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Certified Naturally Grown


Hybrids are varieties resulting from natural or artificial pollination between genetically distinct parents.

Parents used to produce hybrids are usually inbred first for specific characteristics.  The "F" in F1 hybrid stands for filial or offspring.  F1 means the first generation offspring after cross-pollination.  Seeds saved from F1 hybrids are labeled F2.  F2 generations can be sterile or produce only a small percentage of plants resembling the F1 parents.  It is possible to save the seeds from hybrids.  However, the process of stabilizing a set of desired characteristics is complicated and may take up to eight generations.  Most modern hybrids are patented.  Selling seeds saved from patented hybrids is illegal.

Hybrids can offer home gardeners and small market farmers solutions and choices they just can't find in open-pollinated varieties.  Whereas open-pollinated varieties have been selected for fresh-picked flavor and adaptability to local conditions, hybrid research has focused on uniformity, shipping, appearance and specific disease resistance.  Growing a few individual hybrids offers little or no immediate threat to a home gardener or small market farmer.  As one of founders of Garden City Seeds, John Schneeburger, once said to me, "Maybe we should try to learn to save seeds from some of the hybrids.  After all, they represent untold hours of human work to find important traits we could use."

Hybrid buyers do forgo the opportunity to easily save their own seeds.  They have to buy seeds every year.  They cannot select from the plants that do best in their garden and take this advantage into the future.  With their purchase of hybrid seed, gardeners and small market farmers are often supporting the same giant companies that manufacture the chemicals they question and the genetic engineering they fear.  And most importantly, hybrid seed buyers miss the opportunity to help save our precious genetic heritage so threatened by mono-crop hybrid agriculture.



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