Hybrid or Open Pollinated – Making the choice

When it comes to making choices about what plants we want to grow – the more information we have the easier it is to make a decision that will be in our best interest. This might be especially true when deciding between a hybrid or an open pollinated variety. 

Most of these decisions are made based on what plant has attributes we consider most desirable.  

Open Pollinated 

Open pollinated plants (if isolated from other varieties in the same species), will produce seed that bears fruit like the parent plant. They may be self-pollinated,  pollinated by wind, bees, or other outside forces.

This makes open pollinated plants especially desirable for gardeners who save seed and want to carry that variety forward into the future.

If seed catalogs discontinue your favorite open pollinated variety — you can continue it with your seed.  And as you continue to grow that variety it will adapt itself more to your garden’s specific conditions.

Nature’s Backups are Disappearing

Some sources say we’ve lost 93% of varieties that were grown 100 years ago.

Nature always provided backups. In case of crop failure with one variety, there was another that did just fine.

Many varieties have been lost as that 93% should tell us.

What We Can Do and Why

It will be in our best interest to save seed while we still can.  The hand writing is on the wall that things will get hard in this country.

And as Americans – few of us are ready for what’s ahead.  The ability to garden will be critical for many.

If you’ve not been listening to truthful sources and don’t know this already, I hope you will heed this warning. 


A hybrid is produced by cross pollination. (Pollinating one plant with the pollen of another variety.)

With hybrid plants you can still save seed, but what you get when you plant seed from their fruit is a toss up.  

Each seed saved from one fruit of a hybrid will be unique. 

For example, if you save 50 seeds from a hybrid tomato and grow them all, each will be a little different than the other.

Natural Processes

Both open pollination and cross pollination are natural processes used by nature.  

What I Grow and Why

I grow mainly open pollinated varieties.

That decision was made after reading several years ago that studies on vegetables produced from hybrids don’t contain as much nutrient value as fruit from open pollinated plants. 

A hybrid does not have to be synonymous with less nutrient value. But it’s a good guess that most hybrids you find in the grocery store are produced for the trait of being able to keep longer rather than to taste good or be high in nutrients.  

It’s my thought that these would be the vegetables used in those studies. Thus my decision to grow mostly open pollinated varieties.

Natural Processes

Both open pollination and cross pollination are natural processes used by nature.  

Unnatural Process 

Genetically Modified Organism is abbreviated GMO.

GMO crops are NOT natural and are lab created.

Genes for a certain trait of one plant or animal can be inserted into another.  (For example to make a blue vegetable they could insert that gene from a blue fish into a fruit or vegetable to make it blue.)

Why Our Gardens are becoming More and More Critical to Our Health

When I started TMG sources stated that  garden vegetables were not GMO.

In 2015 I found the following at this url: “More than 90% of all soybean cotton and corn acreage in the U.S. is used to grow genetically engineered crops. Other popular and approved food crops include sugar beets, alfalfa, canola, papaya and summer squash. More recently, apples that don’t brown and bruise-free potatoes were also approved by the FDA.”

Lately I’ve seen things about various fruits and vegetable in the stores being clones.

I was then rather horrified to learn of mutational breeding. Seeds are exposed to chemicals or radiation to cause more mutations (for greater variation) for conventional breeding.

Another article in 2018 said  More than 1,800 cultivars of crop and ornamental plants including varieties of wheat, rice, cotton and peanuts have been developed <using the method I mentioned above>  and released in more than 50 countries.”

And in that same article “Many common foods such as red grapefruits and varieties of pasta wheat are a result of this approach and, surprisingly, these can still be sold as certified “organic”.

Final Thoughts

In spite of all the things in the food and chemicals in the air to harm us and make us unhealthy (or worse) we can still do a lot for ourselves.

We have to know that government  (laws and such)will not protect us from harm.  That is obvious by the dramatic decline of the National Organic Program as well as many other things going on.

A few of the simple but extremely important things we can do are:

  •  learn what things will harm us and what to avoid
  • buy locally as much as possible and know the grower (be educated enough to visit their farm and ask the right questions)
  • eat real food (NO processed food)
  • if you have to buy (and eat) less in order to afford quality food – do it Being healthy is imperative to making it through what’s ahead
  • get plenty of sunshine and fresh air
  • move as much as you can each day (My garden helps me with that.)
  • think on what you CAN do rather than what you can’t do
  • think on what you WANT your life to be like, rather than the things you might fear
  • prepare for the worst just in case. What you do today will determine what your life will be in the future. You can make tough times in the future bearable by what you do today.
  • take advantage of TMG and learn as many of my simple ways as you can
  • take good care of yourself so you can be here to help your family and others

One More Thing of Interest

Some months ago I read that ” at the end of WWII 45% of Americans got all their fruits and vegetables from their own gardens”. —– “now it’s under 5%”.

