A great seed is essential for a great garden.
As a homesteader, my goal to grow enough food during the growing season to feed my family takes thought, research and planning. I very much like to live off the land, so gardening is right up my alley. While it is hard work it serves a purpose and I get to see the fruits of my labor.
I’ve discovered a great garden starts with a great seed.
In past years, I’ve purchased seeds from Wal-Mart and ordered through Gurneys. Good produce abounded, but some of my seeds never sprouted and I ended up having to plant a second round. Out of those still only 1-5 plants came up.
Now the seeds I purchased in the past had no special qualities about them. Meaning they were not organic or hybrid. The only known characteristic was that they were not genetically modified (non-gmo). Organic is a great option, but not always affordable. Hybrid seeds are not bad as they are cross pollinated to create a more resistant plant with the best quality of traits from parent plants going into a new plant. But this year, I want to try heirloom seeds.
What I love about heirloom seeds is that they are passed down from generation to generation through the seed saving process.Some seeds age back to the 1700s and 1800s! It absolutely amazes me that I can be part of the old world simply by the seeds I plant.
Smaller online companies, homesteaders and fellow gardeners at farmers markets grow from high quality heirloom seeds.
Like any seed, heirloom seeds have good and bad qualities.
What you see is what you get. You know you are planting what it says on the packet and not a genetically modified seed. As long as you purchase a seed zoned for your area it should grow as well as naturally possible. Heirloom seeds are true to nature. Meaning they have not been cross pollinated to draw out any higher qualities the two plants may have. They are pollinated naturally through wind or bees.
On the flip side, one of the bad qualities is that these seeds are not necessarily bred to withstand disease, weather conditions or bugs, like many hybrid seeds. Which means if you buy a seed that is not for your gardening zone, then any one of those items can keep your seed from growing into the plant and food you desire. And because all seeds are particular to soil conditions, etc. it is a risk that an heirloom seed may not germinate as quickly or as well if the conditions are not ideal.
In my research, I’ve discovered two websites that look promising to me. Seed Savers and My Patriot Supply.
Seed Savers is a non-profit organization that believes in providing the best quality seeds of its members. 13,000 members insure a wide variety of seeds that are adapted to climate. This community exchanges the seeds they save to build up their seed bank. Then they sell these seeds to gardeners like you and me. The good news is your monies are going toward the process of the seed saving establishment, not into corporate pockets. AND you’re getting high quality seeds. You also have the option to become part of their seed savers community.
My Patriot Supply is a company devoted to emergency preparedness, self-reliance and food independence. Here they have many resources for all of those categories, but I focus on their heirloom seeds. It’s all they sell and they have much variety. Whether you’re looking for vegetables, culinary, medicinal, herbal tea, fruit or even wildflowers seeds they have it.
I plan to order from one or both of these companies this year. With tallied seeds in my wish lists I’m almost ready to purchase. If you are planning your spring garden this winter please let me know which type of seeds you purchase and why you like them.
What is your favorite type of seed and why do you like them?