As we search for seeds for the future, it is the Non Hybrid and Non genetically modified seeds that increasingly in demand for sustainable gardening. Although hybrid plants are popular with commercial growers, for long term sustainability and security of food resources it is the Non Hybrid varieties that are important.
What are Non Hybrid Vegetable Seeds ?
Non hybrid vegetable seeds are the basis of seed saving, seeds from hybrid plants are generally not saved as they actually become ‘inbred’ and lose many of the qualities they were originally bred for. It is the non hybrid plants that are the genetic source of most modern cultivars.
Non hybrid seeds are ‘open pollinated’ they have often been grown for many years and are pollinated by insects and birds. Labeling may read NHOP or non hybrid open pollinated. These seeds are also free from genetic modification, and chemicals. Hybrid seeds are cross pollinated specifically to improve certain characteristics of fruit and vegetables in particular.
So non hybrid seeds (plants) allow the home gardener to collect seeds for future planting. Are all non hybrid seeds grown organically, well no, but many are, and should be appropriately labeled.
Non Hybrid Seeds in summary
- Hybrid seeds are usually labeled as ‘F1 hybrids’, they are artificially pollinated and will not produce the same plant, they are not sustainable.
- Non Hybrid, Open Pollinated seeds are pollinated by insects and although the plants will vary a little they are a sustainable source.
- Non Hybrid does not necessarily mean Organic, but often they are.