This spring at Gravatt will be growing even more heirloom varieties in our garden. Heirloom vegetables are defined in several ways. Some consider heirlooms to be any vegetable cultivars that have been grown for a certain length of time. Other people consider vegetables to be truly heirlooms only if being passed down by a family or group has preserved them. Heirlooms are always open-pollinated.
Here is a taste of some of the varieties that will be planted this spring and summer. If you would like to enjoy some of these delicious vegetables, don't wait to join Gravatt's CSA
White Wonder CUCUMBER Southern heirloom, pre- 1925. 'White Wonder' is an old variety that matures to an ivory white color. The 7-inch fruit are easy see at harvest.
'Lemon' Cucumber produces many lemon-colored and lemon-shaped fruit on fast-growing vines.
Cow Horn OKRA Pre 1865 Cow Horn produces larger pods than most okra but should be harvested young and tender. Best time to pick Cow Horn is at 6" but can remain spineless, crunchy and tender up to 10" long. This old heirloom dates all the way back to the early 1900's when first discovered. The twisted shape of the okra somewhat resembles the horns of a cow. Use shorter more tender pods for pickling or longer pods are great for gumbo! First flowers will start to appear within 45 days with okra pods soon to follow.
Bloomsdale Spinach – Pre 1908
Lucullus Swiss Chard - Introduced about 1914. Named after the Roman general Lucius Lucullus (pronounced "lu-kul-us") who was renowned for his splendid banquets.
Southern Giant Curled MUSTARD - Pre 1880, An old heirloom from the Southern U.S. and makes a mighty swell mess of greens.
Yellow Crookneck – introduced about 1700
Moon and Stars - [Early 1900 family heirloom from Georgia. Introduced 1987 by SESE. Years ago, a melon of this description was routinely shipped from Bermuda to some southern states around Christmas time.] •'Moon & Stars' is another heirloom from the Amish. These 15- to 30- pounds melons have sweet red-pink flesh. The dark green rind is covered with bright yellow spots. The leaves of the plants are also spotted.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce - This heirloom dates back to 1850!
Deer Tongue Lettuce is a pre-1900 heirloom that is named for its pointed leaves and thick mid-rib. It is heat-tolerant and slow-bolting.
Calico Crowder is a medium-sized, heirloom, climbing crowder pea, white with maroon splotches, good fresh or dried. 70 days
Peanuts – Carolina Black[Introduced 1999 by SESE from seed sent by Derek Morris.] One of the varieties grown during the 1800s was the African peanut (also known as the N. Carolina peanut). It may have been a black peanut, possibly the same as ‘Carolina Black.’ According to food historian William Woys Weaver, the black peanut may have been used as a substitute for Black Bambarra (African ground nut) by the black community. Black Bambarra is important in African folk medicine as an aphrodisiac. The N. Carolina climate won’t support black Bambarra, but black pea- nuts grow there without difficulty. Carolina Black produces sweet-tasting, black-skinned peanuts that are slightly larger than Spanish peanuts.