1st March 2010 at 9:57 am #21057
Freckledbeck asked why the varieties I mostly recommend are not heritage varieties.
The reason is because the ones I happen to have grown perform less well, in my opinion, than modern varieties. Partly it depends what qualities you want, for sheer beauty there is nothing to beat crimson flowered broad beans for instance, but their yield is lower than Aquadulce Claudia and I prefer Aquadulce’s flavour too. Taste is subjective so it is hard to argue if somebody prefers one variety over another, but I do believe that as much flavour comes from healthy soil and well grown plants as from varietal choice.
Last year I grew some heritage lettuce and found they germinated less reliably, suffered more mildew and went to flower earlier than the modern varieties growing in the same bed, whose flavour was also not a lot different. What do other people think?1st March 2010 at 6:47 pm #22259
I thought heritage varieties would be more varied and suitable for more specific conditions, ie most modern seeds seem to be a one size fits all, general purpose type varieties, wheras I assumed heritage varieties would be plants that had grown successfully in specific areas for years -if you see what I mean! I also thought many modern varieties were grown for their ability to keep well during transit and to look good rather than for flavour or pest resistancy? (for supermarkets)1st March 2010 at 7:23 pm #22260
Yes you are right but I play devil’s advocate a bit in defence of modern varieties, many of which have excellent attributes. Apple varieties too, I have enjoyed success with Red Falstaff and Jupiter, both bred since the last war, partly with disease resistance in mind. Much tomato breeding is now focussed on flavour, for instance Rosada F1 plum tomato is really delicious – but of course it is F1 so you can’t grow on the seeds. Modern lettuces like Chartwell and Rosemoor are fantastically [roductive and nice tasting. I recommend you try some heritage and some new varieties to see which work best for you.3rd March 2010 at 7:49 am #22261
My eye will certainly be caught by anything that says “heritage”. I feel I’m getting something true, original and needing me to help preserve it. It’s almost as if buying heritage seeds puts you in a special club.
BUT – Charles is absolutely right – unless you trial a heritage variety alongside a modern one you’ll never know which is best for your beds, your climate and your own taste-buds.
HOWEVER – to a certain extent growing things simply for the sake of it is part of the joy and inquisitiveness of gardening.
Richard4th March 2010 at 8:07 am #22262
Yes, I think we will try several varieties and just see which ones grow best!
I like the idea of saving seed so F1 varieties don’t appeal too much- though I may eat my words after seeing how well the heritage seeds I grow do, compared with any F1 seeds grown.
Like Richard, I like the idea of preserving something special that may have been grown for generations before us -and I agree gardening is about more than just having the most croppage at the end of the season! :o)
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