Heirloom Seeds: Why You Should Grow Them

organic emergency foodGrowing your own garden is becoming increasingly popular today due to the fundamental need for a vibrant food and a healthy lifestyle. It is essential that what we eat are free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides and contaminants that might put a risk on our health. Choosing the seeds to plant are one of the main factors to consider in gardening. It can be a little daunting, especially with the many choices of seeds, and choosing between modern hybrids or heirloom varieties. Heirloom seeds, or as gardeners often refer to as “Grandmother’s Seed”, are now the latest rage, thanks to its wide benefits.

 What is an Heirloom Seed? 

From the name itself, an Heirloom Seed is a plant variety (a cultivar) that has been nurtured, selected and carried down from one family member to another for many generations. It is genetically stable and will produce offspring with identical characteristics to the parent plant, meaning it is true to type. Hybrids, on the other hand, are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than heirlooms. Heirlooms cost less than hybrid seeds but there are more reasons to choose these seeds than just the prices.

Seed-Packets-IMG_0879People grow heirloom seeds for a variety of reasons and for different motivations. While most are just interested in traditional organic gardening, some do it for historical interest, and others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Growing heirloom seeds is a great and effective way of growing, tasting and enjoying a variety of fruits and flowers from the past.

Advantages of growing heirloom seeds:

  • Greater Variety
  • Better Taste and Nutrition
  • Preserved Heritage
  • Sustainable
  • Renewable
  • Safer to the Environment & Eco-system
  • No Chemical Fertilizers
  • Open – Pollinated
  • Cost Less

Cultivating heirloom seeds in your home garden is a great idea to add exquisite taste, good nutrition and variety to your daily diet, while saving plant species. Creating an heirloom that is perfectly suited for your particular garden can take years of seed saving and planting out. If you want immediate gratification, you can do a little legwork before selecting the variety of heirlooms you want to use. Dig into your family or community tree to see if any of your elders can recall names of varieties that grew well in the region or were particularly memorable. You may stumble across a gardener still growing a family heirloom.

Where to get Heirloom Seeds?

Seed-Savers_ExchangeThe easiest and most traditional way to get heirloom seeds is from a friend or family member. If you don’t know anyone who has these seeds, you may obtain them from our heirloom seed store here or from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. They are one of the largest organizations that preserve, collect, grow, and distribute Heirloom Seed. These groups store heirloom seeds for future generations. For finding local heirloom seed resources, you may contact your local U.S. Department of Agriculture extension office.

 

Making Your Own Greenhouse – Video Tutorial

For those of you looking to make your own greenhouse we just found this great tutorial. It’s a full 18 minute video on ideas for making a greenhouse. This is a great way to prepare your family for emergency by growing your own food. The ability to survive the extremes of life through growing your own food is very important to the modern-day prepper.

As you watch this video, here are two quick questions to think about: Continue reading

Gardening With Kids

gardening with kids

If you want to teach your kids about self reliance, one of the best ways to start is with a garden. When kids learn to garden, they learn responsibility and they experience the satisfaction of growing something themselves.

Your child should ideally have his own garden space. He may love helping you in the garden, but having his own garden will give him a greater sense of pride when he sees it grow. He will learn that his garden thrives when he takes care of it, and it withers when he doesn’t. Continue reading

How to Start Your Seeds Indoors

heirloom seeds

I know, there is still snow on the ground. At least there is here. But it won’t be long and it will be time to get your garden going.

Some seeds to best planted directly into the garden, while others are best started early in your home and transplanted once the seedlings are established and all danger of frost has passed. Continue reading

Planning Your Survival Garden

tomatoes

I know, it’s only December. There is snow on the ground in many places. Who is thinking about gardening? You should be!

Now is a perfect time to plan your survival garden. I get a stack of seed catalogs every year; my first one of the season arrived yesterday, in fact. I rarely order from any of them, but I enjoy looking at what’s new. Continue reading

Are You a Suburban Prepper?

a suburban neighborhood

Often, when people think of preppers, they picture someone living in the middle of nowhere living in a bunker with a big garden and huge stockpiles of food, guns and other supplies.

They picture some crazy hermit with no social skills, ready to shoot anyone who sets foot on his land. Continue reading

Saving Seeds Part 2: Saving Dry Seeds

We already discussed the wet method of harvesting seeds from certain vegetables. Now we’ll talk about harvesting dry seeds.

Pods

Plants that produce a pod, such as beans and peas, make seed saving easy. These plants flower and then produce a pod that is often edible and the reason we grow these plants to begin with.

If you simply wait for some of the pods to dry instead of picking and eating them, you can then break them open to remove the seeds. Continue reading

Root Cellar Food Storage

Vegetables such as squash, cabbage, and various root crops can be stored to enjoy all winter, long after your garden is asleep. The key to long-term storage is the right temperature and humidity levels.

Years ago, most people had root cellars to store the produce that they worked so hard to grow during the summer and fall months. Today, root cellars are not a part of most homes, but you can still create similar conditions to store your garden bounty. Continue reading