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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seed Savers

The other day I went to the mailbox and got one of the greatest surprises I have had in a while. I ran home to my wife and screamed at her to come see what we had received. Our Seed Savers Exchange catalogue had finally come. This is one of the most exciting things to happen in our house as we plan out our upcoming garden and the new heirlooms that we are going to try.

What is the Seed Savers Exchange? According to their website http://www.seedsavers.org they are a non-profit organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds or our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. When people grow and save seeds, they join an ancient tradition as stewards, nurturing our diverse, fragile, genetic and cultural heritage.

Megan has a good article about heirlooms on this link.

If you are a new gardener or want to be able to reuse the seeds from your harvest from year to year I would strongly recommend that you start planning on planting some heirlooms next year. Go to the Seed Savers Exchange website and order some plants online.

One of the downsides with heirlooms is I have found it hard to determine which ones are better for my climate. This leads to some experimenting see which seeds work and which seeds don't.

If you live in the Utah desert the following plants worked well for us last year

Summer Crookneck Squash: More than our family and our neighborhood could eat and freeze from only 3 plants

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes: Abundant Fruit. Firm flesh. Unique purple color.

Mexican Midget Tomatoes: Bountiful and fruitful harvest from July to the end of October when it started to freeze.

Beam's Yellow Pear Tomato: Beautiful yellow tomato a little bigger than cherry tomatoes. Not as fruitful as the previous tomatoes that I listed.

Charantais Melon: 3 melons per plant but they were the best melons I have ever eaten. Like a cantaloupe but sweeter and juicier.

We didn't have as much success with the following plants

White Wonder Cucumber: We just couldn't get it to grow.

Brandywine tomato: We didn't get very many. However they were so good that we are going to try again.

What heirlooms have you found that thrive in your area? What ones have you found don't work as well? Is there anyone in Utah that has had success with an heirloom cucumber variety?



Chris The Gardener said...

Out of curiosity, what Zone are you?

marisa said...

Wikipedia says we are a 7, but I always thought we were about 5-6.

Sarah said...

i've been getting my seed catalougs too, it's sooooo glorious! for texas our planting dates are only a month or so away. eek!

jennifer said...

I had great luck with scarlet runner beans when I lived in your parts. Their pretty red blossoms upon vines often steer their classification to an ornamental, but the beans are edible, too.

I tried five color silverbeet (swiss chard) last year and loved it!