Heirloom Seeds: A Frugal and Healthier Option for Gardening

phebes pepper harvest

Today’s guest post from Phoebe of Getting Freedom is on a topic near and dear to my gardener’s heart. I am a huge advocate of heirloom seeds, for so many of the reasons that she talks about in this excellent post!

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When we started our debt freedom journey, one thing I noticed rather quickly was our grocery budget was one of the only areas I had the freedom to cut. I didn’t want to sacrifice what we were eating, so I knew I had to be creative in my spending. My husband decided that it was only logical for us to grow as much of our own food as we possibly could, and for as little as possible.

I quickly began researching everything garden related. It didn’t take long for me to realize that seeds cost a lot less than buying plants. When I began looking through seed catalogs, and reading information online about seeds, I found that there was a lot to learn. While I have come a long way, I’m still no where near being an expert.

After many hours of research and catalog reading, we decided that Heirloom Seeds were our most cost effective option. You are able to plant a seed that you purchased one year, grow the plant, consume the fruit, and save the seeds to be planted next year. You have an investment that keeps on giving. This is because an heirloom seed, also known as an open-pollinated seed, has been passed on through the years, unaltered by man. They are a pure form of the original plant.

phebes heirloom seeds

Before looking into seeds, I always thought a seed was a seed. I had no idea some seeds were genetically altered. Scientists have went into the DNA of seeds and altered them to resist certain diseases and to “enhance” flavor. While that may not sound bad right off the bat, think of it this way. There are certain varieties of tomato that’s DNA has been spliced with a cold water fish gene in order to resist frost. Personally, I’d rather take it the way God intended. Additionally, many heirloom plants are rich in flavor, as the best-tasting seeds were the ones saved. Modern seeds focus more on yield than flavor.

Amazingly, there are endless options when it comes to heirloom seeds. You can grow your average orange carrot, or you can choose a white or purple variety! Last year in our garden, I went with Black Krim Tomatoes, as well as Reverend Morrow LongKeeper Tomatoes which are more of a pink variety. Before finding heirloom seeds, I thought all tomatoes were either yellow, green, or red. While there may be a little more work involved in starting your seeds, and saving them later, the end result is far more rewarding and frugal. I also like knowing that I’m doing my part in preserving the plants of the past.

There are many different places to buy heirloom seeds. Last year we bought ours exclusively from Baker Creek Seed Company, you can see their online catalog here.

Phoebe is an expecting, stay at home mom to 3 children. She chronicles her family’s love for the unconventional life and their journey to debt freedom on her blog, Getting Freedom.

Do you use seeds or plants for your garden? What factors motivate your choice of what you grow, and the source that you get it from?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your site and info. Looking forward to a new year filled with promise.

  2. Loved this post! We grew heirloom tomatoes last year, and I’m hoping to plant more this year, but I have still have quite a bit to learn!
    .-= Jaime G´s last blog ..Simple But Delicious =-.

  3. I’m planning to start my first container garden this year, on my little second-story patio of our apartment. This has inspired me to look to seeds, and heirloom varieties, instead of plants…although I think this year I’ll try plants, as it’ll be my first attempt at any sort of gardening! Thanks for this great info. I knew heirloom produce was better than ‘regular’ but I didn’t know what it meant at all. :)
    .-= Nikki Moore´s last blog ..chemicals on your skin=chemicals in your body. =-.

  4. Thanks for the great post and comment discussion regarding man’s cultivation of seeds and the biblical view of it.

    http://www.freedomseeds.org is another great source of heirloom, non-gmo seeds. Since Monsanto owns the rights to even non-gmo seeds (that Baker Creek and others sell), Freedom Seeds has carefully spent many months tracking down and finding the varieties that Monsanto doesn’t own. So you won’t support Monsanto in any way.

  5. Yes please only buy Heirloom even Open Pollinated can end up being genetically modified if it crosses with Monsantos seeds. I love the diaper, I had my daughter on cloth only she was allergic to the gel stuff and once I saw what was in them I was glad she was.
    .-= Patrice Farmer´s last blog ..Good Deal at Earth Fare Yesterday =-.

