Types of Seeds: Wich is the best for the urban garden Posted on 19 Sep 10:16

The subject of the seed often generates questions in the urban gardener and especially in the new horticultural enthusiasts. The most common questions are related to what should be the best type of seed to plant in a garden and how to recognize the type or classification of the seed that we are going to plant. In this blog we will be developing a discussion on the subject of the seed with the aim of generating knowledge and expand concepts that may be useful for application in our orchard or garden.

There are many ways to classify a seed. These seeds classifications depend to a large extent on the intention to use, the origin and its production method. From these classifications different names are given to designate the type of seed. This technical classification tends to create confusion in the amateur gardener who does not know the processes and variables that are taken into account for the classification of the seeds. Among the most common types of seeds and of greatest interest for use in the urban garden, we can mention the following types of seeds: transgenic, hybrid, traditional and wild. Within these large groups we can find other classifications, synonyms or categories such as certified seeds, improved, open pollination, etc. Next we will to discuss each category separately and its main characteristics.


Transgenic Seed: This is a commercial type of seed developed in biotechnological laboratories in order to obtain genetic improvements, higher yield and other characteristics such as resistance to pests and resistance to certain types of agrochemicals. The development of this seed is based mainly on the manipulation of its genome with which it is possible to have the desired characteristics. It is aimed at large-scale agricultural production. This type of seed can also be known as registered, patented or improved seed. It is not a seed of free distribution because when it is genetically modified its developer enjoys patents and all production and distribution rights. It has the disadvantage that it cannot be reproduced in the urban garden or have its reproduction prohibited by law. Another disadvantage is that they can cross and contaminate similar species by transferring their altered genes to the original plants. Although their performance in the field tends to be higher, they represent a risk against global food security because when they cross with natural crops they can transfer their genes to these plants and their developers become owners of all seeds that carry the patented genes. This characteristic has the potential to extinguish the original seeds and that a single company becomes the absolute owner of a species or variety of crop. Another disadvantage of this type of seed is that there are still insufficient studies on the implications of transgenic crops on human health. The transgenic seed is not recommended for the urban gardener. Hybrid Seeds: This is a seed produced by a developer from a natural cross between two genetic lines of a species to look for a variety with the desirable characteristics in the crop. In this type of seed the crossing is done intentionally but naturally through the pollen of the plants. The result will be a plant that will possess the desired characteristics coming from the progenitor plants. The first generation product of this crossing is known as F1. It is this first generation that will carry all the specific characteristics of the variety in question. The disadvantage of this type of seed is that it can only be used once as it is not ensured that the next generations of the seed bear the specific characteristics of the variety due to genetic variability. Therefore you have to resort to the purchase if you want to plant the seed again. Traditional seeds: They are also known as seeds of open pollination, seeds of free distribution or heirloom. These are basic seeds that have been cultivated for generations and have gone through a selection process where the farmer chooses the best fruits of the harvest to re-sow their seeds. They maintain their genetic consistency and can freely collect seeds of their fruits to make new plantings. It is the best seed that can guarantee food security anywhere in the world and is the perfect seed for sowing in the urban garden. According to their cultivation method, they can be classified as conventional seeds if they have been cultivated in a conventional way, organic, if they have been cultivated free of agro-toxic or ecological, if they have been cultivated imitating and respecting the natural processes of the ecosystem. Wild seeds: This is an original seed. It can be native or introduced and belonging to a particular place or ecosystem. Although it is not a commercial or traditional seed, many of these varieties are interesting in the urban garden due to their ethnobotanical and cultural qualities. An example could be some wild plants with medicinal properties such as major plantain, dandelion, ect.