Exploring Tomato Flower Structure

Exploring Tomato Flower Structure

One common belief among gardeners is that tomato varieties with potato-type leaves are much more likely to cross pollinate than regular leaf tomatoes. What is the basis of this wisdom? Is there any truth in it?

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Choosing Squash for Your Garden: Flavor Evaluations from Harvest through Storage

Choosing Squash for Your Garden: Flavor Evaluations from Harvest through Storage

As you begin to plan your gardens for this year, consider the storage qualities of squash. The optimal storage period for squash varieties can be significantly different. Not only do some keep longer, but the flavor of many varieties improves with storage. The evaluation team at Seed Savers Exchange evaluates squash for this very purpose.

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Growing out the collection: Preservation methods to maintain varietal purity

Growing out the collection: Preservation methods to maintain varietal purity

Heritage Farm is a plant genebank - we maintain thousands of varieties of plant types. We call our seed bank, orchards, in vitro tissue cultures, and vegetative plant repository the collection and every year we grow out a portion of the collection to increase and/or refresh stock and for evaluation and observation purposes.

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Step up to the Plate: 'Nutmeg' Melon

Step up to the Plate: 'Nutmeg' Melon

Unlike the ubiquitous “cantaloupes” in today’s supermarkets, this melon has a divine aroma and flavor whose complexities are difficult to capture in words – sweet, spicy, nutmeg-like, with a distinctive floral aftertaste. If you are looking for an alternative to today’s standard melon, look no further than ‘Nutmeg.’

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Step Up to the Plate: Stewed Lettuce

Step Up to the Plate: Stewed Lettuce

According to William Woys Weaver’s 1997 book Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History, the lettuce we know as 732 ‘Paris White Cos’ was "sold in this country as early as 1802 by Bernard M’Mahon of Philadelphia. M’Mahon sold it under the name White Cos."  Weaver describes the lettuce as “a heavy drinker and will never develop its famous crispness unless it is kept well-watered, none of which seemed out of the ordinary to me. But Weaver goes on, “This is also one of the popular lettuces that was used for stewing..." Yes, you read that correctly. Stewed lettuce. It sounded slimy to me, but intriguing nevertheless.

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If You Give a Mouse a Lima

If You Give a Mouse a Lima

Few vegetables elicit as strong a reaction in people as lima beans.  We either love them or hate them.  However, most of us can agree that lima beans from the frozen foods section of the grocery store are vastly inferior to homegrown ones.  So, if you have ruled lima beans out of your diet, we urge you to give them another chance.  At Seed Savers Exchange, we have over 300 varieties of lima beans in our Heritage Farm Collection, displaying a tremendous array of colors and patterns.

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Step up to the Plate: What's a Turnabaga?

Step up to the Plate: What's a Turnabaga?

At Seed Savers Exchange we sometimes lovingly refer to our collection of 103 turnips and 81 rutabagas as “turnabagas.”  Confusion reigns over these crop types; many turnips in our collection are actually rutabagas. Much of the confusion stems from the fact that a common name for rutabaga is Swedish turnip. Botanically, however, the two are different species. Our favorite example of this confusion is the ‘Westport’, or ‘Macomber’, turnip, or as it’s known in the Heritage Farm Collection, Turnip 8. 

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Step up to the Plate: Our Mystery Squash

Step up to the Plate: Our Mystery Squash

Philip Kauth, assistant curator, and Steffen Mirsky, horticultural technician, make up the Seed Savers Exchange Evaluation Team.  The Eval Team is the division of the Preservation Department that keeps detailed records of more characteristics than most people know an individual variety can have. Their work helps us differentiate between the varieties in our collection and describe them clearly in the Yearbook. This is the first in their new blog series, Step up to the Plate, a monthly profile of a variety that stands out to the evaluation professionals. 

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