Heirloom Varieties

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					    Heirloom Varieties:
Golden Oldies in the Garden

             Joran Viers
   Bernalillo County Cooperative
        Extension Service

What is an heirloom variety?
 An open-pollinated variety having
 some considerable ancestry and
 history of use.
          Definitions, cont.

Open-pollinated: a true-breeding line; not a
 hybrid variety; seeds from OP plants will
 grow plants that exhibit the desired
 varietal characteristics (provided proper
 care has been taken to prevent out-
 crossing with other varieties).
          Definitions, cont.
When plant breeders create a hybrid variety,
 they cross two lines and come out with
 progeny exhibiting desired characters.
 This hybrid generation is termed the F1
 generation, and it has a very uniform set
 of characters. However, when the F1 is
 allowed to set seed, the resulting F2
 generation exhibits a very wide and
 unpredictable set of characters.
Parental plants = round,
   yellow and wrinkled,

F1 generation = all
   uniformly round and

F2 generation = four
   different phenotypes,
   nine different genotypes.

Saving seed from the F1 will
   not yield uniform plants
   in subsequent
           Definitions, cont.
Variety: a named “type” of a vegetable
 species, having certain distinguishing
 characteristics (taste, shape, color, size,
 length of season, etc.), being adapted to
 certain climates and soils, being resistant
 (or not!) to certain pests/diseases…
 Also termed “cultivar” (cultivated variety).

A variety can be OP or hybrid.
          Definitions, cont.

Considerable ancestry and history of use:
 decades or centuries of use. Often, long
 history in limited geographic area before
 becoming more widely available. Often,
 cultural connection with human society of
Flour corn:
Hopi Yellow

          Maiz Rojo

Vadito Blue

   Mayo Tosabatchi

Images courtesy of
Native Seeds/SEARCH
How are heirloom varieties different?
From hybrids: these are specific crosses of two distinct
  lines, having very uniform characteristics. Seed from the
  F1 generation, when grown out, exhibit wide variability
  and few come true to the F1 “type”. Often bred for high
  performance under optimum conditions (water, fertilizer,
  pest control materials), may not handle stress well.

From newer open-pollinated varieties: these don’t (yet)
  have a history, a record of use and approval, a
  connection to a group of people…however, from today’s
  new open pollinated varieties come tomorrow’s heirloom
Why grow heirloom varieties?

Given that many hybrids do quite well in garden
    settings, taste fine, and may have more
    pest/disease resistance…this is a good

  1.   The challenge
  2.   The performance
  3.   The variety of varieties
  4.   The biodiversity
  5.   To save seeds
1. The challenge
Many gardeners appreciate a challenge. Some of the
  tastier heirloom varieties may require extra love and
  care to be successful.

   Waltham 29 broccoli         New England Pie pumpkin
2. The performance
Under less-than ideal conditions, the
 heirlooms may outperform the hybrids
 that require the top level of fertilizer,
 water, etc.

Hopi corns can germinate in six inches of
 sand and survive to produce some harvest
 on very little water.
3. The variety of varieties

Many gardeners like to grow
  multiple types of certain
  crops, to revel in the
  variety. Different colors,
  shapes, tastes, uses…it’s
                               Red Core Chantenay, Japanese Imperial Long,
  easy to get lost in the      Scarlet Nantes and Oxheart carrots. Images
                               courtesy of Seeds of Change.
  bounty! Market
  gardeners benefit from
  offering their clientele a
  nice range of choices.
4. The biodiversity

The greater the range of genes available in a crop
  plant species, the more secure the future of that
  crop. Just a few large corporations control the
  majority of crop seeds, and they offer relatively
  few choices.
Smaller, independent seed companies, certain
  non-profit organizations and backyard gardeners
  are vitally important to the maintenance of the
  incredible genetic diversity that humanity has
  fostered in our cultivated plants.
5. To be able to save seeds

