Why Buy Heirloom Seeds?
It's so important to buy heirloom seeds! Why? Not just because it will save you a lot of money, but you're also protecting your future.
So What Are Heirloom Seeds?
Heirloom seeds are 'non-hybrid seeds'. That means you can gather seeds from this year's crop, and use them to plant next years. AND be safe in the knowledge you will get the same beautifully abundant crop.
So you only ever need buy one packet!
If you buy hybrid seeds however, you cannot reliably keep the seed. They may germinate poorly, and are unlikely to grow true to the original seeds you bought! Hybrid seed forces you to buy new seeds every planting season.
They don't want you to gather and re-use seed, because they don't make any more money if you do.
What To Look For With Heirloom Seeds
The best heirloom seeds are tested every year to ensure you are getting excellent open pollination rates.
This alone is a good reason to buy heirloom seeds. Not only will nearly all of the seeds grow, but they will give excellent crops to harvest.
But you also need to look for domestic seeds. By that, I mean seed proven to be reliable in your country. Heirloom seeds from the USA are unlikely to do well in Australia.
How Long Can You Keep Heirloom Seeds?
It depends greatly on the packaging. Seed you collect yourself should ideally be used the next year. It will last much longer if you store carefully in dry, cool, dark conditions. But it also depends on what the seed is from. Germination rates can fall significantly with old seed.
Some manufacturers have solved the problem of packaging for long term storage. I consider this to be the second most important reason to buy heirloom seeds.
Safeguarding Your Future
Not all companies even bother to consider storage. Or that you may want to store seeds against a time when they will be needed, due to downward spiraling economies.
Let's face facts; our economy is not so good right now. Imagine if it gets worse. Money will lose value fast and food may become the goods you will have the best ability to trade with!
There is a history of countries whose economy has fallen into ruin. There have been times when bread could not be bought for $100 a loaf. If you have a way to grow your own food, your family is protected. If you can grow more than you need - you have excellent goods to trade.
One way to think of it is - when you buy heirloom seeds you are buying some security. If you are ever forced to survive on what you can grow in your own garden then reliable heirloom seeds are what you need.
Where To Buy
There are lots of places. But if you want to buy heirloom seeds for the USA, I recommend Seed Savers Exchange which is a non-profit working to save all sorts of heirloom seed from extinction. And the best way to do that is to get more people growing these amazing old varieties.