How to create natural seeds or the dehybridization of commercial hybrids, also known as landrace gardening or re-wilding. The process of turning modern hybrids back to wilder forms.
The primary goal in the natural forest farm is extremely high biodiversity (many different types of species) and high genetic diversity (many varieties of the same species).
I have already been collecting wild tree seeds from various different locations. Obviously collecting wild seeds is a lot harder to do with vegetables and herbs. However, it is really easy and fairly cheap to get F1 Hybrid seeds. The problem is that commercial F1 Hybrids are usually grown in a relatively controlled environment. And I want crops that are highly resilient to droughts, heat, diseases, and insects to prepare for worsening climate change. I also want the vegetables to re-seed themselves and I want to re-use the seeds of the previous harvest.
Some hybrids don’t produce viable seeds (altho most do) and the next generations of F1 do not usually produce homogeneous quality crops.
Most F1 Hybrids have been selected and bred specifically for mechanized farming.
Meaning crops that are uniform in size, colour, and fruiting period.
F1 Hybrids are also weak, because they have been grown in pampered conditions where regular weeding, watering, and insecticides or other chemicals take place. They are not that resistant to the challenges that nature would throw at them if they were grown in the wild.
However, because I want to farm in a natural non-mechanized way and because my main objective is genetic diversity I can in fact start with F1 hybrid seeds without being concerned for the genetic purity of the crop. The trick is to grow as many varieties as possible by buying seeds from many different companies. For example, having around 200 or more varieties of the same vegetable will ensure a large gene pool for nature to decide which plants survive and which will be culled. Another trick is to not pamper these plants, instead to harden them to local climatic conditions by neglecting them.
In the long term, this will create strong plants that are the most adapted to my local climate. This method is also known as landrace gardening, re-wilding, or dehybridization. Having high diversity of cultivars increases the disease and insect resistance of the entire crop.
Another thing that will happen with dehybridization which as the term implies is the exact opposite of commercial breeding to make hybrids… is there will be a large variety of different sizes, colours, and tastes of the same species – the one thing that commercial hybrids try to avoid.
When you look into the supermarkets at the vegetable sections you will notice how every variety of vegetables has nearly the same size, colour, and taste.
This is simply because the supermarkets want to “please” the consumers in having always the same standard product. And so the seed companies, the [modern] farmers, and the supermarkets are all in the same line. The seed companies create hybrids to cater to the supermarkets. These hybrids will be bred for size, colour, storage duration, and pesticide resistance. However commercial hybrids usually do not select for climate resistance, pest resistance, and sometimes neither taste. The first two are because they are not really needed in modern mechanized farming where plants are pampered and the latter simply because sometimes taste has to be sacrificed for the perfect shape, colour, or storage duration. And it is only the farmers that grow these hybrids that are allowed to sell to the supermarkets, farmers that do not meet the standard are rejected; even tho farmers that do reach the supermarket standard have often excellent produce.
When you visit the vegetable markets in the Philippines you will see a large variety of different vegetables. Vegetables of the same species in many different shapes, colours, and stages of ripeness.
1 thought on “How To Create Natural Seeds Or The Dehybridization Of Commercial Hybrids”
Nice post. I wish more people knew about the possibility to dehybridise commercial seeds. I think a lot of people first starting farming or gardening all usually believe that they need to buy “heirloom” or “open pollinated” seeds in order to save seeds, otherwise it’s not worth doing. I believe Carol Deppe covers this in one of her books.