Author Topic: Growing Heirlooms  (Read 7150 times)

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Dorine

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 06:35:32 AM »
Here is a California source for heirloom tomato seeds. Looks very interesting. They have a fantastic sale on now until Jan. 20.

http://www.tomatofest.com/heirloom_tomato_seed_home.html
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Vicki

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2012, 06:49:26 PM »
Bountiful Gardens - Heirloom, Untreated, Open-Pollinated Seeds for Sustainable Growing.
www.bountifulgardens.org
707-459-6410  Free catalogs.

I leafed through our catalog yesterday and circled my dream garden and then cut it down to affordable.  ;D This is the 2nd year I've ordered from them. Not everything is heirloom. My two favorites are Dragon Tongue Wax Bush Bean and Juwarot (deliciously sweet for juicing) carrots. But they are not heirloom. They are open-pollinated, and grown without chemicals, so the seeds can be saved.

I couldn't find it on their website, but in their catalog they have a page of definitions.

Quote
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated varieties that have been around for a long time (50 years minimum). Since most were bred before chemical pesticides were common, they are often well-adapted to home garden and organic cultivation. Farmers and gardeners are breeding new open-pollinated varieties today that will be the heirlooms of the future. These days many people use "heirloom" to mean any open-pollinated variety, new or old, so if you are looking for old varieties, ask the seller what they mean.

Open-Pollinated: As people keep selecting their best plants for seed, the results gradually become more predicatable. Eventually every time you plant that kind of seed, the plants give similar results. Then the seed has been esatablished as an open-pollinated variety. The animal equivalent would be beagles, or golden retrievers - you know what to expect in looks and, to some extent, behavior, because they are purebred. Individuals have slight variations within the "family resemblance".

Even though they are not heirloom, they have the qualities we are looking for, right? No chemicals, non-GMO & non-hybrid.

I have some seed I saved from last year that I will plant this year to see if I did things right. Juwarot carrot, butternut squash, and parsnip are all that come to mind at the moment, but I think I have a few others stashed away. The butternut was excellent, too. But I've never had a bad butternut so, so far any variety is OK by me.

This year I'm going to try to get Dragon Tongue seeds saved. Last year I stopped harvesting too late for the remaining ones to ripen before frost hit. What can I say? They were too tasty not to harvest!  :) 

Dorine

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2012, 01:09:23 PM »
I had posted this in the "tomato" thread and Richard suggested I re-post it here so here goes.....

To keep the tomato seed pure a simple method is to have two garden plots about 20 feet apart with two different kinds of tomatoes with something tall growing between them like mammoth sunflowers. Also if you grow early, mid-season and late season tomatoes close together there should not be any problem with cross pollination as they will blossom at different times.
This year I have 4 different kinds of tomato seed that I will be planting in 4x5 ft. blocks in a long row and I will save a couple of tomatoes from the centre of each block for next years seeds. We do not have many bees here so that may be why I don`t have much problem with cross pollination. I had to order new tomato seeds this year seeing I didn`t get any seeds saved from last years crop.
I`ve kept all my seeds in the refrigerator this year for the first time. It is suppose to extend the life of the seed much longer. I also read that if you freeze them they are good for about 10 - 15 years. Has anyone tried that?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2013, 10:51:49 PM »
Dorine, because of the deer problem, I don't have the ability to separate my heirloom tomatoes this year. I have six varieties growing in a long row of twos. I think I have four to six plants of each variety. So, while I don't have a lot of bees, they are in close proximity to each other. I doubt if I will keep many of the seeds. I am still looking forward to tomatoes. :)   Our late storms with threat of hail caused me to postpone setting the plants out, so I am late.

Here is a photo.  The plants are doing well, with lots of blooms now, but they were late. I have some small tomatoes.




Thanks for the encouragement to try the heirlooms again.
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Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2013, 11:11:47 PM »
Richard, there is a way to save seed from your plants even though they are in close proximity. With so many varieties growing, I can't keep all them segregated so I bag a few blooms and just save seed from those that I bagged. When I say bag, I mean to make a bag out of netting  that you can put over the blooms and tie on with some string, Velcro, or make it with a draw string. I want to Wall Mart and bought a double yard of wedding vale material for .97 cents that works fine. Do this so as to be able to save your own seed this year, will result in a few dollars saved when needing seed for next year. Not all crops you can do this with, but with tomatoes, it works just fine.

