What Are Heirloom Seeds?

What are heirloom seeds anyway? It’s a question many have been asking–and once they know, it’s something they’d be proud to have!

Heirloom Seeds | Preserving Your Heritage

An heirloom is anything valuable to a family, group or person, handed down from generation to generation. It could be some old china, silver, furniture, or even seeds. Generally, an heirloom is anything considered as worthy passing down a legacy. Taking this definition into consideration, an heirloom seed, therefore, is a seed from a plant that has been carried from one generation to generation, prudently grown and saved because it is intended to be valuable. An heirloom seed is a treasure.

Value of Heirloom Seeds

Value of Heirloom Seeds | What Are Heirloom Seeds?

The value of an heirloom seed could be its flavor, hardiness, productivity or adaptability. Many heirlooms have been grown, saved and transferred for centuries, having been valued by generations and generations of people and families. Some believe that heirloom seeds provide the original, high-nutrient diversities and traditional strains our ancestors used for hundreds of years. Some strains go back biblical and pre-historic times.

But What’s All This Fuss About Heirloom Seeds

But What’s All This Fuss About Heirloom Seeds | What Are Heirloom Seeds?

But What’s All This Fuss About Heirloom Seeds | What Are Heirloom Seeds?

Unlike hybrid seeds which have lost their genetic diversity during the breeding process, heirloom seeds are like genetic diversity banks that maintain many unique genes from generation to generation (which are often lost due to the development of more and more hybrid plants). This is because an heirloom seed is obtained from open-pollination, and the produced seed typically looks a lot like the parent. In other words, you can usually collect seeds from heirloom plants (plants are grown with heirloom seed) and obtain offspring that resemble the parent plants. This gives it its unique tastes, textures, smells, forms, and other unique traits.

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Heirloom Seed Downsides

Heirloom Seed Downsides | What Are Heirloom Seeds?

Heirloom Seed Downsides | What Are Heirloom Seeds?

The downside of heirloom seeds are, admittedly, they usually would not give the brightest blooms, the most disease-resistant vegetables, perfectly round fruits, and many of the flashy bells and whistles seen on hybrid plants. But that’s the beauty of heirloom seeds: less predictability, more charm, and uniqueness in its own special way.

Want some tips on how to start heirloom seeds indoors? Check out this video from Becky’s Homestead:

That’s all, fellow homesteaders! Find your own heirloom seeds from your relatives, neighbors, or friends, and enjoy the wonderful experience of growing something that has grown and enjoyed well before your time. You can also buy some online, sites recommended here.

Did you enjoy this information about heirloom seeds? Let us know in the comments section below.

Want to know how you can make money in your homestead? Check out the Top 15 Ways To Make Money On Your Homestead and earn some extra cash while enjoying the comfort of being self-sufficient!


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This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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