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Heirloom Varieties:

Golden Oldies in the

Presented by Joran Viers
Bernalillo County Cooperative
Extension Service

What is an heirloom variety:

An open-pollinated variety
having some considerable
ancestry and history of use.
Definitions, cont.

Open-pollinated: not a hybrid variety;

seeds from OP plants will grow plants
that exhibit the desired varietal
characteristics (provided proper care
has been taken to prevent out-
crossing with other varieties).
Definitions, cont.
When plant breeders create a hybrid
variety, they cross two lines and come
out with progeny exhibiting desired
characters. This hybrid generation is
termed the F1 generation, and it has a
very uniform set of characters. However,
when the F1 is allowed to set seed, the
resulting F2 generation exhibits a very
wide and unpredictable set of characters.
Parental plants = round,
yellow and wrinkled,

F1 generation = all
uniformly round and

F2 generation = four
different phenotypes,
nine different

Saving seed from the F1

will not yield uniform
plants in subsequent
Definitions, cont.
Variety: a named type of a vegetable
species, having certain distinguishing
characteristics (taste, shape, color,
size, length of season, etc.), being
adapted to certain climates and soils,
being resistant (or not!) to certain

A variety can be OP or hybrid.

Definitions, cont.

Considerable ancestry and history of

use: decades or centuries of use.
Often, long history in limited
geographic area before becoming
more widely available. Often, cultural
connection with human society of
Flour corn:
Hopi Yellow

Maiz Rojo

Vadito Blue

Mayo Tosabatchi

Images courtesy of
How are heirloom varieties different?
From hybrids: these are specific crosses of two
distinct lines, having very uniform characteristics.
Seed from the F1 generation, when grown out,
exhibit wide variability and few come true to the
F1 type. Often bred for high performance under
optimum conditions, may not handle stress well.

From newer open-pollinated varieties: these dont

(yet) have a history, a record of use and approval,
a connection to a group of peoplehowever, from
todays new open pollinated varieties come
tomorrows heirloom varieties.
Why grow heirloom varieties?

Given that many hybrids do quite well in

garden settings, taste fine, and may
have more pest/disease resistancethis
is a good question.

1. The challenge
2. The variety of varieties
3. The biodiversity
4. To save seeds
1. The challenge
Many gardeners appreciate a challenge. Some of
the tastier heirloom varieties may require extra
love and care to be successful.

Waltham 29 broccoli New England Pie pumpkin

2. The variety of varieties

Many gardeners like to

grow multiple types of
certain crops, to revel
in the variety. Different
colors, shapes, tastes,
Red Core Chantenay, Japanese Imperial
usesits easy to get Long, Scarlet Nantes and Oxheart
lost in the bounty! carrots. Images courtesy of Seeds of
Market gardeners
benefit from offering
their clientele a nice
range of choices.
3. The biodiversity

The greater the range of genes available in a

crop plant species, the more secure the
future of that crop. Just a few large
corporations control the majority of crop
seeds, and they offer relatively few choices.
Smaller, independent seed companies, certain
non-profit organizations and backyard
gardeners are vitally important to the
maintenance of the incredible genetic
diversity that humanity has fostered in our
cultivated plants.
4. To be able to save seeds

Many gardeners like to save seeds from their

own gardens, to plant again next year and
to share with friends. Seed saving is a fun
hobby and a useful art. Depending on the
species, seed saving is relatively easy
(beans, tomatoes) or it may require
considerable planning and care (squash,
Seed saving: a brief discussion

Heirloom varieties can inspire the latent seed-

saver in a gardener. Simplisticly, successful
seed saving relies upon four steps:
1. Ensure proper pollination
2. Allow plants to mature seeds
3. Harvest seed, process as appropriate
4. Store seed properly until next planting
Following is a discussion of some
different plant families, some
important crop species in those
families, some of the heirloom
varieties available and specific seed-
saving guidelines.
Family: Amaryllidaceae

Crop species:
Allium ampeloprasum: leek
A. cepa: common onion, shallot, potato
A. sativum: garlic
A. schoenoprasum: common chives
A. tuberosum: garlic chives (Chines chives)
Variety names:
Leek: Giant Musselburgh, Blue Solaize,

