Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between heirloom and open-pollinated seeds?

Open-pollination is when the plant self-pollinates or pollination occurs by insect, bird, wind, humans, or other natural mechanisms, and it’s seed will produce plants roughly identical to their parents.

An heirloom variety is a plant variety that has a history of being passed down within a family or community, similar to the generational sharing of heirloom jewelry or furniture. They are often open pollinated varieties.

 

Are hybrid seeds bad?

No, Hybridization is a controlled method of pollination in which the pollen of two different species or varieties is crossed by human intervention.

Hybridization can occur naturally through random crosses, but commercially available hybridized seed, often labeled as F1, is deliberately created to breed a desired trait. The first generation of a hybridized plant cross also tends to grow better and produce higher yields than the parent varieties due to a phenomenon called ‘hybrid vigor’. However, any seed produced by F1 plants is genetically unstable and cannot be saved for use in following years. Not only will the plants not be true-to-type, but they will be considerably less vigorous. Gardeners who use hybrid plant varieties must purchase new seed every year. Hybrid seeds can be stabilized, becoming open-pollinated varieties, by growing, selecting, and saving the seed over many years.

 

What is a GMO?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially implanted into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The introduced genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or humans.

 

I’m really passionate about getting involved, how can I help and learn more?

There are many resources that the library and internet offer to learn about seed saving. There will be courses throughout the year for learning more about seed saving. There will also be opportunities available to help with organizing the seed library. There will be a sign up form with the seed sign out sheets.