This article was originally published by Sara Tipton at Ready Nutrition.
Shopping for vegetable seeds, whether online or locally, you will come across two different types: hybrid and heirloom. It’s important to always choose heirloom if you can, and there are several reasons for this.
Hybrid seeds are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than those plants that grow from heirloom seeds. Heirloom vegetables, on the other hand, are the “old-time” varieties. They are open-pollinated instead of hybrid and saved and handed down through multiple generations of families. Neither are bad options, per se, but heirloom seeds are better and there a few reasons why you should try to use them as opposed to hybrid seeds.
Usually, heirloom seeds cost less than hybrid seeds. Check the catalogs and you’ll notice this. But the great news is that heirloom seeds reduce their cost further because you can save your own seeds. If you choose to do this, the price drops to nearly zero for the heirlooms. This will also lead you toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
The second advantage of heirloom vegetables is that they are “less uniform” than hybrids. This may seem like a con, however, since heirloom seeds are less uniform, they often don’t ripen all at once, and there will be less chance your food will be wasted. Commercial growers love the uniformity of hybrids because they can pick the crop in one fell swoop and ship the vegetables to several stores for purchase all at once. But for the average everyday home gardener, a gradual supply of fresh produce is usually preferable to the glut of the all-at-once harvest that many hybrids provide.
3. BETTER FLAVOR
Because heirloom seeds are saved and passed on to future generations, the seeds from the best plants are chosen, resulting in a better and more hearty flavor. When you are providing your own food with your seeds, and not shipping the vegetables across the country, flavor, over “shippability” matters. 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 and even if they do, to stay in business, their veggies have to taste incredible by comparison to store bought produce. 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 – especially if you aren’t shipping those veggies!
4. BETTER NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Commercial growers often want seeds that will produce the most abundant crop. Which is great, however, home gardeners choose flavor and nutrition, and heirlooms seeds create veggies that are a lot more nutritious than those from hybrid seeds. Even though hybrids will often outyield heirlooms, it turns out we’re now paying a hidden cost for this emphasis on higher yields and shippable vegetables. Recent research has revealed that in many cases, newer vegetables and grains are significantly less nutritious than heirlooms, according to Mother Nature News.
There are still 100% heirloom seeds out there for purchase too! Ready Nutrition offers a wonderful “Garden in a Can” full of non-GMO heirloom seeds in several different varieties. This is a great gift too for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday. All it takes to get started is one Ready Nutrition Brand Homestead Vegetable Garden-In-A-Can, some good dirt, clean water, a healthy dose of sunshine and a little TLC every day! Before you know it, you’ll be up to your ears in fresh food — enough to feed up to a family of eight for a whole year
Ready Nutrition sources only heirloom seed varieties because they truly believe the old adage that says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. These seeds are sourced through American farmers who pledge to never, ever use GMO crops. Additionally, these seeds are tested to make sure they are positively pesticide free!
If you are a home gardener and actually eat the vegetables you grow yourself, there is really no downside to choosing heirloom seeds. Plus, imagine how incredible it’ll feel to pass on the best of the best of your heirloom seeds to your children. I know nothing excites my kids more than planting starts with their seeds in the spring and eating the vegetables their plants produce over the summer.
That’s the additional added benefit! Kids who enjoy gardening and planting and saving their seeds grow up to eat a healthier diet than those who don’t. Children are naturally curious and every planting season is filled with excitement and joy. They all want to taste the fruits of their labor, so why not start a new family tradition beginning with heirloom seeds?
You won’t regret it!