  6. Loved this post! I use seeds for everything except for my tomatoes and peppers. I live in Las Vegas so there is a VERY short period of time to plant before it gets too hot. I’m afraid that seeds wouldn’t get mature enough to produce before the plants go dormant (during July and August). Perhaps I should give it a try though…who knows, it may just work.
    .-= Lindsay Burden´s last blog ..Soaking Grains =-.

  7. Great post, Pheobe. We want to avoid the GM seeds as well and buy from Seeds of Change or Seed Savers Exchange. It’s interesting that God tells the Israelites in Leviticus 19:19 not to sew seeds of two kinds together or to breed two kinds of cows. While I know this was as a spiritual illustration, God often had them do things that later kept them safe when other cultures were doing what was “wise in their own eyes”.

    Last year I saved two kind of tomato seeds and some bean seeds. We’ll see if they reproduce (all heirloom varieties). Readers may want to note that Seed Savers Exchange tells on the back of each seed package how to save the seeds correctly for the next season.

  8. I grow all that I grow from seed. I’d love to learn more about actually saving seed. Anyone have any simple info on it? Seed saving steps “for dummies”? :)

    • Hi Nola! I would strongly recommend the book “Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners” by Suzanne Ashworth. It is the best book on seed-saving I’ve found. Like you, I grow everything I grow from seed and am a seed-saving “dummy” who will be attempting to save seeds for the first time this year! :)

  9. As the wife of a horticulturalist, I do have to add that all the seeds out there have been altered by man. While I understand that some have issues with GMOs, it is helpful for us to realize that pretty much everything we eat has been bred. That’s not a bad thing, since God gave us brains to steward the resources he gave us.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight here, just wanting to offer a reminder that man is unavoidably involved in developing the food we eat. It’s part of God’s mandate to subdue the earth. There is, of course, room to discuss the nitty gritty of what techniques are beneficial, but we should be grateful that people through the ages have done SO much work to make our beautiful, edible produce.

    • @Terri, Good perspective, Terry. Thanks for adding that in!

    • @Terri, Good perspective, Terri! Thanks for adding those thoughts!

      • Terri, I agree with you that we are to subdue the earth and be good stewards, however GM seeds are inherently different than hybrid seeds. I’m not a scientist, but from what I have come to understand is that the GM seeds are modified often with the DNA from something outside of the plant kingdom (such as the animal kingdom) to give it characteristics that scientist are looking for. That just isn’t right.

        I recently inquired with a farmer friend about this issue and he agrees, even though his good friend works at Monsanto. They have come to agree to disagree, but my farmer friend isn’t swayed by all the salesmanship his friend has tried to convinced with that GM’s are safe. He isn’t buying it and neither am I.

  10. Laura Davis says:

    I bought my seeds this year from Heirloom Acres, on Kendra’s recommendation from New Life on a Homestead. They did take a little longer to arrive because they’re a small, family-run business, but the prices are very reasonable for heirloom seeds and they have many organic options. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do in the garden!

  11. I wish I had read this before I purchased our year’s worth of seeds! Thank you so much for sharing and will buy heirloom seeds next year! I am new to gardening, my first year actually! Cheers!
    .-= Vina´s last blog ..Nourishing Foods Made Simple: It’s Old and It’s Traditional =-.

  12. I’m planning on doing seeds this year, and I can’t wait! I had a chat with a local farmer who explained to me the differences between heirloom crops and genetically modified crops. It was a fascinating conversation and left me more convinced than ever that heirloom (IMO) is the only way to go.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..days with my boys =-.

  13. Great post! I loved it. We grow our plants from seed as well. I will be definitely checking out the heirloom seeds this year!

    I HATE GMO things! It makes me angry that scientists are fooling with our food!
    .-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..How Much Money are we Spending? =-.