Heirloom Varieties

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Information about Heirloom Varieties

Published on January 7, 2008

Author: yilmar



Heirloom Varieties: Golden Oldies in the Garden:  Heirloom Varieties: Golden Oldies in the Garden Joran Viers Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service Definitions:  Definitions What is an heirloom variety? An open-pollinated variety having some considerable ancestry and history of use. Definitions, cont.:  Definitions, cont. Open-pollinated: a true-breeding line; not a hybrid variety; seeds from OP plants will grow plants that exhibit the desired varietal characteristics (provided proper care has been taken to prevent out-crossing with other varieties). Definitions, cont.:  Definitions, cont. When plant breeders create a hybrid variety, they cross two lines and come out with progeny exhibiting desired characters. This hybrid generation is termed the F1 generation, and it has a very uniform set of characters. However, when the F1 is allowed to set seed, the resulting F2 generation exhibits a very wide and unpredictable set of characters. Slide6:  Parental plants = round, yellow and wrinkled, green. F1 generation = all uniformly round and yellow. F2 generation = four different phenotypes, nine different genotypes. Saving seed from the F1 will not yield uniform plants in subsequent generations. Definitions, cont.:  Definitions, cont. Variety: a named “type” of a vegetable species, having certain distinguishing characteristics (taste, shape, color, size, length of season, etc.), being adapted to certain climates and soils, being resistant (or not!) to certain pests/diseases… Also termed “cultivar” (cultivated variety). A variety can be OP or hybrid. Definitions, cont.:  Definitions, cont. Considerable ancestry and history of use: decades or centuries of use. Often, long history in limited geographic area before becoming more widely available. Often, cultural connection with human society of origin. Slide9:  Flour corn: Hopi Yellow Tarahumara Maiz Rojo Vadito Blue Mayo Tosabatchi Images courtesy of Native Seeds/SEARCH How are heirloom varieties different?:  How are heirloom varieties different? From hybrids: these are specific crosses of two distinct lines, having very uniform characteristics. Seed from the F1 generation, when grown out, exhibit wide variability and few come true to the F1 “type”. Often bred for high performance under optimum conditions (water, fertilizer, pest control materials), may not handle stress well. From newer open-pollinated varieties: these don’t (yet) have a history, a record of use and approval, a connection to a group of people…however, from today’s new open pollinated varieties come tomorrow’s heirloom varieties. Why grow heirloom varieties?:  Why grow heirloom varieties? Given that many hybrids do quite well in garden settings, taste fine, and may have more pest/disease resistance…this is a good question. The challenge The performance The variety of varieties The biodiversity To save seeds The challenge :  The challenge Many gardeners appreciate a challenge. Some of the tastier heirloom varieties may require extra love and care to be successful. Waltham 29 broccoli New England Pie pumpkin 2. The performance:  2. The performance Under less-than ideal conditions, the heirlooms may outperform the hybrids that require the top level of fertilizer, water, etc. Hopi corns can germinate in six inches of sand and survive to produce some harvest on very little water. 3. The variety of varieties:  3. The variety of varieties Many gardeners like to grow multiple types of certain crops, to revel in the variety. Different colors, shapes, tastes, uses…it’s easy to get lost in the bounty! Market gardeners benefit from offering their clientele a nice range of choices. Red Core Chantenay, Japanese Imperial Long, Scarlet Nantes and Oxheart carrots. Images courtesy of Seeds of Change. 