Do heirloom seeds grow faster?

Relics often develop slowly, which can be a problem for gardeners with short growing seasons. Hybrid varieties grow faster and tend to be more reliable.

Heirloom seeds

are popular with home gardeners, but what exactly is a heirloom seed? The true definition is often debated, but most experts classify a relic variety as an open-pollinated variety that has been in cultivation for at least fifty years. In my own garden, many of our favorite crops are traditional varieties such as purple Cherokee tomato, fish pepper, lemon cucumber and dragon tongue bean.

Read on to learn more about heirloom seeds and why they make great garden plants. The term “heirloom” or “heritage” is often used to describe seed varieties, but what does it actually mean? As noted above, most experts define heirloom seeds as those that are open-pollinated and have been in cultivation for at least fifty years, although some prefer to classify relics as those cultivated before World War II. Open-pollinated plants produce seeds that reproduce “true to type”. That means that when you save and then plant the seeds of an open-pollinated variety, you'll end up with a plant that's very similar to the original parent plant.

If you plant seeds from a Brandywine tomato that you grew in your garden, you'll end up with another Brandywine tomato plant. Gardeners often ask me if hybrid seeds are similar to transgenic seeds and, while they are a product of reproduction, they have not been genetically modified. It can take years and thousands of failed attempts to produce a new hybrid variety, so seeds are often more expensive than traditional seeds. Unlike relics that are open pollinated, saving the seeds of hybrids does not reliably produce plants true to type.

That means you need to buy new seeds for hybrid varieties every year. Lemon Cucumber — Twenty-five years ago, I read the description of Lemon Cucumber in a seed catalog and it intrigued me so much that I ordered a package. This was my introduction to growing heirloom seeds and we loved this unique strain so much that we still grow it every year. Lemon cucumber fruits are rounded and are best harvested when they are two or three inches wide and pale green in color.

They ripen to a bright yellow (like a lemon), but at the time, they are quite full of seeds, so harvest when they are immature. Baker Creek and Urban Harvest are my two most popular seed companies to purchase a Heirloom seed variety. West Coast seeds (specializing in garlic varieties) in British Columbia, and Florabunda seeds (they have some unusual flowers) are two other companies that are also good. Revival Seeds in Nova Scotia also sells heirloom seeds.

Growing heirloom seeds in your garden can literally bring the past to life. These seeds have been stored and cultivated for decades or even centuries, so you could grow the same variety of plant that Thomas Jefferson had in his garden more than 200 years ago. While you may have heard of traditional tomatoes or other vegetables, you may not know that you can find seeds for heirloom varieties of many other plants, such as herbs and flowering annuals. Here's a look at what exactly heirloom seeds are and five reasons they deserve a place in your garden.

As producers have moved away from relics, we have seen a drastic decline in crop diversity in the United States. Keeping relics alive means greater diversity, which in turn increases resilience. When only one crop variety is grown, only one problem is needed to eliminate the entire crop. Planting Multiple Varieties Helps Ensure Your Crop Survival.

Later Generations Seed from open pollinated or heirloom plants can be saved and, when planted, will produce plants that are essentially identical to the parent plant. One of the most important things with Heirloom seeds right now is the possibility of losing those favorite strains. Hello everyone, There is a Facebook group that is informative and has great ideals and places to look for Heirloom Seeds. May Queen lettuce: There are many varieties of butterhead lettuce available from seed companies, but May Queen is an exceptional heirloom.

I have found that relics taste better, and since I struggle to be around many man-made products, I bought the seeds I could find to grow myself. Hybrids certainly have their charm, but when you select seeds this year, consider adding some heirlooms to your garden. If you want to save seeds from your traditional pumpkin, grow only one variety, as they are cross-pollinated very easily. About 10 years ago, I obtained some seeds from Eastern Kentucky that my friend's family had been growing, saving seeds, and planting for 200 years.

So if you want to grow that strain at another time, you'll need to buy new seeds instead of growing the seeds you saved from that plant. In addition, many old commercial releases have been family heirlooms that a seed company obtained and introduced. Because relics are ancient, many of these seed varieties have interesting stories associated with them. Relics are often the tastiest products because seed varieties that didn't taste very good simply weren't kept.

One of the reasons heirloom seeds are popular is because many people expect the economy to collapse in the very near future. . .

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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