What are heirloom seeds?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by adalmeus1, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. adalmeus1

    adalmeus1 New Egg

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    Everyone talks about them. I just don't understand what they are...
     
  2. roseyred

    roseyred Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As it seems on this site people like to argue there opinions im hesitant to post but

    Heirloom seeds are non gmo and are open air pollinated or cultivated. They have a long history and usualy have not been used in industrial farming. They taste better and have built up immunities to diseases that can usualy wipe out plants.

    http://www.soyouwanna.com/definition-heirloom-seeds-39241.html
     
  3. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use only Wild Boar heirloom tomato seeds. http://www.wildboarfarms.com/

    We have found them to be amazing producers, and usually have 10' walls of tomatoes. lol

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    Brad Gates is really nice... he does an amazing job developing his organic, non GMO varieties, and some of the larger retailers are catching on and carrying his stock now. His tomatoes are really, really good, and nice to look at.

    [​IMG]


    My own personal favorites are these left to right..his sweet Carneros pink tomato (amazing producer), Berkley Tie-Dye (Skin is iridescent green and dark red striped, flesh is purple like Black Krim.) produced until November. Green zebra was an amazing producer well into December. The pear had purple flesh (I've forgotten the name.) The cherry tomato was from his Red Boar, and had yellow stripes. Good producer.

    Last year we tried his "Blueberry" blue tomatoes, and found them to taste different then his sweeter varieties, but very good in vinegars or Antipasta.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. roseyred

    roseyred Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those tomatoes are gorgeous!
     
  5. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!

    Forgot to mention, Brad's stock is all Open Propagation, and when you save the seeds, the next gen looks as good as the parent stock. This year we are also hoping to add Brad's "Solar Flare." I don't have a photo, but look it up... it's the prettiest, huge tomato of red and yellow stripes I've ever seen. Also, his Black and Brown Wild boar seeds which are also a very big tomato with purple/green stripe.

    This last year, I planted some of the Blueberry seeds next to his yellow "Pork Chop" tomato, and we got yellow, Blueberry tomatoes! LOL

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Very cool!!!


    I never tire of eating tomatos . . . or looking at the wide variety!
     
  7. NEChickenNoob

    NEChickenNoob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All domestic vegetable are technically GMO as they are different from their parent plants 1000's of years ago, as humans have domesticated them, they become what they are today. This is not different than the modern domestic dog. But when people refer to GMO they are generally talking about scientist tampering with the genetics of a plant in a lab setting. But the real question is what are you after. You have Heirlooms and Hybrids. GMOs are not available to the general public. The main difference in Heirlooms and Non-heirlooms are the method in which they are bred and when they came about. You will often see hybrids and such on sites like Burpee, those are generally cross-pollinated via human intervention (I.E. - Tomato A pollen is deposited in Tomato B, this process is repeated until a desirable breed is made and then it is mass produced in an isolated environment. Heirlooms are generally made (bred) via open air pollination and the best producing and most desirable plants are selected for seed harvesting. Heirlooms are also older breeds which have been developed sometimes over 150 years ago (or older), some are developed in the 1970's. There is no regulation on how they can be labeled that I am aware of.

    GMOs, as we defined them above, are legally not available to non-professional farmers. Most of their applications generally involve animal feed, fuel/energy production and derivative products (like food modifiers and oils for any number of applications). GMO seeds are tightly controlled by the companies who own the patents and farmers who contract with them face financial ruin for distributing to anyone else, saving the seed for next year or a number of other contractual penalties. Even Non-GMO farmers next to a GMO field have often faced significant lawsuits for the GMO crop popping up from nearby fields.

    Bottom of the line, don't worry about buying them in the garden center, you can't. I prefer heirlooms because they are better tested and have a slower genetic evolution thereby having less probability for a problem later down the genetic line. They also tend to be hardier and less affected by neglect (we have all forgotten to water at some point).

    I hope that helps.
     
  8. NEChickenNoob

    NEChickenNoob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yeah, forgot to tell you what you actually get that is GMO from the world. High Fructose Corn Syrup, you Valentine's Day roses, Corn Tortillas and chips, ect. You get the idea.

    And I forgot to mention, when I said you couldn't get GMO, I meant to say you could buy GMO seeds.

    Moral of the story, grow your own and eliminate it from you diet.
     
  9. Rosa moschata

    Rosa moschata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some of the information posted here is a bit off, but close to the mark.

    Heirloom seed strains are open-pollinated strains that have been around for a long time. Not all open-pollinated strains are heirloom since there are new strains appearing every year, and there isn't a set "age" that a strain must be for it to be called "heirloom." It's really not a clearly-defined term.

    Open-pollinated seed strains are those which "breed true", as opposed to hybrid seed which will not. This is comparable to what you can find with chickens -- there are pure breeds available, as well as hybrid types like Golden Comet. If you intend to save seed from year to year, you should get open-pollinated strains -- just like if you intend to "hatch your own" to keep a flock going, you should get pure breeds. If you'd rather get new seed each year, hybrids are fine -- just like if you'd rather buy new chicks every year, hybrids will work for you.

    Hybrid seed is created by crossing two pure-breeding lines to give vigor in the first-generation offspring -- which is the hybrid seed you purchase. By crossing two pure-breeding lines, the first-generation offspring will be uniform like a pure-breeding line, but with the benefit of hybrid vigor. This will not be the case with any seed raised from hybrid seed -- there will be variation (not necessarily awful plants, but just not uniform). Hybrid seed is not created by crossing two lines and then breeding further for desired traits and kept isolated and pure -- that is how a new open-pollinated strain is created. With hybrid seed, two separate open-pollinated strains are maintained and inbred further, then crossed once to produce the hybrid seed offered for sale.

    Open-pollinated doesn't mean "open air pollinated", which sounds like how some plants (like corn) reproduce -- by sending pollen into the air, to be carried by wind onto the next plant without the help of bees or other pollinators. It means that if planted "out in the open" but isolated from other strains, it will breed true -- it doesn't require human intervention (i.e. crossing two specific strains) for the seed to be produced. Again, think of chicken breeds -- if you have a flock of Rhode Island Reds that doesn't come in contact with any other chickens, that flock will remain Rhode Island Reds with each generation without human intervention (other than maintaining isolation).

    GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This is sometimes defined in a way that includes domesticated species which evolved from wild ancestors by selective breeding. Really, it more specifically describes an organism which has genetic material inserted from another species via laboratory techniques rather than cross-breeding. For example, modern wheat is a hybrid of three different species, and remains fertile because of an increase in ploidy (going from a pair of each chromosome to three pairs of each chromosome). But because this occurred naturally (i.e. the plants hybridized on their own, and fertile seed-bearing forms mutated spontaneously without human intervention other than selection of favored forms) without the aid of gene-splicing, modern wheat is not considered GMO. There could, however be a form of GMO wheat if one or more isolated genes from another species are inserted into the genome of a strain of wheat in a laboratory.

    It's true that much of the corn produced in the US is GMO (unless stated otherwise), so products made from corn will also thus be GMO (again, unless stated otherwise). However, the only GMO roses out there are those which are the result of attempts to make "blue" roses by inserting genes for blue pigment in the petals, and they are in limited production and rather pricey. Of course, roses grown by florists are very specialized and selected for that industry, and as such are usually very different from the varieties grown in gardens, but that was the result of selective breeding and greenhouse growing rather than being GMO.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015

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