More gardeners are beginning to reject one-size-fits-all seeds and embrace open-pollinated or heirloom seeds for biodiversity and nostalgia.
Once threatened with extinction, many heirloom seed varieties were almost wiped from existence. Now, renewed efforts to not only preserve, but to prefer these seeds for home gardens and small farms have created a resurgence of popularity for heirloom vegetable and flower varieties.
These flower and vegetable seeds are some of the most popular heirloom seed varieties currently available.
Popular Heirloom Vegetable Seed Varieties
Some heirloom vegetables make astounding recoveries from near-oblivion, while others have quietly entertained consistent popularity.
Moon and Stars Watermelon – Almost lost completely, this melon was found by a SeedSaver.org member, Kent Whealey on a small farm in Missouri, and now 50 different seed catalogs offer the heirloom watermelon seeds. Both the foliage and the fruit of this unique, spotted watermelon are speckled with yellow spots and splotches. The fifteen inch fruits are ready for harvest in about ninety days from planting.
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes – This is a popular tomato in my neck of the woods, and many Oklahoman homesteads still grow this heirloom tomato as part of their everyday gardens. Large, deep red to purplish fruits, these tomatoes are known for their old-fashioned flavor. Cherokee purple tomatoes win many taste contests, are hardy tomatoes and known to be easy to grow.
Bloomsdale Spinach – Said to be slightly more heat resistant than other spinach varieties. Bloomsdale spinach is a more recent heirloom variety but has delicate flavor and is an heirloom plant that is more readily available mainstream. The Bloomsdale spinach matures in about forty to forty-eight days.
Popular Heirloom Flower Seed Varieties
Heirloom flower varieties spread throughout the country with early pioneers who could pack seeds much easier than potted plants. As a result, many of these favorite heirloom flowers are still found across the United States today.
Heavenly Blue Morning Glory – Morning glory vines are easy to grow and provide a gardener with both beauty and fragrance. Even with the advent of hybrid and genetically modified flowers, this classic blue morning glory continues to be popular. In some areas the vines are considered invasive as they do grow prolifically. But the stunning color and beautiful vines make these climbers fantastic landscape additions.
Swiss Giants Pansy Flowers – These pansies are a classic mix that are available in such mainstream locations as Home Depot and other discount garden nurseries. A bright mix of colors and long stems make these pansies a great choice for old-fashioned gardens.
Yellow Mammoth Crocus – One of my personal favorite bulbs of all time is the crocus bulb. Most crocus flowers are rather small, and the lighter purple or white flowers can blend into the last of late winter snows. But the Yellow Mammoth is bigger, and with a bright yellow flower it is a welcome sight in the spring. Some blooms can reach 3-4 inches across, making this crocus one of the largest. And this popular crocus bulb has been seen in gardens internationally since the seventeenth century.
The genetic diversity, unique background, sustainability factor, and ease of growing provided by many of these heirloom varieties keeps them popular even in today’s modern world.