Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heirloom Gardens

Although I've put in tomatoes by seed, today I picked up a small flat of heirloom tomato plants. Nearly all of the plants sold now days are hybrid.

I had a marvelous garden back in Illinois. Every spring, the farmer we rented from would plow and I would rake it smooth and plant. Without fail, every year, "volunteer" tomato plants would spring up, growing where the parent plant from the previous year had dropped rotten tomato, forgotten tomatoes, or some seeds from somewhere. The volunteer plants were always the strongest, most productive.

Mostly, these were cherry tomato plants and I would make katsup, juice, and serve them in salads endlessly. I'd wash a bowl full of cherry tomatoes and leave them out for the kids to munch.

Hybrid plants can not reseed themselves. Heirlooms can. When buying seed, look for the old fashioned strains.

You can keep the seed from pumpkins and squash, provided they do not cross pollinate. Plant them fart apart to keep squash varieties pure. Butternut, acorn, yellow neck, and zucchini are all great for low maintenance, big rewards.

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