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Choosing Vegetable Varieties

for Alberta
For Zone 2b and above
Focus on Heirlooms
 Generally considered any seed that has
been around in the garden catalogues
unchanged for 50+ years.
 Granny’s seeds.
 Many brought from Europe
 All improved varieties were natural plant
cross breeding
Why Heirloom seeds?
 Withstood the test of time
 Grow in many varied conditions with good
 Built in disease resistance over time and
adaptable to forces (with minimal help)
 Poor varieties get ‘weeded’ out
 Seeing resurgence lately
Varieties for Alberta
 Beans – Amish Nuttle (pre-1800), Arikara
Yellow (1809), Black Valentine (1897),
Canadian Wonder(pre-1873), Cherokee
Trail of Tears (1838), Comtesse de
Chambord (1870’s), Early Yellow Six Weeks
(1800’s), Dragon Tongue, Kentucky Wonder
Pole (1850’s), Lazy (house)Wife (1810),
Mennonite K Triple A (pre-1890), Mont D’Or
 Beets – Cylindra, Detroit Dark Red (1892)
 Broccoli – Calabrese (1880), Di Ciccio
(1890) and Romanesco!
 Cabbage - Chieftain Savoy (1938), Early
Jersey Wakefield (1840), Premium Late Flat
Dutch (pre 1840)
 Carrots – Early Scarlet Horn (1600’s),
Danvers Half Long (1871), Scarlet Nantes
 Corn – because it is wind pollinated, isolation
becomes very important.
 Are there any GMO free corns? YES!!
 Varieties to choose: Golden Bantam (1902),
Orchard Baby (1947), Seneca Arrowhead, Seneca
Chief, Pickaninny, Stowells Evergreen (1949),
Black Aztec, Bloody Butcher (Dent corn from
 Popcorn – Pennsylvania Dutch Butter Flavored,
Dakota Black, Burro Mountain, Tom Thumb
 Cucumbers – Armenian (15th Century), Boston
Pickling (pre 1880), National Pickling (1924), Early
Russian (1854), Straight 8 (1935), Long Green
(1872), Lemon (1800’s)
 Grains – Caution advised, as many are modern
varieties. Some heirlooms include, Red Fife
wheat 1842, Polish Wheat (aka Kamut) dates to
Pharaohs, Emmer and Einkhorn wheat (1000’s of
years old), Spelt (Middle ages), Arabian Blue
Wheat, Amaranths and Quinoa, Teff
Other Grains
 Chickpeas, Lentils, Dry Peas and Soybeans
 Many are GMO or grown in areas with spray
and fertilizer, followed by Desiccant to dry
the crop prior to combining.
 Crops routinely sprayed with Desiccant prior
to harvest include Potatoes, sugar cane,
peas, lentils and soybeans, as well as some
 Russian Red Kale (1885), Early White and Purple
Kohlrabi, Lacinato Kale(1700’s)
 Landrace varieties of potatoes and peas
 Almost all the lettuces are heirloom
 Melons – Montreal Market (1870), Far North
(1936), Queen Anne’s Pocket melon (1737)
 Onions, parsnip, radishes, most varieties without
an F1 in the description.
 Spinach – King of Denmark, Bloomsdale
 Most zucchini are hybrids and bred to
produce only female fruits, do not need a
 Winter squash – lots of heirlooms out there
to choose from
 Summer squash – most are hybrids but
good ones are available if you look
Peppers and Tomatoes
 Many, many heirlooms that are amazing
 Not offered that often in Pepper category but
heirlooms mature faster than the best f1s for our
 Tomatoes also
 Varieties – Brandywine, Harbinger, too many to list
 Peppers – Bullnose, King of the North, Sweet
Chocolate, Orange Bell, Topepo Rosso, or hot
ones – Hungarian Hot Wax, Boldog Paprika, Long
Slim Cayenne, Bulgarian Carrot, Aji Limo
Hot Peppers Anyone?