Seed saving: self-incompatible, insect

pollinated. Isolate varieties by 1-3 miles, or
cage and hand pollinate. Biennial, produce
flower stalks after 4-6 weeks cold weather.
Can overwinter here under mulch.
Overwintering leeks often produce side
shoots which can be used to vegetatively
reproduce the variety.
Poncho Giant Musselburg
Images courtesy Seeds of Change
Variety names:
Onion: Texas Grano
Shallot: French, Dutch Yellow, Gray
Multiplier: Yellow, Potato

Seed saving: similar to leeks: for purity,

isolate well from other A. cepa that will
flower at same time. Shallots, multiplier/
potato onions often reproduced
vegetatively (no isolation required for
propagation this way).
Yellow shallots; red
shallots (de Groot)

Texas Grano (Thompson &

Variety names:
Garlic: Inchelium Red, Georgian Crystal,
Chets Italian Red, California Early, Spanish
Roja, Killarney Red, German Brown, Persian
Star, Red Czar, Brown Rose, Jovak,
Rosewood, Georgia Fire, Wild Buff,
Susanville, Nootka Rose, Mild French, Idaho
Silver, St. Helens, Asian Tempest, Red
Janice, China Stripe, Lotus, Uzbek Turban,
Burgandy, Cuban Purple, Pescadero Red

Seed saving: garlic does not make true seed.

Plant cloves or bulbils. No need to isolate.
Asian Tempest


Inchelium Red

Persian Star

(Courtesy Seed Savers

Family: Brassicaceae
Crop species:
Brassica juncea: mustard greens
B. oleracea: broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi
B. rapa: turnip, Chinese cabbage, broccoli raab
Raphanus sativus: radish

Seed saving: insect pollinated, largely self-incompatible.

Save seed from more than one plant. Isolate by
mile or cage.
Variety names:

Mustard: Osaka Purple, Giant Red, Green

Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield, Mammoth
Red Rock, Premium Late Flat Dutch
Broccoli: Waltham 29, Calabrese, De Cicco
Cauliflower: Early Snowball, Purple Cape
Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Lacinato
Kohlrabi: Supershmeltz, Dyna
Collards: Champion, Vates
Brussels Sprouts: Long Island Improved
Calabrese Early Jersey Wakefield Mammoth Red

Early Snowball Vates Dwarf Blue Curled


Courtesy Seed Savers

Variety names:
Turnip: Purple Top White
Globe, Shogoin, Scarlet

Radish: China Rose, French

Breakfast, German Beer, Courtesy Seeds of
Round Black Spanish,
White Icicle

Broccoli Raab: Sorrento,

Round Black Breakfast White Icicle

Courtesy Seed Savers

Family: Chenopodiaceae
Crop species:
Beta vulgaris: beet, Swiss chard

Spinacia oleraceae: spinach

Seed saving: wind pollinated, self-fertile.

Isolate in time or space, or cage, or bag
Spinach is monoecious, need a ratio of 1
male per two female plants.
Variety names:
Beet: Burpees Golden, Chioggia, Cylindra,
Detroit Dark Red, Lutz Green Leaf, Bulls

Swiss Chard: Fordhook Giant, Rhubarb, Five

Color Silverbeet

Spinach: Bloomsdale Long Standing, Viroflay

Bulls Blood Burpees Golden Chioggia

Fordhook Giant Rhubarb 5 Color Silverbeet


Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange

Family: Asteraceae

Crop species:
Lactuca sativa: lettuce

Seed saving: grown in Egypt by about 4500

BC. Largely self-pollinating, as flower
opens. Can be insect pollinated, chance of
cross-pollination by neighboring varieties
not well known. Cage to ensure complete
purity, or stagger planting times. USDA
recommends 12 feet between varieties.
Variety names:
Amish Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf,
Baby Oakleaf, Bronze Arrowhead, Bunte
Forellenschuss, Buttercrunch, Crisp Mint,
Flame, Gold Rush, Green Oakleaf, Lollo
Rossa, Mascara, Merveille des Quatre
Saisions, Pablo, Pirat, Red Coral, Red
Leprechaun, Red Rapids, Red Romaine, Red
Salad Bowl, Red Velvet, Reine des Glaces,
Rossa di Trento, Rossimo, Rouge dHiver,
Rubin, Slobolt, Tango, Tennis Ball, etc., etc.,
Amish Deer Bronze Bunte Flame
Tongue Arrowhead Forellenschuss