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2013, 11:36:31 PM »
What a blessing!! Thanks, Mark.   Do I have to hand pollinate those blossoms? I assume I have to catch the blossom before it opens. How early can I bag it? When I see the stem that produces the blossom form, can I bag that and a few of the branches early? And, then when the fruit forms, I can remove the bag?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2013, 08:31:59 AM »
That's a wonderful idea Mark. This year all my tomatoes are from seeds I saved from last year by just taking tomatoes from the centre of each group. I'm very curious and anxious to find out what I will get this year. Richard your tomato plants look healthy. And to think they are heirloom. Yay!
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2013, 08:57:31 AM »
Richard, a tomato blossom has all it needs within its self to reproduce. They have both the female and male attributes, so no pollinating required. Usually you look for a new truss that is about to start blooming and bag this truss till a few tomatoes have started to form within the bag. Then just take off the bag and mark your tomatoes so as to save the seed from only those. By the way I use white material but wave seen some steal their wives old pantyhose and use them. Just so you have something over them to keep the big and little bees out till pollination has taken place.  God bless

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2013, 10:41:28 AM »
Great!! I will try it.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2013, 10:15:26 AM »
I have a lot of blossoms, but few tomatoes. Can I help pollinate the tomatoes?

There have been very few bees this year. I have never seen it this bad. Also, have not seen more than two butterflies or moths all summer. It is most unusual. The bees and butterflies are vanishing. Is it possible we could have famine in the United States?
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Mimi

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2013, 12:54:23 PM »
They are plentiful in the southwest. Hummm ...
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Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2013, 09:58:38 PM »
We have a whole state full of agriculture. And where there is agriculture, there are chemicals.  Not one butterfly this year, other than a few white ones. The only bees, are yellow jackets, wasps, and a few large black bumble bees.  Amazing!  The bees are indeed vanishing!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »
Richard, most of the time a little breeze is all tomatoes need to complete the pollinating process. But you can help them out sometimes by shaking them with a electric tooth brush. This is what I use when wanting to collect pollen anyway. I imagine your problem is heat. Not all tomatoes set fruit the same. Some will set fruit in cool temps and some will not, while others will set fruit in hotter weather and others will not. Most tomatoes reach their limit at around 95 deg. but there are a few that are tough and will set in hotter weather, but again I say a few. Even here were I live, I usually get the first pickings from all the tomatoes that pollinated during the coolness of spring. and when the heat gets up there, the fruit ripen and then I have to wait till cooler weather for another round to set on. I have actually been blessed this year and have not had enough hot weather to cause any disruptions to speak of.

Another thing to consider is the fact that most open pollinated and heirloom tomatoes do not have the production you find in hybrid lines. This is why I grow so many varieties so as to be able to evaluate the variety for the characteristics I am looking for. Myself am always on the lookout for tomatoes and other crops that have production, taste, and uniformity. Out of the hundreds I have grown, like around twenty are keepers for my neck of the woods.

For as well you have to take into consideration that certain varieties were bread for certain climates. One that grows good here might not grow good in your area and visa versa.  I have found that I need to grow a  variety more then one time to evaluate it's production for it needs to get accustomed to my climate that is unless it came from my area.   One more factor to think  about is that some heirlooms no matter where they are grown just don't have production. They might have been good a 100 years ago, but pale in comparison to the varieties we have today.

Will try getting a few lines that might do good for you and send you some seed this winter, just remind me. Hope this helps and may god bless.

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2013, 10:14:16 AM »
Thanks, Mark. That does help a lot. We need to check with local growers to find out what does well in our climate and soils.  I have noticed that a few of my varieties have quite a few tomatoes and others hardly any at all. Did not realize that the high temps would cause a problem setting fruit. It makes sense. Another good reason to start the tomatoes in the ground earlier.  When our temps cool down, it is getting pretty late to hope for getting ripe tomatoes if they have not yet set fruit.  We are having an unusually cool week. Maybe that will help.  I suppose even if the fruit set, if the temps get too high, there would be some fruit drop? 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2013, 10:40:33 AM »
I have never noticed fruit drop that was a result of excess heat, but it might happen. Usually what happens is your fruit begin to ripen when at a smaller size. they are in a push to reproduce, and when under excessive stress, will do what ever to make the reproductive process complete. I have had some just cook on the vine before from heat, but it is usually the dark tomatoes that can do this.  Just get a skin bag full of mush.

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2013, 10:05:29 AM »
As I was considering Mark's ideas about some varieties not doing well in some localities, I realized that with hybrids there are not so many varieties being sold. When we move into growing heirlooms, there are hundreds of varieties and the chance of getting a variety that will not do well in our location is much greater. Same with diseases.

This caused me to consider why we are growing heirlooms. Let's take a closer look. One of our main concerns with hybrids is that we will not be able to buy or sell one day soon. If we have heirlooms, we have good seed from our own crop. That is not the only reason, but that is a major concern that is overcome by having heirlooms. We are not dependent upon others for our seed. If we try to use hybrid seeds from our crop, they are not going to produce very well, if at all.