4. The biodiversity:  4. The biodiversity The greater the range of genes available in a crop plant species, the more secure the future of that crop. Just a few large corporations control the majority of crop seeds, and they offer relatively few choices. Smaller, independent seed companies, certain non-profit organizations and backyard gardeners are vitally important to the maintenance of the incredible genetic diversity that humanity has fostered in our cultivated plants. 5. To be able to save seeds:  5. To be able to save seeds Many gardeners like to save seeds from their own gardens, to plant again next year and to share with friends. Seed saving is a fun hobby and a useful art. Depending on the species, seed saving is relatively easy (beans, tomatoes) or it may require considerable planning and care (squash, peppers). Seed saving: a brief discussion:  Seed saving: a brief discussion Heirloom varieties can inspire the latent seed-saver in a gardener. Simplistically, successful seed saving relies upon four steps: 1. Ensure proper pollination 2. Allow plants to mature seeds 3. Harvest seed, process as appropriate 4. Store seed properly until next planting Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth: an excellent treatment of seed production requirements for various species. Following is a discussion of some different plant families, some important crop species in those families, some of the heirloom varieties available and specific seed-saving guidelines.:  Following is a discussion of some different plant families, some important crop species in those families, some of the heirloom varieties available and specific seed-saving guidelines. Family: Amaryllidaceae:  Family: Amaryllidaceae Crop species: Allium ampeloprasum: leek A. cepa: common onion, shallot, potato onion A. sativum: garlic A. schoenoprasum: common chives A. tuberosum: garlic chives (Chinese chives) Slide20:  Variety names: Leek: Giant Musselburgh, Blue Solaize, Prizetaker. Seed saving: self-incompatible, insect pollinated. Isolate varieties by 1-3 miles, or cage and hand pollinate. Biennial, produce flower stalks after 4-6 weeks cold weather. Can overwinter here under mulch. Overwintering leeks often produce side shoots which can be used to vegetatively reproduce the variety. Slide21:  Poncho Giant Musselburg Images courtesy Seeds of Change Slide22:  Variety names: Onion: Texas Grano Shallot: French, Dutch Yellow, Gray Multiplier: Yellow, Potato Seed saving: similar to leeks: for purity, isolate well from other A. cepa that will flower at same time. Shallots, multiplier/ potato onions often reproduced vegetatively (no isolation required for propagation this way). Slide23:  Texas Grano (Thompson & Morgan) Yellow shallots; red shallots (de Groot) Slide24:  Variety names: Garlic: Inchelium Red, Georgian Crystal, Chet’s Italian Red, California Early, Spanish Roja, Killarney Red, German Brown, Persian Star, Red Czar, Brown Rose, Jovak, Rosewood, Georgia Fire, Wild Buff, Susanville, Nootka Rose, Mild French, Idaho Silver, St. Helens, Asian Tempest, Red Janice, China Stripe, Lotus, Uzbek Turban, Burgundy, Cuban Purple, Pescadero Red…… Seed saving: garlic does not make true seed. Plant cloves or bulbils. No need to isolate. Slide25:  Asian Tempest Georgian Crystal Inchelium Red Persian Star (Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange) Family: Brassicaceae:  Family: Brassicaceae Crop species: Brassica juncea: mustard greens B. oleracea: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi