Many people are fearful of using hybrid seeds. Some confuse them with GMO seeds, and the two are entirely different! Some folks feel they should always be able to use the seeds from the plants they grow for their next crop, and that because seeds from hybrid plants do not produce the same as the parent they are being robbed of that on-going benefit. I submit that hybrid seeds are well worth using, and following are a few reasons why.
We are all hybrids! And most of us can reproduce, just as plants from hybrid seeds can reproduce. But our progeny will be different than we are, just as the progeny from hybrid plants’ seeds will be different from their parents.
In humans it makes for uniqueness and diversity and is wonderful. In vegetables and fruits it isn’t always so great, but hybrids ARE a great blessing by providing greater yields, better appearance and taste, and better disease resistence, among other benefits.
Honorable dedicated growers spend their lives painstakingly cross-breeding multiplied thousands of plants, in order to find the parental match that gives you and me the tastiest, healthiest, fastest growing, and most disease resistant fruits and vegetables possible.
And even after they have found that match they must work HARD and CAREFULLY to assure that each desirable female blossom is pollinated with the exact desired male pollen. Imagine the work involved with tomatoes, for example, where the blossom is tiny and EACH BLOSSOM CONTAINS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE PARTS!
That means they have to use tiny tweezers and magnifying classes to REMOVE the male anther BEFORE it is mature, and then introduce the CORRECT male anther to the female pistil at the exact time they both are mature, and hope pollination occurs – all the while making certain that no OUTSIDE pollinators, such as bees, get to the blossom.
The cost of producing great hybrid seeds is tremendous, and what do the seeds cost you and me? Let’s compare the best hybrid seed with a well known heirloom seed and see what it means in your garden.
Ace tomato seeds can be purchased from MVSeeds.com for $4.50 per ounce. That’s 10,000 seeds for next to nothing! How many will you plant in your garden – 10? 50? Either way the seed cost is nothing. What will it produce? Probably a few pounds per plant, but the size, taste, and other qualities we want in a great tomato may not be the best, or just what you want.
Big Beef tomato seeds, on the other hand, cost $582 per ounce! The smallest quantity MVSeeds.com sells is 10 seeds, and they cost $2.99. So, each seed costs 30 cents. That’s terrible, isn’t it!?
Or is it, really. Let’s compare what you get for your 30 cents with what you get from your virtually free Ace seed.
The Ace is a determinate plant and produces a crop of medium small tomatoes for 3-4 weeks, whereas Big Beef is an indeterminate plant and produces great yields of large, juicy, tasty tomatoes for MANY months – even longer than a year in the tropics – until frost kills it.
Big Beef also has the best disease resistance of almost any tomato variety known to man. That single fact often means the difference between great success and total failure in your garden. How many times have you lavished MONTHS of time, energy, and money on your tomato plants only to have some disease wipe them all out about the time you finally started to harvest a crop. It’s common. Just last year disease wiped out a substantial part of the tomato crop in the entire USA!
I figure that each tomato plant in my garden produces between $30 and $60 in tomatoes. If I grew Ace tomatoes each plant would produce between $10 and $20 in tomatoes that are not as juicy and tasty. How important is the cost of seed?
For my very limited budget Big Beef, and the other hybrids I use, are worth their cost MANY TIMES OVER!