Monday, July 18, 2011


This year as I started planning my vegetable garden, I was armed with all the insight I have gained from the last three years that I have spent taking college courses in crop production, propagation techniques, and integrated pest management strategies.  I was nervous about developing my plan, but I was excited to use everything that I have worked hard to learn and I am here to say that it was worth all the hours in the classroom, the hours of driving, and the infamous "test anxiety."

This year I also tried something new, heirloom seed.  There is debate about just what constitites true "heirloom" or "heritage" seed, but for my purposes, heirloom seed is simply seed that has been passed down from generation to generation, is non-hybrid and not genetically modified.  Imagine the sweet peas in your Grandmother's garden that came from seed handed down to her from the generation that preceeded her.  These type of seeds are not commercially viable today for large corporate agriculture systems that require near 100% germination, multiple region disease and pest resistance, and fast production time so they are not generally used; thus, these vegetables and fruits are not available for purchase in your grocery store. The very qualities that make these seeds unacceptable for commercial agriculture are what make them a MUST have for the home gardener.  Chief among them are flavor and beauty. 

My favorite heirloom seed producers are Baker Creek Heirlooms / Petaluma Seed Bank and they are hosting an exciting West Coast/Nor-Cal event this fall, The National Heirloom Exhibition in Santa Rosa, California.  See advert here:!/photo.php?fbid=115923568501848&set=a.115923565168515.22706.106549122772626&type=1&theater .  I am going to be in the area for a family wedding, so I plan to attend.  I am so excited and I can hardly wait.  I will write more about how much I love their seed later, but check out my garden pics and you will see just how amazing their seeds and the plants they become really are.  This year I have zucchini that are almost 4' tall and loaded, pumpkins that are growing as if somebody sprinkled magic fairy dust on them every night, and many unique old world plants I was never before brave enough to try.  Take a look- these pics are old.  Everything is even bigger today. 

Now that you've seen my heirloom plants, please share yours.

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