Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ancient Seeds

This morning someone asked me if Mary's Heirloom Seeds offered truly ancient seeds.  Specifically, not from the 1980s but true heirloom seeds.

The definition of an heirloom is a seed variety that is more than 50 years old.  Some prefer a variety that is over 100 years old. An heirloom seeds is NOT a GMO and is NOT a hybrid.

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we offer a few varieties than can be traced back as far as the 1700s!  It's true!  So today I'm going to highlight some of those varieties....we offer offer over 230 heirloom seed varieties so these are just a few!

LOVE LIES BLEEDING AMARANTH
90 days. Tall, 3’- 5’ plants are covered with very long rope-like flowers that are a deep, brilliant red color. One of the most striking plants for any garden and so easy to grow. Amaranth is one of our favorite crops! A good seed producer, too. This is a very old heirloom, a pre-1700 variety, that was very popular. Leaves are tasty as cooked greens.


GOLDEN WAX BUSH BEAN
55 days.  Old-time favorite introduced in 1900.  Excellent quality and yields.  Stringless pods are 5-7 inches long with delicious wax bean flavor.  Good for freezing or canning.


HENDERSON'S VALENTINE BLACK BEAN
50-55 days. Introduced in 1897 by Peter Henderson & Co., this excellent fresh snap bean has tasty pods. Also makes a fine dry soup bean. Great yields! A perfect all-purpose bean!


KENTUCKY WONDER "Old Homestead" BEAN
Pole Bean variety.  Introduced in 1864, this bean was originally known by the name 'Old Homestead.'  What made the 'Kentucky Wonder' a wonder was, in part, its size. The beans are extraordinarily long.  They produce beans in clusters over an extended season. 'Kentucky Wonder' beans actually mature in 58-72 days.


CALABRESE BROCCOLI
48 days. (Brassica oleracea) An Italian heirloom that was brought to America in the 1880s, 5-8" heads and many side shoots.
 
CHIOGGIO BEET
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.

NERO DI TOSCANA CABBAGE
Also called 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.


ST. VALERY CARROT
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.


COUNTRY GENTLEMAN SWEET CORN
90 days.  The ears reach 7-8 inches long and produce a sweet and delicious, white kernel.  The ears have no rows, as this is a shoepeg type, and kernels are packed in a zigzag pattern.  Country Gentleman was introduced around 1890 by Frank Woodruff & Sons.  One of the best heirloom sweet corns. *NON-GMO*


STOWELL'S EVERGREEN SWEET CORN
90-110 days.  Released commercially in 1856.  This delicious white sweet corn is regarded as the "King of All White Sweet Corn Varieties", has been popular for over 162 years.   Stowell's Evergreen matures slowly over a long period, extending the usual harvest and produces 9 inch ears with 16 to 20 rows of plump, sweet white kernels. It has a good shelf life, and is a good option for eating fresh, canning or freezing. *NON-GMO*

LEMON CUCUMBER
65 days.   Yummy little striped round balls of sunshine goodness!  Introduced in 1894.  Lemon cucumbers are crunchy, non bitter skin and about the size of a tennis ball. 

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.


EARLY PURPLE KOHLRABI
60 days. Delicious cabbage-flavored bulbs that grow above ground. Purple skin and sweet, white flesh; good cooked or raw. Kohlrabi makes a real staple crop, with high yields; cold hardy.  A pre-1860 heirloom.


SPECKLED LETTUCE
45 days. Beautiful apple-green leaves speckled and splashed with deep red. Originally a Dutch variety brought from the Netherlands to Ontario, Canada by Mennonite immigrant Urias Martin in 1799.  A beautiful loose-leaf variety.

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.

FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISH
23 days.  Mild spicy flavor, oblong radish that grows 1 1/2 to 2 inches.  A pre-1885 French heirloom.


CONNECTICUT FIELD PUMPKIN
100-110 days.  Connecticut field pumpkins usually grow to around 20lbs. They reach around 12 inches in diameter and have a thick flesh. A great pumpkin for baking pies or carving Jack-o-Lanterns.  Introduced prior to 1700.


5 COLOR SWISS CHARD, also called RAINBOW CHARD
Chard was first described in 1753 by Carl von Linn√© as Beta vulgaris var. cicla.   
50-60 days. (Beta vulgaris) This chard originated in Australia. A beautiful chard; its colors are brilliant (pink, yellow, orange, red and white). Very mild ornamental. Pretty enough to plant in the flower garden;  so delicious!


BRANDYWINE TOMATO
80-90 days.  One of the most popular heirloom tomatoes!   A favorite of many gardeners; large fruit with superb flavor. A great potato-leafed variety from 1885! Beautiful pink fruit up to 1-1/2 lbs. each!


CHEROKEE PURPLE TOMATO
80 days. Indeterminate. An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit. Cherokee Purple tomatoes are beefsteak in style.


RIESENTRAUBE TOMATO
80 days.  Plant produces extremely heavy yields of 1" red cherry tomatoes. Tomatoes are very flavorful. Grows in cluster of 20 to 40 tomatoes. Name translates to "Giant Bunch of Grapes". Excellent for making tomato wine. Grown by Pennsylvania Dutch as early as 1856. A heirloom from Germany.

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we also offer a very unique selection of both Medicinal and Culinary herbs, some that have been used for centuries.

From our website:

All of the seeds listed are open-pollinated, non-gmo and non-hybrid, non-patented,  untreated, heirloom garden seeds.
Mary has signed the Safe Seed pledge.  
Most seed orders placed Monday-Thursday
are shipped within 24 hours, (except for holidays)

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!

HAPPY PLANTING! 
 
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