Merveille des Pirat Red Romaine Tango

Quatre Saisons

Courtesy Seed Savers

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Crop species:
Citrullus vulgaris: watermelon
Cucumis melo: muskmelon, cantaloupe, honeydew,
Cucumis sativus: cucumber
Cucurbita maxima: squash (banana, hubbard,
Cucurbita mixta: squash (cushaw, silver-seeded
Cucurbita moschata: squash (butternut, cheese,
golden cushaw)
Cucurbita pepo: squash (acorn, crookneck, scallop,
spaghetti, zucchini, pumpkin)
Seed saving:
All species in this family have separate male
and female flowers on each plant. All are insect
pollinated and readily outcross with other
varieties in same species. Isolate by mile, or
do hand-pollinating (flower bagging is easier
than caging).
Variety names:
Watermelon: Blacktail Mountain, Chelsea, Chris Cross,
Cream of Saskatchewan, Melitopolski, Moon and Stars,
Mountain Sweet Yellow, Orangeglo, Picnic, Sweet
Siberian, Acoma, Hopi Red, Hopi Yellow, Jemez,
Jumanos, Mayo, Navojo Red-seeded, San Juan, Rio San
Miguel, Santo Domingo Winter, Tohono Oodham Yellow
Melons: Acoma, Chimayo, Hopi Casaba, Isleta Pueblo,
Jemiz, Melon de Castillo, Navajo Yellow, New Mexico
(from Alameda!), Oodham Ke:li Ba:so, San Felipe,
Santo Domingo, Amish, Banana, Bidwell Casaba,
Burrells Jumbo, Cavaillon Espagnol, Collective Farm
Woman, Crane, Early Hanover, Edens Gem, Green
Nutmeg, Hearts of Gold, Hollybrook Luscious, Haogen,
Jenny Lind, Minnesota Midget, Noir des Carmes, Piel de
Sapo, Prescott Fond Blanc, Pride of Wisconsin, Sakatas
Sweet, Schoons Hard Shell.
Variety names:
Cucumber: A& C Pickling, Boothbys Blonde, Bushy,
Double Yield, Early Fortune, Japanese Climbing,
Longfellow, Miniature White, Parade, Snows Fancy
Pickling, True Lemon, White Wonder, Clinton,
Telegraph Improved, Wautoma, Homemade Pickles,
Squash (C. maxima): Amish Pie, Anna Swartz Hubbard,
Australian Butter, Galeux dEysines, Golden
Hubbard, Guatemalan Blue Banana, Iran, Kikuza,
Queensland Blue, Rouge Vif dEtampes, Calabaza del
Norte, Indian Pumpkin, Mayo Blusher, Minnies
Apache Hubbard, Mormon Squash, Navajo Hubbard,
Peasco Cheese, Taos.
Squash (C. mixta): Tennessee Sweet Potato, Waltham
Squash (C. moschata): Magdalena Big Cheese, Mayo
Segualca, Middle Rio Conchos, Pima Bajo, Kikuza,
Long Island Cheese.
Variety names:
Squash (C. pepo): Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin,
Cornfield Pumpkin, Fordhook Acorn,
Nimba, Pattison Panache, Summer
Crookneck, Table Queen, Thelma Sanders
Sweet Potato, Woods Prolific Bush Scallop,
Acoma Pumpkin, Hopi Pumpkin, Pacheco
Pumpkin, Tarahumara, Cocozelle Zucchini,
Ronde de Nice Zucchini, Zucchetta
Blacktail Mountain Chris Cross Moon and Stars

