Plant an Heirloom Victory Garden

If you’re looking for great taste, want to save your seeds to replant next year, hope to help preserve historic vegetable varieties, or just love plants with a sense of history, an heirloom vegetable garden may be just what you’re looking for.

For my heritage victory garden I chose an assortment of historic American favorites including:

  • 1 Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Buster tomato (Tip: If you have enough space, consider planting an assortment of heirloom tomatoes in a range of sizes, colors, and flavors.)
  • 1 Bull’s Blood beet
  • 1 packet Blue Lake bean seeds
  • 1 packet Danvers carrot seeds (Tip: If you’re planting carrots or other root vegetables in a container, select a dwarf variety to avoid mishapen roots.)
  • 1 packet Pink Beauty radish seeds

If you you have trouble finding heirloom seeds in your local nursery, try buying online. Seed Savers Exchage offers a wide variety of heritage vegetable seeds and has recently started shipping transplants as well.

You’ll need:

  • A large pot and potting soil or clear planting area in your garden that receives at least six full hours of sun per day
  • One tomato cage per tomato plant
  • Hooks and garden twine or a small trellis for beans to climb
  • Mulch
  • A variety of heirloom vegetable and herb plants

Plant your heirloom victory garden:

  • Leaving your plants in their pots, arrange them on the soil to decide where each plant will go–put the tallest plants in the back so they don’t block the sun from reaching the smaller plants, be sure to pay close attention to the spacing requirements, especially with seeds (Tip: In containers, plant seeds approximately 1/3 closer together than in a traditional garden to maximize space. Find container planting instructions and tips here.)
  • Dig a hole for each plant slightly wider and deeper than its current pot
  • Plant each plant
  • Water thouroughly
  • Mulch

Be sure to water regularly throughout the season and by late summer, you’ll be ready to declare victory over bland store-bought tomatoes and other long-distance produce.