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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Heirloom Seeds

Have you ever wondered why survival sites recommend heirloom seeds? There are a few reasons.

One, open-pollinated heirloom seeds will produce the same offspring every year. If you plant a beefsteak tomato and then save the seeds for next year - which is actually a fun and interesting project - its seeds will produce the same type of beefsteak tomato (except if it’s cross-pollinated). This won’t necessarily happen with hybrid seeds. While hybrid seeds have been bred to withstand drought and pests, they are also bred to be used once. You may use a hybrid from a store that works just fine for you, and the seeds you save MAY produce the exact same vegetable, but you take your chances.

Two, buying heirloom seeds supports small, family owned businesses. These are the heart of America and represent what some of us wish would become more popular - sustainable living that supports communities in a productive and healthy way.

Three, hybrids are produced and owned by big business. While a lot of what they’ve developed has helped feed the world, they have also worked against the small, family heirloom seed farmers. As with all big business, although they have their place in society, they shouldn’t dictate what we do individually.

I just received my Baker Creek Seed catalog and I’m so excited to select some seeds for planting this spring and also consider which seeds I’d like to store long-term. I’ve considered what exactly to store away and I’ll be starting with those seeds I already know. Types like zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes and green beans. Vegetables I grew up growing and know how to grow and what to expect. This year I also want to try kale and swiss chard as they’ve become two of my favorite vegetables. I have a couple other things like New Mexico hot chiles and a type of Thai spinach that I want to try this year too. If things go well, I’ll add extras to my storage.

Who knows if we’ll ever need to use our seeds in a survival situation, but I know they’re there if I need them. Gardening is one of those fun things in life that we can enjoy while gaining knowledge that will serve us well in an emergency.


1 comment:

  1. I would respectfully submit Garden Harvest Supply as a good source for open-pollinated seeds and also potted plants. They are a small family owned business that treats their customers as friends. Here is a link,