Many gardeners like to save seeds from their own
 gardens, to plant again next year and to share
 with friends. Seed saving is a fun hobby and a
 useful art. Depending on the species, seed
 saving is relatively easy (beans, tomatoes) or it
 may require considerable planning and care
 (squash, peppers).
Seed saving: a brief discussion
Heirloom varieties can inspire the latent seed-
  saver in a gardener. Simplistically, successful
  seed saving relies upon four steps:
  1. Ensure proper pollination
  2. Allow plants to mature seeds
  3. Harvest seed, process as appropriate
  4. Store seed properly until next planting

Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth: an excellent
  treatment of seed production requirements for
  various species.
Following is a discussion of some
different plant families, some
important crop species in those
families, some of the heirloom
varieties available and specific
seed-saving guidelines.
 Family: Amaryllidaceae
Crop species:
  Allium ampeloprasum:
  A. cepa: common onion,
  shallot, potato onion
  A. sativum: garlic
  A. schoenoprasum:
  common chives
  A. tuberosum: garlic
  chives (Chinese chives)
Variety names:
  Leek: Giant Musselburgh, Blue Solaize,

  Seed saving: self-incompatible, insect pollinated.
  Isolate varieties by 1-3 miles, or cage and hand
  pollinate. Biennial, produce flower stalks after
  4-6 weeks cold weather. Can overwinter here
  under mulch. Overwintering leeks often produce
  side shoots which can be used to vegetatively
  reproduce the variety.
Poncho                            Giant Musselburg
Images courtesy Seeds of Change
Variety names:
  Onion: Texas Grano
  Shallot: French, Dutch Yellow, Gray
  Multiplier: Yellow, Potato

Seed saving: similar to leeks: for purity, isolate
  well from other A. cepa that will flower at same
  time. Shallots, multiplier/ potato onions often
  reproduced vegetatively (no isolation required
  for propagation this way).
                                    Yellow shallots; red shallots
                                    (de Groot)

Texas Grano   (Thompson & Morgan)
Variety names:
  Garlic: Inchelium Red, Georgian Crystal, Chet’s
  Italian Red, California Early, Spanish Roja,
  Killarney Red, German Brown, Persian Star, Red
  Czar, Brown Rose, Jovak, Rosewood, Georgia
  Fire, Wild Buff, Susanville, Nootka Rose, Mild
  French, Idaho Silver, St. Helens, Asian Tempest,
  Red Janice, China Stripe, Lotus, Uzbek Turban,
  Burgundy, Cuban Purple, Pescadero Red……

Seed saving: garlic does not make true seed.
  Plant cloves or bulbils. No need to isolate.
                                  Asian Tempest

                                   Georgian Crystal

                                  Inchelium Red

                                        Persian Star

(Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange)
Family: Brassicaceae
Crop species:
  Brassica juncea: mustard greens
  B. oleracea: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,
  cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi
  B. rapa: turnip, Chinese cabbage, broccoli raab
  Raphanus sativus: radish

Seed saving: insect pollinated, largely self-incompatible.
  Save seed from more than one plant. Isolate by ½ mile
  or cage.
Variety names:

  Mustard: Osaka Purple, Giant Red, Green Wave
  Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield, Mammoth Red
  Rock, Premium Late Flat Dutch
  Broccoli: Waltham 29, Calabrese, De Cicco
  Cauliflower: Early Snowball, Purple Cape
  Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Lacinato
  Kohlrabi: Supershmeltz, Dyna
  Collards: Champion, Vates
  Brussels Sprouts: Long Island Improved
 Calabrese                      Early Jersey Wakefield      Mammoth Red Rock

 Early Snowball                         Vates            Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Variety names:
  Turnip: Purple Top White
  Globe, Shogoin, Scarlet Ball

  Radish: China Rose, French
  Breakfast, German Beer,
  Round Black Spanish, White     Courtesy Seeds of Change


  Broccoli Raab: Sorrento,
                                French Breakfast
 Round Black Spanish                               White Icicle

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Crop species:
  Beta vulgaris: beet, Swiss chard

