Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wonderful World of Heirloom Seeds

What comes to mind when you hear "Heirloom"? Maybe Antique or family heritage...

An heirloom seed variety has been saved and passed down from generation to generation. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and are considered a great value to the recipient. Some say an heirloom variety is 50 years old or more.  Some heirloom varieties have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years.

Heirloom Seeds can be very unique like the Lemon Cucumber and others are just like the produce you buy in the store (only tastier) like the Roma Tomato.

An heirloom seed is neither a Hybrid or a GMO.

A Hybrid seed is seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrid seed production is predominant in agriculture and home gardening.

A GMO, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Back to HEIRLOOM SEEDS, or True Seeds, and let's get this party started!  I'm going to share a few of my favorites today.  Throughout the week I'll share even more unique varieties.
80 days. A very popular heirloom vegetable! A favorite of many gardeners, large fruit with superb flavor. A great potato-leafed variety from 1885! 

Beautiful yellow/orange fruit up to 1½ lbs each! 

70 days. One of the earliest watermelons we know of, superb for the north, but it also grows well in heat and drought. The flesh is red and deliciously sweet.
Fruit have a dark rind and weigh 8-12 lbs. each. A favorite of many gardeners across the USA.


80-90 days.  One of the most popular heirloom types; this one has 7”-long fruit that are white with lovely bright purple stripes. They are so beautiful with sweet, tender flesh. This amazing variety hails from Spain, a country that is renowned for fine food. 

100 days.  This beautiful pumpkin was introduced by Johnson & Stokes in 1893. Lovely 6-lb golden fruit have white netting and are perfect for pies. In fact, this is one of the best tasting pie pumpkins you can grow; with very sweet and smooth flesh, it's a favorite of all who grow it.
Try going the homemade heirloom route by using winter squash instead of canned pumpkin in your pumpkin pies.

60 days.  These juicy beets have light red skin and beautiful rings inside, almost like a peppermint candy.  A pre-1840 Italian heirloom beet variety.  Arrived in the USA before 1865.  Flesh is tender, sweet and mild.

75 Days.  A large Jalapeno pepper that turns deep purple before maturing to red. Full Jalapeno flavor and heat; great for salsa and other Mexican foods.  Plants both productive and ornamental.

Very uniform, all purple Italian strain.  A beautiful (sweet) and ornamental variety. Spectacular as a garnish, in salads, or for adding color to basil vinegars.

Stay tuned for more unique varieties of Heirloom, Non-GMO seeds

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