Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gardening Basics - The Difference Between Hybrid and Heirloom

Gardening Basics - The Difference Between Hybrid and Heirloom

It is getting very close to that planting time of year.  If you haven't ordered your seeds for your 2012 garden yet - then I'm sure you will shortly.  Knowing what kinds of seeds you want might depend not just on the variety but also whether the seeds are Hybrid or Heirloom.  Here is the difference:

Heirloom - this is a seed that comes from an open-pollinated plant that is very old. 
Many of the Heirloom seeds used in North America might have come from the Native Americans.  I find this fascinating because it's almost like seed genealogy.  Some European, African and Asian seeds can be traced back 400 plus years.

If you want to save seeds for next year's garden - then Heirloom is the type of seed that you would want to use.

Hybrid - basically this means that the seeds have been genetically modified.  Two "parent" plants have been cross-pollinated to produce a superior seed.  The reason a hybrid is developed might be to have a crop with higher yields or for disease resistance or improved color or taste.  The science behind this is mind boggling to me - I cannot understand how they can be so specific and controlled as to produce a seed that will be resistant to certain diseases........I'll leave that part up to the seed companies.

There is a controversy over growing Hybrids however - genetically modifying anything might have a negative outcome on the nutritional value or content of the food that is being produced by a hybrid seed.

There are pros and cons to both types - Which one should we grow? - I'll leave that decision up to you



  1. I have tried growing heirloom tomatoes a couple of times. Bear in mind that my yard is not suited for tomatoes because of all the walnut trees and shade, so I grow them in big pots basically on the driveway. That said, the heirlooms tasted good, but they didn't produce as many fruits as the hybrid plants. So for me, with my limited space, hybrids make more sense. Still, I like the IDEA of heirlooms.

  2. I like the heirlooms better, not a big fan of GMo'd anything, if I don't know about it and eat it then fine, but if I have a choice then no go boss. But that's just me.

  3. This is very interesting - I should have done a survey - Tied so far - 1 for Hybrid & 1 for Heirloom.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great blog! I always need gardening tips. I am glad I found you on Etsy blogging buddies :)

    <3 Jesse

  5. Thanks for some gardening tips, very useful for a gardening beginner like me....

  6. My entire back yard where we could put a garden is covered in trees and shaded so I want to try and grow some vegetables in the from in containers. We have good sunlight in the front but it does get a bit of shade at certain parts of the day. Do you have any recommendations for the types of vegetables and seeds that I could try? I'm in Oklahoma.

    I've purchased a bunch of large terra-cotta pots but I haven't purchased the seeds yet.


  7. Okay, actually after looking out my window at my front yard again, I would change it from saying I get really good sunlight to I get a moderate/good amount of sun......

    1. I don't know how many terra-cotta pots you have but here are my recommendations (I hope there are not too many).
      First - pick the sunniest spot and plant a few tomato plants - I wouldn't do tomato seeds though. I start my tomato plants from seed every year BUT then I end up planting 90 to 130 tomato plants in my garden (I have a large garden).
      2. I have a shady area in my garden and that is where I grow my lettuces, greens (like Kale) and Swiss Chard. I'm in Michigan so I don't know how all of these would grow in Oklahoma. I would think that there would be a rainbow Swiss Chard that would be heat tolerant - Swiss Chard is so healthy, delicious and absolutely beautiful - I think it would look great grown in pots (I've never tried growing Chard in pots but it thrives in my shady garden area).
      3. I eat pickling cucumbers instead of English cucumbers - they are crisp, small and delicious. I always grow my cukes on the North side of either my corn patch or my sunflowers. Cucumbers enjoy the shade given by these tall crops (and when talking about "Companion Planting" - cukes, corn and sunflowers help each other). If you do decide to plant pickling cucumbers in a pot then I would suggest only putting 3 seeds in 1 pot.....and then you would also need to provide tipi or tepee like trellis for them to climb - they are small and light enough that this kind of trellis should be perfect.
      4. 1 last suggestion

    2. The last suggestion - a wonderful pole bean called "Italian Roma Bean" - I did a post on it last year:
      These beans are so buttery and it is almost never become stringy or tough. If you are planting these in terra-cotta pots - like cucumbers - I would only plant 3 seeds at the most per pot and you would also have to provide a tepee trellis for them to climb. I just can't say enough good about this variety of green bean.
      I hope that helps and works for your area.
      Happy gardening.


    3. I should have said: "they almost never become stringy or tough" (typing too fast) ;-)

  8. Thank you! I have a lot of pots, I found a really good deal and loaded up! I am going to try and do as much of this as I can find. I know I have heard somewhere before that it is hard to grow a lot of greens in Oklahoma because it gets so ridiculously hot that it kills them, so I will just try a variety of the ones you mentioned and see which one does best and then I'll do a bunch of that one next year. I'm really hoping I can get tomatoes to work, my daughter and I both love them!


Please feel free to leave comments or questions (no question is ever stupid) - They will show up on the blog once I have read through them.
Thank You.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...