When you shop for vegetable seeds for your garden, there are two main types to choose from: modern hybrids or heirloom vegetable varieties. Hybrid seeds are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than heirlooms. Heirloom vegetables are old-time varieties, open-pollinated instead of hybrid, and saved and handed down through multiple generations of families. Usually, they cost less than hybrid seeds. But there are more reasons than just seed prices to choose heirlooms.
“A lot of the breeding programs for modern hybrids have sacrificed taste and nutrition,” says George DeVault, executive director of Seed Savers Exchange, the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom and other rare seeds. “The standard Florida tomato is a good example. Instead of old-time juicy tangy tomatoes, it tastes like cardboard. It was bred to be picked green and gas-ripened because that’s what was needed for commercial growing and shipping.”
Many heirloom vegetables have been saved for decades and even centuries
because they are the best performers in home and market gardens. Ship-ability wasn’t a concern so flavor could take a front seat, and it did. What direct-to-market farmer would survive if his cucumbers didn’t taste as good as his neighbor’s? Backyard gardeners rarely cart their produce cross-town much less cross-country. Even today, small market farmers don’t usually transport their harvest in huge tractor trailers. There’s no need to plant veggies bred to be tough when you can plant heirloom vegetables that are tender, sweet, juicy and just plain delicious.
GMO Seeds: “These are seeds that have had their genetic make-up altered by replacing certain genes with genes from a totally different species, with the hope that the resulting plants will now have certain ‘desirable’ characteristics.” Most of these seeds are for bigger cash crops but it also means that with all your processed food that you get from the supermarket your eating food that has been made round-up resistent or changed in some other unnatural way,thats whats going in your body.