Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When A Seed Is Not Just A Seed, But A Heirloom!

What is the difference between heirloom seeds and hybrids? Hybrids were started so that they could grow anywhere, ripen uniformly, ship well, and keep longer than heirlooms. Science came up with the hybrids. For all the reasons listed above. They might not have as good of a taste, but they keep longer and ship well, ripen uniformly and can be grown anywhere. Hybrids where started in the 1940's. Seeds from before that time are heirloom. Heirloom seeds you can save the seeds from one year to the next, and you get what you expect. Not with hybrids.

For those that love tantalizing flavors and classic beauty of old-fashioned vegetables. These are known as heirlooms, these are "antique" varieties often have birthrights that go back centuries, and as the name implies, they are treasured. It's all in the taste, then you will know why they are treasured.

Some do better in some areas better than others. Get some and try them. Seed companies have them. You just have to order them and try them. Heirloom seed when times are tough could be of more value then our paper money or some metals. With heirloom seeds you will always have somethings to eat.

How did heirloom seeds become what they are now? Heirlooms have endured because people cared enough about the flavor and /or their disease resistance or growing habits to keep planting and saving their seeds from one season to the next. Heirlooms include...

* Seed companies and market gardeners that developed plants in the past.
* From home gardeners that have beloved backyard mongrels that they have been carefully growing, saving and passing along through the families from year to year.
* Varieties that are coming into the U.S. from other parts of the world that are not hybrids.

Things to keep in mind are the next 5 things for the best results for growing heirloom plants.

* Try out a number of the varieties to find the ones that have the best flavor to you. Some heirlooms are more regional than others and require certain conditions for maximum flavor.
* Harvest them regularly to encourage continues growth. Most heirlooms mature over a period of time rather than all at once. Observe the plants through the growing season and take notes that you will know what to expect the next time that you grow them.
* Taste it at various stages to know when the best flavor is. That way you know when an heirloom is at its peak.
* Learn the history of a heirloom plant. For example some tomato's that are very seedy was probably grown just for sauces. Peas and beans with extraordinarily small pods may have been developed for garnishes.
* Best of all save some seeds from your best heirlooms whenever possible. By saving seeds from plants that produce early or without disease, you form a collection of vegetables that war well suited to your own backyard garden.

To learn more about heirlooms, having more varieties to try. You can learn more about:
* How to save seeds
* How to swap seeds with others
* How to tell ripeness
* How to store and preserve your harvest

Try these websites: or

We welcome your comments. Please leave them.

Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

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