Open Pollinated and Hybrid Vegetable Seed


What is Open Pollinated and Hybrid vegetable seed.

Open Pollinated Seed is simply seed that will mostly grow true to type, or similar to the parent plant. There is still cross pollination that can occur that will affect the next generation of seed and there are many good resources on the web for how to collect seed. 

Hybrid seed is denoted F1, such as Broccoli ‘Marathon F1’. Hybrid seed are the result of humans intentionally causing cross pollination. The big companies that do this know what traits are available in varieties and thus create a hybrid for particular traits.

I prefer open pollinated varieties in general as we are saving seed of varieties that may be lost. The move to hybrids by big seed industries is complex and I won’t get into it apart from saying that the skill of continuing to seed collect from open pollinated (OP) varieties for strong traits has declined. Cauliflower Snowball was once a great variety and even in 20 years I have seen it decline to the extent that I prefer to plant a hybrid cauliflower to guarantee produce in my garden. OP Broccoli and Cauliflower have certainly been impacted. Hybrids are expensive seed and patented so it continues to be costly. 

However you can save seed of an F1 hybrid no matter what you have been told. The seed won’t be true to form but if you plant 10 out then next year, 5 may be great and you save seed form that. Each years seed saved becomes F2, F3 and so on. I have some Capsicum that are now F6 and I feel it is stabile and cold tolerant. 

I will offer hybrids where I know they are now superior to the OP variety. No one wants a bed taken up by broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi etc only to be disappointed. In the end it is up to you what to purchase and that is the way it should be.  

Interesting thoughts by Charles Dowding here.

open pollinated vegetable seed Dave's Seedlings
Dave's Vegetable Seedlings found at the Cygnet Market and others from August to April each year
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