Choose open-pollinated (OP) seeds because the seeds you save will grow plants that are the same as their parents. You can legally save and share seeds from these plants.
Open-pollinated plants are often called ‘heirloom seeds’ on seed packets. Choosing open-pollinated varieties conserves the genetic diversity of each variety. Saving seeds from open-pollinated plants means that you will never have to buy seeds again!
Open-pollinated seeds are available for free from the KASSI Seed Commons if you are willing to grow them out for seeds and food to share with others. Of course donations are always appreciated so that we can continue our work!
You can purchase open-pollinated seeds from local seed companies that actually grow the plants and seeds in our region. All of these seeds will be better adapted to your growing conditions and more likely to thrive in your garden.
Regardless of where you purchase your seeds you need to ask if the seeds have been grown organically in Canada. Organic growing practices are best for the environment and produce seeds that perform better in natural chemical-free gardens.
If the seed packet doesn’t say open-pollinated (OP) or heirloom or non-hybrid -then the seeds are likely hybrids that have been grown somewhere else in the world. Many seeds that you will find in retail outlets are grown elsewhere in the world and simply packaged in Canada by the large seed companies.
Hybrids are created by crossing plants of two different varieties and generally do not produce offspring with the same traits as the parent plant. The seeds from hybrid plants will not grow the same as their parents if they grow at all. Hybrid seeds are not recommended for seed saving.
Some of the hybrid seed varieties that are available for the home gardener have been patented. It is illegal to save and share seeds from plants with a patent.
There are many genetically modified varieties of seeds (GMOs) available for large scale commercial farming. These GMO varieties often require large inputs of chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides). It is illegal to save or share seeds from GMO varieties.