There are two types of seed: Heirloom and Hybrid. Heirloom is a pure seed and will reproduce its parent plant identical. A Hybrid has been developed from multiple plants cross pollinating. Hybridized plants are usually more disease resistant, drought resistant, larger size, etc. But the seed from a hybrid will not reproduce that same plant. It will reproduce one of the parent plants that it originally came from – you never know what you will get in other words. There is also the possibility that the seeds from hybrids will be sterile and produce nothing. So, my best suggestion is to have some Heirloom plants (they are usually the most flavorsome too) so that you can collect their seeds. But you may want to include some hybrids for their higher production ability during the season you are in. Make sense?
Now, as to cross-pollination.
Yes, some plants will cross-pollinate and therefore alter your heirloom seeds.
The following plants will have less than 5% of compromised seeds due to cross-pollination:
Bush, pole andlimabeans, chicory, Endive, English and Southern peas, tomatoes. So you can plant several varieties of them closer together.
The following plants can cross-pollinate prolifically so you need to separate different varieties as much as possible:
Cabbage, radish, beets, corn, carrots, onions, celery, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, kale, parsnip,
Brusselssprouts, kohlrabi, hot and sweet peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, citron, muskmelon, pumpkins,
Collards, mustard, rutabaga, cucumbers, okra, squashes, eggplant, parsley, watermelons, gourds,
Asparagus, spinach, some hybrid cucumbers
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