What is the advantage of an heirloom plant?

Relics are guaranteed non-GMO, so by definition, heirloom seeds can't be genetically modified. You also don't have to worry about buying GM seeds if you prefer to avoid them, because they're only available to commercial farmers, not home gardeners. The reasons to grow traditional vegetables, herbs and flowers are practical, aesthetic and heritage. The practical reasons are easy to list: local resistance, resistance to diseases and pests developed over several years, the ability to grow and harvest our own seed.

Another practical advantage of heirloom is its adaptability to climatic and soil conditions. Unlike hybrids, which are genetically engineered to produce a specific product under a wide range of growing conditions, often favoring qualities such as size, shippability, shelf life and appearance over flavor, relics have adapted to growing conditions and developed resistance to diseases over a long period of time. These are traits that organic gardeners trust. And while disease resistance can be transformed into a hybrid crop, it often comes at the expense of overall quality.

As I mentioned before, heirloom seeds produce vegetables true to the type. This means you can save the seeds and plant them the following year and still get the same great vegetables. If you store the seeds properly, you won't need to buy seeds until you want to try something new. Heirloom seeds give you the freedom to save seeds, grow new varieties and promote plant diversity.

Diversity is important because it allows plants to adapt continuously to changing environmental conditions and human needs. Plants are allowed to adapt to different climates and develop resistance to local pests and diseases when there are many varieties. If you plant seeds from a traditional vegetable, you are pretty sure that you will get a plant that is just like the parent plant. Mary's point of view

) Not that I'm totally against growing relics in the garden, but for me, there are several reasons to avoid relics.

Much sweeter, juicier and more flavorful than a commercially grown tomato, traditional homegrown tomato seeds restore one of the greatest pleasures of summer. Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that transmit similar characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the daughter plant. With the increasing demand for heirloom seeds, you'll find that it's not as difficult as before to obtain them. All non-GMO relic garden seeds you'll find in the box stores offered by Planet Natural are untreated, non-GMO and are NOT purchased from Monsanto owned Seminis.

Growing traditional plants is a fascinating hobby, and experimenting with unusual plants is interesting; however, if you are looking for high-quality, reliable products that don't require much effort, you may decide that the disadvantages of planting relics outweigh the benefits. As the number of varieties offered by commercial seed companies shrinks, it's encouraging to know that relics are becoming as popular as they were in the Radiator Charlie days. The interest in preserving old varieties is what often initially attracts gardeners to the heirloom seed movement. Finally, you have your heirloom seeds; these seeds are not altered in a laboratory or cross-pollinated for specific results.

Purists discuss how old a relic should be and how it was passed down to qualify for the heirloom title. Since traditional vegetables are open pollinated by wind and bees, this means you can save the seeds for planting from year to year and you will get the same vegetable quality. When heirloom seeds are grown with the right methods and in the right environment, the result is a more nutritious product to feed your family. Sustainability champions like relics because, once they have obtained a specific seed, they can grow a constant supply in their own gardens year after year without having to buy another seed.


Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

Subtly charming beer nerd. Extreme internet specialist. Devoted travel junkie. Proud coffee maven. Friendly problem solver.