About the Varieties
All of the varieties that are listed here are heirloom seeds. They go back to a time when non-GMO, non-hybrid, and open pollinated were the norm rather than the exception. They are time tested vegetables at their best. Feel safe with your food supply rooted back in history – in non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds!
Old heirloom variety that grows wild in places in western Montana. Early, long thick straight spears. Used extensively in our home garden. Somewhat resistant to blight and rusts.
Beans – Phaseolus vulgaris
Before 1900, most beans were grown for shelled or dried beans rather than fresh green beans. To use the beans fresh, fibrous strings along the seam of the pod had to be removed and the beans cooked quite awhile. Just before the turn of the century, Calvin Keeny was breeding toward more tender, stringless beans. A major breakthrough came in 1962 with Bush Blue Lake bean. This was a combination with the flavor on the Blue Lake pole bean and a bush growing habit.
42 days: A non-hybrid favorite introduced in 1949 (possibly derived from Early Valentine pre-1855.) Excellent fresh eating pods at 5 inches long. High production.
Blue Lake Bush:
54 days: green, oval pods 5“ long; excellent canning and freezing variety. Stringless and tender for many weeks. White seeds. Introduced in 1961. Very productive.
Blue Lake Pole:
62 days: delicious pods are round and 6 inches long; stringless; good fresh, frozen, or canned.
Kentucky wonder pole:
65 days: This old heirloom variety first known as Texas Pole, pre 1864.Tasty round, stringless pods 7-8 inches long. Keep well picked to increase yield. Can use as a dry bean.
85 days: excellent dry bean, used in many Mexican dishes. Brown seed, plentiful production. Literally means “painted bean.” Came from Peru in the 15th century.
95 days; reddish dry bean, most popular for chili. Long time favorite. Widely used in Creole dishes in New Orleans and Louisiana.
From before 1800′s, strong, compact, and very productive. Rich and delicious as a green shell bean, it’s appearance is large, plump, and a mottled red and yellow; when dried it is splashed with purple-red blotches. 5-6″ pods mature earlier than other beans of this type.
Beets – Beta vulgaris
It is believed that beets were grown for their greens perhaps 2000 BC in northern Europe by the Celts. An excellent cool weather crop.
Detroit dark red:
58 days: rich, dark red beets to three inches. This heirloom variety began in 1892. Still considered the best main season variety, can also be grown for the fall. Excellent keeper and canner.
52 days: often sown for home and farmers’ markets. Heirloom from before 1811. Lots of tall tender greens. Matures early.
Broccoli – Beta oleracea
Ancient Romans used broccoli for its flavor. We now know it is packed with vitamin C and minerals, excellent in preventing cancer, diabetes, etc.
Waltham: 29–70 days:
This heirloom broccoli is a very adaptive, drought tolerant fall variety, specially developed to mature in cold weather. Successfully grown in early spring also. 4-8” diameter heads that hold for a long time. Produces lateral buds for 6 to 8 weeks after the main head is harvested. First introduced in 1954.
Brussels Sprouts – Beta oleracea
Long Island improved:
90days: 1-2 inch sprouts on 24 inch plants. 50 or more sprouts over an extended season. Taste sweeter after the first frosts and is very hardy. Thestandard since 1890 – an heirloom in anyone’s book.
Cabbage – Beta oleracea
Grows best in cool weather. Start transplants indoors in early spring or mid summer for fall plantings. Will not germinate in hot weather.
Late flat Dutch: 100 days:
A large, old standard, non-hybrid, heirloom cabbage from Holland with, 10-12” large flat, round head, easily 12 lbs. An excellent keeper and great for making sauerkraut.
Early Jersey Wakefield:
65 days: an heirloom from the 1840’s. Was introduced in Jersy City in New Jersey in 1840. Great for early production. Produces a 2-3 lb conical head, about 5” and bluegreen in color. Early, sweet and very reliable. Can be planted close and may overwinter in mild climates.
Cantaloupe – Cucumis melo
Hales best jumbo: 86 days:
Was found growing in a Japanese gardener’s field by ID Hale in California in 1923. 6×6” oval melon. About 4-5 lbs, sweet and tasty
Carrots - Daucus carota
Carrots were around in the Roman era, but our modern orange carrot originated in Holland in the 1600’s.
