Saturday, February 14, 2015

So Many NEW Heirloom Seed Varieties...Where do I Start?

In the last month and a half, we've added over 35 NEW varieties of heirloom, organic, non-GMO & non-hybrid, open-pollinated seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

I've had a few customers ask about seed varieties, not knowing that
 we've already added them.  It seems that some have been "lost in the shuffle"
so today I'm going to share a bunch of my favorites.
**Warning: May cause excitement overload**

Jacob's Cattle Bush Bean
 90 days. An old-time bean from the New England states, the white and maroon-mottled beans have long been a staple for baking and soups. This early, bush variety is also good as a snap bean. 

Rattlesnake Pole Bean
 60-90 days.  This pole bean is easy to grow and produces lots of green pods that have purple streaks. Good flavor and very tender; the speckled seeds are popular in soup.
This variety is great for hot, humid areas. 

Nero Toscana Cabbage aka Dino Kale aka Lacinato Kale
 60 days. This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800’s at least. It has beautiful, deep black-green leaves that can be 24” long.
They are heavily savoyed. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews. 

 68 days. Scarlet Nantes is a  carrot with bright orange, slightly tapered, 6 inch roots; crisp, tender and flavorful; standard for high quality carrots.

 70 days. RARE.  The Vilmorins of France mentioned this variety in 1885 and said it had been grown a “long time” then. A large handsome variety with bright red-orange roots; smooth, 10”-12” long & 2”-3” in diameter. Sweet & tender.

 70-90 days.  VERY RARE and hard to find corn variety.Painted corn is extremely cold and drought tolerant for a corn.   Painted Mountain corn grows about 5' tall producing ears about 7" long. 
Painted Mountain makes very tasty cornmeal for muffins, cornbread or chips.  This corn can also be eaten fresh or roasted in the early "milk" stage.

 70 days.  High yields of unusual, mild-tasting cukes turn yellow when ripe. Great for slicing and pickling. These are also known as yard-long cucumbers or snake melon. Actually related to muskmelon, the cucumbers have a cantaloupe-like aroma when sliced. Although they grow to up to a couple feet long, they are best harvested when 12 to 18 inches long. The fruit will grow straighter if grown on a trellis; on the ground, the fruit is often crooked. When using a trellis, plants may be spaced 1 foot apart.

 55 days. Very productive pickling type. Bright green fruits reach to 8 inches, but may be harvested much smaller. Very early.  Originally introduced in 1924 by Joseph Harris Seed Company, who wrote: “The remarkable thing about this new cucumber is its wonderful productiveness. For every pickle that is cut off, two or three more are produced.” 

Mixed Finger Eggplant
 60-80 days.  This is a MIXED package of white, green and purple slim finger-like eggplants.  Delicious and sweet, they bring great color to the garden and flavor to the dinner table.  A fun mix, perfect for backyard growers or a farmer's market!

Vaccinium MyrtillusYou do not have to start your blueberries from cuttings or nursery shrubs. For the patient gardener, growing blueberry shrubs from seed can give you excellent results.
Just give it time, enough sun and acidic soil and you will have some wonderful blueberry plants out your front door. Blueberry plants will start producing berries when about 2 years old, but will not mature and offer maximum berry yield until they are about seven years old. 

Ananas D'Amerique A Chair Verte Melon
90 days.  This historic heirloom was grown by Thomas Jefferson in 1794. It was offered commercially in the USA in 1824, and it was illustrated in color in France in 1854 in the Vilmorin Album. This wonderful variety has become very rare. The fruit have netted skin and light green flesh that is firm, sweet and highly perfumed. Productive plants can be trained up a trellis. 

Common Plantain
The flowers of Common Plantain are shaped like small green cabbage heads. Plants grow 12 inches tall when in full bloom and are easily grown from herb seeds. The foliage is low growing and green. The name 'Rosularis' means rose-like referring to the look of the flower heads which are shaped like double roses. Common Plantain will self-seed readily by dropping its seeds and forming new Plantain herbs the following spring. Other names for this herb are Greater Plantain and Rat Tail Plantain. 

Morris Heading Collards
70 days.  This variety is called "Cabbage Collards" by southern Old-Timers, because it makes loose heads that are dark green and slow bolting.  Tender leaves are very delicious; a popular heirloom that is fast growing. 

Ailsa Craig Onion
95 days.  Long day type. Very well-known globe-shaped heirloom onion that reaches really huge size--5 lbs is rather common! The skin is a pale yellow and the flesh is relatively mild and sweet, so is recommended for fresh use—not a storage type. Introduced in 1887 by David Murray, gardener for the Marquis of Ailsa, at Culzean Castle in Maybole, South Ayrshire, Scotland. 

Sugar Snap Pea
70 days.  This is the wonderfully sweet, edible-pod pea so popular with consumers and gardeners. The delicious, tender pods are great raw (eaten before you ever leave the garden), stir-fried, or in salads. They also freeze very well.

Little Marvel Garden Pea
60 days. Vigorous bush plants, heavy yields and fine-flavored peas. A great home garden variety. An heirloom from 1908.  Pods are 3 inches with 5 or 6 peas.  Fine sweet flavor when picked young.  Compact 18 to 20 inch plant does not require staking.

Cayenne Pepper (slim)
85 days.  This is truly an heirloom as the Cayenne is known to be Pre-Columbian in origin. 
It is said to be named after the Cayenne River in French Guyana.  First offered in the seed trade by Joseph Breck & Son in 1883.
A hot, zesty and pungent organic pepper that is 6" long, but only a 1/2" wide.  Don't let the size fool you, these pack a punch that will put a zing in any dish. These peppers have a heat rating about 30,000-50,000 Scoville Units.

Charleston Hot Pepper
85 days.  Fruits are 3-4" long and 3/4" wide.  Charleston hot pepper starts out lemon yellow, turns to bright orange and finally red.  Very hot.  Many say as hot as the habanero.  Very popular in any dish where you need a little heat.   Charleston Hot pepper makes a great sauce.  **Resistant to Root-Knot Nematodes

Spanish Black Radish
55 days.  A true heirloom with a snowy white interior and jet black skin.  Black Spanish is a great fall/winter planted radish.  The flesh is crisp and warming. Perfect for salads or raw with a little salt. Easy to grow.

Early Scarlet Globe Radish
22 days. The classic, round red radish with crisp white flesh that is mild and tasty.
Has better warm weather tolerance than many. 

Pineapple Tomato
 75-95 days Very large, up to 2 lbs. each. The yellow fruit has red marbling through the flesh and is one of the most beautiful tomatoes!  The flavor is very sweet and fruity; good yields.

Violet Jasper Tomato
75-95 days.  When these little jewels ripen, your eyes will be stunned with color. They have pretty violet-purple fruit with iridescent green streaks! Fruit weigh 1-3 ounces, are smooth and have good tasting, dark purplish-red flesh. This variety will also amaze you with its yield! A great variety for marketing. 





And then there are the Organic Wildflower Seeds!
There you have it!  
Thanks for stopping by and if you have additional questions please feel free to ask.

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