It’s springtime in Ohio, which means that many of our friends and neighbors have already begun planning their gardens. Now is the time to explore your local garden center and make note of which plants you want to sow from seed when the sun comes out and the weather gets nice.

But when you’re looking through all your seed options, something might pop out at you. When shopping for seeds, you’ll see packets labeled “Organic”, “Heirloom”, and “Hybrid”. What do these labels mean, and which do you want for your garden?

Organic Seeds: Supporting the Organic Farming Movement

Organic seeds are produced by organic gardening and farming methods. They come from a certified organic operation, which use no chemicals throughout their growing processes.

Purchasing organic seeds means that you are purchasing seeds that have not been exposed to toxic chemicals.

Purchasing organic seeds supports the organic farming movement and encourages continued organic research.

Heirloom Seeds: Preserving Diversity in Food Crops

Heirloom seeds are a veteran gardener’s favorite, because their varieties have stood the ultimate test of time. According to Burpee, “the definition is open to dispute. But the term is usually applied to fruit, flower, or vegetable varieties that were being grown before World War II.”

Heirloom seeds that are collected year after year produce plants with most of the characteristics of the parent plant. They are open-pollinators, meaning they’re pollinated naturally by birds, insects, wind, or human hands.

Heirlooms tend to have amazing flavor that trumps all other seed varieties, and they help gardeners preserve diversity in food crops so we don’t lose valuable genetic variation among plants as the years go on.

Hybrid Seeds: Resistent and Consistent

Hybrid seeds were developed to create a more robust, consistent, and reliable agricultural industry. These seeds are resistant to most disease, are uniform in their dates of maturity, and typically contain the best of both worlds from their two parent plants.

Heather Rhoades says it best: “hybrid seeds are produced through careful pollination of two specific varieties. Normally, this highly selective plant breeding is done to bring together two traits in each of the chosen varieties so that the resulting seed has both of the traits.”

By purchasing a hybrid, you’re not going to get any surprises and you’ll be able to rely on them year after year to get the results you want. They are fantastic garden performers, produce more crop, and are more resistant to disease and pests. The downfall? You can’t recycle hybrid seeds to use next year.

We Can Answer Your Seed Questions at Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center

Whatever type of seed you decide to go with is a personal decision. Each gardener should make the right decision for his or her own garden and needs. There’s no right or wrong answer!

Here at Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center in Dayton Ohio, we can help you make the right choice for your Miami Valley garden. Just ask one of our knowledgeable staff members about your garden needs, and we’ll help you create the garden of your dreams.

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