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Sources of Seeds

Kristin Thiel
Do It Green! Magazine

There is a frightening loss of seed and plant diversity worldwide. It is up to us to practice and encourage others to conserve. It is important to make sure your seeds are:

  • Certified Organic – Verified by Independent Agencies
  • Open-Pollinated – Self-Reproducing, Non-Hybrids
  • GMO-Free – Contain No Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Chemical-Free – No Chemicals Ever Used to Grow or Treated

Why Open Pollinated Seeds?

Open-pollinated seeds are produced when plants are allowed to pollinate naturally through insects, wind and water (water can actually carry pollen). If you isolate each variety properly, you can save the seeds year after year. Many varieties are being lost due to a variety of reasons including the fact that most seed companies only sell F1 hybrids. You cannot save the seeds from F1 hybrids. So we all can play a role in preserving genetic diversity by growing from open-pollinated seed varieties and preserving them for future generations. Many home and community gardeners prefer to use non-hybrid, open pollinated vegetable and herb seed because it can be relied upon to reproduce true to type. Non-hybrid seed can be collected, dried, stored,and planted out next growing season in the expectation that a plant similar to the parent will grow.

Why No GMO’s?

The term “GMO” refers to the genetic modification that has taken place in a plant’s DNA to produce certain traits. It is an extremely new technology in plant breeding and has no historical place in plant breeding to date.

Why Heirloom?

These varieties are time-tested, open-pollinated varieties that have been saved for generations because of their treasured traits such as flavor, vigor and hardiness. Heirlooms have generally been passed on from Europe and Traditionalists by native/indigenous peoples. They are repositories of unusual characteristics that are important in the preservation of genetic diversity. The best are survivors that were successful during difficult times, sustaining us when it was essential.

Seed Saving

The easiest seeds to save are open-pollinating, non-hybrid annuals. Plants that are not self-pollinating can cross-pollinate; therefore, it is best to grow only one variety of a plant from which to save seed. Among the vegetable seeds most easily saved are non-hybrid tomato, pepper, bean, cucumbers, and summer squash. Seed saving networks are community based organizations for the exchange of non-hybrid seeds. They represent practical conservation in action. Membership is a useful way for you to become personally involved in the preservation of our agricultural biodiversity – our heritage food plants. www.nativeseeds.org www.seedsavers.org www.seedsavers.net

Seed Exchange

Seed exchange can be fun on the web. Below you will find a few places where you can exchange seeds, plants and information online with other like minded people. Search the web for more contacts: www.gardenweb.com www.backyardgardener.com See Also: Arts: Genetic Engineering Arts: Organic Food Arts: Begin Planting

Seed Sources

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