The act of seed saving and re-planting has been done for thousands of years, but lately the majority of the population has become far removed from the source of its food, leading to much confusion.
Many people still don’t know the clear difference between hybrid seeds and genetically modified seeds, and this is just one frequently asked question many people have when asking about seeds.
In order to provide answers to some of these and other questions, Mary Smith from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds wrote the following article about frequently asked questions she gets surrounding nature’s most important little miracles.
Five Frequently Asked Questions About Seeds
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about seeds that Mary has received, with answers following:
Q: What are Heirloom Seeds?
A: 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.
Q: Are Heirloom Seeds Organic?
A: Not necessarily. Just because a seed is heirloom does not make it organic. In simple terms, organic refers to the way the seed is grown while heirloom refers to the seed’s heritage. However, both Heirloom & Organic seeds are Non-GMO.
Q: What is Open-Pollinated?
A: 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.
Q: What is a Hybrid?
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 drawback is that the seeds saved from the fruit or veggie may be sterile for future planting.
A: What are GMOs?
Q: 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 labeled (editor’s note: or in some cases banned; 60+ countries already require mandatory GMO labels). The good news is that GMOs are usually only planted by large-scale mono-crop farmers, although cross contamination is a concern for open-pollinated corn and other crops in the same area as GMO fields.