  Spinacia oleraceae: spinach

Seed saving: wind pollinated, self-fertile. Isolate
  in time or space, or cage, or bag inflorescence.
  Spinach is monoecious, need a ratio of 1 male
  per two female plants.
Variety names:
  Beet: Burpee’s Golden, Chioggia, Cylindra,
  Detroit Dark Red, Lutz Green Leaf, Bull’s Blood

  Swiss Chard: Fordhook Giant, Rhubarb, Five
  Color Silverbeet

  Spinach: Bloomsdale Long Standing, Viroflay
Bulls Blood             Burpee’s Golden    Chioggia            Cylindra

Fordhook Giant           Rhubarb          5 Color Silverbeet   America

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Asteraceae

Crop species:
  Lactuca sativa: lettuce

Seed saving: grown in Egypt by about 4500 BC.
  Largely self-pollinating, as flower opens. Can be
  insect pollinated, chance of cross-pollination by
  neighboring varieties not well known. Cage to
  ensure complete purity, or stagger planting
  times. USDA recommends 12 feet between
Variety names:
  Amish Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf, Baby
  Oakleaf, Bronze Arrowhead, Bunte
  Forellenschuss, Buttercrunch, Crisp Mint, Flame,
  Gold Rush, Green Oakleaf, Lollo Rossa, Mascara,
  Merveille des Quatre Saisions, Pablo, Pirat, Red
  Coral, Red Leprechaun, Red Rapids, Red
  Romaine, Red Salad Bowl, Red Velvet, Reine des
  Glaces, Rossa di Trento, Rossimo, Rouge
  d’Hiver, Rubin, Slobolt, Tango, Tennis Ball, etc.,
  etc., etc
 Amish Deer            Bronze      Bunte            Flame
 Tongue                Arrowhead   Forellenschuss

 Merveille des          Pirat      Red Romaine      Tango
 Quatre Saisons

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Crop species:
  Citrullus vulgaris: watermelon
  Cucumis melo: muskmelon, cantaloupe, honeydew,
  Cucumis sativus: cucumber
  Cucurbita maxima: squash (banana, hubbard,
  Cucurbita mixta: squash (cushaw, silver-seeded gourds)
  Cucurbita moschata: squash (butternut, cheese, golden
  Cucurbita pepo: squash (acorn, crookneck, scallop,
      spaghetti, zucchini, pumpkin)
Seed saving:
  All species in this family have separate male and
  female flowers on each plant. All are insect pollinated
  and readily outcross with other varieties in same
  species. Isolate by ½ mile, or do hand-pollinating
  (flower bagging is easier than caging).
Variety names:
Watermelon: Blacktail Mountain, Chelsea, Chris Cross,
  Cream of Saskatchewan, Melitopolski, Moon and Stars,
  Mountain Sweet Yellow, Orangeglo, Picnic, Sweet
  Siberian, Acoma, Hopi Red, Hopi Yellow, Jemez,
  Jumanos, Mayo, Navajo Red-seeded, San Juan, Rio San
  Miguel, Santo Domingo Winter, Tohono O’odham Yellow
Melons: Acoma, Chimayo, Hopi Casaba, Isleta Pueblo,
  Jemez, Melon de Castillo, Navajo Yellow, New Mexico
  (from Alameda!), San Felipe, Santo Domingo, Amish,
  Banana, Bidwell Casaba, Burrell’s Jumbo, Cavaillon
  Espagnol, Collective Farm Woman, Crane, Early Hanover,
  Eden’s Gem, Green Nutmeg, Hearts of Gold, Hollybrook
  Luscious, Haogen, Jenny Lind, Minnesota Midget, Noir
  des Carmes, Piel de Sapo, Prescott Fond Blanc, Pride of
  Wisconsin, Sakata’s Sweet, Schoon’s Hard Shell.
Variety names:
Cucumber: A& C Pickling, Boothby’s Blonde, Bushy, Double
  Yield, Early Fortune, Japanese Climbing, Longfellow,
  Miniature White, Parade, Snow’s Fancy Pickling, True
  Lemon, White Wonder, Clinton, Telegraph Improved,
  Wautoma, Homemade Pickles, Marketmore.
Squash (C. maxima): Amish Pie, Anna Swartz Hubbard,
  Australian Butter, Galeux d’Eysines, Golden Hubbard,
  Guatemalan Blue Banana, Iran, Kikuza, Queensland
  Blue, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Calabaza del Norte, Indian
  Pumpkin, Mayo Blusher, Minnie’s Apache Hubbard,
  Mormon Squash, Navajo Hubbard, Peñasco Cheese,
Squash (C. mixta): Tennessee Sweet Potato, Waltham
Squash (C. moschata): Magdalena Big Cheese, Mayo
  Segualca, Middle Rio Conchos, Pima Bajo, Kikuza, Long
  Island Cheese.
Variety names:
Squash (C. pepo): Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin,
  Cornfield Pumpkin, Fordhook Acorn, Nimba,
  Pattison Panache, Summer Crookneck, Table
  Queen, Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato, Wood’s
  Prolific Bush Scallop, Acoma Pumpkin, Hopi
  Pumpkin, Pacheco Pumpkin, Tarahumara,
  Cocozelle Zucchini, Ronde de Nice Zucchini,
  Zucchetta Rampicante.
 Blacktail Mountain        Chris Cross       Moon and Stars    Orangeglo

