Park Seed Blog Question of the Day!
There are many among our readers and Park Seed customers who may collect and trade heirloom seeds. However, there are just as many people who aren’t even sure what an heirloom seed is, which brings us to the Park Seed Blog Question of the Day!
“What is the difference between heirloom seed and hybrid seed”
I went the Park Seed senior staff horticulturist with this one too. His answer:
Hybrid seeds, just like they sound, come from two different parent plants. They are cross-pollinated to, to bring out the best qualities of both parents, such as cold-hardiness, disease resistance, size, and fruit-production. Seed collected from the fruit of a hybrid cannot be planted with much hopes of it producing the same plant. You will more than likely get something a little different, more like one of the original parents.
Heirloom seeds are old seeds, passed down through generations, saved, and often traded with friends and neighbors. They come from parents exactly like they are, mostly open-pollinated and can be saved from the fruit. These seeds have been around for centuries, many making their way to America long ago in the pockets of settlers and immigrants.
I started poking around in the Park Seed catalog to compare some of the heirloom seed and hybrid seed and I found this Tomato Glory Hybrid the “Heirloom Hybrid.” Now, I know I just learned this stuff, but that seems like a little bit of a contradiction, so I shot the Hort an email this morning. He replied promptly with:
Good question. The parents of Glory are both heirloom varieties and thus this makes Glory a hybrid with a traceable heirloom pedigree.