B. rapa: turnip, Chinese cabbage, broccoli raab Raphanus sativus: radish Seed saving: insect pollinated, largely self-incompatible. Save seed from more than one plant. Isolate by ½ mile or cage. Slide27:  Variety names: Mustard: Osaka Purple, Giant Red, Green Wave Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield, Mammoth Red Rock, Premium Late Flat Dutch Broccoli: Waltham 29, Calabrese, De Cicco Cauliflower: Early Snowball, Purple Cape Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Lacinato Kohlrabi: Supershmeltz, Dyna Collards: Champion, Vates Brussels Sprouts: Long Island Improved Slide28:  Calabrese Early Jersey Wakefield Mammoth Red Rock Early Snowball Vates Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Slide29:  Variety names: Turnip: Purple Top White Globe, Shogoin, Scarlet Ball Radish: China Rose, French Breakfast, German Beer, Round Black Spanish, White Icicle Broccoli Raab: Sorrento, Zamboni Courtesy Seeds of Change Slide30:  Round Black Spanish French Breakfast White Icicle Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Family: Chenopodiaceae:  Family: Chenopodiaceae Crop species: Beta vulgaris: beet, Swiss chard Spinacia oleraceae: spinach Seed saving: wind pollinated, self-fertile. Isolate in time or space, or cage, or bag inflorescence. Spinach is monoecious, need a ratio of 1 male per two female plants. Slide32:  Variety names: Beet: Burpee’s Golden, Chioggia, Cylindra, Detroit Dark Red, Lutz Green Leaf, Bull’s Blood Swiss Chard: Fordhook Giant, Rhubarb, Five Color Silverbeet Spinach: Bloomsdale Long Standing, Viroflay Slide33:  Bulls Blood Burpee’s Golden Chioggia Cylindra Fordhook Giant Rhubarb 5 Color Silverbeet America Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Family: Asteraceae:  Family: Asteraceae Crop species: Lactuca sativa: lettuce Seed saving: grown in Egypt by about 4500 BC. Largely self-pollinating, as flower opens. Can be insect pollinated, chance of cross-pollination by neighboring varieties not well known. Cage to ensure complete purity, or stagger planting times. USDA recommends 12 feet between varieties. Slide35:  Variety names: Amish Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf, Baby Oakleaf, Bronze Arrowhead, Bunte Forellenschuss, Buttercrunch, Crisp Mint, Flame, Gold Rush, Green Oakleaf, Lollo Rossa, Mascara, Merveille des Quatre Saisions, Pablo, Pirat, Red Coral, Red Leprechaun, Red Rapids, Red Romaine, Red Salad Bowl, Red Velvet, Reine des Glaces, Rossa di Trento, Rossimo, Rouge d’Hiver, Rubin, Slobolt, Tango, Tennis Ball, etc., etc., etc Slide36:  Amish Deer Bronze Bunte Flame Tongue Arrowhead Forellenschuss Merveille des Pirat Red Romaine Tango Quatre Saisons Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Family: Cucurbitaceae:  Family: Cucurbitaceae Crop species: Citrullus vulgaris: watermelon Cucumis melo: muskmelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, casaba Cucumis sativus: cucumber Cucurbita maxima: squash (banana, hubbard, buttercup) Cucurbita mixta: squash (cushaw, silver-seeded gourds) Cucurbita moschata: squash (butternut, cheese, golden cushaw) Cucurbita pepo: squash (acorn, crookneck, scallop, spaghetti, zucchini, pumpkin) Slide38:  Seed saving: All species in this family have separate male and female flowers on each plant. All are insect pollinated and readily outcross with other varieties in same species. Isolate by ½ mile, or do hand-pollinating (flower bagging is easier than caging). Slide39:  Variety names: Watermelon: Blacktail Mountain, Chelsea, Chris Cross, Cream of Saskatchewan, Melitopolski, Moon and Stars, Mountain Sweet Yellow, Orangeglo, Picnic, Sweet Siberian, Acoma, Hopi Red, Hopi Yellow, Jemez, Jumanos, Mayo, Navajo Red-seeded, San Juan, Rio