It’s the time of year when a lot of people who plan on growing a garden start thumbing through seed catalogs or eyeing the displays in home improvement stores. While organic gardening is gaining in popularity every year, the seeds that most people buy from Burpee, Fields, Home Depot, etc are still hybrids. Hybrid plants are the result of cross-pollinating two different parent strains. The seeds from these hybrids won’t grow new hybrid plants, rather they will revert to one of the two parents types, or something different. Growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties of fruits and vegetables gives gardeners a measure of control over their harvest by allowing them to save seed from year to year. It also gives gardeners access to a vast array of plant varieties. Heirloom plants come in different colors, sizes, and flavors that make hybrid varieties seem plain by comparison.
There are numerous places where you can buy heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. I’ve gotten most of mine from Baker Creek, Seed Savers Exchange, and Heirloom Acres. I’m also using an increasing amount of my own seed that I’ve saved from previous years. This year, I’ve started to package up some of the seed that I’ve saved to sell and swap with other people. It’s part art project, part tiny business venture, part evangelizing effort on behalf of sustainable, small-scale agriculture. All of the packages are handmade, and the seeds were all grown at my 'burbstead organically (organic with a small "o"). Anyone interested in buying or swapping seed can email me.