Heirloom seeds have become much more popular as more preppers have begun seriously looking at seed storage. But heirloom seeds are much harder to find, and are often much more expensive. While heirloom tomatoes are the ones people are most familiar with and most commonly found, many other vegetables have heirloom varieties, although it may take a bit more work to track them down.
There are two mindsets – some would rather spend the same amount and get much more quantity of seeds, while others would prefer to spend the money on heirloom seeds. But how important are heirloom seeds for preppers?
Using heirloom seeds is important for several reasons:
- Biodiversity: Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, which means that they are pollinated naturally by wind, insects, or other natural means. This helps to maintain genetic diversity within a plant species, which is important for the overall health and resilience of the plant population. Many non-heirloom seeds cannot open-pollinate.
- History and culture: Heirloom seeds are often associated with specific cultural or historical contexts, and their use can help to preserve traditional farming practices and regional food cultures. While not as crucial for preppers, the heirloom seeds specific to your location can be a sign if what will grow well if you do need to grow your own food.
- Adaptability: Heirloom seeds have been passed down from generation to generation and have adapted to specific growing conditions and environments. This means that they may be better suited to growing in specific regions or climates, and may be more resilient to pests, diseases, and other environmental challenges.
- Flavor and nutrition: Heirloom seeds often produce crops that are known for their unique flavor and nutritional content. This is because they have not been bred for traits such as uniformity, size, or shelf life, which can sometimes come at the expense of taste and nutritional value. And in a situation where you are relying on your own garden to survive, the extra nutrients from produce that are produced from heirloom seeds can make a significant difference in your life.
- Sustainability: By using heirloom seeds, farmers and gardeners can help to maintain a diverse and sustainable food system. This is because heirloom seeds are often well-suited to organic and low-input farming methods, which can help to reduce reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. And in a SHTF scenario, access to pesticides and commercial fertilizers will be severely limited, if available at all. And you can get save seeds from produce grown from heirloom seeds, something you cannot do with many hybrid seeds today.
For preppers, using heirloom seeds is important for adaptability, flavor and nutrition, and sustainability. Having the ability to continue growing from seeds you can harvest from the vegetables you grow is just as important as the added nutrients in many heirloom varieties.