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What's so special about heirloom seeds?


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#1 meggie

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:14 PM

I promise I'm not trying to be dense, but why are heirloom seeds all the rage now? Is it just because there's so much variety? I'm looking at a website that sells them and thing like lime basil and garlic chives sound so yummy. Are there any other pros to buying heirloom?

#2 learningmama

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:24 PM

"These varieties are often selected for their productivity, their ability to withstand mechanical picking and cross-country shipping, and their tolerance to drought, frost, or pesticides.
Heirloom growers have different motivations. Some people grow heirlooms for historical interest, while others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Some select heirloom plants due to an interest in traditional organic gardening. Many simply want to taste the different varieties of vegetables, or see whether they can grow a rare variety of plant." -Wikipedia

My dad has grown various heirloom plants over the years. I think the seeds and produce are very colorful and unique. I like "heirloom" poultry too. There are some very beautiful chickens out there. I just saw an article in National Geographic about heirlooms yesterday.

#3 Parrothead

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

I can see a big draw being that they are not genetically modified.

#4 meggie

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:32 PM

I can see a big draw being that they are not genetically modified.


(not being argumentative or snarky, but genuinely curious) Does genetically modified automatically equal bad? (Again, sorry if I seem so dense. I'm trying to learn about gardening and all; I know virtually nothing about it)

#5 FaithManor

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:36 PM

Heirloom seeds are seeds harvested from plant varieties that are becoming endangered due to the commercial fascination with growing single varieties of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Of the 7000 varieties of apples grown in this nation 100 years ago, only about 100 are still in existence.
90% of the veggies and fruits once in abundance are extinct or nearly extinct. Unfortunately, this is a a recipe for disaster. GM seed and grafted hybrids do not produce fertile plants...i.e. they do not produce seed or they produce infertile seed so you can not harvest seed and plant your garden the next year. You must buy it from the laboratory every.single.year. Most heirlooms are open pollinated plants so they are fertile and the seed can be harvested and stored. Seeds can actually survive, under the right storage conditions, decades. This is assurance that during drought or other natural disaster, there will be seed for future harvests.

Having all of our agrictultural "eggs" in one basket, i.e. the growing of only a few standard varieties of crops, leaves one very vulnerable. The potato famine of Ireland comes to mind. The Irish, instead of planting a variety of potatoes (the Peruvians of the Andes mountains are known to plant several hundred types each year all of which have a differing levels of resistence to a variety of diseases and pests), only planted the Lumper. The Lumper potato, though prolific and liked for it's fairly uniform size and regular bumper crops, is also VERY susceptible to one type of fungus that can completely ravage a harvest. The fungus is similar to wheat "stem rust". This fungus began traveling through Europe and though many other varieties of potatoes are resistent to this disease, the Lumper was virtually the only potatoe variety planted in Ireland that year. The poor people were completely dependent on the potato as their primary food source. The catastrophe was enormous.

Right now, wheat rust is, UG99, is ravaging wheat havests in northern Africa and throughout the Middle East. 90% of the world's wheat is NOT resistent to UG99 which is turning out to be resistent to every chemical Monsanto wants the world to purchase from them and spray on it. Though currently, UG99 has not been found in the US, the reality is that it is on it's way. Global travel is sooooo easy and people smuggle plant products in their suitcases, pockets, etc. all the time, to say nothing of the fact that the spores carry quite well on clothing and will live on cloth for several days without weakening. So, there really isn't any way of blocking UG99 from eventually hitting North America.

Heirloom seeds are a way of insulating ourselves against total crop failure due to disease and pestilence. It is also a way of not being dependent on big ag for our seed and therefore, our food.

If you want to know more about the hair-raising, eye-opening, food situation the world will face if we continue to allow the extinction of open-pollinated plants to take place in favor of genetically modified crops, then follow this link and read. I'd post more...I've read this article plus a bunch more, but it would be very time consuming to post more research the thread.

http://ngm.nationalg...rk/siebert-text

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#6 GardenTenders/Kim

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:38 PM

Heirloom seeds are able to reproduce themselves. Some GM seeds are said to have been turned off. Proponents claim also that heirloom seeds have longer root systems and are able to pull nutrients better from the soil and thus their fruit is better because of it.

I tend to buy heirloom and save seeds sometimes. Sometimes I am successful, other times not. :-)

#7 meggie

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:42 PM

Faith, thank you so much for the explanation and article link. Very helpful. Now I'm off to read about it.

Any other links or book suggestions are always welcome.;)

#8 Maus

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:44 PM

My step-mother, who is very into emergency preparedness, told me to buy heirloom seeds because they produce a plant that produces seeds that are viable, which you can then replant, grow new plants, eat the fruit, replant the seeds, etc.

The "regular" seeds one buys and plants will produce the desired vegetable suitable for eating, but the seeds of that vegetable often aren't viable (because the plant has been engineered for extra large fruit or whatever the desired characteristic may be.)

So, those who predict shortages want the heirloom seeds so they can have endless produce without having to rely on buying new seeds each year. (You just save some back each year the way frontier farmers used to do.)

--
Oops, simultaneous posting. I just became redundant! :D

#9 meggie

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:53 PM

My step-mother, who is very into emergency preparedness, told me to buy heirloom seeds because they produce a plant that produces seeds that are viable, which you can then replant, grow new plants, eat the fruit, replant the seeds, etc.

The "regular" seeds one buys and plants will produce the desired vegetable suitable for eating, but the seeds of that vegetable often aren't viable (because the plant has been engineered for extra large fruit or whatever the desired characteristic may be.)

So, those who predict shortages want the heirloom seeds so they can have endless produce without having to rely on buying new seeds each year. (You just save some back each year the way frontier farmers used to do.)

--
Oops, simultaneous posting. I just became redundant! :D

No, thank you. That's a very good point to make. Now I'm definitely interested. Although feeling very overwhelmed now. Still don't know much about gardening. I think I'm going to need to learn so I can take some steps to being more self reliant.

#10 In The Great White North

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:58 PM

In addition to the above, heirloom flower seeds started making a come back because the latest and greatest hybrid was usually developed for larger blossoms, at the expense of the stem that holds them up (think peonies) or their scent (think roses.)

#11 WishboneDawn

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 05:17 PM

I can see a big draw being that they are not genetically modified.


Most of what you'd find in a garden catalogue isn't. It's the result of old-fashioned breeding (if that's what they call what they do to plants :p).

I like some heirlooms stuff. It does preserve diversity. But there are times when the size, taste or hardiness of a modern strain is nice too.

#12 proverbs356lady

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:12 PM

Still don't know much about gardening. I think I'm going to need to learn so I can take some steps to being more self reliant.

This is my first year gardening and I bought most of my seeds from Baker Seed. It has truly been a learning experience! I'm mostly using the Square Foot Gardening method which has been kinda fun. We just have two garden boxes but now that we're getting some yummy veggies to the kitchen table I want to add more boxes. I got frustrated and overwhelmed in the beginning because there was so much to learn. But a wonderful neighbor has been a goldmine of information and help! I read somewhere to start small and learn along the way. That was good advice.

My dd's science this year will be botany and she can't wait to start. I figure we can all learn together. It's amazing how motivating it is pick fresh veggies for your lunch or evening meal.

#13 MomLovesClassics

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:23 PM

I haven't had a chance to read the whole thread. Heirloom means not GMO. Only a fraction of the many varieties remain. Some varieties are now extinct.

To me it not just about seeds, it is also about livestock. Eggs come in many colors. Due to modern industrilized farming methods, some breeds of livestock are endangered.

http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html

#14 MomLovesClassics

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:25 PM

I forgot to mention taste. Heirloom tomatoes have flavor!

#15 G5052

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:36 PM

I forgot to mention taste. Heirloom tomatoes have flavor!


If you want different, complex tastes, heirlooms are great to grow. We did six kinds of beans last year, and have 10 kinds of tomatoes growing now.

#16 Skadi

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:40 PM

I forgot to mention taste. Heirloom tomatoes have flavor!


See, this is where heirloomers will lose people. Stick to the facts, not subjective statements about them tasting better. All the blind taste tests that I've read about conclude that there is not a significant taste difference between them.

We only use heirloom seeds, but I can't help but cringe when people take using heirloom seeds to a level ("GMO does not increase crop yields and would not help feed more people than heirloom breeds" or "heirloom vegetables have more nutrients" and so on). I don't think people realize that a little research about the studies that have been done will debunk these claims, and then people who had been mildly interested in heirloom seeds will shake their heads in disgust, chalking it up to feel-good hype.

#17 GardenTenders/Kim

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:42 PM

Farmers in India bought into the big seed companies when they use to save seed from year to year. they bought the "new seeds" and well, the rest is history.

Also, some claim that the GMO's support a mono-agriculture which is bad for the soil. I am not sure I would personally ever call a GMO's organic.

:001_smile:

#18 WishboneDawn

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:45 PM

I haven't had a chance to read the whole thread. Heirloom means not GMO. Only a fraction of the many varieties remain. Some varieties are now extinct.

To me it not just about seeds, it is also about livestock. Eggs come in many colors. Due to modern industrilized farming methods, some breeds of livestock are endangered.

http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html


No, it means they're not modern varieties or hybrids. That's it. Most common varieties you buy in a seed catalogue are hybrids, not GMO.

I've tasted different varieties of heirloom vegetables. Some are very tasty. Some were not. I've tasted different varieties of modern vegetables. Some were tasty, some were not.

I think the best way to pick the vegetables you grow is to choose the varieties that match your climate and requirements. Doing that will probably mean you end with with a mix of heirloom and modern. If you have a small plot of land but want to grow enough tomatoes to can them for the winter, you may need a modern hybrid. If you want a variety of tomatoes for the table, an heirloom might be ideal.

Embracing one should not have to mean forsaking the other.

ETA: To be as clear as possible heirloom just means older breeds. That's it.

Edited by WishboneDawn, 08 July 2011 - 07:06 PM.


#19 meggie

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:46 PM

See, this is where heirloomers will lose people. Stick to the facts, not subjective statements about them tasting better. All the blind taste tests that I've read about conclude that there is not a significant taste difference between them.

We only use heirloom seeds, but I can't help but cringe when people take using heirloom seeds to a level ("GMO does not increase crop yields and would not help feed more people than heirloom breeds" or "heirloom vegetables have more nutrients" and so on). I don't think people realize that a little research about the studies that have been done will debunk these claims, and then people who had been mildly interested in heirloom seeds will shake their heads in disgust, chalking it up to feel-good hype.

Thank you for wanting to quantify that. I was going to say, "All the tomatoes I've had have had flavor." Do you agree that it's possible for them to have a wider variety of flavor? I've been looking at a website and it describes one type of tomatoes as having a very sweet flavor and another as spicy. That kind of thing is possible, right?

Thanks everyone, I am learning so much. Trying not to get overwhelmed.

#20 WishboneDawn

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:49 PM

See, this is where heirloomers will lose people. Stick to the facts, not subjective statements about them tasting better. All the blind taste tests that I've read about conclude that there is not a significant taste difference between them.

We only use heirloom seeds, but I can't help but cringe when people take using heirloom seeds to a level ("GMO does not increase crop yields and would not help feed more people than heirloom breeds" or "heirloom vegetables have more nutrients" and so on). I don't think people realize that a little research about the studies that have been done will debunk these claims, and then people who had been mildly interested in heirloom seeds will shake their heads in disgust, chalking it up to feel-good hype.


:iagree: I had some downright awful heirloom carrots last year. They were very pretty but ended up in the compost. I tried some heirloom tomatoes a few months ago. One kind was horrible and the others were very tasty but not any more so then the modern tomatoes my mother grows. Again, very pretty though. :)

Hybrids and modern varieties have often been bred for the home grower who's interested in flavour. They aren't all developed for big corporate farms.

#21 mcconnellboys

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:59 PM

Heirloom seeds preserve the diversity of the gene pool of species and (hopefully) have not (as of yet) been contaminated with genetically modified organisms....

#22 tikaani

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:32 AM

I like what Apprentice Bee Keeper said "there are times when the size, taste or hardiness of a modern strain is nice too."

I was drawn in by the colorful catalogs and marketing hype and have spent literally hundreds of dollars on heirloom seeds and have little to show for it except for a few variegated string beans and some cilantro I got as a freebie along with one of my orders. I followed all the directions on the seed packets, cold stratifying the seeds that needed it and starting the seeds indoors that required it (who heard of a farmer starting brocoli indoors?). I had very low germination rates, some didn't germinate at all. My seeds that germinated would grow a few inches and die in very expensive organic soil mixtures I purchased from a local nursery. I bought grow lights and expensive contraptions that measured the humidity and temperature in my grow room and plastic seed starting domes. Still, no success. These doom and gloom predictions that we're going to go extinct as a species if we don't buy into the expensive heirloom seed fad must be written by seed catalog companies. I can buy well-tested, non GMO seeds at the local hardware store for a fraction of the cost and have vegetables on my table in the promissed length of time, or I just buy another seed packet, and forget about it. Better yet, I can buy healthy organic vegetable/herb starts and not have to worry about whether its the cold, the insects, the birds, or me that's killing my seedlings. All I really want is a few zucchini and some tomatoes, maybe some herbs and some berries for jam anyway. That's not much to ask. And did somebody mention Baker Creek? Don't do that in mixed company, none of their stuff has come up this year, or it did and its already dead. I ordered in September and started planting in October. Nada.

#23 LaughingCat

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:26 AM

Sure, all heirlooms aren't created equal, but the heirloom tomatoes we've tried have far surpassed the commonly sold (for growing) varieties for both taste and number of tomatoes we got. They were just better for our area than the "generic" choices. They weren't pretty though but who cares - I'd rather have a bushel of ugly, yummy tomatoes, then the few scrawny but pretty ones we got off our many attempts with "Early Girl" plants (or all the other types we've tried - basically everything available "off the shelf" at local nurseries ).

Note: We were lucky in that we got our heirlooms from a local grower - who already went through the work of finding the best ones for around here. Also - if we lived where I grew up then I probably wouldn't bother with heirlooms - just strew the seeds and come back later to harvest bushels and bushels :lol:

#24 LMD

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:33 PM

It is really dependent on a few different factors, but mainly - what do you want out of this particular plant? If you're looking for hardiness, large size and abundance, then in general you want a more modern strain (GMO or not) - simply because these often are the main selection criteria. Obviously those are generalisations, we're talking living organisms here not factory production so there is variance even within species. We are also generally more accustomed to the appearance & flavour of modern varieties, so it can take some getting used to!

For example, my DH - a baker, likes to use flour from different types of grains, including Khorasan. It is an ancient grain, lower yielding but larger sized grain. Different flavour and nutrition levels, amongst other differences. I wouldn't say it's better or worse (some do) than regular wheat grain, but it is different - so you decide what's important to you and source the variety that fits.

#25 nandmsmom

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:53 PM

It's helpful to know what each thing means.

Hybrid. A plant that has been bred to have certain characteristics. It is done by combining the genetics of 2 or more plants of the same species to acheive a certain type of plant. You cannot regrow the seeds. They will grow a plant, but it will not be the same as what you originally purchased. Hybrids can and are created in nature. In fact every fruit or veggie we have at this point was a hybrid at some time. Hybrids can be 'stabilized' to become open pollinated so that seeds can be saved, but it is a long process and not one the average gardener is going to be able to do. They can be wonderful in some cases for disease resistance. These will be labeled as F1. If they do not say F1, then they can be assumed to be open pollinated.

Heirloom also known as open pollinated. These are older seed types that have been bred, in many cases, for many, many years. Saving seeds will produce a plant the next year that is the same as what you planted. Heirlooms help to save genetic diversity, which is extrememly important for not only us, but the pollinators and other animals. You can find breeds that you like and save seeds from them for eons. Families used to pass down specific seed types that were well loved in their family and did well in their specific location. Heirlooms can also have disease resistance in certain varieties, but the draw is for the taste. Because they were bred for years for taste, they deliver in a big way. Heirlooms can save you money since you can save the seeds.

GMOs. These are genetically modified organisms. They are seeds created in a lab by forcing foreign genes into plant genes, generally using viruses. The seeds have genes in them that cross genetic lines. They also very often have pesticides that are bred into them, along with pesticide resistance. This allows them to be doused in large amounts of chemicals to make it 'easier' on the farmer. You cannot technically buy a GMO seed without a license. This means that a seed company cannot sell you these things willy nilly. However, the genes are quite virulent and most corn is now contaminated with GMO material. Unless you buy corn seed from a seed house that tests for the presence of GMOs, then you can bet you'll probably be growing them, albeit unknowingly. Since GMOs are expensive to produce, there are not genetically modified strains of all of our seeds yet. Although you can't buy GMO seeds from the average seed house, I would advise to seed out seed suppliers that are not connected with Monsanto, or the other big chemical seed companies. They will always identify themselves as such. Places like Baker Creek, Fedco, Territorial, Johnny's and High Mowing Seeds are a good place to start.

The long and the short of all this is this. What kind of seeds you buy will depend on your end game and how you feel about the politics behind seeds. I won't go into anymore of the politics than what I've already stated. Suffice it to say that what is going on with our food supply is quite scary.

#26 Spy Car

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:53 PM

The thing about heirloom varieties, in addition to "the big picture issues" such as maintaining genetic diversity, is that they provide the plate with variety.

Personally, if I'm going to the trouble of growing something I'd prefer to have something different from what I could purchase at the store. A modern hybrid tomato from the garden center might be perfectly delicious, but it won't be substantially different from the "vine ripened" ones I can get at the market.

The heirlooms give the opportunity to experience food that is out of the ordinary.

Bill

#27 Five More Minutes

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:18 PM

I purchase heirloom seeds from a local, reputable supplier so the seeds are already proven for our zone. I typically have better germination rates with those heirloom seeds than I do with some of the larger seed companies.

For us, the politics of food are important, but the main reason I use heirlooms is for their taste. The tomatoes I grow are far tastier anything I'd get at our local grocer, and they're just more interesting than a lot of the hybrids I've encountered. (Black Krim, Purple Cherokee, Amish Paste, Chocolate Cherry ... oh, dear, I'm getting spring fever and unfortunately I'm stuck in a very cold Canadian spring here.)

As an added bonus, when I use heirlooms, I can save the seeds because they're open pollinated. I don't always do that, but I like that option.

#28 nerd

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:36 PM

Most seeds are hybrids. This does NOT mean genetically modified. This means that a breeder has crossed two different varieties of a plant, and come up with a desirable child. The problem with hybrids are the child seeds are unpredictable. Let's say you crossed a sweet pepper and a very hot pepper. The resulting pepper may be as sweet as the first, but have the shape of the second with no hotness.

The child seeds of this hybrid may be of all types. For example, one might be sweet only, the other one hot, the next bearing the shape of the second. In other words no reliability, no consistency.

A heirloom has been bred and selected for many generations for similar traits. Because the heirloom plant has had grandchildren and great great great grandchilden all selected the same, it is very very likely, that generation after following generation will all share the same traits. That means you can save your seeds, and have reliable children plants. Which means you only have to buy the seeds one time.

There is also more variety in heirlooms. Since most supermarket vegetables are bred to have similar traits, as most people are not creative, and expect all tomatoes to be red and a certain size and flavor. They also must be able to ship without splitting, and have a long shelf life, etc. Heirlooms can break all these rules, for example, yellow, huge, and extremely sweet, etc.

#29 WishboneDawn

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:21 AM

The thing about heirloom varieties, in addition to "the big picture issues" such as maintaining genetic diversity, is that they provide the plate with variety.

Personally, if I'm going to the trouble of growing something I'd prefer to have something different from what I could purchase at the store. A modern hybrid tomato from the garden center might be perfectly delicious, but it won't be substantially different from the "vine ripened" ones I can get at the market.

The heirlooms give the opportunity to experience food that is out of the ordinary.

Bill


I understand that. When I start my tomatoes however they'll likely be, for the most part, modern varieties because my concerns are different. Maybe some heirlooms for the plate like you said but I also want to can, make sauces, address my climate and grow some of the store types for much less then I'd have to pay for them in the stores.

I guess it's just back to the old issue of making choices based on what you need or want, not simply what a certain title or label implies.

#30 nandmsmom

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:32 AM

I understand that. When I start my tomatoes however they'll likely be, for the most part, modern varieties because my concerns are different. Maybe some heirlooms for the plate like you said but I also want to can, make sauces, address my climate and grow some of the store types for much less then I'd have to pay for them in the stores.

I guess it's just back to the old issue of making choices based on what you need or want, not simply what a certain title or label implies.


The major purpose of my garden is to feed us for the year as well. I have found heirlooms deliver in spades. I get taste, production and can save seeds. My workhorse in the garden for tomatoes is Amish Paste. It is an older variety that tastes great as a slicer and is a fabulous canner as well. Your garden may do better with another variety, but I'm not sure why you think that only hybrids will produce enough to can. I get hundreds of pounds from my 24 heirloom plants every year. Last year I grew 24 plants, 20 were Amish Paste, 2 were Cherokee Purple and 2 were Black Cherry. I canned 48 quarts of whole tomatoes, 28 pints of salsa and 21 quarts of sauce. Seems pretty productive to me.

#31 Blossom'sGirl

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

I just found them fun to try. I bought the heirloom tomato variety pack from FedCo seeds last year and had so many interesting tomatoes. Now we enjoy them every week as sauce for our pizza night. FedCo does not knowing sell GMO seeds. They do sell hybrids though.

#32 Five More Minutes

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:38 AM

I get hundreds of pounds from my 24 heirloom plants every year. Last year I grew 24 plants, 20 were Amish Paste, 2 were Cherokee Purple and 2 were Black Cherry. I canned 48 quarts of whole tomatoes, 28 pints of salsa and 21 quarts of sauce. Seems pretty productive to me.


These are some of my go-to varieties for the garden. We can a lot of sauce and salsa, and the Amish Paste just can't be beat for quantity and quality.

*sigh.* I'm looking at a snowy world out there and wondering when I'm going to be able to start this year's garden ...

#33 Rosie_0801

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

For example, my DH - a baker, likes to use flour from different types of grains, including Khorasan. It is an ancient grain, lower yielding but larger sized grain. Different flavour and nutrition levels, amongst other differences. I wouldn't say it's better or worse (some do) than regular wheat grain, but it is different - so you decide what's important to you and source the variety that fits.


Where do you get them from? !!




Here's a reason some think they are special. :)


And honestly, making potato salad with different coloured potatoes is cool. If your library has http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/9625932941 take a look at the recipes in the back!

#34 Saddlemomma

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:37 PM

Heirloom seeds are seeds harvested from plant varieties that are becoming endangered due to the commercial fascination with growing single varieties of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Of the 7000 varieties of apples grown in this nation 100 years ago, only about 100 are still in existence.
90% of the veggies and fruits once in abundance are extinct or nearly extinct. Unfortunately, this is a a recipe for disaster. GM seed and grafted hybrids do not produce fertile plants...i.e. they do not produce seed or they produce infertile seed so you can not harvest seed and plant your garden the next year. You must buy it from the laboratory every.single.year. Most heirlooms are open pollinated plants so they are fertile and the seed can be harvested and stored. Seeds can actually survive, under the right storage conditions, decades. This is assurance that during drought or other natural disaster, there will be seed for future harvests.

Having all of our agrictultural "eggs" in one basket, i.e. the growing of only a few standard varieties of crops, leaves one very vulnerable. The potato famine of Ireland comes to mind. The Irish, instead of planting a variety of potatoes (the Peruvians of the Andes mountains are known to plant several hundred types each year all of which have a differing levels of resistence to a variety of diseases and pests), only planted the Lumper. The Lumper potato, though prolific and liked for it's fairly uniform size and regular bumper crops, is also VERY susceptible to one type of fungus that can completely ravage a harvest. The fungus is similar to wheat "stem rust". This fungus began traveling through Europe and though many other varieties of potatoes are resistent to this disease, the Lumper was virtually the only potatoe variety planted in Ireland that year. The poor people were completely dependent on the potato as their primary food source. The catastrophe was enormous.

Right now, wheat rust is, UG99, is ravaging wheat havests in northern Africa and throughout the Middle East. 90% of the world's wheat is NOT resistent to UG99 which is turning out to be resistent to every chemical Monsanto wants the world to purchase from them and spray on it. Though currently, UG99 has not been found in the US, the reality is that it is on it's way. Global travel is sooooo easy and people smuggle plant products in their suitcases, pockets, etc. all the time, to say nothing of the fact that the spores carry quite well on clothing and will live on cloth for several days without weakening. So, there really isn't any way of blocking UG99 from eventually hitting North America.

Heirloom seeds are a way of insulating ourselves against total crop failure due to disease and pestilence. It is also a way of not being dependent on big ag for our seed and therefore, our food.

If you want to know more about the hair-raising, eye-opening, food situation the world will face if we continue to allow the extinction of open-pollinated plants to take place in favor of genetically modified crops, then follow this link and read. I'd post more...I've read this article plus a bunch more, but it would be very time consuming to post more research the thread.

http://ngm.nationalg...rk/siebert-text

Faith


Thank you for explaining all that. I know I couldn't have done it the justice you did.

I bought all heirloom seeds for my garden this year, precisely for those reasons, from http://www.mypatriot...com/default.asp . The seeds came in a resealable Mylar bag which is great for storing seeds not used or to store your harvested seeds. I'm going to try to harvest my own seeds as much as I can this year.

#35 VeritasMama

VeritasMama

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:07 PM

www.stclareseeds.com

This is an online heirloom seed company run by a homeschool family. Their prices are reasonable, their service is great, and everything we've grown has been delicious.


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