I firmly believe in open-pollinated plants and heirlooms where possible. As a result, this list is 100% Heirloom. My preferred source is the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa ( www.seedsaversexchange.com )
Heirloom Shelling Peas
Recommended: Tall telephone Peas. I Love peas. Shelling peas especially. Thankfully, peas are very quite cold tolerant, and will even withstand light frosts. The Tall Telephone plant’s long vines reach up to 6 feet with support,
and large pods yield 8-10 peas each. The peas are large in size, being sweet and tender. This popular garden favorite was introduced in 1881 .
Recommended: Danvers Half-Long This is a nice crisp orange carrot with a strong carrot flavor. It maintains a lot of it’s flavor even when cooked. It grows to 5-6 inches long with a pointed tip and is a good choice for denser soils. It is an excellent source of pro-vitamin A, vitamins C, D, E, K, B1 and B6.
Kale is one of the highest vegetables nutritionally, so try substituting Kale in your salads the next time.
Kale is a Great Cold Weather Plant
Recommended: Red Russian Kale
(Brassica oleracea) (aka Ragged Jack) is originally from Siberia, brought to Canada by Russian traders around 1885. It is one of the hardiest and most tender of all kales. Beautiful purple-veined blue-green leaves tinged with reddish-purple.
Recommended: (Brassica oleracea) Winningstadt Cabbage – Introduced in 1866 by James J. H. Gregory This variety is an Upright and compact plant, and has a spread of about 30″. Exceptionally hard dark bluish-green pointed heads are up to 9″ long by 7″ wide. Mild flavor, excellent keeper.
Recommended: (Brassica oleracea) DeCicco Broccoli – from Italy in 1890. It is a very compact 2-3′ plant, and produces a 4″ central head. After the central head is cut, many side shoots will form. Very early, great for freezing.
Recommended: (Latuca sativa) – Amish Deer Tongue – May have a funny name, but this variety is highly valued for it’s heavy production. It’s a thick, loosleaf plant, making it great for cut-and-come-again lettuce crop if thickly sown. It has a good texture, pleasant sharp flavor.
Recommended: French Breakfast Radish. For a break from traditional radishes, try (Raphanus sativus) A very early garden radish Rather than the small globe-shaped radishes of the supermarket, These are slightly elongated, similar to a carrot in shape. White crisp flesh with a mildly pungent flavor. Sow in the spring or fall and pick when small. 20-30 days.
Here is where you can go crazy. some of the veggies listed earlier can act as a component of a batch of Salad greens. What are Salad Greens? Examples of salad greens include arugala (rocket), cress, endive, chicory, lamb’s lettuce, frisee, escarole, dandelion greens, mustard, sorrel, miner’s lettuce, tat soi, taratezak, trefoil, purslane, spinach, chard, kale, and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, chives, cilantro, and parsley
Recommended: Rainbow Chard – (Beta vulgaris) Australian heirloom from Digger’s Garden Club. Ornamental mixture of Swiss chards with various shades of red, yellow, orange, purple, and white. Tender and yummy.
Recommended: Purple Top White Turnip: (Brassica rapa) Listed in the 1885 retail catalogue of James J. H. Gregory. Uniform smooth white globes are best for eating when 3-4″ in diameter but remain in good condition until quite large. Sweet, mild, fine-grained white flesh. Large tops make delicious greens. Excellent quality, stores very well. ( From Seed Savers Exchange – www.seedsaversexchange.com)