Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heirloom vs. Conventional

For the past two years I have planted mainly conventional seeds with an occasional heirloom thrown in for fun. This year I planted mainly heirloom varieties and I can really see a difference in the plants as well as final fruits!
Here's a great example:
Obviously the squash on the right is an heirloom variety. The color is amazing, it has fewer seeds and has a nice nutty flavor. The conventional summer squash on the left is still very good, but the flavor has NO comparison to the heirloom variety. The conventional squash also has lots of water in the fibers. I suspect it was "bred" that way to make them appear bigger and more appealing to consumers. I love all the lumps and bumps in the heirloom variety! They make for a great centerpiece on the table until we're ready to use them.

I grew most of my peppers from heirloom seed this year but had to supplement with a few nursery plants.
The bell on the left is a standard nursery variety. It has a thick skin, is perfectly round, and fair flavor. The bells on the right are the heirlooms. They grow very elongated, have a thin outer skin, and their pepper flavor is more pronounced but they remain quite sweet.

My favorite heirlooms, though, have got to be the tomatoes!
The shapes and colors coming out of the garden are like works of art! Not one of them is the picture perfect round red tomato ~ and I LOVE that!
I've never been a real big tomato eater so I can't begin to describe the flavor distinctions between the heirloom and conventional varieties. All I know is that we are loving the homemade salsas and sauces being made with them.

Another big difference between the types is how they grow in the garden.
This is one of my heirloom pepper plants. The white and light green variegation is just beautiful to see out in the garden.
I'm really going to put forth an effort to save seeds from my heirloom varieties and continue purchasing from companies who do not genetically modify their seeds. It has really turned out to be a real treat to garden with these varieties this season!

1 comment:

The Creamer Family said...

I absolutely love yellow squash, but I have never had heirloom varieties. You can really see the difference. Thanks for sharing your beautiful veggies!