SPRING IS THE TIME FOR PLANTING.
When it comes to seeds, you have three choices: Open Pollinated; Hybrid or GMO
I took up gardening late in life--about 10 years ago. One of the main reasons I did was to escape the world of politics but I soon found out as I dug up my front yard that such an act is rift with political ramifications. You'll have people cheering you on and others criticizing you. Someone once wrote that digging up your front lawn and planting a garden instead of a lawn is one of the most political acts that a person can undertake. You are defying the status quo that says all front yards must be an uninterrupted flow of green from one house into the next. No dandelions allowed. Do what you have to do: pull them out by hand or use an herbicide like Roundup.
Over the course of the two months that it took me to dig up half of my front lawn, over 120 people stopped by to chat with me, ask what I was doing, and talk about gardening. Prior to that time, I had lived at this address for about 8 year and no one had ever stopped to chat when I was in my front yard. [Note: I say over 120 because I didn't start counting until I was into my second week of digging up my lawn and people started stopping on day one. It was from this group of people that the Nonprofit Loving Garland Green was started.
It’s amazing how steeped in politics that gardening is, but it is--right down to the seeds that one chooses to plant.
Open pollinated (OP) seeds are naturally pollinated by wind and bees. These are seeds of value to be saved from your healthiest plants and replanted. Preserving an heirloom means growing it out, maintaining the variety and sharing its seeds with as many growers as possible.
Hybrid (F1) seeds come from two inbred open pollinated parents bred for specific characteristics. For example, most of the tomatoes you buy in the chain grocery stores have tough skins. This is because they were grown from hybrid seed that was developed to create tougher skins for tomatoes so they could still look good after traveling the average 1,500 miles that fresh produce in our inefficient agricultural system must travel to get to your grocery store. Seeds from hybrid plants will not breed true to the plant they came from. Some might, but few will and you cannot count on seed from hybrids. Thus, for example, if you want to always get tomatoes with a tough skin, you’ll have the go to the store any buy these seeds. [Get the picture? A captured consumer.]
When it comes to seeds, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are typically hybrid plants whose DNA is artificially altered to tolerate higher levels of pesticides/herbicides. Note that hybridization has already achieved the beneficial plant traits; further genetic modification is strictly for monetary reasons. Europe has banned GMO’s for a multitude of reasons, including higher levels of chemicals.
In the final analysis, if gardeners only chose hybrid and GMO seeds, our food source (seeds) would totally be in control of a few people. Some say that we are headed in that direction. I’m sorry to say, but the evidence does seem to be pointing that way.
Seed banks have not prevented the loss of 93 percent of heirloom varieties since 1903.