What are Heirlooms, Hybrids and GMOs? Posted on 30 Aug 14:43 , 5 comments

Each week I answer numerous questions about types of seeds, origins of seeds and other seed-related questions. There are a few very important things to know about SEEDS.

Before I get started with the Q&A, I'd like to share a startling revelation.  
Monsanto, one of the worlds largest chemical & pesticide producing corporation, also sells Non-GMO Seeds. Seminis is the seed-selling "arm" of Monsanto and many of your favorite "organic seed companies" buy from them. 

Some seed companies have no qualms with purchasing their seed stock from a company who makes their fortune producing chemicals that are poisoning the plant and killing the bees.  I won't name companies individually but you can find a complete list from Syngenta HERE. Seminis has removed their list from their website.

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we are dedicated to sustainable, organic growing and protecting seed diversity for future generations.  We would NEVER purchase seeds from these chemical giants.  Our seed stock comes from small, family farmers and seeds growers who are also dedicated to seed diversity.

Below are questions and answers to the most common questions from our customers.  If you can think of another question please feel free to ask.

What are Heirloom Seeds?
An  heirloom seed variety has been saved and passed down from generation to generation. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and are considered a great value to the recipient. Some say an heirloom variety is 50 years old or more.  Some heirloom varieties have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years.

Heirloom Seeds can be very unique like the Lemon Cucumber or Romanesco Italia Broccoli and others are just like the produce you buy in the store (only tastier) like the Roma Tomato.

Piggott Pea - Southern Pea

 A Louisiana variety that has been in the Pigott family, Washington Parish, since the 1850’s. Prized by the family as the best-tasting cowpea of them all. Brown seed is speckled and of good size

Are Heirloom Seeds Organic?
Not necessarily.  Just because a seed is heirloom does not make it organic.  However, both Heirloom & Organic seeds are Non-GMO.

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we grow organically and help others do the same. We take it one step further. We NEVER sell seeds from outside of the US.  Why?  Everything that is imported (food & Seeds) is required to be treated with harsh chemicals and is irradiated.  In my book, they are no longer organic.

What is Open-Pollinated?
Open-Pollination is simply pollination by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms.  The way nature intended!  The seeds of open-pollinated plants will produce new generations of those plants;

What is a Hybrid?
A Hybrid seed is seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrid seed production is predominant in agriculture and home gardening.

The benefits of hybrids can be a stronger or more disease-resistant plant.  The draw back is that the seeds saved from the fruit or veggie may be sterile for future planting.

From Extension Master Gardener,

The big drawback with hybrids, especially for those who are interested in saving seeds, is that you really can’t do so with most hybrids.  Due to the long, involved process in developing the hybrid, the genetics of the hybrid aren’t stable enough to allow the seeds to be self-sustaining.

What are GMOs?
A GMO, or "genetically modified organisms," are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

You may have heard the term GMO and that many groups around the world are fighting to have foods containing GMOs be labelled.

One of my biggest concern about GMOs is that they were designed to withstand and thrive with heavy doses of cancer-causing pesticides. In my opinion, there should have been more independent research on the potential affects before they are used rather than after.

Was I able to answer your questions about seeds?  Please feel free to leave a comment.  The BEST way to get a quick response is to send me an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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