When people seed-save, they are urged to select, ‘open-pollinated’ varieties.
What does this mean exactly?

The confusion may be understanding the difference between selecting seeds from ‘Open Pollinated’plants as distinguished from ‘Hybrid’ varieties.

In open pollinated varieties of plants, strict (or lucky!) attention is paid to planting distances between different varieties in the same vegetable family. Or specific techniques breeding techniques, like staggering pollen producing times, or ‘bagging’ varieties so that pollen from one variety does not ‘mate’ with another variety, producing a hybrid.

Hybrid is not necessarily undesirable. Hybridizing happens in nature all the time.

In the animal, and vegetable kingdoms;)
I grow several hybrid varieties of vegetables like spinach, and corn because they have specific traits, that I find desirable.

Most of the vegetables that many people consume these days, would likely be, from hybrid varieties.

Many plants ‘cross-pollinate’ as their primary means of reproduction. (as compared to self-pollinators, described in a prior post) Their flowers accept pollen from a plant of the same species that has a different genetic makeup. Plants grown from these seeds, may have different characteristics from the parent plant.

However, if a seed saver, saves seed from a hybrid plant( usually having the symbol F1 or F2 beside the variety name), they will not know until they grow that seed ‘out’ what characteristics those plants will have. Which specific traits selected from their parent plants intentionally by breeders.

Hybrids can produce desirable crops. Bred for a host of desirable traits like disease resistance, early maturity, productivity, flavor, heights etc.

However, it is less complicated to start, saving seeds from ‘open-pollinated’ varieties.

If anyone has a better way of explaining this topic…go for it!

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