Thursday, April 12, 2012

WHAT is an Heirloom Seed?

More and more people are turning to their own backyards for sustenance and piece of mind.  Whether your garden is financially, politically or hobby oriented there are several things to consider before you get started.

I've already written about my disgust for gmos and their destruction of the food system as a whole so I won't get into it again.  I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.
Country Gentleman Sweet Corn
Heirloom seeds produce heirloom vegetables or produce.  An heirloom seeds is not necessarily an organic seed (but can be).  A gmo seed is neither heirloom or organic.  The definition of heirloom "is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members."  An heirloom seed therefore is a seed which 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 heirloom seeds have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years.

Heirloom seeds are typically a hardy variety.  The weak have not survived.

For example, the heirloom variety Calabrese Broccoli is "An Italian heirloom that was brought to America in the 1880s."  The Country Gentleman Sweet Corn "was introduced around 1890 by Frank Woodruff & Sons.  One of the best heirloom sweet corns."  Not to mention the Connecticut Field Pumpkin, "A great pumpkin for baking pies or carving Jack-o-Lanterns. Introduced prior to 1700."  The Red Fig Tomato, "Great for drying or preserving. 
This heirloom dates back to the 1700's." 
These are only just a few out of hundreds of varieties available to any interested gardener.
French Breakfast Radish
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned gardener there is an heirloom for you!  To make things a bit easier, I've posted instructions for Growing from Seed.  If you're a beginner, I encourage you to use it and share the information.

My favorite varieties so far have been the Purple Top Whiteglobe Turnip (pre-1880s), the Cherokee Purple Tomato (1890s) and the French Breakfast Radish (pre-1885 French heirloom).

Whichever varieties you choose to grow, have patience and enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your labor.

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