San Miguel, Santo Domingo Winter, Tohono O’odham Yellow meated. Melons: Acoma, Chimayo, Hopi Casaba, Isleta Pueblo, Jemez, Melon de Castillo, Navajo Yellow, New Mexico (from Alameda!), San Felipe, Santo Domingo, Amish, Banana, Bidwell Casaba, Burrell’s Jumbo, Cavaillon Espagnol, Collective Farm Woman, Crane, Early Hanover, Eden’s Gem, Green Nutmeg, Hearts of Gold, Hollybrook Luscious, Haogen, Jenny Lind, Minnesota Midget, Noir des Carmes, Piel de Sapo, Prescott Fond Blanc, Pride of Wisconsin, Sakata’s Sweet, Schoon’s Hard Shell. Slide40:  Variety names: Cucumber: A& C Pickling, Boothby’s Blonde, Bushy, Double Yield, Early Fortune, Japanese Climbing, Longfellow, Miniature White, Parade, Snow’s Fancy Pickling, True Lemon, White Wonder, Clinton, Telegraph Improved, Wautoma, Homemade Pickles, Marketmore. Squash (C. maxima): Amish Pie, Anna Swartz Hubbard, Australian Butter, Galeux d’Eysines, Golden Hubbard, Guatemalan Blue Banana, Iran, Kikuza, Queensland Blue, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Calabaza del Norte, Indian Pumpkin, Mayo Blusher, Minnie’s Apache Hubbard, Mormon Squash, Navajo Hubbard, Peñasco Cheese, Taos. Squash (C. mixta): Tennessee Sweet Potato, Waltham Butternut. Squash (C. moschata): Magdalena Big Cheese, Mayo Segualca, Middle Rio Conchos, Pima Bajo, Kikuza, Long Island Cheese. Slide41:  Variety names: Squash (C. pepo): Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin, Cornfield Pumpkin, Fordhook Acorn, Nimba, Pattison Panache, Summer Crookneck, Table Queen, Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato, Wood’s Prolific Bush Scallop, Acoma Pumpkin, Hopi Pumpkin, Pacheco Pumpkin, Tarahumara, Cocozelle Zucchini, Ronde de Nice Zucchini, Zucchetta Rampicante. Slide42:  Blacktail Mountain Chris Cross Moon and Stars Orangeglo Banana Collective Farm Early Hanover Prescott Fond Blanc Woman Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Slide43:  Boothby’s Blonde Miniature White Snow’s Fancy True Lemon Pickling Galeux d’Eysines Guatemalan Blue Long Island Cheese Summer Crookneck Banana Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Family: Fabaceae:  Family: Fabaceae Crop Species: Phaseolus acutifolius: tepary bean P. coccineus: runner bean P. lunatus: lima bean P. vulgaris: common bean Pisum sativum: garden pea Vicia faba: fava bean Seed saving: largely self-pollinating, may be crossed by insects. For purity grow one variety, cage, or isolate by some distance. Slide45:  Variety names: Tepary: Big Fields White, Big Fields Brown, Black, Blue Speckled, Brown Speckled, Cocopah Brown, Cocopah White, Colonia Morelos Speckled, Guarijio White, Hopi White, Kickapoo White, Little Tucson Brown, Menager’s Dam Brown, Paiute Mixed, Paiute Yellow, Pima Beige and Brown, Pinacate, Sacaton Brown, Sacaton White, San Felipe Pueblo White, San Ignacio, San Pablo Balleza, Santa Rosa, Sonoran White, Tohono O’odham Brown, Tohono O’odham White, Yoeme Brown, Yoeme White. Slide46:  Runner: Four Corners, Scarlet Runner, Painted Lady, Sunset Runner. Lima: Christmas Lima, Henderson Bush Lima, Sieva, Thorogreen. Common: Arikara Yellow, Bountiful, Brittle Wax, Brockton Horticultural, Cherokee Trail of Tears, Dragon’s Tongue, Hidatsa Shield Figure, Kentucky Wonder Bush, Jacob’s Cattle Gasless, Lazy Housewife, Mayflower, Rattlesnake Soup, Speckled Cranberry, Swedish Brown, Oregon Blue Lake, Tongue of Fire, Four Corners Gold, Frijol Gringo, Hopi Black, Hopi Light Yellow, Hopi Pink, Hopi Pinto, Hopi red, Milta Black, Mt. Pima Burro & Caballito, New Mexico Bolitas, O’odham Pink, Taos Red, Vadito Bolita Slide47:  Garden pea: Amish Snap, British Wonder, Dwarf Gray Sugar, Green Arrow, Little Marvel, Sutton’s Harbinger, Tom Thumb, Cascadia Snap, Sugar Ann, Oregon