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Heirloom seeds
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Graybeard
posted
Just got my Baker Creek seed catalog. Of course not everything goes back as far as colonial times but many types of seeds are 1800s. Drooling n putting together a list for next year's garden. Anybody else use heirloom seeds in the garden? May not produce the same but sure taste better
 
Posts: 229 | Location: Southeast Pa. | Registered: 03 February 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of MountainRanger
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I have tried several "heirloom" vegetables. Frankly, I find them a bit over rated. I think the tomatoes that I have tried that were supposedly "heirloom" were bitter as heck, and there is something about a purple tomato that makes me want to put it in the same category as monsters under my bed and evil, demon clowns! I've have tried an heirloom squash or several, and other products supposedly heirloom. they were either small and not what I would call juicy enough to cook with or the flavor was just not what I was expecting.

First of all, how on earth would the average slob (me, for instance) really be assured that some vegie or it's seed for propagating is really heirloom? I guess I'm in the minority, but I am perfectly happy with the... what would you heirloom addicts say, 'Artificial' fruits and vegetables we get at most farmer's markets. Oh, one bit of backing up... I had two 'heirloom' apple trees on my farm that had been there since before the original house was built in around 1900. The apples were small, hard even when ripe, but for cooking in pies or baked apples, you couldn't beat them. They did need sugar to make them edible. There was old orchard up at the old Daws farm on North Mountain in Botetourt County, which is National Forest now. There is one of three springs at the old farm site, and the orchard was down to half a dozen trees when I would water Kapital (my horse) there at the site. That farm had been there since the Revolution and the person who originally owned my farm was a Daws grandson.. and he was the one who build the house that was on the farm when I bought it. Guess my apple trees really were 'heirloom' but that does sort of solidify my impression of the concept of heirloom.

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Sua Sponte
 
Posts: 460 | Location: SW Virginia (New River Valley) | Registered: 13 August 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Free Trapper
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Many of the heirloom tomato varieties are quite late to maturity for the northern climate where I live. Have tried several in my greenhouse, Brandywine, Abraham Lincoln, Arkansas Traveler, to name just a few. They mostly were prone to cracking and were hit with various blights and fungal attacks to the fruit. Cutting away the bad spots and salvaging what was left for the table and cooker, I found that these varieties had excellent flavor and taste. But the waste was not worth the extended effort. The very best tomato in my opinion for around my area is the BIG BEEF hybrid. Oh what a great tomato! On the subject of apples, MountainRanger, I have done some study and have found that apples grown in the colonies back in the 18th century were most appreciated for their flavor for cider making. Hard cider was the mainstay for the working classes! With the movement towards prohibition against alcohol, the apple growing industry was forced to produce the sweet fresh eating apples we see today. Many of the old heirloom cider apples of our countries history have become extinct. MountainRanger, you may have found a variety that has been lost on that old farm! I would recommend having it checked out by your area farm co-op or agriculture agent. Just one surviving tree could reestablish a lost variety!
 
Posts: 166 | Registered: 15 January 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Hey Cranbrook, I spoke to both the county Ag agents and reps of the National Park Service at their HQs in Craig County when I was there on the farm, so they had been appraised of the trees, both on the farm and on top of the mountain at the old homestead. The Farm Agent from VA Tech came to my farm once upon a time in the 90s and got several apples from each trees on the farm. Getting to the old home site is a trial for one on foot; it was mostly visited by those of us on horseback who enjoyed North Mountain and hikers when that trail was used as an alternate to the Appalachian Trail during that same time. Folks of both persuasions (horsemen and hikers) used the Daw's spring as well as the two at either end of the mountain. Interestingly, paralleling North Mountain is Caldwell Mountain, another long ridge-like formation like North Mountain, and between is a dirt road that at one time was part of the old Sweet Springs Turnpike then to trails which ran from Williamsburg into the great paths and trails leading to theCan-Tuck-Kee hunting grounds. One other interesting bit of history is that off that road between the two long ridge mountains (the road is called Stone Coal Gap) is the Stone Coal Mine. It started out as 'gulley mining in the late 18th, early 19th centuries then the mine (a pony mine) was the first pit mine in Virginia. Not sure exactly when this started, but I believe that it was just after the War of Northern Aggression. The narrow guage rails still come out of the ground, following the contour of the hill, although the mine opening has been closed off.

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Sua Sponte
 
Posts: 460 | Location: SW Virginia (New River Valley) | Registered: 13 August 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Wow,sounds like you live in some fascinating country....So,were the County agents,etc. of the opinion that those apples were a lost variety?


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1486 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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We use heirloom seeds but not from Baker Creek.We have had very low germination rates from there seeds. We use to live pretty close to them and on 2 different times we went there to buy seed they tried to way over charge us. I have spoken to others that have had the same problems with them.


Some people are born to be tied down, some people are born to be free.
 
Posts: 21 | Registered: 27 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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Many of you know I have been involved in all areas of period (heirloom) edibles - foraged and cultivated. Have written a few articles on the subject, did more research than anyone with common sense would have done. Must have been the old hippy knowledge coming out or Mother Earth News articles or having been born on the edge of Valley Forge Park in PA? I have worked with several growers of these seeds (trying to match what our forefathers used - Jefferson & his friends). GURNEY’S of all the big growers were by far the easiest to work with and provided much of the items of interest that could be crossed referenced.

Here's a link built for the more common edibles cultivated in Jefferson's Garden Book along with Payne and Franklin's garden notes. Can't get much further back than these guys, many were items traded when visiting their European counterparts.

See: http://sittingfoxagency.tripod....cross.reference.htm

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Buck Conner
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 16 November 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Thanks for sharing,Buck.Sounds interesting.


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1486 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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