organic heirloom seeds
This is an extremely important article. I would like to warn you about something that is currently going on. You may not believe me, and there is a chance I am wrong, but protecting yourself from what I am about to share with you will only do good so rather safe than sorry right?
At the moment, most of our food is produced with hybrid seed. When you go to Pick n Pay, Checkers, your local nursery etc and you buy packets of seeds, these seeds are hybrid seeds and have been specially formulated to be very easy to germinate and produce high yields. This sounds like a dream come true – but the problem is that these plants usually fail to reproduce. If you save seeds from these plants, they will probably not grow very well. So every season new seeds to be bought. If you use heirloom seeds, you don’t have this problem. Heirloom plants reproduce faithfully year after year and produce healthy, hardy specimens. In addition, these plants adapt over the seasons to become perfectly suited to the climate. They are also very healthy so they have a strong “immune system” and often require less pesticides etc.
Currently, there is a huge push to get farmers to use GM seeds. The seeds are touted as the answer to our food shortage problems but in reality the yields are not that much higher than heirloom plants. Also, consider this: if I have 10 tomato plants and each plant produces 10 tomatoes, then I can take 2 tomatoes, save their seeds, and more than double the harvest next year. So I plant 20 tomato plants. I can then take 4 tomatoes and quadruple the harvest for the next season. Nature is designed to be exponentially bountiful – we should have no problem with food shortages! We have so much public land – the botanical gardens in every city could be community food forests, townhouse developers could plant more fruit and nut trees, these are just some ideas of how we can have an abundance of fresh healthy organic food.
At the moment, we have a less than perfect scenario: food is mass produced in farms far away from the cities and transportation costs to get food to the retail outlets can add a lot to the final cost of food. This food is sprayed with so many poisons because companion planting, which helps deter pests, has gone out the window and because of mono-culture farming, it is so easy for pests to spread.
And then we have the sinister part, where farmers are being strongly encouraged not to seed save, but to do the opposite – buy GM hybrid seeds every season. Huge global corporations like Monsanto are trying to patent most if not all our seeds and don’t encourage heirloom seeds and seed saving because they want to have full control over the world’s food supply. And we are seeing the same trend with animals – common farm animals are becoming more and more modified – and patented – and the average small scale farmer can no longer breed their own animals or save their own seeds as everything will be patented and owned by corporations.
Save our genetic diversity and economic sovereignty by going organic and growing your own heirloom organic foods. Support local organic farmers so that they don’t go out of business and leave a gap for the corporations to fill.
Going organic is more important than ever….
If you have ever tried to grow generations of tomatoes from a store bought tomato you will know the answer to this question, they just don’t grow very well. Maybe good growth in the first generation, but consecutive generations do poorly. Genetics is an art as well as a science and breeding, whether it is with humans, animals or plants all have the same benefits and pitfalls.
If you go into Pick n Pay and Checkers and buy seeds they will probably all germinate. They will grow well and give good yields if you looked after your plants correctly. You are using the same seeds most farmers use, as a matter of fact – good germination high yield hybrids. But there is a problem – in most cases you cannot seed save. Large scale farmers don’t care – they just buy new seeds every year because they don’t have the time nor the inclination to save seed. Also, they may have grown two varieties of, for example, brassicas together and the plants cross pollinated. For example, they grew broccoli and cabbages together. Now these two plants are of the same type so they will cross pollinate with each other and produce a plant that is neither a good cabbage or a good broccoli.
So these high yield hybrid seeds that you find so predominant in most shops produce plants that grow well for one season but the plants that grow from the seeds they produce are often very poor specimens indeed. And you can see this with animals too. For example, my parents once had a Sharpei. If you don’t know what a Sharpei looks like, check out the blanket er, I mean dog on the right. Now this dog has been specially bred to look like that – over many many years the special gene that causes the skin to wrinkle like that has been preserved in the parent animals and passed on. But because of this very careful breeding, the health of the animal is quite fragile. A “pavement special” on the other hand, is a dog that nature produced the good old fashioned way and is genetically a very healthy animal. This is because the female will mate with a few different dogs, if they are around, and the strongest healthiest sperm will fertilize her eggs, resulting in the healthiest possible offspring. This is why inbreeding and incest among humans is so frowned upon – nature doesn’t like it because the genes are too similar and the offspring usually have more defects.
So using that understanding and applying it to plants it is very clear why heirloom seeds are so important and why gardeners and farmers should seed swap and seed save. Seed swapping helps to enlarge the gene variety so that nature can select the strongest genes for the offspring. Another very important benefit is that over time plants and their offspring become accustomed to the soil and weather conditions of the environment they grow in and in the long run they need much less water and nutrients to thrive.
There are so many benefits to organic heirloom seeds and more people should get educated about them so that we may improve the way we produce our food. The Ethical Suppliers online shop has a heirloom seed supplier and more suppliers and products will be added in future.