Giant. Fava: Aquadulce, Sweet Loraine, Broad Windsor, Banner (used for cover crop/green manure), Friedrichs (used for cover crop/green manure). (certain people, mostly men of southern European descent, may have potentially fatal allergy to fava beans) Slide48:  Big Fields White Blue Speckled Tohono O’odham Paiute Mixed Brown Christmas Sieva Painted Lady Sunset Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Courtesy Native Seeds/SEARCH Slide49:  Arikara Yellow Dragon’s Tongue Mayflower Brittle Wax True Red Cranberry Brockton Swedish Brown Jacob’s Cattle Hidatsa Shield Cherokee Trail Horticultural Gasless Figure of Tears Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Slide50:  Dwarf Gray Sugar Little Marvel Tom Thumb Green Arrow Edible Podded British Wonder Amish Snap Aquadulce Broad Windsor Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Courtesy Territorial Seed Company Family: Solanaceae:  Family: Solanaceae Crop species: Capsicum anuum: sweet and chili peppers Lycopersicon escultentum: tomato Solanum melongena: eggplant S. tuberosum: potato Slide52:  Variety names: Peppers: Alma Paprika, Aji Crystal, Ancho Gigantea, Balloon, Beaver Dam, Black Hungarian, Bulgarian Carrot, Candlelight, Chervena Chushka, Cyklon, Fatali, Fish, Garden Sunshine, Georgia Flame, Golden Treasure, Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying Pepper, Hot Portugal, Lemon Drop, Marconi Red, Napolean Sweet, Orange Bell, Quadrato Asti Giallo, Santa Fe Grande, California Wonder, Staddon’s Select, Italian Pepperoncini, Gourmet, Red Bull’s Horn, Buran, Anaheim, Mulato Isleno, Ancho 101, Big Jim, etc. Seed saving: all are capable of self-pollinating, but will also easily out-cross with insect assistance. Isolate by at least 500 feet, or cage. May need flower agitation or hand pollination. Bag individual flowers to prevent crossing. Slide53:  Tomato: SSE members offer 2,980 varieties!! Amish Paste, Angora Super Sweet, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Austin’s Red Pear, Basinga, Black Krim, Black Plum, Black from Tula, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Cherry Roma, Czech’s Bush, Druzba, Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, German Pink, Giant Syrian, Golden Sunray, Green Zebra, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Hungarian Heart, Isis Candy Cherry, Juane Flamme, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Lemon Drop, Long Tom, Martino’s Roma, Nebraska Wedding, Nyagous, Opalka, Orange Banana, Principe Borghese, Peron, Purple Russina, Red Fig, Riesentraube, Russian Persimmon, Soldacki, Stupice, Tommy Toe, Tiger Tom, White Beauty…the list goes ever on! Seed saving: Most tomatoes can be grown side by side with no trouble. To save seed, squeeze ripe fruit into container to collect seeds and surrounding gel. Allow gel to ferment for a few days. After this time, rinse resulting smelly goop to clean and isolate seeds, and then allow them to air dry. Slide54:  Eggplant: Applegreen, Casper, Diamond, Florida High Bush, Listada de Gandia, Pingtung Long, Rosita, Thai Green, Udumalapet. Seed saving: primarily self-pollinating; isolate by 50 feet or cage. To collect seed, fruit must ripen far past edible stage. Grate bottom portion of fruit (greatest seed density) into a bowl. Add water to within 2 inches of rim, squeeze gratings to release good seeds (which will sink to bottom). Potato: All Blue, Butte, Caribe, Carola, Cranberry Red, Rose Gold, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold, Elba, Red Cloud, Island Sunshine, Swedish Peanut, Rose Finn Apple, Onaway, Reddale. Seed saving: mostly reproduced vegetatively, no chance of crossing. Slide55:  Chimayo Alcalde Lemon Drop Alma Paprika Jimmy Nardello’s