All heirloom varieties are open pollinated, but not all open pollinated varieties can be considered heirlooms. Unfortunately, the definition of "heirloom" has been somewhat of a moving target recently; but, generally, it means a variety that is at least 40-50 years old, no longer available in the commercial seed trade and that has been preserved and kept true in a particular region."
Monday, March 1, 2010
Growing Challenge - German Pinks
As part of this year's "EXTREME" Growing Challenge, I committed to (1) grow three crops from seed, (2) plant the seed in three new people by inspiring them to grow plants from seed, (3) tell the story about my seed plantings "here" at One Green Generation, and, since I'm participating in the "EXTREME" version of this challenge, I will (4) make it seed to seed by harvesting some of my own seed.While it is only the first of March and still just a tad too mucky for me to actually start playing in the dirt in my own garden, my growing three crops from seed portion of this challenge is well under way.
Choosing the heirloom German Pink Tomato seeds that I received from my son as one of the three crops to grow for this challenge, late last week I started some.
When explaining my particiption in the Growing Challenge to a close friend, a farmer and grower himself of hundreds and hundeds of acres of vegetable seeds for various seed companies, he asked me my definition of an "heirloom" crop. Even though I have certainly been hearing the term "heirloom" used a lot lately to describe many vegetables and flowers, often see it printed on seed packets in the stores or used in the plant descriptions online and in seed catalogs, and have been freely using the term myself, I didn't quite know how to answer his question. I decided I should do a little research about what could and couldn't be called an "heirloom" crop. Since I am also particpating in a GROW Project this year with Gardenbloggers.com sponsored by Renee's Garden, I had recently visited Renee's website and remembered seeing something about the definition there so that proved to be a good place to start. In Renee's online article called "Heirlooms and Hybrids - What's the best for the home garden", here is a direct quote from a portion of that article that provides a good definition,
There is more to the definition in the article and it is definitely worth the read, but based on that definition, these German Pink Tomatoes certainly are worthy of the term "heirloom" as they have been passed down, generation after generation for at least 100 years.
If how quickly seeds germinate are any indicator as to how well the crop will do, I think we are off to a great start because a after only three days, already tiny German Pink Tomato seedlings are poking their faces up toward the lights hanging above their tray.
Some of the other heirloom varieties I also have under my grow lights are the Waltham Butternut Squash and Round French Zucchini heirloom seed I received from the gardener/blogger over at 14 Acres blogspot, and Jester Marigolds I received at the Seed Swap. From beans to spinach to flowers, having received many varieties of heirloom seeds at that Seed Swap, I just might have difficulty narrowing my reporting down to only THREE crops for this "EXTREME" Growing Challenge. Hmmm, perhaps I should look up the definition of an "EXTREME" home gardener too.