I experimented this summer with heritage plants in my raised garden bed using the square foot method. My results were quite interesting. Most of the heritage plants sprouted and produced fruits – strange looking fruits, but fruits nonetheless. In general, the heritage fruits were smaller, strangely shaped and less tasty than food grown from hybrid seeds or purchased in the store. The advantage to heritage fruits is that their seeds will reliably germinate. Hybrid seeds don’t have this capability.
Failure of Leafy Greens in my Raised Garden Bed
Leafy green vegetables failed completely in my raised garden bed. It was probably due to the hot Texas Summers. I replanted several times to no avail – I just couldn’t get the seeds to germinate and sprout.
The heritage watermelon seeds in my raised garden bed quickly produced large and spreading vines. It seemed to take a very long time to get them to produce any fruits. Since I’m using square foot gardening, I trained the vines upward – not sure if this had an impact or not. Nevertheless, when the watermelons did bear fruit, they were small and had funny shapes – and they tended to rot on one end.
Funky Little Heritage Corn
My heritage corn also had some size and quality issues in my raised bed garden. I planted 4 different varieties and every one of them produced small or misshapen ears. The raised bed garden had plenty of water and sunshine so I’m not sure if this was due to the heritage seeds or something else. My experiment next summer will be to plant a hybrid raised bed garden garden along side a heritage garden so that I can compare.
Small Heritage Melons
My heritage melons in my raised bed garden also were quite small. However, they were very tasty and we enjoyed eating them. However, there weren’t as many as I had hoped for. My general sense is that if you’re going to use heritage seeds you’re probably going to be eating like a pioneer – which means not very much. Or, maybe I’m just doing it wrong.
Summary of Funny Stuff in my Raised Garden Bed
My heritage seeds that I planted in my raised bed garden did perform but not very well. The fruits were slow to produce, small or misshapen and quite scarce. Next year, I’m going to plant an additional raised bed garden using the square foot method and have one with heritage seeds and one with hybrid seeds to see if there really is a difference or if I’m just a bad farmer.
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