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Why heirloom vegetables for your spring garden?

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What could be more rewarding than cooking produce grown in your own garden? When planting and planning your spring garden, consider heirloom seeds this year - they are the garden gift that keeps giving. Purchase your seeds from a reputable source, known for the quality of their stock, and you are investing in a lifelong enjoyment of the fruits of your labor. Seeds harvested from the previous year's produce will start the next year's garden and so on.

Hybrids differ because they are the result of plant A being crossed with plant B to produce plant C. Therefore, when plant C is regrown, it is no longer the exact same plant. Hybrids are usually designed for vigor and productivity - at the expense of taste. Hybrids encourage dependency on seed producers, and many of the hybrid seeds are owned by Monsanto. If this is something that concerns you, check this list here for full details on which companies remain independent.

A huge range of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers can be purchased in 'heirloom' varieties, or 'non-hybrid'. Many find heirlooms to be superior in taste, texture and longevity of the fruits and vegetables, not to mention heirlooms are GMO free!

In the North Georgia area, we are lucky with our growing season being longer than many other parts of the US. This year it may be necessary to hold off seed starting until a little later, unless you have the space to bring them into the house, or have a heated greenhouse. But as soon as the ground can be worked, go ahead and start those root vegetables, spinach, peas and broccoli.

Carefully chosen heirloom varieties often accommodate seasonal vagaries such as a late cold snap or unexpected early, hot and humid spring, and can frequently be replanted in late summer for a second fall crop. Best of all - seeds can be saved for years to come! Gift them, plant them, grow them. Garden for the kitchen and the future.

Katy Light has a 44 acre homestead in North GA, where she raises goats, bunnies and chickens. Find her blog at www.poppycreekfarm.com. She can be reached at katy@poppycreekfarm.com.

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