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  • Writer's pictureBecca

Let's talk about GMO's and Disease Resistance...

A lot of things you need to know about GMO's and planting for a disease resistant garden


Everyone has heard of GMO's. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe GMO's are bad and hurt us. That is not true.


Lavender with Text reading GMO's and Disease Resistance
Time for some real talk

There are a lot of myths surrounding GMO's. Things like; farmers can't save GMO seeds (patented seeds are intellectual property of a company, so technically the seeds cannot be saved and regrown. This isn't the case for all of them. However it's not always worth it anyway as certain GMO seeds do not produce as much the next year and so on), GMO's are a plot to control the food supply and ultimately the world population (While the seeds protected by intellectual property are strictly protected, Most developing countries need GMO crops as they are specifically made to prevent diseases and food shortages).


That whole "Monsanto is Murder" thing? Dude it's the company that's refusing to allow farmers to save their seeds. That's a greed thing not a science thing. In my opinion, seeds should be public domain.



What do I know about GMO's


I prefer to do my own research. I read up on them in various research collections. This post may be all over the place. I'm not the greatest at staying on topic. I'll be dispelling some myths about Genetically Modified Crops and if I don't run out of room I'll add some stuff for planting for disease resistance if you want to stick with heirloom.


Truth about GMO's

What Are GMO's

Disease resistance in Heirloom gardens


 

Truth about GMO's


Experiment beakers and liquid with plant
The Truth about GMO's

GMO's: the myths and the facts

GMO's are developed under VERY strict bio-safety protocols to make sure it doesn't pose a threat to animals or humans. Farmers who grow GMO crops do less tilling, which reduces topsoil loss, erosion, and the associated runoff of fertilizer. Pest-resistant GMO crops reduce the use of harmful pesticides and preserves good bugs like bees. Reduced runoff fertilizer and pesticides also mean that our water is cleaner!

There have been MANY tests to figure out if GMO plants are bad for us. And no. They are not.


Please also note: GMO's and Organic gardening have nothing to do with each other. GMO is a breeding method. Organic gardening is a cultivation method. GMO's actually make it easier to organically garden as you don't need chemical pesticides.



Bee killed by pesticides
Dead bee due to pesticide use

Chemical pesticides kill ALL bugs, not just bad ones. This is not good for our dwindling bee populations.


What are GMO's?


GMO literally means Genetically Modified Organism. Something that nature itself does (natural selection). Genetic engineering is just us replicating this natural phenomenon quicker.


We take a gene form one plant that makes it resistant to things like blight and share it with another plant that suffers from blight easily. We're kind of vaccinating the plants. Like how after the black plague, a number of the descendants of those who survived are actually HIV resistant. (Cool right?)


There are some heirloom varieties that are disease resistant as well. Once science can successfully engineer the other plants to continue producing the same amount or more, the push for heirloom varieties won't be so loud. After all, that's literally the only difference between hybrid and heirloom.


Still want Heirloom? Planting for disease resistance


No worries, I get it. I like heirloom seeds too. So what can you do to prevent diseases in heirloom gardens?

For one thing, you can figure out some good remedies for common diseases and keep an eye on your garden for early signs.


Wanna know some disease resistant heirloom varieties?

TOMATOES

Pruden’s Purple – Heirloom variety tomato, resistant to late blight.

Tigerella – Heirloom variety tomato, resistant to late blight.

Iron Lady – F1 HYBRID tomato, resistant to early and late blight.

Mountain Merit – Determinate, resistant to late blight and various wilts.

Plum Regal – F1HYBRID tomato, resistant to late blight and various wilts.

ZUCCHINI

Dunja – F1 HYBRID, resistant to powdery mildew and cold weather

CUCUMBER

Regal – Pickling cucumber resistant to bacterial wilt and powdery mildew.

Marketmore – Slicing cucumber resistant to bacterial wilt and powdery mildew.


Did you also know that, like us, microbes can help prevent diseases in plants? Beneficial microbes produce compounds that help the plant's immune systems to fight of diseases. How do you get these microbes? Some plants produce these and put them in the soil. That's why companion planting is so important.


I've given a lot of information and I don't even have everything in here. There will be more info coming soon detailing a bit more. If you check out the source at the bottom it details the types of microbes that improve disease resistance.



Sources:


Yu Y, Gui Y, Li Z, Jiang C, Guo J, Niu D. Induced Systemic Resistance for Improving Plant Immunity by Beneficial Microbes. Plants (Basel). 2022 Jan 30;11(3):386. doi: 10.3390/plants11030386. PMID: 35161366; PMCID: PMC8839143.

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