The Language of Seeding

It’s always easier to understand something when you know the language.   If you have been wondering about the difference between open pollinated, F1 Hybrid and what organic actually means, read on…

Open Pollinated: Plants produced by crossing two parents of the same variety. The resulting offspring will have the same characteristics as the parents. Choose OP varieties if you want to save your own seeds.

(F1) Hybrid: Plants produced by crossing two parents of different varieties. Traditionally, hybrids are the result of many years of patient hand pollination, observation and trialing. Hybrid seeds often produce plants with superior “hybrid vigour”, however, these plants will not produce seeds of reliable quality and therefore should not be used for seed saving. It’s important to note that just because a plant or seed is a hybrid does not mean that it’s been genetically engineered.

Organic: Seeds harvested from plants that were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

Heirloom: An open pollinated plant variety that’s been grown for at least fifty years.

Untreated Seed: Seed that has not been coated with fungicide or pesticide.

Days To Maturity: May be either from germination or from transplant; check packet instructions carefully.

Parthenocarpic: Plant varieties that are able to set fruit without pollination; especially valuable for greenhouse production where there are fewer insects than outdoors.

Gynoecious: Plant varieties that have all female flowers, thus producing more fruit per plant.

Vernalization: A plant flowering and setting seed as a result of a cold period. Some vegetables will “bolt” if subjected to a sudden cold spell in spring.

Winter Gardening: Plants that are grown in spring and summer for winter harvest. These crops should be more or less full-sized by Hallowe’en as growth rates decrease significantly after that.

Overwintering: Overwintered crops are started in summer and will finish growing the following spring. Some, such as purple sprouting broccoli, require this cold period to set buds. Others, such as hardy varieties of lettuce, will put on sudden growth when the weather starts to warm, resulting in an earlier harvest than if planted in spring.