Discover where to buy seeds for the freshest heirloom releases of fall 2018.
By the Heirloom Gardener editors
This cultivar’s name was inspired by the lovely, deep-blue color of its young leaves. When the mustard is about a month old, it starts to lose some of its blue hue, becoming more emerald-green in color. While young, this cultivar isn’t as spicy as other mustards can be, and it makes a tasty addition to salads and other dishes. As the plants mature, they’ll become spicier and better suited to cooking, which will take out some of the bitterness. For a prolonged harvest, pick the outer leaves as needed for salads and cooking. This harvesting method will allow the plant to keep growing more leaves from the center outward, so you won’t have to wait for a new plant to grow. Seed comes from the Southern Seed Legacy, a wonderful organization that promotes seed saving and sharing of Southern regional cultivars.
$2.95 per packet (865 seeds)
This hard-to-find, quick-growing French filet bean will keep you busy picking all season long and is an excellent choice for market growers. ‘Fin de Bagnol’ is especially well-suited for northern gardeners with short, cool growing seasons, but it also performs well in warmer climates. Keep the beans on this bush-habit plant picked daily to prevent them from getting tough and stringy, and to ensure a continuous harvest.
$5.00 per packet (75 seeds)
Beautiful yellow-green leaves, a mild taste, and a thick edible shank have long made this leek a popular cultivar in Europe. This historic cultivar dates back to at least 1856 in France, where it was described by the legendary Vilmorin-Andrieux seedhouse in their book Description des Plantes Potagères. American horticulturist Fearing Burr Jr. also recommended this cultivar in 1863. Today, it remains popular in Europe but is largely unknown in the United States. Food historian and Seed Savers Exchange member William Woys Weaver helped introduce this rare leek into the organization after purchasing seeds while traveling in Alsace, France. Seed Savers Exchange’s organic seed stock is from Illinois member Liz Hooton.
$3.75 per packet (100 seeds)
The huge, luxurious blossoms of this Nebraska-bred beauty are a rich, rosy pink that’s not too light and not too dark, but just right. First introduced in 1927, this strong-growing and profuse-blooming peony has a mild, spicy fragrance and is one of the scores of beloved peonies, daylilies, and irises bred by the extraordinary Sass brothers. This mid- to late-blooming peony is hardy in Zones 3a to 7b, and you can expect it to grow about 36 inches high.
$20 for 1 tuber
$160 for 10 tubers
This old German heirloom produces gorgeous, violet-blue frosted globes. The name translates to “blue bacon” kohlrabi, referring to its hypnotic blue color and ultra-fine-grained, buttery-flavored stems. Originally introduced in 1914, the large, flattened stems have an incredible storage life, which was of paramount importance before the advent of modern refrigeration. This old commercial cultivar is perfect for small farmers and backyard gardeners. ‘Blauer Speck’ has small, sparse leaves, which makes it a good choice for saving space in a garden with tight plantings.
$2.75 per packet (400 seeds)
Delight your taste buds, mind and eyes with beautiful photos and inspirational techniques on everything you need to know to grow, preserve and cook your own heirloom fruits and vegetables. You won’t want to miss the stories about plants passed down from generation to generation.
Don’t miss a single issue of Mother Earth Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Join today and save off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95! (USA only)