Sunday, February 3, 2013

Winter is for Drooling Over Seed Catalogs

It's that time of year when your garden is resting but you are restless for dirt under your finger nails! 

Satisfy that urge with drooling over seed catalogs.

Many of them are free for the asking.

 Just do a Google search for 'free seed catalogs' and start drooling right away!

When reading the descriptions, you may have some questions about seed terminology. 

What is an heirloom? 

Is a hybrid GMO?

And what the heck does open-pollinated mean?

Here are answers to some of these mysterious seed terms...

Hybrid seed is derived from mixing desired traits from various plants to come up with a new or unique variety. It is a controlled pollination. If you collect and save your seed, this seed will not be true to the current plant in your garden but may sprout as one of the 'mother' plants.

Open pollinated seed means the seed is allowed to grow as nature intended. Often it is self-pollinating though some may cross pollinate on its own increasing biodiversity. All heirloom seed is open pollinated seed.

Heirloom seed is seed that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is seed that is from at least a 50 to 100 year old strain of seed that has proven to grow 'true to type' meaning that the seed you plant will look like the parent plant. 

Organic seed is not necessarily heirloom seed. Organic simply refers to the methods and practices by which the seed has been grown, usually with minimal chemicals. Both hybrids and heirlooms can be grown organically.

GMO Seed is seed that has been genetically modified using genetic engineering. It comes from the insertion or deletion of genes in the seeds genome. These seeds were created to be resistant to herbicides or pests or harsh environmental conditions and are mostly used for commercial farming.

Hopefully these answers will makes your seed selection easier.

So, drool on...

Happy Gardening!

The Lazy Gardener

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