 Banana                    Collective Farm   Early Hanover    Prescott Fond Blanc

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
     Boothby’s Blonde      Miniature White   Snow’s Fancy       True Lemon

     Galeux d’Eysines      Guatemalan Blue   Long Island Cheese Summer Crookneck

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Fabaceae
Crop Species:
     Phaseolus acutifolius: tepary bean
     P. coccineus: runner bean
     P. lunatus: lima bean
     P. vulgaris: common bean
     Pisum sativum: garden pea
     Vicia faba: fava bean

Seed saving: largely self-pollinating, may be
  crossed by insects. For purity grow one variety,
  cage, or isolate by some distance.
Variety names:
Tepary: Big Fields White, Big Fields Brown, Black,
  Blue Speckled, Brown Speckled, Cocopah Brown,
  Cocopah White, Colonia Morelos Speckled,
  Guarijio White, Hopi White, Kickapoo White,
  Little Tucson Brown, Menager’s Dam Brown,
  Paiute Mixed, Paiute Yellow, Pima Beige and
  Brown, Pinacate, Sacaton Brown, Sacaton White,
  San Felipe Pueblo White, San Ignacio, San Pablo
  Balleza, Santa Rosa, Sonoran White, Tohono
  O’odham Brown, Tohono O’odham White,
  Yoeme Brown, Yoeme White.
Runner: Four Corners, Scarlet Runner, Painted Lady,
  Sunset Runner.

Lima: Christmas Lima, Henderson Bush Lima, Sieva,

Common: Arikara Yellow, Bountiful, Brittle Wax, Brockton
  Horticultural, Cherokee Trail of Tears, Dragon’s Tongue,
  Hidatsa Shield Figure, Kentucky Wonder Bush, Jacob’s
  Cattle Gasless, Lazy Housewife, Mayflower, Rattlesnake
  Soup, Speckled Cranberry, Swedish Brown, Oregon Blue
  Lake, Tongue of Fire, Four Corners Gold, Frijol Gringo,
  Hopi Black, Hopi Light Yellow, Hopi Pink, Hopi Pinto,
  Hopi red, Milta Black, Mt. Pima Burro & Caballito, New
  Mexico Bolitas, O’odham Pink, Taos Red, Vadito Bolita
Garden pea: Amish Snap, British Wonder, Dwarf
  Gray Sugar, Green Arrow, Little Marvel, Sutton’s
  Harbinger, Tom Thumb, Cascadia Snap, Sugar
  Ann, Oregon Giant.

