Posted on June 18, 2010 - by

Seeds Of Life: Open Pollination (video)

There has been tremendous interest in a past post written about Monsanto’s ‘gift’ of hybrid seeds to Haiti.  I thought we should follow up with a bit about exactly how pollination works, to grasp the immense implications of gifting hybrid seeds to a country like Haiti. – Lisa Madison, FRESH

Guest post by Cooking Up a Story

Organic Seed Breeder, Frank Morton Working In the Field; Wild Garden Seed, Philomath, Oregon

Continuing with our Seeds of Life series, Willamette Valley organic seed breeder, Frank Morton, explains the benefits of open pollination in plant breeding, and the important role for farmers in the selection process to continually improve plant varieties for better local adaptation.

In open pollinated plant varieties, pollination can occur from the pollen of related species that sometimes travel great distances (as measured in miles), by insects, wind, and birds.

Open pollinated plants can be selected over time to breed a desired mix of traits, and the seeds from these plants can be reused over successive generations with highly favorable results. In particular, Morton says, organic farmers want organically bred seeds, that is, seeds which are designed to work well in an organic system. Organic farmers place a strong emphasis on maintaining soil fertility, and do not use commercial fertilizers, and other chemicals to artificially boost production yields. Organically bred seeds, may be bred for roots that travel deeper through the ground to acquire the necessary supply of nutrients that a healthy plant may require. By contrast, an organically grown seed, means only that the seeds were grown on organic soil, but will not have been bred to do better under an organic farming system.  Keep Reading….

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