Gardening can be a messy job. While most passionate gardeners don't mind getting their hands dirty,…
Industrialized, large scale agriculture is blamed for a long list of problems in the modern world. To increase yield, improve transportability and freshness, and build resilience to drought, floods, weeds, and pests, farmers and food scientists in this sphere have modified seeds at the genetic level.
They have introduced pesticides and herbicides that have permanently altered arable land around the world. Not only have they made these modifications, but they have found ways to control the legislation of seeds.
Legislators claim this is to aid in the orderly marketing of seed, but it is also plain to independent vegetable farmers – in particular, organic farmers – that this was meant to centrally control the ability to grow food, which serves to concentrate economic power with a few global entities. With good reason, farmers around the world continue to protest the restrictions.
Hybrid Heirloom Tomatoes
A hybrid tomato is created when a plant breeder intentionally cross-pollinates two different plant varieties. The result of this cross-pollination is a hybrid that contains the best traits of each of the parent plants.
An heirloom tomato is one that was selectively reproduced because of certain characteristics and is often considered very flavorful and come in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, colors, and even flavors.
Hybrid tomatoes, on the other hand, have a more consistent size and shape, and you can never be absolutely certain of what tomato will grow from hybrid seed. They also have higher levels of disease resistance. Some of the more popular varieties of hybrid tomatoes include Big Beef, Cherry, Grape, and Early Girl tomatoes.
If you are looking for lots of flavor, then you will definitely want to stick to the heirloom variety tomatoes and forego the hybrid seed.
As a home gardener of heirloom vegetables, you will be able to exploit six key advantages:
Advantage 1: Grow More Nutritious Food for Your Family
Industrialized farming has increased the yield, size, and longevity of many species. To our detriment, these efforts have reduced the nutrient content of supermarket produce, including tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, corn, potatoes, and more. The Organic Consumers Association provides access to multiple studies that have measured the decline, including comparative data over recent decades.
In fresh vegetables, calcium levels have dropped as much as 27 percent. Vitamin A levels have declined by 21 percent, and vitamin C has dropped 30 percent. Consult the Organic Consumer’s Association.
Organic produce has been scientifically proven to frequently offer higher levels of vitamins C, D, and E, beta carotene, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and minerals. This article provides a breakdown of percentage increases by nutrients.
The time it takes for fresh produce to get to the supermarket also affects nutrient content. From field to basket to cooler truck to supermarket to the car to the fridge to table takes a lot of time and the controlled temperatures keep things crisp, but not necessarily as nutritious. Back yard to table mitigates this problem.
Heirloom vegetable seeds also bloom at various times, so dinner after dinner, you can eat them right off the plant, which provides that nutrition again and again without letting them lose the nutrients in the fridge or cellar.
Advantage 2: Complete Control Over What Goes into the Soil
Heirloom vegetable seeds have been preserved through generations, so they have avoided the tampering by scientists over the past century. A home garden, indoor or outdoor, gives you further control over everything that goes into that soil.
Burpee Natural Organic All Purpose Granular Plant Food
Learn about your options for organic fertilizers and ways to manage pH balance when growing heirlooms. Burpee Natural Organic All Purpose Granular Plant Food provides an organic option. Miracle-Gro provides a line of organic products through its Performance Organics brand.
Control pests using sound with the Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Electric Plug-In.
Advantage 3: Teach the Kids About Gardening and Let Them Enjoy the Harvest
Gardening is a healthy and inspiring activity providing physical exercise and mindfulness for the whole family. Through gardening, children learn patience and the skill of nurturing. Caring for the plants together and sharing duties has a unifying effect that will bring your family closer together.
Children are also much more likely to eat fresh leafy greens if they had a hand in cultivating them. Use your garden to create a healthy home and a family with good eating habits.
If you’re a gardening parent, remember to always approach gardening chores with a sense of gratitude and enthusiasm. Children pick up on your mood, and they will model your behavior. Resist the urge to punish children if they neglect their gardening duties.
It’s important to send a message about the importance of honoring commitments and responsibilities but avoid making gardening painful for them. It should be fun and rewarding.
RHS Get Growing: A Family Guide to Gardening Inside and Out
Involve them in cooking with the harvests too! Learn about gardening together with books like Get Growing: A Family Guide to Gardening Inside and Out. Let’s Get Gardening is written especially for children.
With heirloom vegetables, you also have a unique opportunity to teach children about the history of agriculture and the history of their country. Every seed comes equipped with a tale of how it was preserved for the modern world. Use this as an inspiring family teaching moment.
Advantage 4: Reduce Stress
Gardening is good for your mental health. It helps us develop the skill of patience and acceptance. It helps us mature out of perfectionism because perfectionism is counterproductive in gardening. Gardening helps you focus on growth and celebrate the things in life that really matter. Participating in gardening in the community helps you connect with others. Time spent in natural landscapes has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. The physical exercise doesn’t hurt either. Read about it:
Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces
Advantage 5: Donate Food to a Good Cause
If your garden is big enough, not only will you be able to feed your family, but you will be able to donate beautiful, fresh produce to needy friends and neighbors. You can also research organizations in your area that accept food grown by individual hobby farmers.
You can even register to become an official food bank or pantry gardener. Involve the kids, and you will also get the chance to teach them about generosity and supporting the community.
Advantage 6: Support the Freedoms of the Individual Farmer
The very existence of individual independent farmers will do a lot to protect the widespread freedom to grow food. Consider this: scientists have figured out how to make produce that does not contain growable seeds – that’s what you see in the supermarket with the seedless watermelons and seedless grapes.
If that trend gains ground without any resistance from small farmers, one-day regular private citizens might not even be able to obtain seeds at all. Not to sound alarmist, but the freedom to grow our own food is a precious thing we must protect.
Heirloom Vegetable Seeds
The nice thing about heirloom vegetable seeds is that you can also save your own seeds to replant next year. This not only saves you money but provides a sustainable, natural cycle for your garden.
We have one bonus advantage for you! Vegetables grown from heirloom seeds taste better!