Fava: Aquadulce, Sweet Loraine, Broad Windsor,
  Banner (used for cover crop/green manure),
  Friedrichs (used for cover crop/green manure).
  (certain people, mostly men of southern
  European descent, may have potentially
  fatal allergy to fava beans)
                                                           Courtesy Native Seeds/SEARCH

Big Fields White          Blue Speckled   Tohono O’odham      Paiute Mixed
Christmas                Sieva            Painted Lady          Sunset

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Arikara Yellow    Dragon’s Tongue Mayflower        Brittle Wax      True Red

Brockton          Swedish Brown   Jacob’s Cattle   Hidatsa Shield   Cherokee Trail
Horticultural                        Gasless         Figure           of Tears

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
  Dwarf Gray Sugar      Little Marvel    Tom Thumb               Green Arrow
  Edible Podded

  British Wonder      Amish Snap        Aquadulce                   Broad Windsor

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange               Courtesy Territorial Seed Company
Family: Solanaceae

Crop species:
  Capsicum anuum: sweet and chili peppers
  Lycopersicon escultentum: tomato
  Solanum melongena: eggplant
  S. tuberosum: potato
Variety names:
Peppers: Alma Paprika, Aji Crystal, Ancho Gigantea,
  Balloon, Beaver Dam, Black Hungarian, Bulgarian Carrot,
  Candlelight, Chervena Chushka, Cyklon, Fatali, Fish,
  Garden Sunshine, Georgia Flame, Golden Treasure,
  Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying Pepper, Hot
  Portugal, Lemon Drop, Marconi Red, Napolean Sweet,
  Orange Bell, Quadrato Asti Giallo, Santa Fe Grande,
  California Wonder, Staddon’s Select, Italian
  Pepperoncini, Gourmet, Red Bull’s Horn, Buran,
  Anaheim, Mulato Isleno, Ancho 101, Big Jim, etc.

Seed saving: all are capable of self-pollinating, but will also
  easily out-cross with insect assistance. Isolate by at
  least 500 feet, or cage. May need flower agitation or
  hand pollination. Bag individual flowers to prevent
Tomato: SSE members offer 2,980 varieties!! Amish Paste,
  Angora Super Sweet, Aunt Ruby’s German Green,
  Austin’s Red Pear, Basinga, Black Krim, Black Plum,
  Black from Tula, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Cherry
  Roma, Czech’s Bush, Druzba, Dr. Wyche’s Yellow,
  German Pink, Giant Syrian, Golden Sunray, Green Zebra,
  Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Hungarian Heart, Isis Candy Cherry,
  Juane Flamme, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Lemon Drop, Long
  Tom, Martino’s Roma, Nebraska Wedding, Nyagous,
  Opalka, Orange Banana, Principe Borghese, Peron,
  Purple Russina, Red Fig, Riesentraube, Russian
  Persimmon, Soldacki, Stupice, Tommy Toe, Tiger Tom,
  White Beauty…the list goes ever on!
Seed saving: Most tomatoes can be grown side by side
  with no trouble. To save seed, squeeze ripe fruit into
  container to collect seeds and surrounding gel. Allow gel
  to ferment for a few days. After this time, rinse
  resulting smelly goop to clean and isolate seeds, and
  then allow them to air dry.
Eggplant: Applegreen, Casper, Diamond, Florida High Bush,
  Listada de Gandia, Pingtung Long, Rosita, Thai Green,
Seed saving: primarily self-pollinating; isolate by 50 feet or
  cage. To collect seed, fruit must ripen far past edible
  stage. Grate bottom portion of fruit (greatest seed
  density) into a bowl. Add water to within 2 inches of
  rim, squeeze gratings to release good seeds (which will
  sink to bottom).
Potato: All Blue, Butte, Caribe, Carola, Cranberry Red, Rose
  Gold, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold, Elba, Red Cloud,
  Island Sunshine, Swedish Peanut, Rose Finn Apple,
  Onaway, Reddale.
Seed saving: mostly reproduced vegetatively, no chance of
Chimayo                 Alcalde                  Lemon Drop   Alma Paprika

