When it comes to cultivating a flourishing yard full of flowers or thriving garden full of delicious produce, buying seeds in bulk can help keep the resulting costs down. Gardening is a hobby that is therapeutic for many people, but with the prices of seeds and other equipment needed to plant a successful yard and garden where they are, you pocketbook can really end up feeling the pinch. Instead of buying your seeds in small batches, buying in bulk can give you the flexibility to plant as much as you would like.
One variety of seeds that is very beneficial to purchase in bulk quantities are heirloom seeds. Bulk heirloom seeds can offset the cost of buying heirloom seeds which can sometimes be pricier than other varieties. But what is an heirloom seed, you may wonder.
What are Heirloom Seeds?
In the United States, there are basically three different types of seeds – heirloom, first generation hybrids, and genetically engineered seeds. Seeds that have been bioengineered have undergone an altering of their DNA, making the plants they produce are resistant to pests and mature much quicker than standard seeds. Genetically modified seeds are typically only used for industrial farming, but some home gardening stores have GMO seeds that can be purchased and used in the garden.
F1 hybrids are patented and hand-pollinated seeds that have been developed to be sterile, meaning that their flowers cannot pollinate each other, but instead only produce fruits or vegetables. Often, these seeds have been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers to ensure fast and productive growth. Both F1 and GMO seeds produce genetically identical plants, which when faced with a pest or ecological threat that they are not resistant to, can end up completely wiped out and destroyed.
Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, have been produced through open pollination and saved using specific techniques due to its value. These seeds are passed on from generation to generation and some even have genetics reaching back as far as 300 years. While the fruits produced by heirloom seeds may not be as visually appealing as the produce from modified seeds – they might have lumps or bumps – they often boast a stronger taste and a larger pool of varieties.
Why Heirloom Seeds?
Non-profit organizations, like the Seed Savers Exchange, have been working to preserve seeds that turn out hardy and delicious produce for several decades. They foresee the possible catastrophes that may occur if modified seeds continue to be planted. Collecting and preserving heirloom seeds can keep variety in the seed supply, instead of ending up with all the same type of tomatoes. For example, there are thousands of varieties of heirloom apples, but there are only a handful of varieties that are produced by modified seeds.
A genetically diverse food supply is necessary to keeping the world populated with growing things, so bulk heirloom seeds are a great way to help with the work of conserving the dying art of seed-saving. When you buy in bulk, you can help ensure that diverse crops of plants and flowers are continuing to reseed and flourish.
Why Buy in Bulk?
Buying seeds in bulk has more benefits than just saving you money. If you want a garden that is full of assorted veggies and flower beds that burst with different colors and smells, then you may want to buy bulk amounts of seeds so as to be able to fill your yard with as many plants as possible. One packet of seeds from the hardware store will only produce a small yield. Having enough fruits and vegetables for a home canning session that will fill your storage room or root cellar requires more seeds.
Luckily, seeds can be stored rather easily. Buying bulk quantities of seeds can allow you to plant as much as you would like one year and then save the rest for next year. All you need to do to successfully store seeds is to keep the leftovers in plastic baggies, glass jars, old film canisters, or other containers with tightly fitted lids. Store the seeds in a cool, dry area – the refrigerator is often the best location. If you are worried that your seeds will get moist or humidity will build up, you can place a silica gel packet in with the seeds to keep them dry. If stored properly, your seeds should last about three years. So don't worry that you will end up with too many seeds leftover if you buy in bulk. You can buy a bunch and then use them for the next few planting seasons.
What Varieties to Buy in Bulk?
You should consider what kind of plants you would like to feature in your garden or flower beds before you order any bulk seeds. Because of the huge variety of heirloom seeds that are available, you can let your imagination run wild. If you are hoping to grow a plentiful abundance of perennial flowers, you might want to consider a variety of black-eyed Susans that will return year after year and fill your beds with bright, yellow-colored blooms. If fresh salsa is one of your favorite snacks, a garden full of tomatoes may be just the thing for you. Heirloom tomatoes can come in many different colors – yellow, orange, green, and even purple. The beauty of the fruit is only matched by the delicious taste.
Where Can You Purchase Bulk Heirloom Seeds?
Heirloom seeds are a little bit harder to come by than your run of the mill packets of seeds, but visiting your local greenhouse may be a good start. Ask the owner if they sell any heirloom seeds, and if they don't, ask if they know of any local sources. Starting with local seeds can be a good idea because then you can be sure that the seeds are meant to be grown in your zone.
If you don't have any luck asking your local experts, consider searching online. There are plenty of websites that sell bulk seeds and you are sure to find a variety that you would like and have it shipped directly to your home to be planted and enjoyed.