Chantenay: 70 days:
a sweet well-known all purpose stump rooted carrot from 1929. Excellent for juicing, dicing, etc.5-6” long, and over 2” across at the shoulder. Originated form the Chantenay region of France. Can be stored under straw to last into the winter.
Danvers half-long:75 days:
long Red –orange slightly tapered with blunt end. Very sweet. Was developed near Danvers, Mass. In 1871. The farmers wanted to grow the largest carrot with a short bulk. Thereby, it is easier to dig and they did this on a large scale.
Cauliflower – Beta oleracea
Self-blanching: 75 days:
Large pure white 7” heads, Old type that wrapper leaves curl over head automatically. Does well in cool weather. Plant early. Cauliflower developed about a century before broccoli; first grown in America in the late 1600’s.
Celery- Apium graveolens
Tall Utah: 130 days:
Tall plants with long, solid stalks; crisp and tender, resistant to bolting under adverse weather. Good disease resistance. Dates back to the 9th century when used as medicine and seasoning. Arrived in America in the early 19th century.
Collards - Beta oleracea
Georgia :80 days:
30” tall, large blue-green leaf. Grow well in poor soil and tolerate harsh conditions. Become sweeter after frost. Collards and Kale are in reality a loose-leaf non-heading wild cabbage. Collards have a smooth texture and oval shaped leaf in medium green color. Kale is darker with a crinkled texture. Collards are more mild than kale. In the South, often cooked with salt pork or ham hock until they are soft. Pot likker is the concentrated, vitamin-filled broth that is left after the long cooking time.
An old standard dent variety that produces nine inch ears. A favorite roasting corn. The plants are six to seven feet tall. As with all field corn it is best picked in early milk stage (about 80 days) for eating fresh. A high yielding variety. Non-GMO!
GMO free corn from before 1875.Produces stalks up to 12′ tall and 2 ears/ stalk. Ears have very large flat white kernels. Husks are tight and give excellent protection from beetles and earworm. Best variety for roasting and hominy. Also used for grits, corn meal, and flour. Used also for supporting pole beans.
Cucumber – Cucumis savitus
Cucumbers are mentions in the Bible twice and according to history, they were used over 3,000 years ago in Egypt and Greece.
National Pickling: 54 days:
6-7” slight taper, medium green, harvest smaller for pickling. Productive and uniform. Very tender when small.
Introduced by Dr. Henry Munger at the Cornell University and released in 1976. The Marketmore 76 is a good yielding, mid season slicing cucumber for the home gardener, 8-9″ very dark green when mature. Nice flavor, smooth, straight, and perfect for salads. Marketmore 76 vines bear over a longer period then most, resistant to scab, mosaic and both powdery and downy mildew.
Eggplant – Solanum melongena
A native of India. Relative of tomatoes and peppers. Likes long, hot summers. Purple and white,5-6″ oval.
Kale - Brassica oleracea
Kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage. Has been popular in the cold regions because of it hardiness. The English brought it to this country in the 1600’s.
Vates Blue Curled Scotch: 55 days:
fine crumpled leaf, 12-14”. For boiling or fresh in salads when young. Grows best in cool weather. Very hardy into winter.
Lettuce – Lacuca sativa
Buttercrunch: 65 days:
Butterhead type, dark green blistered leaves, creamy heart, holds well under heat and stress. 1963 winner. Can be grown from spring through fall unless weather is too hot, and may even overwinter.
50 days: Most popular and very tolerant of hot weather. Pale green with very ruffled leaves. Can be harvested over a long period as new leaves grow. Heavy yielder.
Mustard – Hibiscus esculentus
Giant Southern Curled:
Produces a large plant with broad leaves that curl and fringe on the edges. Hot weather will force mustard to go to seed. Can take partial shade.
Clemson Spineless: 55 days:
An heirloom variety introduced in 1939. Ground okra seeds were used as coffee substitute in the south during the Civil War. Plants reach 4-5’ and produce 1” x 8” pods. Best harvested when 3” or smaller. Pick at least every two days. Easier to pick because of its spineless quality.
