Organic Gardening; Heirloom Seeds V/S Hybrids


It’s spring, even though it’s still pretty cold in some parts of our country. Here in southern Nevada it’s definitely time to plant some seeds. If I decide to plant my vegetables from seed, are all seeds equal? Will I get similar results? What is a hybrid? And what is a heirloom?

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you buy vegetables at the grocery store they are usually hybrids. A hybrid is a cross bred vegetable, that is modified to grow a big crop, be resistent towards diseases, and yield a harvest that is as tolerant as possible. Fruit and vegetables sold at the store often have to withstand extensive travel to get there, and of course most consumers like them to last as long as possible before they go bad. They can be modified with help of humans, or naturally in nature. (Genetically Modified Organisms are always created in a lab, and that is not the same thing as a hybrid.)

A heirloom vegetable on the other hand comes from someone that saved a seed from their favorite vegetable, and planted it again. It’s not unusual that heirloom seeds are hundreds of years old. Most gardeners would agree that they are non-hybrids, and open pollinated. If you save a seed from a heirloom vegetable, and plant it next year, and save a seed from that vegetable to plant the year after that…..and so on, you are always going to get what you first started out with. That is not the case with hybrids. If you ever tasted a heirloom vegetable, you never want to eat a hybrid again. They taste a million times more, and comes in varieties most people are unable to imagine. For me the choice is simple, if I take the time to grow my own vegetables (which I love to do,) it’s definitely going to be both organic and heirloom varieties. If I like them, I save the seeds for future use. It’s a great idea to build a seed bank of your own. Have you ever tried saving seeds? It’s pretty cool!

I planted some cherry tomatoes with the kiddos at work today. I’m pretty sure it was the first time they planted something from a seed. I can’t wait to see how they react to the process of seeing their seeds turn into a delicious harvest. I’m going to have them help me take care of the plants every day.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. – Lindley Karstens

The seeds we planted today are going to be part of a container garden. It’s the beginning of my favorite season! Extra exciting this year since I am in a new area, and gardening is likely going to be pretty experimental this first season. Do you have exciting garden plans? Tell me in a comment!


Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share; Book – Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget

Start your weekend with a cup of coffee with me! How was your week? 

sc (1)

My daughter is thrilled that her corn is growing so much. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she is going to be able to taste it, before she goes to her dad by the end of next week. 

Besides my regular job projects, horses, gardening, and being a mom, I’ve been busy working on my book, Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget. I’ve been focusing on a chapter about mulching these past few days. 

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area. A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. – Wikipedia

I wish that someone had explained the importance of mulching to me, sometime there in the beginning. Ohh…how much smoother the gardening learning curve would of been. It feels like a very important chapter. The chapter that I wished I had read before I started gardening more seriously. It’s been fun. This chapter is far from finished, but I feel that the book is making some progress.

mu (1)

Baby fig trees from cuttings, with plenty of mulch. I add organic matters to my garden every week as needed. 

sq (1)

Above is some of my squash plants, growing along a fence. If you look under the leaves, in the photo below, you’ll see….drum whirl….lots of mulching. 

mu2 (1)

The chapters for my book is pretty much lined out. I have published a couple books before, but they have been very different, more of luxurious coffee table books. Focusing on highlighting my photography, while raising money for charity. They have been expensive to print, made with glossy, thick paper. This book is going to be a high quality book, also with photos, but made with a more normal price point in mind, that fits the title. I want it to be easy accessible for anyone who could use it. My previous books, that I enjoyed making very much, was targeted to wealthy european horse people. This book has a completely different targeted audience. Here’s a little teaser from the introduction, that explains my motivation. 

The methods in this book is a result of 5 years of experimenting with organic gardening, on a very slim budget. You will be provided with different approaches to organic gardening on a budget. They are easily adapted to your amount of space, gardening zone, and access to material. I’m a homemaking, homeschooling mom, that for the most part been alone in my responsibility to raise a healthy, happy little girl. My motivation to write this book is very personal. Especially during the first years my creativity was often tested to the max, when it came to providing healthy food, due to limited finances, and a nomadic lifestyle. I’ve lived, and I’ve learned. 

Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget, covers everything you need to know to get started; planning an organic vegetable garden, materials, compost, mulching, seeds, how to grow your food scraps, plants, trees, propagating fruit trees, kitchen herbs, mushrooms, sprouts, harvest, how to barter your produce/work for a bigger variety of local produce, and container gardening. 

I believe that you are what you eat; mind, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food.  My ultimate dream is to have a small homestead, and be as self sufficient as possible, producing the majority of my family’s food myself. I am working towards that goal, by growing as much organic produce as I can. I love that gardening is a lifelong learning process. I’d love to share a few of the things I’ve learned so far. Most of these activities are kid friendly. If you have kids, I highly recommend growing produce that your children enjoy eating, and involve them in the process. There’s many colorful photos throughout the book, showing how my daughter and I tried different approaches to gardening, and the pro’s and con’s with each one. Growing my own food makes me smile, in many ways. Literally because I enjoy working in my garden, and internally because it makes me feel good eating organic food. My conscious also smile back to me when I try to lessen my ecological footprint, by eating a more locally produced, plant based diet. I sincerely hope that Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget, is going to help you, and your family towards a happier, healthier life.

This is very much a work in progress. Is there a chapter that you would love to read, that I didn’t think of? An angle that would make the book more interesting for you?  I’d love input, and constructive criticism.

Any fun plans for the weekend? Please join the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d love to have coffee in your backyard this weekend, and hear all about your week.

Happy Friday! 



Ms Zen