Heirloom gardening is a one of the most valuable aspects of self-reliant homesteading. It allows us the ability to feed our family foods that are delicious and packed full of nutrients, but best of all affords us the ability to save seeds from year to year. Heirloom seeds can truly be a priceless commodity to the prepper minded individual.
So what are heirloom seeds? Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been around at least 40 to 50 years; pure in form, and not genetically modified or a hybrid (combination of several different strains). These 2 things you can save the seeds from year to year and they will always remain true to type making the initial investment well worth the money.
For the self reliant/prepper minded individual seeds are a must have item. Having them stored will allow you to feed yourself, your family and even others for years to come. The use of heirloom seeds is quickly catching on in the prepper community do to the fact they can be saved year to year making them a very useful prep, and even a bartering item. To further confirm the growing number of people now ordering heirloom seeds when I placed my order about a month ago the customer service rep told me that I would not get my order as quickly as I normally do, because of the increased and almost overwhelming volume of business they had gotten this past year.
The amount of seeds you will need will depend on your goals. How big do you want your garden? How many people do you plan on feeding? Do you want to eat fresh or do you want to be able to preserve some of what you grow? Another thing to consider, is the climate in which you live. Some heirloom varieties do better in the south and some in the North. Some of your seed companies will offer information regarding the best climates for a certain variety, but if they don’t just ask around on some of your gardening forums as there is sure to be someone that can answer your questions. Gardening with heirlooms seeds also has other differences than gardening with hybrids.
Hybrids have been crossed to resist certain diseases, pest and some even to do well in drought conditions. Heirlooms, because they are pure to themselves, will at times not stand up well to pest, drought and intense heat. They will require more of your time to make them as great of a success as their hybrid counterparts. You may have to incorporate pest control by using either natural or chemical methods. They may require much more watering than hybrids and may suffer more often from diseases such as blossom end rot. But even with the differences, and the fact that heirlooms may require more time and more care, in this writers opinion they are priceless based on the fact you can save the seeds and feed your family for many years to come.