Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration



What Are Heirloom Seeds?


Heirloom seeds are varieties of seeds that have been saved and re-planted over generations. What allows for this is the fact that these seeds are open-pollinated. When open-pollinated seeds are saved correctly, they will germinate and grow into beautiful plants that your grandparents (and their parents) may have enjoyed.  

Having the choice to save seeds is an important part of a sustainable food system. It allows the gardener to participate in preserving the existence of nourishing plants for generations to come. Heirloom varieties often produce more interesting and tastier vegetables than those found in large chain grocery stores.  

The act of seed saving itself promotes well-being. During the process of planting, caring for, harvesting and saving seeds, a connection to Mother Earth and her cycles can be felt and appreciated.  

Hybridized and/or trademarked seeds developed from corporate GMO companies like Monsanto-Seminis don’t give you (or anyone else) the option of experiencing the intuitive natural act of seed saving. If the seeds are hybridized, they will likely produce sterile seeds that don’t germinate (these are referred to as terminator seeds).  If the seeds are trademarked, it is illegal to plant second generation seeds in proceeding growing seasons.  


Because the conventional food system uses mostly hybrid seeds developed by corporate seed companies that cannot be saved for future years (farmers must re-purchase seeds from the developer year after year), the population of heirloom seed varieties are in danger.  

In order to help save heirloom varieties, it is important to either learn how to properly save these seed varieties yourself or to support seed companies that do.  

Consider buying seeds from companies that meet all of the requirements below: 

  • They grow and save their own seeds using eco-friendly organic gardening practices. 
  • They are not affiliated with Monsanto-Seminis or other similar corporate hybrid seed companies.  
  • Their business adds to the conservation of open-pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds. 
  • They support the stewardship of heirloom seed varieites.   

Some seed companies will offer heirloom, organic, and open-pollinated seeds, but will also sell Monsanto-Seminis seeds. Support companies that are 100% committed to ethical seed conservation by making sure that they are not at all affiliated with corporate hybrid seed companies like Monsanto-Seminis.  

Many heirloom, open-pollinated and non-GMO seeds and information can also be found at Seedy Saturday events held all over Canada. For a listing of these events, visit the Seeds of Diversity website: 

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