Heirloom seeds are also known as the heritage seeds. They are favorite seeds saved from generation to generation. Old-time gardeners practiced saving seeds for years.

When the plants grow, they are always the same, no variation. The vegetable seeds have great flavor. Heirloom seeds might not be so resistant to disease, or have perfect shapes, but their flavor and fragrance makes up for the lack of resistance and uniformity.

There are still some gardeners who save their favorite seeds.The exchange also preserves, collects and raises heirloom seeds. You may also find heirloom seeds in other well known seed catalogs. Saving seeds is great for your budget. There is no need to purchase new seeds each season.

A hybrid seed is a cross between two different parents that have been inbred many times. Hybrid seeds, though very popular, should not be saved because when planted they will appear entirely different. One undesirable feature may dominate.

Hybridizers collect seeds from plants that have desirable characteristics. The two-parent seeds may be selected for their size and uniformity. Large commercial growers grow hybrid vegetables that tolerate shipping and handling. Seeds selected for thicker skins — such as tomatoes and carrots — can be mechanically harvested without damage to the vegetable. They will also survive many miles in transport until they reach their final destination.

Hybrid flower seeds produce beautiful, large flowers with brilliant colors. In many cases the fragrance is lost. Each year as hybridizers continue to seek eye-catching characteristics, more varieties appear on the market. We have seen flowers with single petals, double petals, many petals and petals with smooth or ruffled edges. The colors available are numerous. Bright solid colors give way to blends and combinations of delicate hues.

New hybrids do not develop overnight. It can take years of selecting the right parents to produce the flowers you are seeking. Consequently, it is understandable why these seeds are more costly. Hybrid seeds have been produced to tolerate colder temperatures and have a number of disease-resistant qualities. Vegetables have higher yields and mature earlier. They have a better capacity for the fertilizers and pesticides used on the commercial crops.

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