Banana Collective Farm Early Hanover Prescott

Fond Blanc Woman

Courtesy Seed Savers

Boothbys Blonde Miniature White Snows Fancy True
Lemon Pickling

Galeux dEysines Guatemalan Blue Long Island Cheese Summer

Crookneck Banana

Courtesy Seed Savers

Family: Fabaceae
Crop Species:
Phaseolus acutifolius: tepary bean
P. coccineus: runner bean
P. lunatus: lima bean
P. vulgaris: common bean
Pisum sativum: garden pea
Vicia faba: fava bean

Seed saving: largely self-pollinating, may be

crossed by insects. For purity grow one
variety, cage, or isolate by some distance.
Variety names:
Tepary: Big Fields White, Big Fields Brown,
Black, Blue Speckled, Brown Speckled,
Cocopah Brown, Cocopah White, Colonia
Morelos Speckled, Guarijio White, Hopi White,
Kickapoo White, Little Tucson Brown,
Menagers Dam Brown, Paiute Mixed, Paiute
Yellow, Pima Beige and Brown, Pinacate,
Sacaton Brown, Sacaton White, San Felipe
Pueblo White, San Ignacio, San Pablo Balleza,
Santa Rosa, Sonoran White, Tohono Oodham
Brown, Tohono Oodham White, Yoeme
Brown, Yoeme White.
Runner: Four Corners, Scarlet Runner, Painted Lady,
Sunset Runner.

Lima: Christmas Lima, Henderson Bush Lima, Sieva,


Common: Arikara Yellow, Bountiful, Brittle Wax,

Brockton Horticultural, Cherokee Trail of Tears,
Dragons Tongue, Hidatsa Shield Figure, Kentucky
Wonder Bush, Jacobs Cattle Gasless, Lazy
Housewife, Mayflower, Rattlesnake Soup, Speckled
Cranberry, Swedish Brown, Oregon Blue Lake,
Tongue of Fire, Four Corners Gold, Frijol Gringo, Hopi
Black, Hopi Light Yellow, Hopi Pink, Hopi Pinto, Hopi
red, Milta Black, Mt. Pima Burro & Caballito, New
Mexico Bolitas, Oodham Pink, Taos Red, Vadito Bolita
Garden pea: Amish Snap, British Wonder,
Dwarf Gray Sugar, Green Arrow, Little
Marvel, Suttons Harbinger, Tom Thumb,
Cascadia Snap, Sugar Ann, Oregon Giant.

Fava: Aquadulce, Sweet Lorane, Broad

Windsor, Banner (used for cover crop/green
manure), Friedrichs (used for cover
crop/green manure).
(certain people, mostly men of
southern European descent, may have
potentially fatal allergy to fava beans)
Courtesy Native

Big Fields White Blue Speckled Tohono Oodham Paiute Mixed


Christmas Sieva Painted Lady Sunset

Courtesy Seed Savers

Arikara Yellow Dragons Tongue Mayflower Brittle Wax True Red

Brockton Swedish Brown Jacobs Cattle Hidatsa Shield Cherokee

Trail Horticultural Gasless Figure of

Courtesy Seed Savers

Dwarf Gray Sugar Little Marvel Tom Thumb Green Arrow
Edible Podded

British Wonder Amish Snap Aquadulce Broad Windsor

Courtesy Seed Savers Courtesy Territorial Seed

Exchange Company
Family: Solanaceae

Crop species:
Capsicum anuum: sweet and chili peppers
Lycopersicon escultentum: tomato
Solanum melongena: eggplant
S. tuberosum: potato
Variety names:
Peppers: Alma Paprika, Aji Crystal, Ancho Gigantea,
Balloon, Beaver Dam, Black Hungarian, Bulgarian
Carrot, Candlelight, Chervena Chushka, Cyklon,
Fatali, Fish, Garden Sunshine, Georgia Flame,
Golden Treasure, Jimmy Nardellos Sweet Italian
Frying Pepper, Hot Portugal, Lemon Drop, Marconi
Red, Napolean Sweet, Orange Bell, Quadrato Asti
Giallo, Santa Fe Grande, California Wonder,
Staddons Select, Italian Pepperoncini, Gourmet, Red
Bulls Horn, Buran, Anaheim, Mulato Isleno, Ancho
101, Big Jim, etc.

