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Non-hybrid seeds..and some raised bed experiments

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by melbo, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    If any of you don't know this, The seed you buy for your garden are 'hybrid'. THat means that they are genetically engineered to produce full fruits and large plants. The by-product of this manipulation is that they are also 'sterile'. The seeds from these fruits and vgetables will not produce more plants.

    I have a case of non-hybrid seeds from 99. They are only good for 3-4 yrs at room temperature. Mine are 6 yrs old and have been stored poorly. From below freezing to 100. Bad, I know but I just cracked a can and did the second grade sprouting experiment with some of them.

    I put 2 different types of beans and corn in a ziploc with a wet paper towel. They are sitting in the window sill right now. I figure I'll give them 4-5 days to sprout anything. If they do, I'll keep the seeds. If not, I'll feed the birds before they get H5N1...

    I just purchased a few more cases of Non-Hybrid from Ark... These things do need to be rotated every few yrs. Next time around, I'll make sure and plant them before they expire.
  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If you look at the packages closely a lot of the seeds at the hardware store are also heirloom and they specify on most if not all of them if they are hybrid or heirloom. I dont know what they run from some of the other places but they may be cheaper or more convenient that way.
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    mm, I have never seen NH or Heirlooms around me at any store...
    I almost feel it's a duty of mine to have andnurture some of these seeds as we may not have any non-genetics 20 yrs from now
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Theres some of them that are still quite popular. Like on the tomatoes Romas are an heirloom and so are brandywine, beef steak and several other popular varieties. Its the same on most other garden plants, a lot of the popular ones are still heirlooms but you have to watch the lables closely.

    Also while some of the hybrids are actualy steril most of them will still make new plants they just wont be the same as the parent plant, they will revert to one of the types that was combined to create the hybrid. So this could also be something worth a small patch of the garden to experement with now to find out what some of the ones you may like revert to or you may be able to look up that hybrid and find out the parent plants used to create it and which one it most commonly reverts to.

    There are typicaly more hybrids in the stores now than heirlooms but so far I have never seen a store selling seeds or plants that didnt have at least a moderate selection of heirlooms if you looked through and sorted them out.
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    But I bet that some of those heirlooms are a branding thing... Like "from teh heirloom XXX tomatoe line" Hybrids may or may not sprout from thier seeds but the gen after that will more than likely not sprout.

    I don't trust the name heirloom myself. Needs to say non-hybrid

    this link on a grdening forum show a diffence
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    but this link uses the term differently...

    I still doubt that my local hardware store that has mass/bulk packets of seed that may say heirllom, are really open pollinated and non-hybrid

    I could be wrong

    What is an “Heirloom” seed?

    Basically, an heirloom seed comes from the old, genetically "un-altered" plant varieties which reproduce through open-pollination. This means the plant, whether vegetable, fruit or flower, comes true to type from seed through succeeding generations. With the aid of wind, rain and/or pollinating insects, these heirloom plants "set" their seed naturally. Although opinions among experts may vary about the required age for a plant to be considered an heirloom, most people define heirloom varieties as those that are at least 50 years old. However, many well known vintage varieties date back 100 years or more, and some may even have several centuries of history.

    Many heirloom plants are native varieties, but some were brought to the United States by immigrants. Over the years, different varieties of heirloom seed have been saved by a single family or maybe a group of people, like Native American Indians for example. Sometimes the individual histories of a seed are well-known, other times the background is vague and referred to as a legend. In any event, knowing the history of a particular variety can add to the enjoyment of growing and eating it.

    What is a “Hybrid?”

    Unlike heirloom seed, the more modern hybrids are produced as the result of cross-breeding two parents of different genetic makeup. This is similar to breeding a male donkey (jack) to a female horse (mare), in order to get a mule. A mule is a hybrid, bred for favorable characteristics of both of these species of quadraped, however, a mule cannot reproduce another mule.

    Just like the mule, cross-bred hybrids can not reproduce true-to-type. Instead, hybrid seeds are highly variable and are not desirable for saving and replanting. With greater world-wide demand for food, hybrids were originally developed for commercial food production because of their high yields, uniformity of size and wide adaptability. In addition, these hybrid vegetables ripen in a shorter period of time and often have a tougher skin, allowing them to be shipped great distances. The ability of the hybrids to remain in cold storage for extended periods of time is another favorable characteristic desired among commercial growers.

    Open-pollinated Versus Hybrid

    Today's hybrids were actually developed to "counteract" some of the qualities of heirlooms such as the tender skin of the heirlooms (which caused them to bruise easily). Heirlooms also have a shorter shelf life and may have a less-than-perfect form and shape. Through the bio-engineering of hybrids, the beefing up of certain characteristics, such as tougher skins and longer storage life, meant a corresponding decrease in other traits. The main characteristic of the older heirloom varieties that modern hybrids have yet to approach, is flavor. Heirlooms simply taste much better than the newer "man-made" varieties can hope to. This is why today's supermarket tomatoes, even though uniform in size and color, may have the consistency and corresponding taste of a tennis ball.

    A very important factor to remember, is that hybrid seed must also be purchased new, year after year. This creates a dependence upon commercial seed producers and "big brother" organizations for our seed, thus eliminating our freedom to determine what we choose to eat. Saving and replanting open-pollinated heirloom seed prolongs our liberty to control our choice of food and nutrition. With genetically modified organisms (GMO's) and experimental bio-engineering in our food supply, this could prove to be the most important difference.
  9. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Very nice, I've always kinda wondered about the "actual" shelf life of seeds. Anxious to see your results.

  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Couldnt say for sure but I know at least loccaly Walmart and Ace hardware are a couple of the places we most comonly get our plants and or seeds from and most all the packages or tabs (like in the tomato plants) will either say hybrid, non hybrid or in some brands hybrid or heirloom and you can get some a lot of the breeds that I know you can replant from the seeds produced.

    We have been bad about not saving a lot of seeds to replant especialy since on some of the stuff that is best started early inside like tomatoes we havent had great luck with any of the varieties at getting the starts to come up and transplant well.

    That is one thing that would be important to work on though and hopefuly we can do better on it our selves, is to practice saving the seeds and getting the starts going.
  11. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Nothing yet...

    I'm betting they are dead :(
  12. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I may have sproutage... I had to run out but saw some blurriness under the paper towel. I'll open it up tonight

    Edit: nothing tonight... must have been a dog hair
  13. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    Here are all 8 seeds I tested... 7 yrs old and have been stored horribly.

    All of them sprouted! 2 types of bean and 2 types of corn. I'll dig the can out for the exact varieties. I have some more testing to do as I was just about to toss this entire case out.

    methinks that this is a very good indicator of our upcoming In Vitro procedure next week [winkthumb]
    dsc00626_160. dsc00627_139. dsc00628_851.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Cool on the wet towel trick and the very best luck next week.
  15. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

  16. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Outstanding! I'm glad to know they will last that long.
  17. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    cool to see they sprouted. Aim well. Hit the cup!
  18. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Regular Mr Green Jeans…. Very cool test
  19. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Even better...
  20. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Wow Looks great weekly pic please.
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