Seeds: GMO, Non GMO, F1, Hybrids, Organic. What does it all mean?

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Seeds: GMO, Non GMO, F1, Hybrids, Organic. What does it all mean?

So it is Spring and you are facing the decision of not only what kinds of vegetables you want but also what kind of seeds.  It can be confusing and a bit overwhelming 

Let break it down.

GMO seeds are Genetically modified organisms.  That is seeds that have been created by scientists in a lab using genetic engineering techniques.  These type of seeds ( and foods) are becoming more controversial.  There are compelling arguments on both sides.  I will leave that for another day.  

For now we are just discussing what the term means.  Scientists in a lab are able to take certain desirable traits and make them more dominant while helping to eliminate less desirable traits.   I.E. consistent uniform looking produce, drought resistants, faster growing etc

 

Non-GMO seeds are seeds produced through natural cultivation processes.  This would include; wind, insects birds or other natural means.

 Please note non-GMO does not mean that is was not raise with the use of pesticides! Non-GMO plants/seeds can be grown with all the same kinds of heavy chemical use that most of us work so hard to avoid!

 

These types of seeds fall into three different categories:

Hydrid or F1 seeds are cultivated through very carefully controlled cross-pollution of two parent plants.  Through this method a new hydrid plant seed is created with specific characteristics from both parents. The purpose of this method is to produce a single generation of better seeds.

F1 seeds are NOT GMOs. F1 seeds are grown and selectively breed through traditional, natural means.  It is similar to a farmer breeding his two best meat pigs together to produce the best offspring for meat.

F1 seeds, however, can not be used for seed saving.  The seeds from the F1 plant will produce a plant like one of its parent plants not like the one you took the seeds from.

 

Open-pollinated seeds are seeds by natural, random pollinated plants.  Wind, insect and birds pollinate the plants and the seeds are harvested.  This is the most natural way.  These seeds can be saved from one season o the next with great results.

 

Heirloom seeds are always open-pollinated.  They are seeds from plants and plant varieties that have been used and handed down throughout many generations.  Ironically these old varieties don’t often produce vegetables that look like we have been lend to believe are “classic” looking vegetables.  They are often considered to produce the most flavorful of any of the seeds varieties 

There is one last type we need to discuss, that is Organic 

Organic means grown natural and with no or limited pesticides. Organic, as regulated by the USDA, always means non-GMO ( There is a small loophole in food packaging so to be sure look for both organic and non-GMO or 100% organic labels).

In my research I came across this interesting chart

 

 

So in conclusion:

GMO Seeds

   Lab created

   Uniform produce

   New varieties   

   Undesirable traits genetically engineered out

   Positive traits genetically engineered in

   Not suitable for seed saving

Hybrid or F1

   Controlled traditional cross-pollination  

   Some undesirable traits breed out

   Some desirable traits breed in

   New varieties  

   Can be from plants grown with the use of pesticides  

   Not suitable for seeds saving

Open-polluted  

   Natural pollination methods used

   Can be from plants grown with the use of pesticides  

   Great for seed saving

Heirloom

   Always open pollination  

   Can be from plants grown with the use of pesticides  

   Old varieties pasted down through generations 

   Not always traditional looking or uniform produce

   Great for seed saving

Organic

   Always non- GMO

   Not from plants grown using pesticides   

   Great for seed saving if not F1 variety 

 

as as always I hope this information is helpful 

please leave comments or ask questions 

Dorothy

 


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