Are organic seeds the same as heirloom seeds?

Organic seeds are USDA-certified, non-GMO seeds that come from plants grown only with natural fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Can be hybrid or open pollinated.

Heirloom seeds

are always open pollinated and come from plant varieties that are at least 50 years old. Some heirloom seeds or plants are organic, but not all heirloom seeds or plants are organic.

Whether a plant is organic or not depends on its growing conditions, whereas heirloom seeds will remain traditional varieties regardless of whether they are grown under organic or inorganic conditions. How a heirloom seed is grown as it becomes a plant and produces its harvest determines whether or not the resulting plant and its fruits or vegetables qualify as organic. Organic seeds are harvested from certified organic crops. The seeds can be a hybrid or heirloom variety.

Organic Farmers Must Look for Organic Seeds to Qualify for USDA Organic Certification. If they can't find organic vegetable seeds or organic herb seeds, they are allowed to use conventional, untreated seeds. At Annie's, all of our strains are relics. All varieties labeled as organic are also certified organic seeds.

While the family heirloom sounds very pastoral, it only describes the genetic makeup, and it's quite possible that the seeds in your heirloom were raised with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, so if the heirloom and the organic are important to you, you'll need to make sure it has both designations. To save seeds, you need Heirloom or OP varieties. These will come true from saved seeds, meaning you'll get the same plant from which you harvested the seed. If you're not interested in saving seeds, a hybrid might work for you.

Hybrid seeds occur in nature all the time; if a bee travels from one type of tomato to another, the seeds of that plant will have traits of both parents and will be considered a “hybrid of the two”. There is no difference between inherited and inherited seeds or plants, the terms are used interchangeably. Choose healthy, productive plants from which to save seeds, as the next generation of plants will reflect the characteristics of the parent plant that produced the seeds. Tammy: Hybrid organic seeds aren't “bad”, planting hybrids just means you can't save your own seed from year to year, because you can't trust the hybrid to truly reproduce in the next generation and produce the variety you want.

Organic farmers can use non-organic seeds if there are no organic seed varieties available to buy in their region. We also stock as many traditional and open-pollinated seeds as possible, to help farmers and gardeners continue to grow for generations to come. Most of the time, heirloom seeds have been grown under organic conditions, although this is not always the case. Once you find the traditional varieties you love, saving your own seeds is the best way to ensure they adapt quickly to your soil and growing conditions throughout your life.

Because traditional plants are open pollinated, gardeners can save seeds from their gardens for replanting the following season, confident that the next generation of plants will be true to type. That means gardeners who plant heirloom seeds receive a steady supply of ripe fruits and vegetables instead of having a huge harvest that gives them more than they can eat at a time. Before buying seeds to grow in your own garden, it's important to learn all about the different types of seeds you have available and what makes each of them unique. Traditional fruits and vegetables are known to taste better than non-heirloom varieties.

This means different things for different plants, but high-quality, organic, prepared and pelleted hybrid seeds feature prominently in our herbal and vegetable seed collections. Unlike hybrid or transgenic seeds, heirloom seeds produce plants that are true to type, meaning that the plants are very similar to the parent plant, making it easy for gardeners to predict what the next generation of plants will look like. Whether or not organic seeds are a better option depends on what a gardener looks for from their seeds and plants. .


Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

Subtly charming beer nerd. Extreme internet specialist. Devoted travel junkie. Proud coffee maven. Friendly problem solver.