Everything Old is New Again
Introduce Heirlooms into Your Garden
Over the last few years, people have taken an interest in heirloom seeds and plants, and with good reason.
Heirloom seeds and plants are part of our botanical history and are passed down through generations of gardeners. Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, meaning they are pollinated by natural means (such as insects, birds, wind and people). The seeds mature and are collected, and the plants that come from the seeds are true-to-type (like the parent plant). They are not genetically modified, and you can save heirloom seeds from one season to the next.
Getting started in heirloom gardening is easy. You can buy heirloom seeds from many seed growers, who carefully cultivate and save seeds year after year. You can find heirloom seeds and plants online from many growers, seed saving exchanges, farmers markets and at your favourite garden centre.
A few varieties to try:
Tomatoes – probably the most common heirloom plant to try, there are many, many options for your garden. Among our favourites: Black Krim, Brandywine (dates back to 1885), Costoluto Genovese, Principe Borgese, Stupice and Yellow Pear. Heirloom tomatoes come in a rainbow of colours and sizes, and your tastebuds will thank you.
Beans – We love Beurre de Rocquencourt, Dragon Tongue (it’s purple), and Kentucky Wonder Pole (dates back to the 1850s).
Carrots – Like tomatoes, heirloom carrots can form a rainbow. Try Black Nebula, Jaune de Doubs, Purple Dragon, and the garden staple Scarlet Nantes.
Cucumbers – Garden fresh cucumbers are one of the best parts of summer. We recommend Boston Pickling (get out those canning jars), Improved Long Green, and Lemon Cucumber (round, yellow and delicious).
Melons – You can grow watermelon and cantaloupe here. Try Gnadenfeld, Jenny Lind, Minnesota Midget, Cream of Saskatchewan, and Will’s Sugar.
Pumpkins – They might take over the place, but who doesn’t love a bunch of happy orange orbs that make a killer pie? Hands down, our favourite is Small Sugar for the best homemade pumpkin pie you’ll ever eat.