Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Heirloom Vegetable Seeds - What's in a Name?

My head is spinning. I just received the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog and I am floored by the sheer number of varieties of heirloom vegetable seeds available, originating from all over the world. Some of the varieties sound so exotic and/or intriguing, that I have to give a few a try next year. Maybe a Cannibal Tomato Eggplant, or a Metki Painted Serpent Melon. And the tomatoes! There are hundreds listed - Mortgage Lifter, Millionaire, Missouri Pink Apple, Royal Hillbilly, Tigerella. And the pictures in this catalog are amazing, displaying vegetables in shapes, textures, and colors of which I've never seen.
photo credit

Isn't it interesting, hundreds of tomato varieties are available, yet we only see a handful of hybrids represented on grocery store shelves. The varieties available in heirloom seed catalogs are another great reason to grow your own food. Heirloom vegetables are those that people prized so much, they saved the seeds over generations. They are also open-pollinated, meaning that you can save the seeds and get a true to type plant. If you try to save and plant seeds from a hybrid vegetable, you won't get a good result. I grew a few hybrid tomatoes (Yellow Taxi, Cherokee Purple, Gypsy) in the potager last year and had excellent results in taste and quantity.

Now is the perfect time to get your hands on a few seed catalogs, snuggle up in your favorite chair, cover yourself in a warm blanket, and dream of growing lots of fresh, healthy, pure, clean vegetables from your own yard.

For more reasons to grow heirloom vegetables, read Heirloom Vegetables: 6 Advantages Compared to Hybrids from Mother Earth News.

1 comment:

  1. I have loved their catalog for years and I actually order from it, not just read it. I read in their magazine, which I also subscribe to, that a lot of the heirloom varieties have thin skins and because of that they have a short shelf life which is why you won't see many in grocery stores, but thank goodness we can grow them and give them a try!