We can turn it around and once again learn skills that will keep us alive.

Wishing the best for you and yours,



Suggested reading: Below are my last 3 posts on the decline of the National Organic Program

The Non-Stop Decline of the National Organic Program

Answering Questions – The Decline of the National Organic Program

Information to Think on Before You Purchase Food, Hydroponics, AFO-CAFO meats, Vitamins and Grain for Your animals You Might Think is Organic


All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.


  • I have tried to wake my sons up for 15 years to the reality of our situation. I did not wait until the final hour. I knew what was coming since the false story of 9/11 and the creation of the “Patriot” Act. Then came the deliberate collapse of the housing market in 2008. ( In 1997 I was in training for GMAC Mortgage and was being taught fabricate numbers on the paperwork for clients. I quit. )

    Then I found the information on the Codex Alimentarius through Dr. Rima Laibow. ……. and information through Deborah Tavares’ website Stopthecrime.net. What a wake up call!
    My family chooses to look the other way while Rome burns but I continue to raise my food on a small farmstead. You are very right, we have to be pro-active in what we focus on and create.
    I saved Sorghum seed ( 1/2 gallon bag ), 1/2 gallon bag of Millet, lima bean and bok choy.
    I just saw a video by Morgan Hill Farms on YT about who owns most of the seed and it’s beyond troubling. Saving our own open pollinated seed is a duty, at this point, for our future generations.

  • You have some good points, but here is some food for thought. First, unless you are a farmer and willing to sign a restrictive legal contract, you will not be able to get GMO seed for your garden, so that’s one less worry.

    Theresa’s reply: Great you mentioned that for those who are not aware.

    Second, hybrids are not a problem in terms of buying seed and planting it..And also Bees create hybrids all the time. You can, too. They are a part of nature. They won’t work well for seed saving.

    Theresa’s reply: I thought all that was clear in the post Abby. But glad you confirmed just in case others had a question.

    My favorite hybrid is the Sun-gold tomato.

    Third, mutations can occur naturally or be induced using radiation or chemicals. The radiation passes through the ovum and if it hits DNA a mutation occurs. The seed formed is not radioactive. The same can occur in nature, with solar radiation and naturally occurring radiation and chemicals, but less frequently. Every change in a species is brought about by a mutation and there is nothing inherently good or bad about mutations. If they don’t work well, you don’t get a viable seed or a plant with features you want to continue breeding. Many beautiful flowers we have were produced by this method. If you wanted to avoid man-made mutations, you would have to go back to the wild type plants found in nature, which might have small fruits, non-tasty vegetables and fruits or low producing plants.

    Theresa’s reply – This was an interesting elaboration on mutations.

    Finally, most breeding is done to produce a more useful plant than what one would get by waiting around for one to occur naturally. Saves time, in terms of thousands of years My question about techniques of plant breeding would be whether the particular one used is harmful to the consumer or the environment.

    Theresa’s reply – The idea that “most” breeding is done to produce a more useful plant could be up for debate but I’m not interested in doing that. I do agree of course that is suppose to be the idea and that techniques can be of concern.

    Hope you are feeling great Abby and looking forward to the growing season.

  • Theresa,

    It ALWAYS delights us to receive your Newsletter. As usual it is filled with both Wisdom, Practicality, and Common Sense! So, so many of our friends do not know a thing about gardening or preserving. They are locked into grocery stores, and now sadly. home delivery of non-nutritious meals marketed as “Healthy”.

    Home gardening, as you have noted, not only has the benefit of producing healthy, sustainable food for the table, it also provides a great source of exercise…and Sunshine, Fresh Air, and the Beauty of Nature.

    Thank you for your articles! We so enjoy them!

    Graham and Ednita Murdock
    Springfield, Illinois

  • Always interesting reads. I have been saving some seeds for a while now and there is a difference. The surprise for me was how “my” seeds progressed and will continue to learn how to save. Each time I decided to save a new one I planted mine and one from same package as last year. Mine seemed a bit different but could it be just my imagination. So I planted some from original package and some from my first save and there was a difference and as I planted my seeds I could see them getting happier. They were growing from my home which had become their home, their dirt, their sun, their rain, so save your seeds and give them a home of their own.

