Tag Archives | heirloom vegetables

Garden or Museum – what’s the big deal with heirloom veg?

Medieval peasants worked hard for low yields. Do we really want to go back to their heirlooms?

Heirloom vegetables and flowers (or as well call them over here – heritage) have been big for some time now. Much more so in North America than home. In fact I am always really surprised about how enthusiastic American gardeners are about ‘vegetables our grandmothers grew’. The love of heirloom veg however goes along with a certain hostility to modern varieties, and modern breeding methods such as F1 hybridisation, particularly claims that heirlooms taste better; there is also an undercurrent that heirlooms are somehow better for the world, more ethical. Here I’d like to challenge this and stand up for modern scientific plant breeding. There is also a political point I’d like to make.

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