Wondering what an Heirloom Plant is?

IMG_6637Heirloom seeds and plants are becoming more popular among gardeners and buyers. Now, it is not uncommon, at least in farmers markets, to find produce much more colorful and exciting than what you find in your average supermarket. However, those new to heirloom gardening may have questions about the plants. These are answers to basic questions about heirloom gardening and heirloom produce.

 

What exactly make a plant or seed an heirloom variety?

  • The guidelines makes a plant or seed an heirloom variety is subject to a lot of debate.
  • There are some who think that in order to be heirloom a variety has to have been developed before the first hybrid varieties.
  • Some believe that heirloom can only be varieties produced for home use.
  • The only thing that is agreed on is that heirloom varieties have to be old.
  • The one major distinction of heirloom seeds is that they can be saved and planted again and again and get the same results.
  • They will produce the same tomatoes each year.
  • They are predictable and stable.

Why is heirloom produce growing in popularity?

  • There is a growing distrust of hybridized and GMO produce among the populace.
  • Heritage produce provides an alternative to the modified produce that is found in the supermarket.
  • With hybrid plants the seeds cannot be saved, as they will not re-produce the original plant, but will produce one of the plants that make up the hybrid.
  • In the interest of farm and food source sustainability a movement has grown to use more heirloom.
  • There has been a rise in home gardeners, who are interested in the unique produce grown from the seed.
  • Older generations who grew up with these heritage varieties are finding them again and receiving a nostalgic taste.
  • A lot the popularity of heritage produce comes from the flavor that cannot be found in the homogeneous supermarket offerings.

What are the benefits to growing heirloom?

  • Seeds from heirloom plants can be saved to grow new plants the next year, which saves money on future seed purchases.
  • Many heirloom seeds are endangered, so growing these plants can preserve them for future generations.
  • The opportunity to try new vegetable flavors that are unavailable in super markets.
  • The nutritional value of heirloom produce can not be questioned.
  • It is fun to grow something different.
  • Your culinary options are blown right open.