On this week’s episode, the guys talk about vegetable seed and the differences between hybrid, heirloom and GMO seed. They first define heirloom seed as those that have been passed from generation to generation back in the early 1900s. Heirloom plants are open-pollinated, which means that seed can be saved and used for the next year’s crop. Some heirlooms are locally adapted to handle certain disease or pest pressures, which is certainly an advantage. One misconception about heirloom seed is that they have better taste or flavor than hybrid varieties. While the heirlooms may have a more unique shape, many of the modern-day hybrid seeds offer superb flavor comparable to that of heirlooms. They talk about hybrid seeds being the result of a cross-breeding between two related varieties. With hybrids, all of the first generation (F1) plants are the same. However, hybrid seeds cannot be reliably saved because the F2 individuals will not be true to variety. Hybrid seeds are great because they usually offer increased disease or pest-resistance and increased productivity. Finally, they discuss how GMO seeds are manufactured and address the ecological ramifications of seeds that allow the widespread use of non-selective herbicides.
On the Show & Tell segment, Travis has a head of Butter Crunch Lettuce that he harvested earlier that day. He mentions the butterhead lettuce is his favorite because it has such a smooth texture and rich flavor. Butterhead lettuce is great for making wraps with shrimp, chicken or pork.
On the Q & A segment, they answer questions about knife sharpening and the cost of hybrid seeds. Greg mentions that a leather strop is his favorite device for sharpening a knife. As long as the blade isn’t extremely dull, it can worked to shape fairly easily with a leather strop and sharpening compound. Travis mentions that hybrids seeds are usually more expensive because they are more costly to produce. They are also usually better quality seed because they have been bred for disease-resistance or high productivity.