My favorite time of the year is quickly upon us…NO, not christmas!! 🙄 .. the arrival of the seed catalogs!! 😀
So, in celebration of that here is a list of some of my favorite heirloom seeds! Most of these are really easy to grow too!
((Note: most of these photos are mine, but I didn’t have pics of a few so the smaller-ish ones were foraged off google images))
1. Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce….French 1830’s I think, slow to bolt but also has good cold hardiness. Frilly green leaves with red tinge.
2. Costata Romanesco Zucchini….Straight from Italy, the BEST tasing zucchini I have ever had, nutty fleshy sweet…not watery, perfect for stirfries. Not as prolific as hybrid zucchini, but in some ways that is a good thing LOL…what it lacks in production it certainly makes up for in taste…the male flowers also make delicious fritters…YUM!
3. Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin…from Austrailia over 100 years old. Super dense super velvety super sweet flesh and grows to about 5 pounds, it is also earlier than other pie pumpkins and keeps very well. Last year, I harvested 3 at the end of August and stored them away to make pies for Thanksgiving and they were in perfect condition.
4. Delikatesse Cucumber…from Germany. More cold tolerant than most cucumbers, has small worts, 8″-10″ long good for pickles or slicing, but if used for pickles should be picked on the small side, like 6″ max…has a slight honeydew melon nuance that you don’t find in commercial/hybrid cucumbers.
5. Japanese White Hulless Popcorn…by FAR the BEST popcorn in the world, and I am not exagerating. I have never been a huge popcorn fan, don’t like them getting stuck in my teeth all the time…but the hulls on this popcorn are so thin no toothpicks are required….it is also perfectly white and tender, like a blanket of fresh fluffy snow covered in salt and melted butter! LOL
6. Hooker’s Sweet Corn….unlike hybrid varieties the kernels develop on their own and don’t rely on the others so that you can even have tiny ears or large sized ears depending on sun and soil quality….great for short cool seasons and it only gets about 5 feet tall. The kernels are white and yellow and different shades of purple which is also really neat!
7. Wonderberry (aka Sunberry)….used to be very popular in victorian times. Grows a rather large sprawling bush like a tomato and produces small semi-sweet purple berries about the size of heirloom blueberries (not the huge hybrid freaks), when sweetened with sugar and cooked down it makes a great ice cream sauce….but if you’re like us the berries usually never make it into the house…. Warning: the unripe green berries are poisonous.
8. Flat of Egypt Beet (aka Egyptian Flat or Crosby’s Egyptian)…I am a huge beet fan, beets are the most nutritious vegetable you can consume. This beet has been around for forever, they are earlier than most varieties and more uniform, the shape is like a somewhat flattened sphere….their flavor is also extremely sweet, and they don’t get tough even when you let them get real big. They also produce a lot of yummy greens.
9. Red Russian Kale….the sweetest of the kales, especially after a frost and one of the most cold hardy. I had 3 full grown kale plants survive our horrible winter of 09′-10′ (3-4 FEET of snow), then they went to seed in the late spring and by fall I had more kale without even planting anything…you gotta love a vegetable that easily plants itself!
10. Big Month Paste Tomato….an old amish heirloom exclusive to baker creek seeds (no longer available, at least not on their website, check the printed catalog). PERFECT for canning since they all tend to ripen at once, the plants get absolutely huge if you allow them, it was grazing the top of my 15 foot trellis last year! Great flavor, little water, small seed cavities…unique in that in produces two shapes of tomatoes…elongated plum shapes and small round globes. The flavor is great and makes great sun-dried tomatoes!