heirloom vegetables and seeds, you'll like them!
The Case For
Heirloom or heritage seeds in general
seeds that have been saved and grown year after year. Heirloom
vegetables have a well deserved reputation for tasting better and
producing more crops. Growers generally save the best tasting
fruits from the best plants each year, resulting in better plants over
Growing and Saving
Heirloom Vegetables and Plants
On a practical level, you will be saving money on seed each year.
Saving seed from a plant you've grown will also help your variety do
better in your climate and unique combination of growing conditions.
By growing and saving your seeds
year you are also helping to promote bio-diversity. What's the big deal with bio-diversity? Growing
different varieties of a single vegetable can help farmers get through
tough times when one variety fails. If you are only growing one
variety you run the risk of losing your entire crop. The most
famous example of this would be the Irish Potato Famine.
Saving seed year after year can produce a tough plant that science just
can't buy (yet). Today research is being done on tomatoes that
withstand extreme cold and a very short growing season. Where did
they get this amazing tomato plant? From seed saved by home
gardeners in Siberia.
How can you grow melons in the dry,
scalding hot desert? From seed saved by the Navajo Nation in the arid Western US.
Be a rebel. Growing heirlooms isn't popular with everyone. The
big seed companies will sell them (because you are demanding them.) But
they can't put a trademark on these seeds and if you save them for next
year, they lose your money. From a business standpoint, many seed
companies create hybrids simply to have a variety they own and you can
only buy from them.
Here is an interesting piece about heirloom plants from
There has been a lot of
attention in the press in
years to 'heirloom' or 'traditional'
varieties, yet many people are unclear as to just what these terms
Since I find no universally
accepted definitions among seedsmen and preservation workers, here are
the meanings of the terms as
I use them:
TRADITIONAL HEIRLOOM VARIETIES
Any variety developed more than 50
years ago. Includes many
commercially developed and distributed varieties.
Any variety that owes its existence
to its preservation by home gardeners
or private individuals, rather than the seed trade. This includes old
varieties whose origin is
unknown which have been passed down from generation to generation, as
well as old varieties
developed by seedsmen which at some point were dropped by the seed
trade and would have been lost
had they not been maintained by home gardeners.
Our thanks to J.L.
Hudson, Seedsman for their gracious help with this information.
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