101: Know the Differences: Heirlooms Vs Open Pollinated Vs Hybrids Vs GMOs

In this Article let us discuss about:

1: The difference between Heirlooms, Open-Pollinated, Hybrids that everyone needs to know.

2: Buying organic fruit and vegetables from store mean it is Heirloom? Can I use the seeds for my organic garden?

3: What are GMO Seeds.

Today, so many varieties are available in the market, what they really mean? Which variety do I need to choose for my garden?? Or what best fits my lifestyle???

These are very common questions we encounter from beginners and experienced gardeners alike, let’s give a try to walk you through this situation and guide you to make your best judgment.

Let’s start with the basic step:

The main difference between Heirloom, Open-Pollinated, and Hybrids: Techniques used to breed parent plant and how their parental characteristics (genes) are carried through offspring plant.

Introduction to Open Pollination

Open Pollination is how the plants reproduce (naturally) without any human intervention. Bees, insects and birds distribute pollen to plants of the same species to breed naturally. The “true type” offspring represent the characteristics and traits of parent plants. Don’t be surprised, open pollination sometimes create a new varieties of a species when two species are close enough to breed and are kept in the close proximity. 

Introduction to Heirlooms:

Heirloom varieties come from open-pollination whose heredities / genes have been preserved over generations through seed saving. Heirloom plants are the only ones that breed true, exhibiting the same characteristics and traits of parent plant passed on from generation to generation. Gardeners and enthusiasts usually select the healthiest and best of the best growing plant in that year’s crop, collect seeds to regrow for the next season. Heirlooms are gifted by Mother Nature and through open-pollination. Check our heirloom collections. 

The Heirlooms are usually dated (1800s); the selection characteristics include fruit size, overall color, flavor, and resistance to diseases.  

Are heirloom plants are organic or non-organic? In most cases, heirloom plants are organic because they are generally only used by small-scale gardeners who do not use pesticide or other harmful chemicals. Check our heirloom collections.

Why should I grow Heirlooms?

If hybrid plants grow with useful traits, why should I grow heirlooms instead? First and foremost, heirlooms are generally known to produce better taste and flavor! Heirlooms are more healthy and nutritious compared to hybrids. Finally, they are economical over the long haul.

Heirloom plants may require a bit more care than hybrids but the effort you put in will be worth it! One thing to keep in mind, you are playing an important role in preserving the genetic diversity of plants by growing heirloom seeds. Check our heirloom collections

Introduction to Hybrids:

Hybrids are produced by crossing two different species within the same genus. The resulting offspring exhibit characteristics of both parents. The offspring plants “do not” reproduce true-type or identical traits as the parent plant.

Besides natural cross-pollination, hybrids are created by manually removing pollen from one plant and fertilizing to another, and then saving the resulting seeds. They are usually created in a controlled environment to produce desired results. Again, it is “not guaranteed” that the offspring of hybrid plants produces identical traits as the parent plant. 

2: Buying organic fruit and vegetables from store mean it is Heirloom? Can I use the seeds for my organic garden?

Let us throw some light on this topic.

Buying organic means how the “plant is grown and soil is treated (or amended)” and has nothing to do with the variety of fruit or vegetable that you grow. 

Plants need nutrients to grow and in most cases need more nutrients. Organic means amending soil with natural ingredients (without chemicals, growth hormones, etc.). Usually store bought fruits and vegetables are Hybrids unless specifically mentioned! Stores need to keep up with their supply demand and heirlooms cannot justify it.

Like I mentioned earlier Hybrids are kitchen’s delight but Heirlooms are gardener’s delight! Check our heirloom collections

3. Introduction to GMO seeds

A plant produced by genetically modifying its DNA under laboratory setting which can never be achieved in the natural environment. They are created to quickly adapt to the extreme environmental conditions and produce enormous yields at a shorter cycle.

Now you know the difference between heirlooms, open-pollinated, hybrids and GMO plants. You can make your best cognizant decision for your own food. Please Contact Us if you have any questions, or you want to share your thoughts about growing techniques. We'd love to hear from you! 

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