  • Thank You for your post, avoiding GMO in prepared foods even graham crackers has become almost impossible. Reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, DDS from the 1930’s is eye opening for me. Our family is considered healthy eaters by almost everyone we know, but we consume white flour and white sugar as well as the good stuff. Getting back into gardening these last 4 yrs has been such a blessing. Fresh vegetables, that don’t have to be inspected for poisions sprayed on them, and now successful fall gardening through to this month with abundant greens and onions. How did we get here? From going to natural foods to unnatural foods. From clean farming to using poisions that not only enter the earth, but also those that consume them. It was known in the 1930’s that food was linked to health. Many times I had heard white flour and white sugar are bad for you, but no one ever gave the reason why now I know. I grind my own grain and don’t sift it, making wholesome foods I do buy this grain which is from Washington state and is offered as non-irradiated and organically grown. No wonder we need grace to be said at meals. May God enlighten our country.

  • I replied to Abby’s comment within the comment to give more clarity.

    Other replies are below:

    Jamie, thank you so much for sharing this. And kudos to you for quiting that job!!

    People have been deceived on just about everything. And indeed it is a shock when one’s eyes are opened. Many look the other way — which is sad.

    Fortunately I found out many years ago about who owns most of the seed. I believe I wrote about it but I can’t remember where. It’s pretty horrifying. And “their” goal is to own it all.

    Very refreshing to know there are still folks out there with backbones and critical thinking!
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences Jamie.

    Graham and Enita,
    As always I appreciate that you enjoy my posts.
    Thank you for letting me know.

    I just love it that you shared your experiments here! I think it will
    be an inspiration to others to do the same. I sure hope if they do as
    you did — they’ll let me know. It would be such fun to have many
    stories to tell about the difference in growth of seed that has “fine tuned” itself to a specific garden!
    Thank you Ray!!

    I always appreciate knowing that the information I provide is helpful. Keeps me writing. Thank YOU, Riva, for letting me know.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story Valerie.

    So glad you are avoiding GMOs. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to me that
    people might not know what to look for. I’ll try to address that when I can.

    I sent you a personal email to expand more.
    I loved every word. Thank you again!

    To Everyone
    Your thoughts and comments mean a lot to me and I appreciate
    the time it takes you to write them.
    What you tell me is the only way I have of knowing if posts are
    beneficial to you.


  • Theresa, I’m just reading this post now. As usual, full of useful information and food for thoughts.
    I’ve also enjoyed reading all the comments, always a bonus!
    Thank you!

  • Hiya Theresa!!
    As always, an excellent post.
    Am happy to see followers of yours who “get it”. I agree that hard times are coming. How hard they’ll be is anybody’s guess.

    It’s always better to have and not need, than need and not have. In other words, even if things don’t get as bad as some of us expect they will, we’re still way better off having fresh home grown food, the exercise and time outdoors it takes to produce it and the health benefits of all of it. It’s a win either way!

    Certainly much better off than if we sat around watching MSNBC, living on fast food and convenience food while slowly surrendering our personal sovereignty to “the experts”.

    Getting rid of cable TV was one of the best things Susan and I ever did. We have one streaming service for movies and such, but we’re no longer subjected to, (in the immortal words of Frank Zappa), “the slime oozing out of your TV set”……..

    Anyways……. It’s already been commented on, but I also am seeing that seed I save is more vigorous than purchased seed. I did a side by side with Spinach recently and the difference in germination between my saved seed and purchased seed is staggering. I’ve also noticed that my little patch of Mache that came back for the 3rd time in the fall is producing larger rosettes than what was growing originally from purchased seed. Seeing is believing, as they say!!!

    I get what you’re saying about mutations. There’s the difference between things happening naturally and things being forced. I grew from a stumpy 4 foot and something young boy to my present height around 5 foot 10 pretty quickly, but it happened naturally, not because someone put me in a machine and stretched me out to what they thought I should be. Scientists think they know better than God and nature….. um…. NO!

    I will forever be grateful to have found TMG.
    Hugs not bugs!

  • Great post Theresa. Some all around good tips.

    70 degrees central Iowa, USA in a couple of days. So, so unusual. Contemplating on splurging for a solar generator and a couple portable
    panels just to keep bare minimum going. Phone, computer and refrigerator/freezer.
    All the best.

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