Onion – Allium cepa
Onions were around in Egypt since 3200BC. The Spaniards brought them to the New World. Now they are used daily in all types of food.
Yellow Sweet Spanish: 110 days:
dark yellow globe shape. Flesh is mild, best used fresh.
Parsley – Petroselinum crispum
Moss curled: Parsley is a biennial herb, which will produce seed its second year. It has a long history as an herb for kidney, bladder, liver and many other things. Parsley has been around before the Greeks. A small plant that can take partial shade.
Parsnip – Pastinaca sativa
Hollow Crown: 130 days:
heavy yield, sweet after freeze;10-12” long, 3” shoulders. Long time favorite. Came to America in the 16th century. Nutritionally superior to the potato.
Wando: 70 days:
An heirloom introduced in 1943, somewhat heat resistant.6-8” pod, 30” vine; very good fresh or frozen. Came from crossing Laxton’s Progress and Perfection. Very reliable home garden green shelling pea.
Mammoth Melting Snow Peas:
Large, sweet flavored edible podded pea. They are wonderful fresh in a salad, steamed, stir-fried, or frozen for winter use. The vines grow easily five feet and need a trellis for easier harvesting. They thrive in cool spring weather. Keep well picked and they will continue to produce. Plant again in late July for a fall crop; they do better than other varieties of peas for fall crops.
Sugar Daddy (Sugar Snap family):
Plant 2-4 weeks before the last frost in the spring or 6-8 weeks before the first frost date in the fall. This bush variety stands 24- 30″ tall and does better with short supports. A very heavy yielder, we eat many of them fresh in the garden. They produce large edible pods that should be harvested when the peas are somewhat developed but before the pods begin to dry. Taste them raw and you can determine when they are sweetest. We freeze plenty of these for winter stir-fries, or steamed and served with butter or sauce. Calvin Lamborn, a plant scientist found the first sugar snap in his pea field in 1970. He developed the first sugar snap peas from this plant in 1979.
Cowpeas: Cowpea, California Black-eyed;
Not a true pea, but in the legume family which includes peas and beans. Comes originally from Africa, hundreds of years ago. This heirloom vegetable can be used at all stages of growth. Tender green leaves were once used as a pot herb in Africa. The immature pods are used like snap beans. Green cowpea seeds are cooked as a fresh vegetable, or can be canned or frozen. Dry mature seeds can be shelled, and boiled or canned. The cowpea is a good nutritional supplement and an extender of animal proteins. It also makes great hay for livestock and is comparable to alfalfa. It works well as a green manure crop and fixes a good amount of nitrogen in the soil.
Peppers – Capsicum annum
California Wonder: 74 days:
4 lobed, green to red; popular for many years. Good yield, excellent old-time bell pepper. Was in production in California in the 1920’s. The original of all bell pepper types..
Jalapeno: 80 days:
standard thick-skinned flavorful hot pepper. Fat, up to 3” long. Excellent for salsa, chilies, etc. Named after the town where the pepper was traditionally grown, Xalapa, Veracruz.
.Red Cayenne:70 days:
Very hot, long and thin. Old time favorite, excellent for drying. Used for spice and also as medicine. Very old natives of the Americas. Was carried to Europe by the historian who came with Columbus.
Pumpkins – Cucurbita pepo
Native American Indians grew pumpkins for their food supply long before the pilgrims arrived. Early settlers followed their example.
Connecticut Field: 100 days:
15-25 pound heirloom favorite; popular a few hundred years ago and still a great pumpkin for pies, bread, etc.
Small sugar: 108 days:
5-7 lbs, deep orange, from before 1860. Sweet dry flesh, widely grown. A traditional favorite.
Radishes – Rhaphanus sativus
Radish history goes back to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China.
Early scarlet globe: 23 days:
bright red, crisp, can withstand heat. Short tops. Mild flesh.
White icicle: 30 days:
long, tapered white root. More spice that scarlet globe.
Rhubarb – Rheum rhabarbarum
Rhubarb was first used for medicinal purposes in ancient Rome, Greece, and China. Common uses for rhubarb began in the 1800’s in England.
large and productive. Stalks are green to red. Excellent for pies and sauce.