It becomes important to learn what heirlooms will do well where we live. We don't want to get to the time when we need seed and don't have any because the crop failed.  Some seed will save for awhile. That means that we can also save some hybrid seed for veggies that we like and are less prone to disease and produce a good crop.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2013, 06:26:21 PM »
Richard, I might say that all heirlooms originally came from a hybrid. Most were from a bee or a wind cross that crossed two different species of the same family. They were then grown and most of the time evaluated and selected for certain characteristics that looked good. It is really a hit and miss way of getting new lines of varieties but it works when patience is applied.  Like tomatoes for instance, a crossing of two varieties results in a F1 hybrid. If we were to grow these out and save seed, the next generation would be a F2. As we let them grow out from F2 and on to F8 we will often times see many changes take place like leaf pattern, color, production, and taste. If we were to select for the properties we wanted and hope the carry over to the next generation, at the F8  stage we would have a new open pollinated variety of tomato that would need a name. Keep it growing for a good number of years and your creation if good enough, turn into a tomato worthy of passing on to others which then classifies it as a heirloom.

Some things do not go  through this process. For like a bean once crossed only one time has become a new variety that will come back true the next year. Quit the science to seed breading that I don't really understand, but find fascinating. I will say the reason I grow the open pollinated varieties is that not only can I save my own seed, but as well for the fact that a open pollinated variety can take up more nutrients if available which in turn makes for healthier or more nutritious food. So yes well worth growing even if not quite as productive. 

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2013, 02:57:22 PM »
Thanks for the info on hybrids, Mark.  We are learning. Is it not true that the first year of planting the hybrid's seed, there will not be a true reproduction?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mark W

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2013, 07:26:03 AM »
Richard, I must first tell you that I am not a professional when it comes to plant science and breeding. I do like to dabble in it but I don't have all the answers, but I will try and  answer your question. The reproduction process that the Lord distilled into all seed it quite remarkable when observed.  That is the #1 thing a plant is programed to do in most cases, reproduce after its own kind. Some times you can pull a plant and yet watch it try its hardest to send out a seed head so as to produce more seed.

Hybrids are a cross between two or more varieties to achieve  a certain outcome. Now how they know what the outcome will be I don't know, but the plant breeders somehow know. They usually are looking for certain characteristics that they think will enhance one-another when crossed. Oftentimes they will cross one with like good keeping ability to one with good appearance for instance.  They mainly look for decease resistance, productivity, production, size, uniformity,  and taste. Like with tomatoes, they have thousands of varieties at their disposal, to mix and match as they see fit.

Most often when you cross two varieties and the genes themselves are mixed, the first offspring or the F1  seem to in most cases to have a lot of vigor, which is what the breeder was wanting. Within the F1 seed we find a certain amount of genes from one variety and the other kind of like locked together to form this new variety.

But  now if you were to plant the offspring of the F1 which would now be called F2, some amazing things good and bad can start to happen. These genes  begin to unlock so to speak and start rearranging themselves at random. So now you plant the seed of the F1 fruit  which we now call F2; and I must say here that the F2 stage is the most amazing to me to watch for with all the genes starting to unlock and rearrange themselves, you don't know what you will expect to see. You might have different colors, different sizes and shapes make themselves known. You will see differences in vigor, decease resistance, production,and yes taste.

Now out of one F1 variety you have just opened up a can of worms so to speak. For now you have the potential to create multiple segregates or future varieties out of just one.  To illustrate this, I had a tomato breeder send me a pack of F2 seed this spring to evaluate and see if anything interesting would become of it. I got 12 plants to come up from that pack of seed and from the 12 plants, one was purple, one was chocolate color, some were yellow, and a couple were orange. A few more were pink and red, while I even had two that were GWR (Green When Ripe). Of all these different colors I had several shapes. Some were big beefsteaks, some were medium slicers, while others were hearts. And I could go on about vigor, taste, and disease resistance. But all from one pack of F2 seed.

It would take at least 8 generations for all these genes to settle down and for what could be dozens of new varieties, for you will see some variation in the F3 and even farther.  So yes to answer your question, no you will never have true reproduction of the same variety as you knew it, for it will now transform its self into a combination of the two using a variety of the many genes in the two parents. Like i have said, this is the process that has taken place naturally and unnaturally since the beginning of time. this is why we have such diversity in everything we see in Gods creation.

This whole process has taken place in countless gardens ever since man has began gardening. Now would I advocate planting hybrids? No not at all. For until the genes get settled down, the plant will not be able to  pick up all the nutrients it could otherwise. Don't ask me why, but research has shown that this is what happens. So if we were to grow hybrids all the time, our nutrient content of our produce would be limited, and we know we need all the nutrients we can get. And while on the subject, if your soil does not have the nutrients in the first place, it won't matter if you plant open pollinated or hybrids. 

Hope this doesn't make more questions then it answers, God bless Mark.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Heirlooms
« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2013, 03:08:33 PM »
I have had the strangest thing happen to me this year in my tomato patch. I plant ONLY heirloom and keep my seeds each year. When my Sweeties ripened this year I noticed that one plant produced yellow tomatoes. I have NEVER planted any yellow tomatoes of any kind. They look and taste just like the red ones but are a bright yellow. Any ideas what happened here?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14