishable varieties and colorful produce that many gardeners prefer.  Lastly, but probably most significant disadvantage of hybrid seed is the inability to harvest seed and have it have the same characteristics as its parent.   

Heirloom/Open Pollinated seeds are known for their varieties, colors, flavors, and textures. The produce from heirloom varieties, when grown properly, can be a better product.  Another advantage of heirloom seeds is that gardeners can harvest seeds from this year’s plants to plant next season.  As long as no cross pollination has occurred during the growing season, gardeners can expect the same results from the seed they harvest.  However, with these advantages also come many disadvantages.  Heirlooms are not tolerant to diseases and are harder when trying to harvest quality produce.  The biggest disadvantage, I feel, is that most heirloom varieties grow to maturity and are best when harvested within a couple day time frame.  This makes it extremely hard to harvest a quality that I have fresh corn every day.  With heirloom varieties the milk stage of sweet corn is only a couple of days but with hybrids the milk stage is up to two weeks long.

Overall, both heirlooms and hybrids deserve their place in any home garden. 

Heirlooms for emergency preparedness offer the ability to harvest seed for future use.  Hybrids offer disease resistance, reliable productivity, and particular maturity ranges.  Whatever seeds are chosen, gardeners should embrace diversity with the best of both worlds.  Enjoy the satisfaction of growing and eating what you grow and experiment with what grows best in your garden.  Gardening is an evolutionary joy that is fun and challenging with great rewards.

Report from ABCeeds.com

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *