Saturday, August 15, 2015

What is an Heirloom?

Heirlooms are typically open pollinated garden vegetables that can trace their lineage back to the early 1900's or late 1800's, or before.

Tomatoes are a good example.

I think it is important to support these older vegetables for the genetic material they represent. They have many hardy characteristics like flavor, resistance to common diseases, and unusual colors. They may not have a beautiful appearance and so will not be commercially viable.

There are organizations like the Seed Savers Exchange that make heirlooms available and keep the history alive in both genetics and story.

Heirlooms are also easily adapted to your local conditions if you want to save your own seeds. Pick an Heirloom and try it. You may someday have a strain named after you. Radiator Charlies tomato for example.

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