Heirloom gardening reaps plenty of benefits. They yield better, more nutritious produce that last a lot longer than hybrids. Furthermore, they offer an incomparable feeling of joy and accomplishment from planting your own. Let we forget, it creates an opportunity for sustainable gardening that can be passed on from one generation to the next.
As an heirloom gardener, there are a few things you must keep in mind to ensure the best harvest. Here are essential tips worth remembering.
Work with easier seeds first
If you’re not well versed in heirloom gardening yet, we encourage you to start easy. Seeds of tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, cabbages, carrots, eggplants, peppers and pumpkins are ideal.
Another reason why you should begin with these seeds is they duplicate the quality of their mother plant. Just remember to plant each seed 10 feet apart from each other so insects have room to pollinate.
Diversify your garden
Many get into heirloom gardening because they want to become self-sufficient or at least, rely less on what the general market is producing. That’s why we highly recommend diversifying your garden. Make sure you’re planting enough variety so you have different fruits and vegetables to reap.
It’s also ideal to plant seeds that reflect your culture, personal preferences and the kind of cuisine you enjoy. This way, you’re more than enthusiastic to cook with the produce you’ve put in hard work for.
Only use natural fertilizers
These untouched seeds only deserve the best fertilizer possible. Two of the most viable options are either chicken/rabbit poop or steer manure. These natural fertilizers are high in nitrogen, which is needed by these seeds to grow with tons of healthy green leaves.
Just remember not to work with manure that’s still “hot”. This term is used for poop that is still decomposing. This may contain too much nitrogen that would be more harmful than helpful to the seeds. You can get these fertilizers from a local farm or a quality garden store.
Use peppermint as natural pest repellent
Of course, no garden is immune to pests. Various insects are also interested on what you’re growing. So the last thing you want is for your efforts to go down the drain. Since you shouldn’t be using chemical repellents, peppermint is your best option.
Whether you’re going to pluck it fresh or use its oil extract, this natural pest repellent works wonders against ants and aphids. Spread enough amount in and around the strings every week or two and especially after heavy rains.
Save your seeds
The beauty of heirloom seed gardening is it allows you to save the seeds for next time’s planting. So make sure you are saving as much as you can to economize on costs for the next planting season. Self-pollinating seeds work great for keeping and storing. Some of these include those that come from beans, peas, eggplant, tomatoes, and cowpeas.
Along with keeping, storing is critical as well. Be sure to dry them out completely first before storing them in a cool, dry place. Lay them in a single layer on a surface for two-three weeks.