Ancho Gigantea Isleta Bulgarian Carrot Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seeds/SEARCH Slide56:  Dixie Golden Giant Druzba Costoluto Genovesee Evergreen Indische Fleish Hazel Mae Martino’s Roma Hillbilly Lemony Peacevine Cherry Orange Russian Oregon Spring Courtesy Tomatofest Slide57:  Amish Paste Basinga Black from Tula Cherokee Purple Golden Sunray Green Sausage Red Fig Roman Candle Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Slide58:  Striped Cavern Tiger Tom Garden Peach German Pink Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Gold Medal Isis Candy Cherry Kellogg’s Breakfast Lemon Drop With so many varieties, some may offer disease resistance…:  With so many varieties, some may offer disease resistance… Peron Sprayless tomato: about 50% of plants grown three years ago in my garden were un-affected by curly top virus. I saved seed from fruit of the un-affected plants. Experiment with this and other varieties. 70 days. (Indeterminate) [Introduced in 1951 by Gleckler's from Argentina.] A main-crop variety notable for its tasty red tomatoes produced on disease-resistant vines. Produces a high percentage of uniform, defect free fruits, averaging 3" to 4" in diameter. Flavor is sweet with some intricacy. Reliable, flavorful, and a garden mainstay. From: Southern Exposure Seed Exhange. Slide60:  Applegreen FL High Bush Listada de Gandia Ping Tung Long All Blue Russian Banana Cranberry Red Yukon Gold Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange Family: Apiaceae:  Family: Apiaceae Crop species: Apium graveolens: celery Anethum graveolens: dill Coriandrum sativium: coriander (cilantro) Daucus carota: carrot Foeniculum vulgare: fennel Seed saving: Seed saving: perfect flowers, self-incompatible. Insect pollinated. For purity, isolate by three miles, or cage, or hand pollinate. Slide62:  Variety names: Celery: Ventura, Giant Red, Brilliant (celeriac) Dill: Long Island Mammoth, Dukat, Fernleaf, Bouquet Seed Coriander: Slo Bolt Carrot: Nantaise, Amstrong, Yellowstone, Royal Chantenay, Danvers, Rodelika, Thumbelina, Kuttiger, Oxheart Fennel: Perfection, Fino, Romy Slide63:  Japanese Imperial Long Oxheart Red Core Chantenay Scarlet Nantes Courtesy Seeds of Change Family: Poaceae:  Family: Poaceae Crop species: Zea mays: corn Seed saving: wind pollinated, readily cross between varieties. For good pollination plant is blocks, not rows. Large population sizes guard against inbreeding depression. Isolate by two miles for purity, or bag and hand-pollinate. Sequential planting can provide isolation in time, but you must have a good idea of the maturity time of the varieties involved. Slide65:  Courtesy Native Seeds/SEARCH; Seed Savers Exchange Golden Bantam Improved Painted Mountain Manzano Yellow Stowell’s Evergreen Bloody Butcher Santo Domingo Posole Slide66:  Family: Rosacea Crop Species: Malus domestica: Apple Seed saving: propagation is by grafting onto root stock. Apple seeds will not come true to type, may yield a great new plant or a yucky one. Varieties: Red Belle de Boskoop, Roxbury Russet, Chehalis, Foxwelp (cider apple), Baldwin, Spitzenberg, Winter Banana,… Slide67:  Melrose Red Boskoop Williams Pride Chehalis Queen Cox Bramley Courtesy Raintree Nursery Resources and Sources:  Resources and Sources Seed Savers Exchange:; 563-382-5990. Membership organization also selling to general public. Native Seeds/SEARCH:; fax: 520-662-5591. Non-profit preserving SW heirloom varieties. Raintree Nursery:; 360-496-6400; many heirloom fruit varieties, good quality stock. Tooley Trees: 505-689-2400; many varieties, very knowledgeable and friendly owner (Gordon Tooley), located in Truchas, NM.

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