We are often confused between heirloom and organic seeds and tend to treat both of these as one, mainly because of their greener value. Well – both are not the same and shouldn’t be treated as one.
Any heirloom vegetable seed is passed down through several generations or from a single family. These are the seeds which our grand parents knew about and grew. These were used before the start of ‘modern agricultural methods which involved a mix of techniques that would help seeds grow quicker and produce greater quantities. Heirloom vegetable seeds are not genetically modified or hybrid in any nature. Plants which grow from heirloom seeds are pollinated naturally and develop complete resistance to diseases and pests which makes pesticides unnecessary.
Organic vegetable seeds are grown in an eco-friendly environment which is used in growing organic crops. These organic seeds are grown healthier as they do not use high levels of pesticides, fungicides and are grown under complete organic conditions.
Planting and Growing Methods Organic and Heirloom Seeds:
Organic and heirloom seeds can be planted in the same location but they need specific conditions for their growth which are not the same. Organic vegetable seeds are grown using complete natural methods of fertilization as well as pest control. Manure can be used but it has to be decomposed and is never fresh. Fish fertilizers, compost and seaweed are often used in growing organic plants. On the other hand, heirloom seeds of different varieties are planted separately, so that all chances of cross-pollination are reduced. Heirloom seed growers take special initiative to save the seeds so that they are able to keep the parentage of the seeds clear.
Parentage Of Heirloom Seeds:
A vegetable seed to be qualified as a heirloom variety cannot be hybrid in anyway. Heirlooms are quite old and can be up to 50 years of age and are referred to as old fashioned, since they have a very old parentage. These heirloom seeds are generally passed through families which help in retaining their parentage. Organic seeds can be either hybrid or heirloom.
Chemical Usage on Organic and Heirloom Seeds:
To be qualified as an organic vegetable seed, no chemicals can be used during the growing process of these plants. Natural fertilizers are used such as bone meal and compost for growing these plants. In order to be certified as organic seeds, these plants are tested thoroughly by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Heirloom seeds are grown organically but do not have to undergo such strict procedures of testing.
Now, after understanding the difference between the organic and heirloom seeds, you might wonder how to acquire these seeds? The most convenient way is from someone who saves these seeds, maybe your friend or a trusted close associate or someone in your family. Since a lot of heirloom seeds are not as desired as years ago they can be very hard to find. Here on Todd’s Seeds, there is a wide variety of heirloom seeds to choose from which are incredibly hard to find elsewhere. Continue to keep the earth healthy and grow organic instead of eating the flavorless genetically modified fruits and vegetables in the grocery stores.