Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your Own
If you’re looking to trim your grocery bill and coax a little more value from your property by growing edible fruits and veggies, you’re in for a treat. Heirloom vegetables offer a spectrum of colors and flavors that make each trip to your garden patch a sensory delight. You’ll also become part of a passionate, engaged heirloom community that loves food as much as you do!
Start with seeds gathered from seed-saving communities and banks. Save money by carefully harvesting your own seeds for next year’s garden. Collect seeds after they’ve fully matured and ripened. Seeds from heirloom plants preserve genetic diversity and may one day provide critical resources if a genetic catastrophe strikes mega-farms.
Credit: Jack Dykinga/USDA
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnEat Your History (It’s Good for You)
European history might not have been your favorite class, but you can easily digest that subject when you munch a BLT featuring slices of Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato. Perfectly ripe when green, these tomatoes are living artifacts; each plant will save you $15-$23/year over store-bought tomatoes.
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnWhat’s Up, Doc?
Surprising colors and subtle flavors say you’re not shopping at the Mega-Mart anymore. Heirloom vegetables make each meal a visual delight—and another good reason to save some money by growing your own produce.
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnLet Kids Love Vegetables
Spending quality time with the kids is easy in a family garden; children love the shapes and colors of heirloom plants, such as these high-yield, low-cost Trail of Tears beans. Plan to spend 8-12 hours getting your garden ready in the spring, and about 4 hours each week tending your plot.
Credit: Timothy Teague for Food for Thought
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnJoin the Community
Growing heirloom vegetables and fruits provides a portal to a community of fellow heirloom aficionados. Passionate heirloom gardeners organize swap meets to trade seeds and gardening tips—a great way to start a community garden.
Credit: David Silver/Flickr
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnGo Local
Indigenous varieties of heirloom plants—this mini chocolate bell pepper is an Ohio heirloom—are well-adapted to their native climates, making them resistant to diseases and pests and easy to grow. Check local seed exchanges for plants that are cultivated for your area.
Heirloom Vegetables: A Smart Reason to Grow Your OwnInvite the Neighbors
With an emphasis on heirloom vegetables, your community garden gives participants an extra measure of motivation and more fuel for casual conversation, along with juicy tidbits for your community garden newsletter.