Exploring The Three Types Of Plant Seeds

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Exploring The Three Types Of Plant Seeds

The most important component of indoor gardening is seed. Starting with good quality seed coupled with a quality seed starting medium and a little patience helps to ensure happy healthy plants. When it comes to seed there are three major types, heirloom seed, hybrid seed and genetically modified seed. It takes a bit of looking to find the differences between the three, but knowing is a great benefit. Each type carries a positive and negative side.

Every day heirloom seeds are growing in popularity. Also called open-pollinated seed, heirloom seeds are becoming popular because they are easy to grow and save. Unless the plant was cross pollinated seed taken will produce true to type with no worries of infertility and irregular type. Most varieties are also self –pollinating and do not require another plant for fertilization to occur. Growers and seed catalogs that offer heirloom seed guarantee that it has not been contaminated with GMO’s. Aside from the propagation of seed, another benefit of heirloom seed is that fruits and vegetables from heirloom varieties are often described as having more flavor and texture than their hybrid counterparts. The downside to heirloom varieties is that they are susceptible to disease and pest infestations.

Hybrid seeds come from crossing two varieties of plant in the same species. The seed produced is a hybrid seed that will carry characteristics of both parents. The only downside is that a hybrid will not always breed true, which makes saving seed hard. The subsequent seedlings may turn grow out into either parent plant or as the hybrid. After several generations the hybrid gene becomes stronger and will eventually breed true. Growers who use hybrid seed do so for disease resistance and vigor.

Many of the seeds found in the garden department at the home improvement store are hybrid seed. Genetically modified seed, also called GMO seed is often used for crop farming. Corn and soy beans are the two main seeds that have been modified. The DNA of the seed is changed and spliced with another plant’s DNA or animal DNA. This is done to provide disease resistance, pesticide resistance and drought tolerance. Some seed is even designed to be resistant to pesticides. Many indoor gardeners live under the belief that the seed they buy does not come from genetically modified parents. This is a misconception. Many varieties of tomatoes are genetically modified. More and more testing shows that pollen from genetically modified stock is carrying on the wind and infecting crops miles away contaminating heirloom and hybrid stocks. The companies that modify the seed also impose strict regulations on saving seed. They want growers to buy new, updated seed stock every year.

Any of these three seed types can be readily found in the spring. They can be found at home improvement stores, indoor gardening stores, farm supply stores and even in grocery stores. There are also a number of mail order seed catalogs that sell hybrid and heirloom seed, either by mail or over the Internet.

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