Regular seeds function exactly how nature intended, with an even chance of emerging as either male or female plants. They offer unique advantages that feminized seeds can’t, such as the ability to create and grow cuttings.
They also preserve genetic stability for breeding purposes and provide phenotype variation. Regular seed cultivation requires a little more work than feminized, but can be highly rewarding for those looking to explore and cultivate new strains.
While feminized seeds offer the convenience of an all-female harvest, regular seed can be valuable for breeders looking to produce new varieties. They can also help preserve the genetics of a particular plant phenotype. Nonetheless, it takes more effort to grow regular seeds because you must sex your plants to remove any males that are produced, or risk losing out on a potential harvest.
In industrialized countries, the nature of breeding is shifting away from farm-saved and community seed systems based on sharing and exchange, supporting local adapted landraces and food sovereignty, to highly commercial and scientifically controlled activities carried out by large multinational corporations. Consequently, it is important to develop models that address social justice and equity within the corporate seed business (such as paying contract farmers a fair price for their seeds). The current model of exclusive control of seeds by a few corporate companies threatens agro-biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate robustness, food security, safety, and quality, and food and seed sovereignty.
Seeds give you the ability to crossbreed and create new strains. However, seeds have a genetic code of their own that can affect how they grow. This means that your crop of sibling plants won’t be identical.
Clones are easier to work with than seeds because they’re exact duplicates of the mother plant. But they’re still delicate and require a carefully regulated environment with the proper lighting and humidity. If you don’t have the right conditions, a clone can die before it roots.
Clones can also inherit any flaws from their mother, including diseases and vulnerabilities to pests and fungus. This makes vetting your sources of clones a must. Also, clones require a specific rooting medium that’s often expensive to purchase and difficult to find in stores and dispensaries. In addition, clones take longer to flower than seeds because they haven’t developed the same amount of genetic potential. This is especially true for autoflowering clones.
Genetics is the process of transferring genes from one organism to another. The process of genetics can be influenced by environmental factors that can affect the outcome of gene expression. For example, two plants may be genetically identical, but one plant may grow taller than the other because of the environment it is in. This is referred to as nature versus nurture.
Seed production involves isolation of fields for avoiding cross pollination from neighboring fields and careful sowing, harvesting, threshing and handling to avoid mechanical mixtures. It also involves testing of seeds to ensure high genetic purity and uniformity.
We used MAGIC lines to study the genetic variation in both seed size and number per fruit, and their interaction with flowering time. We found that field selfing rate influenced progeny inbreeding, but this increase could not be explained by genetically determined trade-offs between seed size and number. Moreover, the average phenotypic mean and broad sense heritability for seed weight and number were not significantly different, and a low correlation between these traits was observed.
Organic farming focuses on preventative practices that minimize external inputs and upstream pollution. This includes crop rotation, cover crops, organic fertilizers and pest control techniques, minimizing ground water pollution by avoiding synthetic chemical inputs, and encouraging biodiversity on farms.
In order to sell seed as organic, it must be grown from certified organic seed and handled under organic conditions. All organic growers, food processors and handlers must meet national organic standards, keep careful records and be certified by a USDA-accredited organization with on-site inspections.
While organic growers must use organic seed, they may be exempt from using it if the organic variety they need is not commercially available. This exemption is intended to allow organic producers to continue growing until the supply of organic varieties catches up to demand. However, the exemption does not require that organic breeders develop new varieties for the market, and consolidation challenges in the seed industry are reducing choice for growers.