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Seed terminology/growing question

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Seed terminology/growing question

Post  llama momma on 2/16/2012, 7:01 am

1-Seeds that are called heirloom, open pollinated, organic, non-GMO - Don't these all refer to the same type of seeds?

2- I want to plant those as it seems there are more varieties, flavor, and nutrition.
But- should I assume these seeds lack disease resistance and plant more of them to compensate for losses? What has been your experience please? I haven't quite found this topic explained yet. Thanks! llama momma

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 2/16/2012, 7:28 am

Heirloom, open pollinated, organic, non-GMO do not mean all of the same thing. I will try and explain some of the differences, since there does not seem to be a common definition. Organic seeds were grown in an organic environment, no mam made chemicals. Non-GMO means the seed is not geneticly modified, but it could have been treated with chemicals before or after harvest. Heirloom seed refers to the age that the plant has been in production, usually over 50 years. Open pollinated seeds do not have a patent and tend to come true for seed savers. You can get a number of those desirable qualities by mixing and matching the terms when you purchase seeds. If you are still confused research the company to find out what their policy is and only bu from a reputable company.

Planting heirloom seeds is a great adventure. Be prepared for better taste, unusual shapes and fun colors. Some plants will have less of a pest or disease resistance and need more care. I like heirloom seeds but I am giving up on some veggies. If you plant something and it gets a disease, by the time you figure out what is going on you will probably lose all of the plants in the crop. I still think it is worth it to try the older varieties. Happy seed shopping.

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  llama momma on 2/16/2012, 7:35 am

Wow! and thanks, so much to learn, so much to learn....

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/16/2012, 9:23 am

Heirlooms survived the era of hybrids. There was a time when seed companies were all about hybrids (F1s). Before there were GMOs companies were going all scientific on us to produce a child plant that had the best characteristics of the parent plants without their weaknesses (GMO's bring us into the realm of weird science). They seemed to be good for the gardener and great for seed company because they are strong producers but do not reproduce themselves, they revert back to parent plants (or worse) There are still a lot of these hybrids on the market. The PNW would not have home grown sweet corn if we could only grow OPs (BTW, the difference between an heirloom and an OP is usually how long the named plant has been around....anyone with the knowledge to save seed can save either an OP or an heirloom).

As I understand it, the difference between an heirloom and an OP is that someone has saved the seed of an heirloom for years, often bringing the seed with them when they came to America from Europe, Asia or Africa. Heirlooms tend to be area specific. An heirloom tomato from Florida probably would not do well in Washington. Some heirlooms seem to be doable everywhere. Brandywine is famous because it can be babied to fruit just about anywhere. The taste and texture are awesome. Black Plum Paste is an heirloom but does not have the fame of Brandywine because it just does not taste as good BUT it will live to make viable seed in the PNW. Heirlooms have also been able to survive different diseases in the area they were saved. Move the seed of those same heirlooms to a different area of the country and they might not have it in their DNA to resist area disease. These are some of the reasons that gardeners are disappointed with heirlooms. The best solution can be to find local heirloom seed from a local grower.

Of all your terms, only organic has to do with how the parent plant was farmed. The rest of the terms refer to genetics. Patty did a great job with all of your questions. I just felt like jumping in.

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  llama momma on 2/16/2012, 9:53 am

Lavender Debs and Patty

I am so grateful to both of you for your knowledge!

way to go rahrah way to go BIG hug praise praise

llama momma

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  Windsor.Parker on 2/16/2012, 6:33 pm

@llama momma wrote:Lavender Debs and Patty

I am so grateful to both of you for your knowledge!
...
Me too!

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Re: Seed terminology/growing question

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 2/16/2012, 10:46 pm

You are welcome. I enjoy the forum, plus I read too much. Not a bad vice to have. Happy Gardening.

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