Seed swapping and understanding seed packets

This coming Saturday (January 27) is national Seed Swap day.  While it isn’t on that day, we have scheduled our seed swap here at the extension office in Omaha for February 10 – we hope you’ll join us, even if you don’t have seeds to swap.

This time of year is the perfect time to think about swapping or buying seeds to get ready for the coming year.  But many people are often confused about some of the language used on seed packets.  What exactly does hybrid mean? or heirloom?  What a bout non-GMO?

I recently appeared on Backyard Farmer to discuss some of this language and the confusion it causes.  You can check out the segment here:


I also wrote an article for The Garden Professors, another blog and Facebook page where I contribute, talking about what those words mean and why labels like non-GMO are basically meaningless on home garden seed packets (there aren’t genetically engineered crops available to home gardeners, and for most crops they don’t exist).  So this information can help you make informed decisions and perhaps avoid marketing gimmicks that end up costing you more.

You can read that article here:

Translating the Language of Seed Packets: Hybrid, Heirloom, non-GMO, and more

John Porter
Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator at Nebraska Extension
John Porter is the Urban Ag Program Coordinator for Nebraska Extension and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, serving both as an extension educator and professor of urban agriculture. He specializes in urban agriculture and horticulture, especially in the areas of vegetable and fruit production for home gardens and urban farms and edible landscaping.
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