Have you ever wondered what makes an Heirloom seed different from other seeds?
Just as the name suggests, Heirloom seeds have been around for many years, but what is it that makes them so special?
Heirloom seeds connect us to the past through their stories, flavors, and interesting varieties. They offer us a chance to step away from monopolized agriculture and provide us an avenue of food security through seed saving. Heirloom seeds are living time capsules, preserving the foods of our ancestors, and provide us a way to connect the past and the future. All in a tiny seed.
Here are 5 things that set Heirloom seeds apart and why you should consider growing them in your garden!
All About Heirlooms and Why We Should Grow Them
Each heirloom seed has a unique story to tell.
To qualify for heirloom status, a seed variety has to be in circulation for at least 50 years, although many have been preserved for hundreds of years. Since these seeds have been around a very long time, they are living heirlooms, connecting us to the past in a very tangible way. There are many interesting stories that connect heirloom seeds with the gardeners that grew them. There are heirloom seeds that can be traced back to Presidential gardens, Native Americans, seeds found preserved in caves, and more! These seeds connect us to the past and are worth preserving for generations ahead. If you love connecting with history and preserving old ways, heirloom seeds are for you!
Heirloom seeds are known for their stability, making them the choice seed of many sustainable gardeners, farmers, and homesteaders. Seed stability means that the seed remains stable year after year with little to no change in the character of the plant. When you save seeds from an open pollinated/heirloom plant, the seed can then be replanted the next year with confidence that it will once again grow a plant with the same (stable) characteristics. Hybrid plants do not have this stability because they have been created by cross pollinating plants. Seeds saved from hybrid plants will often grow back as either the mother or father plant which may not have desirable results or may not produce any fruit at all because of their instability. Hybrids are unstable and no one wants to be surprised by plants taking up valuable growing space! Heirlooms provide stability in the garden and in the future of gardeners. If you value sustainability and are looking gain more personal food freedom, then Heirloom seeds are for you!
Have you ever wondered what a tomato from your great grandparent’s garden tasted like? With heirlooms, you can grow those same tomatoes your grandpa grew and taste the same beans that your grandmother cooked! Heirloom seeds are like a flavor time machine to the past! Heirloom seeds were often saved originally to preserve a desirable trait like flavor. Heirloom varieties have been often selected to seed-save from based on their flavor profiles which differs greatly from hybrid variety selection. Hybrids, like those big tasteless store-bought tomatoes, are genetically selected and grown with a focus on extended transportation and shelf life, increased yields, and disease resistance…not flavor. So, if you value flavor, then once again, heirlooms are for you!
Variety found in heirloom seeds is another reason these seeds are popular! Currently there are thousands of heirloom seed varieties to choose from, with new varieties coming into circulation every year, as seeds are donated/found in community and family seed libraries around the world. Heirloom varieties also offer all sorts of unique and quirky traits. Heirloom varieties come in all shapes and sizes, often offer larger than life fruit, unique colors, and intense flavors that cannot be found on the market shelf. If you love growing unique plants, vegetables, and fruits, heirlooms are for you!
The ability to seed-save year after year is another alluring feature of heirloom seeds. As Big Ag and its monopolized seed industry gain more and more control over food systems, many are turning to heirloom seeds to re-gain their food independence. Modern farmers are being forced to buy seed from large seed companies year after year. This is because the hybrid and GMO seeds they plant cannot be saved which gives the government and these large seed companies total control of what the farmers can or can not plant year after year. Now, with sustainable farmers and gardeners who wish to gain more food freedom on the rise, heirloom seeds are also regaining popularity because of their seed saving characteristics. Heirloom seeds can be sown, seeds can be saved from the plants, and then re-sown year after year, giving added food freedom and sustainability to the garden or farm for generations to come. So, if you are planning to seed-save…Heirlooms are for you!
Heirloom seeds connect us to the past through their stories, flavors, and interesting varieties. They offer us a chance to step away from monopolized agriculture and provide us an avenue of food security through seed saving. Heirloom seeds are living time capsules, preserving the foods of our ancestors, and provide us a way to connect the past and the future. All in a tiny seed. Heirloom seeds are worth growing and worth preserving for generations to come!
Blessing of Bounty- Amber Jouben
Heritage Hollow Homestead