Heresy;hybrids vs non-hybrid vegetable seed : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

As a gardener with 20 years experience in cold country conditions,I want to put in my 2 cents abouyt seeds. I see many on these forums talking about stocking up on non hybrid seeds,implying that hybrids are basically worthless because they won't regow true to form. IMHO some hybrids have lots of value,most especially to beginners and those in short season climes/and or areas with cool nights. One of the problems wih open pollinated seed is that often you don't know what you're getting,for example all DeCicco broccoli seed was not created equal. Unless the "line" was kept up,that is unless the fiels where t he seeds were grown was carefully maintained and the off types eliminated[this process is called rogueing]the seed crop will contain lots of undesirable types. Unrogued fields produce junky seed. Unfortunately some growers specialize in this kind of seed as it is cheap to produce. And there is no way by merely looking at the seed or the packet to tell what level it was grown at. In buying OP seed be extra cautious-deal strictly with reputable firms that stand behind there goods and read catalogue descriptions closely. It saddens me to see these 40 pkt deals of op seed tagged as "heirloom" in a sealed box for $75. Often a scam and always a great deal of unknowns. Someone that's counting on that seed is apt to be sorely disappointed. Much better to buy a mix of hybrids and op carefully selected for your area and conditions. Again in the case of broccoli,Packman,Premium Crop and Arcata will produce good crops for sure-a couple packs of these will make many plants,be viable for 4 years or so and in the meantime while youre harvesting your crop you can be regrowing some Thompson-probably the best op variety,to get a handle on how itttttttt's done. BTW,growing for food and growing for seed are distinctly different endeavors. Also you can regrow hybrid seed,if you weed out the off types-alot like doing the op"s.Hybrids are not necessarily more vulnerable to bug attack,less nutritious etc. Those things depend alot more on soil, garden condiitions etc. Through careful selection one can breed truly localized varieties that will be much more resistent and reliable than alot you can buy either hybrid or op. But if you assume that the op seed you just bought automatically has these advantages already- well IMHO youre in for a rude awakening. Does all this mean I am pro hybrid in every case? NO! In the cases of tomatoes,carrots and other roots there are some exellent op kinds. Because of thje cost of production all lettuce,peas beans,leeks seed is op.But where a marked superioriy shows up in hybrids is in cabbage,br sprouts,cukes,melons,sweet peppers,eggplant,sweet corn. But in a nutshell hybrids can really help used judiciously in combination with the op's especially in short season areas. And since it's really alot of hard work to produce all one's vegies a few helps are appreciated even if the supply of hybrid seed will evenually dry up when TSHTF. Oh well I got it off my chest-hope it helps someone this is a great forum-howie

-- howie (, February 12, 1999


I'm with you on planting a combination of OP and hybrid seeds. I understand the plan to prepare for possible interruption of supply of seeds,...therefore learning to grow OP plants and save seed. My advice to new gardeners, ...stock up on a combination of heirloom and hybrid the seed from heirloom plants, and be careful about cross-pollination problems.

Afterthought for the new gardener: The reason for not saving seed from hybrid plants is that there is no guarantee that suceeding generations of plants from saved hybrid seed will yield the same plant...hybrids specially bred from many type of same plant in order to get large size crop, disease-resistance etc....the second year you may get surprised with small less than pleasant yield.

Just my two trowels-worth...

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 12, 1999.

Thanks for the information. I too was appalled at the price of some of the non-hybrid seeds.

-- gilda jessie (, February 12, 1999.

Go to the hardware store. Look at the seed packets. *Most* of the seeds *are* non-hybrid . . . or at least a significant percentage are non-hybrid. Better yet, most are under a $1.00. *STOP* getting ripped-off on the NET~!

-- JGB (, February 12, 1999.

actually we went to the stores around here (DC metro area) and ALL of the vegetable seeds *were* hybred.


-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 12, 1999.

Total Agreement with JGB, Even now I'm still wondering why all the fuss about the use of hybrid seeds and non-hybrid seeds. I have purchased seed packs and enough of them to grow what I need during a duration of many months, if needed. Each seed will yield many items from that seed,probably more than we'd eat all year. So I think for the newbies to do is; stay with the seed packs, but get as many as you would possibly use. Because about now it is probaby hard to recieve hybrid seeds in time to plant. That's my two seeds worth today! Furie...

-- Furie (, February 12, 1999.

I too have been appalled at the nonhybrid seed hype and rip-offs. Been growing with straight seeds for years myself, two of the best outfits for nonhybrids in my part of the world are Fedco Seeds in Waterville, Maine, and Johnny's Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine. Johnny's has a website, Fedco doesn't but information has the phone number. Fedco is a master gardener's dream come true, and both Fedco and Johnny's specialize in seed varieties for northern gardeners.

-- Cash (, February 13, 1999.

The most enlightening part of howie's post was the fact that the hybrids will be viable for 4 years. I'm not a gardener. I don't know squat about culling seeds. I'll just buy enough hybrids for a couple of years and hold on. BTW, what is preferred method of storage?

-- margie mason (, February 13, 1999.

We agree too, great post! We have blend of hybrids and OP (enough OP for TEOTWAWKI but not overmuch). Think about it this way, most of us are storing food for year, two max. Decently stored hybrids (nothing heroic) will certainly last four-five years. Germination rate will decrease, so, hint, buy more with that in mind.

Johnny's is great, they're our guys .....

-- BigDog (, February 13, 1999.

When storing seed you need to control for temperature and humidity. My seeds are in cool location in tightly sealed mason jars...packets of dessicant spent time in the jars, then they were resealed.

There are varying ideas about the viability of seeds stored for long periods of time. As each year passes fewer seeds in the packets will germinate, BUT,...if you store in cool dry location you will extend the viability.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 13, 1999.

Great information, Howie, thanks much! I'll definitely be adding some non-hybrid seeds to my stock, especially the one you specifically mentioned like melons, corn, etc.

-- Why2K? (, February 14, 1999.


Thanks for the post. I've ordered both hybrid and open pollinated varieties which will grow reasonably well in my state. I still need to buy extra packets for family and neighbors.

In the past I've often wasted seeds by sowing thickly and later thinning. If the limited seed sources will be depleted when panic hits, I'll treasure every little seed as being more valuable than gold.

-- dinosaur (, February 14, 1999.

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