Last Updated On: August 6th, 2019
Learn how to fully enjoy the flavor of your garden AND save money by planting heirloom garden seeds in your organic garden.
Maybe you're new to the idea of vegetable gardening and have always longed for a lush, flavorful crop of food you could pick right from your own yard or balcony.
You might not be sure what to plant because there are so many types of seeds to choose from that it all feels overwhelming.
Heirloom, hybrid, organic - what is the difference between all these different garden seeds?
Luckily, we have you covered!
Whether you're new to gardening or want to learn more about heirloom gardening, by the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of what heirloom seeds are, why you should consider growing them (instead of hybrids), and the best starter kit of seeds to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.
Quick tip before we get started: There are many ways to start growing seeds and so many different kinds of seeds to consider. If you want to save time, look into a seed pack or kit that includes a variety of seeds to try out.
These seeds from True Leaf Market are really easy to grow and ready to be planted now. Most of our seeds from this deluxe pack started germinating and growing about a week after we planted them!
Read our heirloom garden seeds post to learn about:
- Heirloom seeds defined
- The best heirloom seeds
- Seed Growing Supplies
- Heirloom seed growing video resources
To begin with, what the heck is meant by "heirloom" seeds? How do they differ from other types of seeds?
Most garden seeds are classified into many categories, but mainly into either heirloom or hybrid. In addition, both heirloom and hybrid seeds can either be organic or non-organic.
That is a lot of seed differences.
The general differences between hybrid and heirloom seeds are outlined below.
In the most basic sense, an heirloom seed is one that has been open-pollinated or cross-pollinated depending on what kind of genetic variation you are seeking. These are "old" seeds that can be saved and will produce new plants that should be true to the parent plants the next year (or not, depending on their growing conditions).
These seeds contain genetic information that has been passed down from generation to generation, sometimes for 50 years or more.
Many gardeners prefer these seeds for their robust flavor and sense of history due to preserving the vegetable’s heritage. Plus, it is fun to think that the same tomatoes or beans that were eaten 50+ years ago could be grown in your own garden.
Check out our podcast interview with the Organic Seed Alliance for more about organic and heirloom seeds.
Also, this awesome book is a great resource to learn more about heirloom seed gardening.
On the other hand, hybrid seeds are created by the specific cross-pollination of different plants for a specific reason.
For example, a breeder may want to enhance a tomato's size or grow a variety of fruit that is disease-resistant.
It sounds like the perfect type of seed to grow (I mean, disease-resistant?!) but keep in mind you will most likely lose out on taste, robustness, or the ability to save any seeds for the following year.
Advantages of Heirloom Seeds
Compared to hybrid garden seeds, there are many benefits to growing your own heirloom seed varieties (and a few disadvantages).
- Better taste
- Better overall flavor
- More nutritious
- Can be saved and re-grown year to year
- Can take part in the history of generations-old crops
- More labor-intensive process
- Plants should be isolated from other plant species to prevent cross-pollination
Keeping all of this in mind, our recommendation is that you should definitely choose to grow heirloom garden seeds if you have the time and patience (and a true love of historical gardening). Whether you grow vegetables, flowers, or herbs, these open-pollinated seeds can be enjoyed from season to season with the proper care.
Since you are just getting started with your own heirloom seed garden, we would love to suggest the perfect heirloom seeds to start your journey!
This 30-pack of heirloom garden seeds from True Leaf Market would be the perfect way to get started.
The variety is AMAZING. We were beyond excited when this pack arrived at our house (a couple of days after we ordered them online, nonetheless!).
True Leaf Market really took the guesswork out of deciding what to plant by just combining together an assortment of vegetables, flowers, and herbs! We're really busy and just don't have the time to individually select and order all of these heirloom seeds.
Plus, individually piecing together everything in this 30-pack would have cost well over $50! This price is only $36 (plus tax and shipping).
The best part is that most of these seeds germinated in less than a week* (with the exception of the basil, oregano, and cilantro seeds).
All our new seedlings have continued to thrive in our new front-yard garden beds since we planted them, especially the zucchini, onions, and all of the greens (spinach, lettuce, and swiss chard).
* We will continue to update this article throughout the growing season as the plants grow and produce food. Keep checking back for our progress!!
Seeds in the Deluxe 30-Seed Pack:
- Tomatoes (2 species)
- Greens (many varieties)
- Squashes (multiple varieties)
- Peppers (2 species)
- Root vegetables (multiple types)
- Herbs (Basil, dill, oregano, and more!)
- Flowers (Nasturtiums, sunflowers, and more!)
- And, so much more!!
This assortment of 30 garden seeds takes the hassle out of planning a garden.... [More]
Now you have picked out your heirloom seed pack and you're almost ready to start planting! But first, there are a few other garden supplies you might need to add to your shopping cart to be successful.
We've gathered a few items for you to check out before you plant your seeds.
Raised planter boxes are a great alternative to planting straight into the ground for many reasons, including space, fewer pests, and better on your back.
This planter box from True Leaf Market is perfect for a balcony, patio, or anywhere in your yard. After a bit of quick assembly, you can plant away.
Oh, and don't worry about all the holes in it. This allows for seeds to grow out the top and the sides of the planter!
The Vegetable and Flower Planter Box will be bigger and better than any window box or deck planter box... [More]
Your new vegetable or flower plants need vitamins to provide optimal growth.
This organic vegetable and herb fertilizer from Dr. Earth is organic, non-GMO, and will improve your yields. Plus it is child and pet-safe and highly approved as an Amazon's choice product.
Get this 4-lb bag to get yourself set up for garden success.
Vegetable Gardening Books
We have two resources to suggest for your continued education.
The Heirloom Life Gardener is a great resource for your continued education about heirloom seeds. This comprehensive guide will help you get started and lead you to heirloom gardening success!
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible highlights overall organic gardening practices including strategies and best practices for growing tons of food!
For more information on planting your garden seeds, check out these two video resources below.
Heirloom Deluxe Conclusion
Now that you have learned that heirloom seeds are more nutritious, have more flavor, and are cheaper than hybrids, what are you waiting for?!
This heirloom seed pack truly is a gift that keeps on giving!
Now we want to hear from you!
Which heirloom seed above are you MOST excited to grow?
Let us know by leaving a quick comment below!
Heirloom Vegetable Seed Resources:
- Ep. 29: Organic Seeds & How Advocacy is Changing Locally Grown Vegetables
- "Heirloom Vegetables: 6 Advantages Compared to Hybrids" - Mother Earth News
- "Know Your Hybrid From Your Heirloom Seeds" - HGTV
- True Leaf Market
P.P.S. Check out our Resource Library page for FREE printable freebies!
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