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Grow A Home Vegetable Garden: Hybrid vs. Non-Hybrid Seeds, Which?

Springtime is in the air and it is time to start turning thoughts to the great outdoors and gardening.  Growing a home garden is both rewarding and satisfying.  And, with the economy in such sorry shape, growing your own food is now becoming an economic necessity!  According to a recent AP article by Gillian Flaccus entitled, Dollars From Dirt:  Economy Spurs Home Gardening Boom, “The National Gardening Association estimates that a well maintained garden yields a $500 dollar average return per year.  A study by Burpee Seed claims that $50 dollars spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.”

It is now not a matter of whether to grow your own vegetables, but what is the best choice in seeds with which to grow your garden.  Should you use hybrid or non-hybrid seeds?

First, we need to have a basic working definition for hybrid and non-hybrid seeds, and second, we need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using either seed for growing.

Hybrid seeds are a result of special “breeding” techniques.  In other words, these seeds have been deliberately crossed with 2 different parent varieties.  The advantages of using hybrid seeds, even though they generally cost more than non-hybrid seeds, is that the resulting plant and fruit is often stronger and more resistant to disease. The fruit of the plant tends to be more uniform in shape, ripen at the same time, has better keeping qualities, and sometimes can be harvested early.  The disadvantages of using hybrid seeds is that you can not save the seed from that plant for your next years garden.  The seeds are totally worthless for replanting.  This results in the gardener having to purchase new seeds each year.  This is the main reason companies like Monsanto want heirloom/organic type farming done away with.  These companies want you to rely on them for your food and seeds!  If you don’t believe this, there is legislation going on right now trying to regulate organic farming, etc.  I invite you to visit the links below where I have posted the aforementioned bill!

Non-hybrid seeds, also known as heirloom seeds, are seeds that will produce plants which are true to the parent plants since there has not been any blending of genes.  These seeds can be saved from year to year.  The advantage of this is self-explanatory.  You can rely on yourself to have garden seeds from year to year.  You do not have to run to the store each year to replenish your garden seed supply.  Heirloom seeds have their own built-in hardiness, since after years of being used, particularly in a certain location, they have developed a resistance to local diseases and insects.  In addition, the seeds have adapted to the local climate and soil.

In my garden, I use both non-hybrid and hybrid seeds.  I have been working very hard the last couple of years to use only non-hybrid seeds, and I love the results.  I have learned to save my own seeds and will be sharing techniques in future articles.  By the way, I will also say that if you do buy hybrid seeds, if you take good care of your extra seeds by storing them in a cool, dark place, these seeds can be used for a couple of years past the expiration date.  The trouble is, once you are out of these seeds, you are out, whereas, with a non-hybrid plant you can crack open a fruit at the end of the season, save your seed, and you are good to go for the next gardening year!

Regardless of what you do, I would urge each and every one of you to have your own vegetable garden…starting this year!  It’s a lot of work, but you will enjoy fresh tasting vegetables, lower your grocery bill, and eliminate the worry of who and where your produce was grown! Happy Spring!   

About Author
Lisa Carr is a “homestead mom” whose interests and expertise include: living off the grid, growing and preserving food, etc. For helpful tips in these and other areas, especially those addressed in this article, go to

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