Ask any homesteader, and they will tell you that seeds are important. But from that point, they begin to diverge from each other in their viewpoints. Some say that you should use this kind of seed or plant that particular plant or store them in this particular way.
For a newcomer to the homesteading and prepping scene, it can be bewildering.
Many homesteaders specifically say that you should seek out and keep heirloom seeds. What are heirloom seeds? Stefanie Speer explains,
“Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that pass on similar characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the child plant. [..] In general, you should consider heirlooms to be seeds that are possible to regrow and pass on from one generation to the next.”
How is that different from any other type of seed? Speer writes,
“There are some distinct differences that one should be aware of when it comes to heirloom, hybrid and GMO plants. First, heirloom plants are the only ones that breed true. As mentioned earlier, this means the same characteristics are passed on from generation to generation. The same cannot be said for hybrid and GMO. Hybrid plants are produced when different varieties of plants are cross-pollinated, which can happen with or without human intervention. Because there are different varieties of plants involved, it can’t be guaranteed that the offspring of hybrid plants produces identical traits as the parent plant.
“Both heirloom and hybrid plants can be viewed as natural occurrences. GMO plants, on the other hand, can only be produced using unnatural methods such as gene splicing. Scientists essentially modify a seed’s DNA to ensure the resulting plant produces the desired traits and characteristics. A common example of a GMO plant is Bt-Corn.”
Reading this, you may think that heirloom seeds are the only seeds that you should be keeping and storing, and, ideally, that is probably the way to go, but going with only heirloom seeds may not be an option for you, especially after the SHTF. In light of this, you may want to consider using some hybrid seeds and consider how you can best use these seeds. An anonymous writer explains this viewpoint:
“There may come a time when you are faced with a barter opportunity and the only thing offered to you is hybrid seed. They may be carrots, green beans, squash or tomatoes or something else entirely. Do you turn down the barter because they are hybrid seeds? What if you no longer have any seeds from that vegetable?
“My answer is ‘it depends.’ The simple fact is some seeds saved from hybrid plants make very acceptable second generation plants able to produce good quality vegetables/fruit. The trick is if you don’t practice saving seeds from hybrid plants now, you won’t know which ones are viable and which aren’t.
“[…][D]ifferent growing environments can bring different results. I would never recommend going out and purchase hybrid seeds for everything in the garden. However, it is very doable to select one hybrid variety of one vegetable/fruit and try saving seeds from it. Do this each year and you will soon have a very good knowledge of which hybrid seeds will produce acceptable second generation plants and which won’t.”
In that viewpoint, hybrid seeds (but not GMO) can be a useful seed to have in your prepping and homesteading arsenal, but you should know beforehand, whenever possible, if that particular hybrid seed will be of use to you and produce the results both in crop and in the ability to reproduce itself that you need.
What kind of seeds do you save and why? Tell us below.