Other Heirloom Vegetables


Cucumbers will grow in either sandy/loam or clay/loam. Transplanting must be done gently with minimal root disturbance, early in the morning or at dusk for best results. Deeply fertile soil produces optimum yield of fruits. A good scoop of compost planted with each pot is a great insurance policy. I plant nasturtiums around them for an extra good measure. Mulch is also very helpful. A trellis can be used for any variety. This makes harvesting easier and keeps disease and insects away from the fruit.

A&C Pickling Cucumber


Source: Seed Savers Exchange

(a.k.a. Ace) Introduced in 1928 by Abbot & Cobb of Philadelphia. Extremely productive, uniformly straight 8-10 inch fruits that hold their dark color for a long time. One of the best

Bushy Cucumber

bushy cuke

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Well-known older variety that originated in southern Russia. Recommended for dacha gardens that surround Moscow because of its compact “bush” 3-5 foot vines. Good production.

Early Fortune Cucumber

early fortune

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Introduced in 1906. Described as “the earliest and best white spine cucumber ever offered”. 55-60 days.

Japanese Climbing Cucumber

japanese climblingcuke

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Introduced to American gardeners in 1892 from seed obtained from Japan. Vigorous growth, strong grasping tendrils, the best variety for trellises, wire netting, brush or fences. Plants continue to bear all season, if consistently picked clean.

True Lemon Cucumber

True Lemon

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Heirloom that was introduced in 1894 by Samuel Wilson of Mechanicsville, PA. Similar in appearance and size to a lemon, averages 3” by 2”. Was once a well-established variety in Australian markets. Used primarily for pickling, slicing and in salads. Very easy to digest. Rust and drought resistant.


A versatile staple in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisines, eggplant can be baked, roasted, pickled, mashed, or dried. Native to the tropics, it thrives in hot, humid climates. Eggplants like lighter sandy/loam soil, well fertilized with composted manure, rock phosphate, kelp and dolomite lime. Transplant out when the soil is well warmed and danger of frost is over. They do not like cool summer nights, so for those who want a large crop but live where night temperatures drop below 70 degrees, it is worthwhile to grow them under cloches until nights become more consistently warm. Hoe up soil around stem when plants are 12-16″ high. Depending on your area, row covers may be necessary to protect eggplant from flea beetles.

Florida High Bush Eggplant

Florida High Bush

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

This variety has been grown by commercial growers since the 1940’s. These large plants help keep eggplants off the ground. Perfect for grilling, frying, stuffing, and baking.

Listada de Gandia Eggplant

lastada de gandia

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Introduced into southern France around 1850. Stunning 8″ oval fruits are white with lavender stripes. Small 14″ plants produce heavy yields of high quality thin-skinned fruits with mild white flesh. Thrives in very hot weather. 80-90 days from transplant

Pingtung Long Eggplant

ping tung long.jpg

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

By far the most beautiful edible eggplant available to gardeners. Dark lavender fruits have an incredible shine that radiates off the skin. Hardy, vigorous plants are disease resistant. Named for its hometown of Pingtung, Taiwan. 65-75 days from transplant.


The “dessert of the garden”, most melons are also rich in vitamin C and contain moderate levels of potassium, vitamin A, and folate. Melons grow more prolifically in well-enriched, sandy/loam soils. Heavier clay soils also produce well, but tend to enhance more foliage and vine growth, giving a later harvest. Fertility should be assured with well-balanced compost and the addition of some magnesium if your soil lacks it. The key to good melon growing is crop placement. Pick the hottest, sunniest spot. For cantaloupe and honeydew, give at least 2′ in rows and 4′ between rows to allow plants to fill out.
Watermelons will thrive with even more space between the plants, 3′ in rows and 5-6′ between rows.
To plant in mounds, plant 3 clusters to a hill and keep hills 6′ apart or more. For peak flavor and to prevent splitting, decrease watering as fruits ripen. Each type of melon has its own indications of ripeness. Muskmelons will have a sweet fragrance and will separate easily from their stems (“slip”) when ripe. Watermelons are ripe when the two tendrils closest to the fruit have withered. The first tendril to go is closest to the fruit, when the second one dries down, the melon is usually ready. If you want to rely on the tapping method, the sound you listen for is a full, drum-like resonance. A ping means it is under-ripe, and a thud means overripe. It is good to use both methods to be assured of ripeness.

Charentais Melon

Charentais Melon

Source: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Divine and flavorful. Smooth round melons mature to a creamy grayish-yellow with green stripes. Sweet, juicy, salmon flesh. Typically the size of a grapefruit, perfect for two people. Ripe melons have a heavenly fragrance. 75-90 days.

Minnesota Midget Melon

minnesota midget

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

This exquisite heirloom produces a bounty of early and true to its name, mini cantaloupes. Fruit measure 4-6” across and have a deep orange flesh that is succulent, sweet and delicious down to the rind. Perfect for small or container gardens. 65-70 days.

Petite Yellow Watermelon

petiete yellow

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

A deliciously sweet and refreshing small “icebox” watermelon. Ideal for small families—and small refrigerators. Early maturity, adapted to short season areas.

Sugar Baby Watermelon

sugar baby

Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

The standard for small watermelons since the 1870’s. Early productive space saver. Very sweet and flavorful oval melons with deep-red flesh. Perfectly sized for refrigerators. Bush type plant suitable for small gardens. 75 days. Prune to get fully ripe fruit before frost. Cover to keep warm during cold spells.

More Heirlooms…

Black Beauty Zucchini Squash


Source: Seed Savers Exchange

An early and prolific variety with glossy blackish green fruits and firm white flesh. Consistently tender zukes will keep you (and the neighbors) happy.

Long Island Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Introduced in the 1890s. Once the most important commercial sprout variety in the U.S. Compact 24″ plants yield 50-100 dark green 1½” sprouts over an extended period. 80-115 days from transplant.

Loewen Family Heirloom Ground Cherry

aunt mollys ground cherry

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

This ground cherry was donated to Seed Savers Exchange by Edna and Ann Bernstein of Minnesota.  Edna’s mother, Maria Loewen, brought it to Canada from Russia in 1925.  Easy to grow, prolific, and super sweet. Can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream, or in fresh fruit salads. The 2/3 ” fruits are encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. Stores 3-4 weeks in the husk. Productive plants have a sprawling habit. 80 days from transplant.

Dwarf Blue Curled Kale

dwarf curled kale

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Gorgeous finely curled blue-green leaves hold their color even in severe cold. Uniform low-growing plants are 15″ tall with a 20-35″ spread. Very hardy; will overwinter with mulch in zones 4-5. Ornamental and delicious. High in vitamin A.
One of our favorite ways to prepare the small, tender leaves is by sautéing in olive oil and garlic until it is just crisp tender. A pinch of dried red pepper and coarse salt to finish it off. Yum!

Lacinato Kale

lacianato kale

Source: Seed Savers Exchange

Italian heirloom that dates back to the eighteenth century. Blue green strap-like leaves are 3″ wide by 10-18″ long with a heavily savoyed texture. Excellent flavor that is enhanced by frost. Best eaten when leaves are small and tender. 62 days from transplant. Great for making Kale Chips.