Heirloom is “something of special value handed on from one generation to another.” This handing over of seeds and plants from generation to generation or from friend to friend over the years is “Heirloom Gardening”. Gardeners across the world have shared seeds and plants to preserve the unique and original traits of a particular species.

“An heirloom plant is the one that has been bred using traditional breeding methods, not molecularly. In other words, the pollen is taken from one plant and put directly on another plant”, explains Michael Nicodemus, assistant professor of agricultural and environmental sciences at Abilene Christian University.

Majority of the seeds that you buy from open markets by and large are genetically modified in a lab. Traits might have been introduced to the seeds to assist with drought tolerance, pest resistance or resistance to colder temperatures.

On the contrary, the heirloom plants and seeds maintain the same genetic traits over a period of time. These plants are significant because their natural diversity is preserved.

These days some of the heirloom varieties are also available online if you are interested in growing heirloom varieties.

Heirloom plants are an important way to help more varieties survive over the years.

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