Which seeds to purchase? Commercially produced, organic or heirloom seeds? (Heirloom seeds are also called heritage seeds.) Many gardeners are concerned with keeping their crops organic. So much so they purchase organic seeds. Some people
think seeds are seeds and are happy with seeds they purchase in the garden shops. Yet another group of people will purchase garden shop seeds and then raise them in an organic way as possible. Then there are those who don’t believe modern chemicals are all bad and that the value of their time figures into the equation. They use them when necessary to ensure a good harvest. With all that being said, the issue here is not whether to use organic methods or chemicals.
The key is to look at the seed package to check for desired attributes. As mentioned above, some seeds are organic and others are not. But don’t make the mistake of thinking heritage seeds are also organic seeds. If the packaging does not specifically claim they are organic, they are not.
Hybrid seeds are produced after selective breeding various varieties of plants to produce strong, disease resistant plants with a bountiful harvest. Because the plants theoretically could naturally cross breed if planted next to each other, and are not genetically modified, there is no reason hybrid seeds should not be considered when planning an organic garden for personal use. Only the best combined plants are chosen for seed. Hybrid seed production has been the leading cause of the increase in the food supply in the 20th century. The seed companies claim if you save seeds from the hybrid plants that you will get inferior product. Without any evidence to counter the claim, there is no comment about that.
Heirloom seeds are seeds from old varieties of produce that have been handed down from generation to generation and grown in the wild maybe for thousands of years. These seeds have often traveled around the globe to find their way to your garden. Heirloom seeds should be sought after and cultivated in our gardens because they ensure food diversity and sustainability.
Gardeners who choose to raise heirloom seeds using organic methods will have the best of both worlds. Practicing sound seed saving techniques will provide generations of seeds to enjoy for years to come. Organic producers are permitted to use commercially produced seeds if there are no organic seeds available. If you aren’t sure which methods are best for you, consider all the circumstances of your life. Perhaps try both organic and regular methods. The answer could lie somewhere in between.