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Gardening-heirloom varieties? Fertlizers/soil builders?

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  • Gardening-heirloom varieties? Fertlizers/soil builders?

    I'm getting ready to purchase seeds for my first garden (yeah, I know, I'm late. I have a long growing season though so I'm hoping I'll be okay) and I'm giving serious thought to ponying up for heirloom varieties.

    Anyone know anything about the nutritional differences between heirlooms and hybrids? Obviously they were hybridized for a reason (obviously varying depending on who did the hybridizing), and the end result varies with soil quality, but I wonder what the differences are nutrient-wise? Any advice on seed sources? I've found a couple prospective places, but reviews would be appreciated!

    I feel kind of silly; I haven't raised vegetables (aside from tomatoes and a failed okra experiment) in nearly 20 years, and even that was in a greenhouse and then pots.

    What are the best mineral rich fertilizers for gardens? I'm thinking bone meal, blood meal and fish meal? I'm too far inland for kelp at an affordable price (unless its the liquid-y stuff at Ace Hardware...good? Bad?)

    And lastly, how the devil do you know how much to plant? Can you preserve things like collard greens? I don't want to get a whole bunch of stuff and end up wasting it because I don't know how to put it up.

    Good book suggestions are welcome too-Lasagna Gardening is on en route from my mom, and I have Wild Fermentation and nourishing traditions, but those are little help with the growing parts.

    Thank you!
    Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

    ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

  • #2
    for seeds I like to go to Local Harvest / Farmers Markets / Family Farms / CSA / Organic Food and for organic gardening supplies I like to go to Environmentally Responsible Gardening Products that Work


    • #3
      I'm curious too. I bought organic heirloom seeds and they never do as well as the stuff I rip out of the veggies from the store and throw half-heartedly on the soil. THOSE do great, the $5 special stuff...not so much.
      See what I'm up to: The Primal Gardener


      • #4
        Organic Gardening, Modern Homesteading, Renewable Energy, Green Homes, Do it Yourself Projects for all kinds of info and how-tos
        yeah you are

        Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.


        • #5
          You should see if there is a reputable garden center in your area. They would have great advise on varieties for your location.
          As to the nutritional variations in heirloom plants, I doubt (guessing here) that there would be much difference. The quality of the plant would be dependent on the quality of the soil. For that, build the soil with compost or leaf mold. We've been composting here since the '80s and have a great 3-bin system for making more than we ever need allowing us to share with our neighbors. The Victory Garden Composter - Vegetable Gardener <--something like this with a third bin

          As to how much to grow, plants that mature quickly (lettuces and some greens, cukes, beans, etc) should be planted every few weeks to get a good rotation of harvest. Some plants, like spinach and broccoli, grow better in cool weather, when it gets hot they bolt and need to be pulled. Others are a one-time planting (cabbage, tomatoes, onions, etc) with a defined harvest time. With heirloom tomatoes, there are some drawbacks with disease resistance and uniform shape but the taste is worth the risk. I like Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and one called Bloody Butcher.

          If you plant too much, your neighbors will love you for it.
          There's nothing like some experience to transform you into a proficient gardener.
          Retirement has afforded me the ultimate affluence, that of free time (Sahlins/Wells)


          • #6
            The difference in hybrid and heirloom is all about taste. Hybrid were bred to be big, and colorful, and have a long shelf life. Personally, I think if you're going to grow those kinds, why even bother. Now heirloom... Oh man. Those are all about taste. You have no idea what a tomato tastes like until you've eaten an heirloom. Same with carrots and everything else. Do they require more babying? yes. They aren't GM to hold up to drought or insects. THATS GOOD. You want them to be all about the flavor, not about how well they can resist mold.

            My fav. Seed shops are and

            Crap! I'm An Adult!

            My Primal Journal

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