Why You Should Grow Heirloom Seeds

2015 1-25 Seed Packing Party (5)Guest Post by Sam at Organic Lesson

Those who are unfamiliar with the seeds industry would be unaware of the growing battles between the types of seeds that exist in the market today. In general, seeds can be categorized into the following three categories: heirloom, hybrids, and GMO. It is important to understand each type of seed because they provide different pros and cons. For a more visual representation, you can check out the infographic below by Organic Lesson which highlights the main differences between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO seeds.

What are Heirloom Seeds?

Heirloom seeds are generally seen as the more traditional form of seeds. Although there is no concrete definition, gardeners can generally agree that heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that pass on similar characteristics from the parent plant to the child parent. Some gardeners say that heirlooms can be classified as those that were introduced before 1951, while others will say that heirloom varieties are those introduced before the 1920. In any case, it is important for gardeners to build awareness on the importance of heirloom seeds because they help maintain the genetic diversity of plants since the beginning of time.

Hybrids and GMO Seeds

Hybrid seeds, on the other hand, come from plants that have been cross-pollinated between two different varieties of plants. Farmers and gardeners have used this method in order to obtain to create a plant that contains the benefits from two different plant varieties. For example, if plant A, which has disease-resistant properties, and plant B, which has unique colors, then there is a possibility for gardeners to create plant C, which contains unique colors and disease-resistant properties. GMO seeds on the other hand are created in scientific labs. Scientists use methods like gene splicing to create plants that produce the desired traits.

Why Grow Heirloom Seeds?

Although hybrid and GMO seeds can provide better protection and disease-resistant properties, there are certain benefits that come with heirloom seeds that make them ideal for home gardeners. For example, heirloom vegetables are known to have greater flavor and taste. They are also known to be more nutritious than those produced from hybrid seeds.

Feel free to share with a link back this site or visit Organic Lesson for more fun gardening infographics.


The Garden Seed Saving Guide by Jill Henderson

Learn how to save your own seed!

The Garden Seed Saving Guide
Seed Saving for Everyone!

Save money, become more self-sufficient and avoid GMO’s by saving seeds!  This excellent resource for beginning and hobby seed savers takes you step-by-step through every aspect of saving your own seed in plain English.

Available in the Show Me Oz Bookstore
Look inside!


Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.  Jill is a contributing author for Acres USA and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal.


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