Need to learn seed catalog jargon? I’ve got you covered. I’m explaining determinate, indeterminate, open-pollinated, hybrid, heirloom, and non-GMO. There’s plenty of other terms… like crown, rhizome, tubers, bulbs, bare root, etc. We’ll do a part two. Happy seed shopping!
Determinate variety: A crop that grows to a determined size.
Indeterminate variety: The crop will continue to grow in height indefinitely or until the end of the season.
Heirloom: Seeds that are true to their parent and have been passed down through generations with minimal (aka only naturally occurring) modification. These crops are well established and seeds can be saved and replanted.
Hybrid: Crop seeds that are the result of crossing two or more parent crops to achieve specific desired traits like yield, pest resistance, larger produce, etc. This can be done in the field or in a lab. Seeds from these crops can be saved but will not likely reproduce true to their parent.
F1 Hybrid: Crop seeds that are the first of their generation, achieved by crossing one or more parent plants of varying types or species, in a lab setting, often accompanied by genetic modifications (GMO). Seeds from these crops can not be saved and replanted.
Open Pollinated: Seeds that are from a parent plant which was not necessarily segregated from other varieties and was pollinated by natural means such as from insects, wind, traffic, etc. There’s more potential for cross-pollination here. Seeds can be saved and replanted but variable offspring is likely.
Organic: Seeds that come from crops where no (or very low levels that still meet organic certification criteria) chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides were used.
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead® LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
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