The beautiful heirloom kitchen garden supplies much of our herbs and vegetables. Based on French intensive methods and cyclical in nature, we utilize raised beds, close spacing, succession planting, rainwater collection, composted manure, and cold frames for extending the harvest. Chemicals are never used. Gardening in harmony with the seasons enables us to prepare nutritional meals full of fresh flavor.
The gardens are always changing and growing- because we are always learning. Each year brings us closer to growing the fresh food to fill our needs year-round, as well as the herbs used for health care. Let’s not forget the lovely flowers that brighten any day!
The varieties we cultivate were chosen because they perform well in our inter-mountain Northwest climate and short growing season. From either organic or untreated seed, most are heirloom or at least open-pollinated varieties; no hybrids here. All are verified non-GMO. And then there are the naturalized wild plants, native perennials, culinary and medicinal herbs.
What is an “Heirloom”?
Quite simply, an ‘heirloom’ is an open-pollinated plant that has been grown for at least 50 years, with a rich history all its own. Many are the old-fashioned vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers our grandparents grew in their gardens. Some use 1940 as the cut-off date because it is before the big push for hybridization began. But there were some great OP crops introduced in the ’40s and ’50s. Heirloom seeds are collected from all around the world. The very rare varieties date back to ancient Babylonian times!
So, why grow heirlooms? “Superb flavor” and “lovely appearance” are typical comments in comparison to their hybrid counterparts. Interest in heirlooms has increased remarkably. Many people want to protect our food heritage and don’t want to consume genetically modified (GM or GMO) foods on the market these days. Natural foods are much better for us!