Rutabagas – Brassicca napus
Thought to be a cross between turnips and wild cabbage. Found in Europe in the middle ages; used both as human and animal food. Famous in Sweden. In colder areas, can be sown in August/ September for spring harvest. Need regular watering.
American purple top: 90 days:
5” globe, purple crown on white. High quality, nutrient dense. Best in cool weather.
Spinach – Spinacia oleracea
Bloomsdale: 45 days:
pre-1908, crinkled glossy dark-green leaves, popular with chefs, withstands heat or cold and is slow to bolt.
New Zealand: 65 days:
not a true spinach; from new Zealand in 1772. Long producer, often self-seeds. Can stand heat very well. Thick leaves.
Squash- Cucurbita pepo
Squash are native to America before Columbus.
Golden Summer Crookneck:
A bush type plant produces copious yields of buttery-yellow squash with narrow curved neck. This squash is very tender and full of flavor. Golden summer turns deeper yellow as it matures. Best harvested when 8″ long. Keep them picked and they will just keep coming. Extremely easy to grow.Golden Summer Crookneck is one of the earliest producing crookneckon the market that just keeps producing all summer long. Plantingradishes along with the squash seed, helps deter squash bugs.
Black Beauty Zucchini: 68 days:
glossy, dark green, vigorous and productive. Came to U.S. in 1920’s.
Table Queen Acorn: 80 days:
winter squash, dark green. Introduced in 1913 by Iowa Seed Co. Sweet orange flesh. Good keeper.
Waltham Butternut: 110 days:
Good yields with excellent tasting, rich orange flesh. Tan-golden skin. Good keeper.
Swiss Chard –Beta Vulgaris
Existed in Roman and Greek times.
An Heirloom with glossy wrinkled green leaves and a broad white succulent stalk, reaching up to 22 inches tall. It is easy to grow and can be picked from late spring till winter. Swiss Chard has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. It is rich in vitamin A, and other vitamins and minerals. Its tender, young leaves can be eaten fresh as a salad green, or the mature leaves can be cooked like you would spinach
- – steamed, boiled, or sauteed in a little butter.
Tomatoes –Lycopersicon lycopericum
Roma: 76 days:
The standard sauce tomato. A paste variety with thick flesh.Popular for many years. Makes thick salsa.
Developed in 1917 by Fred J. Pritchard of the USDA. He crossed the Globe and Marvel tomatoes and consequently, the name, marglobe. It was released to the public in 1925 and is one of the first tomatoes resistant to both Verticulum and Fusarium Wilts.It produces many crack resistant red tomatoes about 6-7 ounces. It is a parent of many other varietes including the Rutgers. It is a determinate tomato. This means it grows a large crop of tomatoes at one time, which makes it excellent for canning.
An open-pollination variety, was introduced in 1934 and became the standard variety for most commercial tomato canning operations for decades thereafter. Harvest and factory canning processes have changed and now require harder, less juicy types that ripen at more uniform times. Rutgers tomatoes are meaty, with small seed cavities, ripening from the inside out and yielding a sweet, low-acid juice and nice medium-sized slices for sandwiches and salads. Excellent for home gardens!
Beefsteak: 80 days:
15 oz slightly flattened globe. Deep red, rich old-time tomato taste.
Turnips – Brassica rapa
Purple Top White Globe: 50 days:
from before 1880, the most popular variety, sweet white flesh, crisp and mild, good raw or cooked. Roots are 4-5” but best used when smaller.
Watermelon – Citrullus vulgaris
Watermelons came from Africa, through Egypt and to America in the early 1600’s.
Crimson Sweet: 85 days:
around 25 lbs, deep red and 10×12”. Strong disease resistance.
Sugar Baby: 78 days:
around 10 lbs. Extra sweet, red flesh with small seed and a thin rind. Round and dark green.
Italian: 90 days:
a large leaf, spicy and fragrant. Plants about 14 tall. Will produce all season if flowers are kept picked.
Mammoth: 70 days:
2-3’ plant, abundant heads and seeds. Easily self-seeds.