Why grow heirlooms? Perhaps you have always grown your normal garden vegetables and are wondering if there is a good reason to grow heirloom varieties instead. There are many advantages to growing heirloom vegetables. Here are a few reasons you should start gardening with heirloom varieties.
1 – Great Taste
Heirloom vegetables taste great. Many popular varieties that seed companies sell are developed specifically for uniformity and long storage life. The taste of heirloom produce from your garden can easily surpass supermarket produce in freshness and taste. If taste is one of your goals for your garden produce, consider planting heirloom vegetables.
2 – They Save You Money
Heirloom vegetables are open pollinated, which means that you can save seed from the plant and plant it next year. This saves a lot of money through the years as you will not have to buy seed for each variety of plant every year. When comparing heirloom seeds, you may find that they are less expensive than hybrid seeds. This is because producing heirloom seeds is easier than producing hybrid seeds. Consider making the switch to heirloom seeds to save some money. You could use that money for other things like materials for raised beds, gardening books, or new gardening tools.
3 – They’re More Nutritious
Some research suggests that heirloom vegetables are more nutritious than commercially grown varieties. This is because commercial varieties are often developed to produce high yields at the expense of nutritional value. While heirloom varieties may not produce quite as much as commercial hybrid varities, the upside is that you will be harvesting more nutritious produce.
4 – Far More Choices
If you decide to grow heirloom vegetables you will have many available choices. There are thousands of varieties of heirloom vegetables available for sale. In fact there are so many varieties that growers are having a hard time growing them all to keep varieties from extinction. The number of choices in tomatoes alone is staggering. Seed Savers in the US for instance offers over 4,000 varieties through their members. There are all shapes, sizes and colors to choose from. Each variety has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you want more choices, heirloom varieties will give you plenty. Check out the Diggers Club to get a start at picking out some heirloom varieties.
5 – Beautiful Varieties
If you care about the beauty of your vegetables then heirloom vegetables are the perfect choice. Heirloom varieties offer a much larger diversity of colors, shapes and sizes to choose from. You could grow several varieties of heirloom vegetables and create a rainbow of colors. Just take a browse through the Diggers Club catalogues and you will see examples of the beauty of heirloom vegetables. Growing beautiful varieties can be more fun and can add to the presentation of your food. Chefs also love heirloom vegetables not just for their great flavour, but for their beauty as well.
6 – Vegetables That Suit Your Area
By growing your own heirloom vegetables and saving seed each year from your most healthy and vibrant plants, you will be creating stronger and more reliable varieties for your local area. Through the years, you will develop a variety that responds well to your specific climate, pests, and potential diseases. Saving seeds over time will help you have more success in your garden without having to rely on expensive, chemical pesticides and herbicides. In addition, you will have your own locally adapted variety of heirloom vegetable to share with your neighbors, family and friends.
7 – Preserve Plants From Extinction
The vegetable world is full of diversity in varieties. Sadly, many varieties are not being preserved. One reason many people choose to grow heirloom vegetables is to preserve varieties from extinction. So much diversity is being lost as commercial growers tend to focus on only a couple varieties of each vegetable. Preservation of rare varieties can add to the joy of growing heirlooms. You will be preserving a part of nature and history.
8 – Learning a Stack of History Through Heirlooms
Heirlooms, by definition, have a rich history as they are older varieties that have been passed down through the years. Many heirlooms have interesting stories about their development or have connections to important historical figures. If you are a history buff like me or enjoy the connection between heirlooms and history then growing heirlooms may be add to your enjoyment of history.
Enjoy Heirlooms – because by preserving the past you’re securing the future!