Heirloom plants are vegetables, flowers, andfruits that are grown from seeds passed down through the generations and areopen pollinated, meaning they rely on natural pollination from insects and wind.  They generally are considered highquality, more flavorful and easy to grow. Heirloom plants are grownon a small scale using traditional techniques as opposed to being grown inlarge commercial nurseries. They have unique colors,textures, and tastes not found in factory-farmed industrial produce.  Heirloom seeds are raisedfrom seeds that are at least 50 years old (there is controversy about how oldan heirloom seed has to be however) and growers save the seeds of their bestplants for the most vigorous, disease resistant, flavorful, or beautiful ones.

Why are heirloom plantsso important? Genetic diversity is essential to protecting our food supply. Ifwe only grow a few varieties of crops, disease could wipe them all out.

Heirloom tomatoes are unbeatable in flavor andhave gotten popular in the last few years.  There are hundreds of varieties such as Brandywine, GreenGrape, Green Zebra and Lillian’s Yellow.   Kentucky Blue green beans, Jimmy Nardello sweetpeppers and Moon and Shine watermelons are a few of the top picks among otherheirloom plants.

There are several seed catalogs like AbundantLife, which specialize in heirlooms or you can purchase them on line atheirloomseed.com. Farmer’smarkets also sell some heirloomvegetables and fruits.  Try them –you won’t believe the difference!


For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

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