Jimmy Nardello’s        Ancho Gigantea           Isleta       Bulgarian Carrot

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seeds/SEARCH
Dixie Golden Giant     Druzba            Costoluto Genovesee Evergreen
Indische Fleish        Hazel Mae           Martino’s Roma     Hillbilly

Lemony                Peacevine Cherry   Orange Russian     Oregon Spring

Courtesy Tomatofest
Amish Paste         Basinga         Black from Tula   Cherokee Purple

Golden Sunray       Green Sausage   Red Fig           Roman Candle

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Striped Cavern     Tiger Tom           Garden Peach         German Pink

Gold Medal        Isis Candy Cherry   Kellogg’s Breakfast   Lemon Drop

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
With so many varieties, some may offer disease resistance…

Peron Sprayless tomato: about 50% of plants grown three
  years ago in my garden were un-affected by curly top
  virus. I saved seed from fruit of the un-affected plants.
  Experiment with this and other varieties.

70 days. (Indeterminate) [Introduced
in 1951 by Gleckler's from Argentina.]
A main-crop variety notable for its
tasty red tomatoes produced on
disease-resistant vines. Produces a
high percentage of uniform, defect
free fruits, averaging 3" to 4" in
diameter. Flavor is sweet with some
intricacy. Reliable, flavorful, and a
garden mainstay. From: Southern
Exposure Seed Exhange.
Applegreen            FL High Bush      Listada de Gandia   Ping Tung Long

All Blue               Russian Banana   Cranberry Red       Yukon Gold

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Apiaceae
Crop species:
  Apium graveolens: celery
  Anethum graveolens: dill
  Coriandrum sativium: coriander (cilantro)
  Daucus carota: carrot
  Foeniculum vulgare: fennel

Seed saving: Seed saving: perfect flowers, self-
  incompatible. Insect pollinated. For purity,
  isolate by three miles, or cage, or hand
Variety names:
  Celery: Ventura, Giant Red, Brilliant (celeriac)
  Dill: Long Island Mammoth, Dukat, Fernleaf,
       Bouquet Seed
  Coriander: Slo Bolt
  Carrot: Nantaise, Amstrong, Yellowstone, Royal
       Chantenay, Danvers, Rodelika, Thumbelina,
       Kuttiger, Oxheart
  Fennel: Perfection, Fino, Romy
  Japanese Imperial


  Red Core Chantenay

          Scarlet Nantes

Courtesy Seeds of Change
Family: Poaceae
Crop species:
  Zea mays: corn

Seed saving: wind pollinated, readily cross
  between varieties. For good pollination plant is
  blocks, not rows. Large population sizes guard
  against inbreeding depression. Isolate by two
  miles for purity, or bag and hand-pollinate.
  Sequential planting can provide isolation in time,
  but you must have a good idea of the maturity
  time of the varieties involved.
Golden Bantam Improved Painted Mountain            Manzano Yellow

Stowell’s Evergreen       Bloody Butcher        Santo Domingo Posole

          Courtesy Native Seeds/SEARCH; Seed Savers Exchange
Family: Rosacea

Crop Species:
Malus domestica: Apple

Seed saving: propagation is by grafting onto root
  stock. Apple seeds will not come true to type,
  may yield a great new plant or a yucky one.

Red Belle de Boskoop, Roxbury Russet, Chehalis,
  Foxwelp (cider apple), Baldwin, Spitzenberg,
  Winter Banana,…
Melrose               Red Boskoop   Williams Pride
Chehalis              Queen Cox     Bramley

Courtesy Raintree Nursery
    Resources and Sources
• Seed Savers Exchange:; 563-
    382-5990. Membership organization also selling to
    general public.
•   Native Seeds/SEARCH:; fax:
    520-662-5591. Non-profit preserving SW heirloom
•   Raintree Nursery:; 360-
    496-6400; many heirloom fruit varieties, good
    quality stock.
•   Tooley Trees: 505-689-2400; many varieties, very
    knowledgeable and friendly owner (Gordon
    Tooley), located in Truchas, NM.

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