Seed saving: all are capable of self-pollinating, but will

also easily out-cross with insect assistance. Isolate
by at least 500 feet, or cage. May need flower
agitation or hand pollination. Bag individual flowers
to prevent crossing.
Tomato: SSE members offer 2,980 varieties!! Amish
Paste, Angora Super Sweet, Aunt Rubys German
Green, Austins Red Pear, Basinga, Black Krim, Black
Plum, Black from Tula, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple,
Cherry Roma, Czechs Bush, Druzba, Dr. Wyches
Yellow, German Pink, Giant Syrian, Golden Sunray,
Green Zebra, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Hungarian Heart, Isis
Candy Cherry , Juane Flamme, Kelloggs Breakfast,
Lemon Drop, Long Tom, Martinos Roma, Nebraska
Wedding, Nyagous, Opalka, Orange Banana, Principe
Borghese, Peron, Purple Russina, Red Fig, Riesentraube,
Russian Persimmon, Soldacki, Stupice, Tommy Toe,
Tiger Tom, White Beautythe list goes ever on!
Seed saving: Most tomatoes can be grown side by side
with no trouble. To save seed, squeeze ripe fruit into
container to collect seeds and surrounding gel. Allow
gel to ferment for a few days. After this time, rinse
resulting smelly goop to clean and isolate seeds, and
then allow them to air dry.
Eggplant: Applegreen, Casper, Diamond, Florida High
Bush, Listada de Gandia, Pingtung Long, Rosita, Thai
Green, Udumalapet.
Seed saving: primarily self-pollinating; isolate by 50 feet
or cage. To collect seed, fruit must ripen far past
edible stage. Grate bottom portion of fruit (greatest
seed density) into a bowl. Add water to within 2
inches of rim, squeeze gratings to release good seeds
(which will sink to bottom).
Potato: All Blue, Butte, Caribe, Carola, Cranberry Red,
Rose Gold, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold, Elba, Red
Cloud, Island Sunshine, Swedish Peanut, Rose Finn
Apple, Onaway, Reddale.
Seed saving: mostly reproduced vegetatively, no chance
of crossing.
Chimayo Alcalde Lemon Drop Alma

Jimmy Nardellos Ancho Gigantea Isleta

Bulgarian Carrot

Courtesy Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seeds/SEARCH

Dixie Golden Giant Druzba Costoluto Genovesee Evergreen
Indische Fleish Hazel Mae Martinos Roma Hillbilly

Lemony Peacevine Cherry Orange Russian Oregon Spring

Applegreen FL High Bush Listada de Gandia Ping Tung

All Blue Russian Banana Cranberry Red Yukon Gold

Courtesy Seed Savers

Family: Apiaceae
Crop species:
Apium graveolens: celery
Anethum graveolens: dill
Coriandrum sativium: coridander (cilantro)
Daucus carota: carrot
Foeniculum vulgare: fennel

Seed saving: Seed saving: perfect flowers,

self-incompatible. Insect pollinated. For
purity, isolate by three miles, or cage, or
hand pollinate.
Variety names:
Celery: Ventura, Giant Red, Brilliant (celeriac)
Dill: Long Island Mammoth, Dukat, Fernleaf,
Bouquet Seed
Coriander: Slo Bolt
Carrot: Nantaise, Amstrong, Yellowstone,
Royal Chantenay, Danvers, Rodelika,
Thumbelina, Kuttiger
Fennel: Perfection, Fino, Romy
Japanese Imperial


Red Core

Scarlet Nantes

Courtesy Seeds of
Family: Poaceae
Crop species:
Zea mays: corn

Seed saving: wind pollinated, readily cross

between varieties. For good pollination
plant is blocks, not rows. Large population
sizes guard against inbreeding depression.
Isolate by two miles for purity, or bag and
hand-pollinate. Sequential planting can
provide isolation in time, but you must
have a good idea of the maturity time of
the varieties involved.
Golden Bataam Improved Painted Mountain Manzano Yellow

Stowells Evergreen Bloody Butcher Santo

Domingo Posole

Courtesy Native Seeds/SEARCH; Seed Savers