Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation
Hybrid or Open Pollinated (page 5 of 6)
by Ben Watson
The OP Honor Roll
Ideal for seed savers because they come true to type, all of the following have superior qualities for home gardeners and richly deserve their popularity. While not an exhaustive list, these are some of my favorites.
Bean, Pole -- 'Kentucky Wonder' (1850's). The most popular and widely available pole bean; early and rust-resistant.
Beet -- 'Detroit Dark Red' (1892) is still the most widely grown OP beet: roots are solid, sweet and tender. Early Wonder (1911) is one of the best for "bunching" thanks to its tall, flavorful greens.
Cabbage -- 'Early Jersey Wakefield' (1840's). An American heirloom, it remains one of the earliest and sweetest of the pointed-head types.
Carrot -- 'Scarlet Nantes' (1870) is the classic American form of Nantes that has set the standard for crispness and flavor for many years. 'Red-Cored Chantenay' (1929) is another truly American carrot (transplanted from France in the late 1800's). Its roots are mild and sweet, becoming sweeter in storage.
Cucumber, Pickling -- 'SMR 18' (1959). This is the first pickler to have resistance to both scab and mosaic plus great shape.
Cucumber, Slicing -- 'Marketmore 76' (1976). A high-quality slicer for the North, it also has disease resistance and excellent fruits.
Eggplant -- 'Black Beauty' (1902). Introduced nearly a century ago and still a superior and widely grown home-garden variety.
Lettuce -- 'Black Seeded Simpson' (1850). Early, adaptable, takes heat and some drought. One of the oldest varieties and as popular today as it was 150 years ago.
Melon -- 'Iroquois' (1944). The first commercial variety with fusarium wilt resistance; its earliness makes it reliable for gardeners in the North.
Pepper -- 'California Wonder' (1928). Though several strains are available now, the original still produces well-formed, blocky fruits that are ideal for stuffing.
Spinach -- 'Bloomsdale Long Standing' (1925). Glossy, dark green, heavily savoyed leaves are tender and flavorful; vigorous, slow-bolting plants.
Squash, Summer -- 'Early Yellow Crookneck' (circa 1700). Listed in catalogs as early as 1828, it is still by far the tastiest of all yellow squashes, though low-yielding compared with newer hybrids.
Squash, Winter -- 'Buttercup' (1932). A tour de force of 20th-century winter squash breeding, it's a quantum leap forward in sweetness and quality.
Tomato, Fresh -- 'Brandywine' (1885). An Amish heirloom that has become the standard bearer for heirloom tomato lovers in recent years.
Tomato, Sauce -- 'Roma' (1955). Widely grown for its good, solid, meaty quality that's perfect for sauce.