Heirloom Vegetables from Seed
Ancient seed families
Many heirloom varieties have survived hundreds and even thousands of years, like the hundreds of potato varieties from Peru, the tomatoes from South America and the grains from around the Old and New worlds. Some carry ancient genetic material and are in danger of extinction. They survive because gardeners continue to grow them season after season and maintain the purity of the strain. Growing heirloom varieties helps to perpetuate biodiversity, which in turn increases resilience of our food plants.
Saved for their characteristics
The seed of heirloom vegetables is selected from certain plants each season for their desirable characteristics that include things like:
Superior flavour (the old Grosse Lisse and Bullocks Heart tomatoes)
Ability to withstand hot, humid conditions (Redlands Prolific Bean)
Grain qualities such as hardness, eg Dent corn for stock fodder and Flint corn for cereals and polenta
Resistance to disease, wet tolerant, soil specific tolerances and many other traits.