FIRST AND FOREMOST: I DO NOT SELL SEEDS!
This website exists solely as a clearinghouse of heirloom
vegetable images and information (primarily peppers & tomatoes).
All varieties were obtained via the Seed
Savers Exchange, and interested people should contact them for
information regarding availability. I no longer maintain a seed
collection; my former collection in its entirety now resides at
the Seed Savers Exchange. So please don't request seed from me;
I have no way of filling them.
Clicking on the Vegetable names at left will take
you to pages with variety photos, descriptions, and histories. Or
go to the Plant List for a clickable alphabetical listing. I hope
you enjoy this resource and welcome your comments, especially any
additional information you might have on variety histories.
History of this Site
This webpage was initally developed in conjunction
with the yearly Mother's Day plant sale that I conducted at the
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay to support ecological research.
Because of the proceeds generated, I was able to bring internationally
known ecologists to the school, support student research and training,
and also maintain an active lab during this era of rapidly decreasing
granting opportunities. This sale rapidly outgrew my wildest expectations,
and soon became a yearly event for gardners
in northeastern Wisconsin. By the end, we were routinely serving
gardners from a 200-mile radius, including northern Illinois, Michigan,
and central Wisconsin. This sale constitutes my fondest memories
of my decade spent in Green Bay. For those of you visiting this
site who used to attend this sale, I cannot thank you enough for
the good will and resources you provided during those years. I and
my students were given opportunities by your generosity that otherwise
would have simply been impossible at that school.
I wanted to create a site that would disseminate the
information about the varieties sold at the sale, so that the gardeners
would have year-round, easy access to this information. The site
soon grew beyond this simple scope, and began recieving significant
global traffic. When continuing my ecological research UWGB became
impossible, and I left that institution, I took this site down.
It took some time, but I've finally been able to put this information
back on the web thanks to the good folks at the Sevilleta
LTER and Jim
Brown's macroecology lab.
History of Heirloom Plants in
the United States
Heirloom vegetables have gained popularity across the country
because they speak to our hearts as well as our palates. These are
plants that our great-grandparents were growing, and it is possible
to buy or trade seeds of plants from cultures around the world.
Vegetables have been cultivated for thousands of years. As people
traded seeds and moved across the world they interbred different
varieties in order to improve or develop specific flavors, colors,
yields and the plants' abilitiy to survive in a particular climate.
Unfortunately, mass producers of vegetables decided to improve transportability
and shelflife at the expense of flavor and quality. This mass production
has led to decreasing diversity of vegetable varieties, with farmers
planting mono-cultures of tomatoes and other crops. At the same
time the traditional family vegetable plot has mostly disapeared.
Some varieties have already gone extinct because there was no one
left to plant them. A growing interest in personal history and gardening
has led to the preservation of many of our heirloom treasures. Native
Americans, Amish and Mennonite groups have long collected and preserved
vegetable seeds and now there are many others collecting and trading
seeds as well. The Seed Savers
Exchange and the Native
Seeds Search are organizations that have been instrumental in
preserving vegetable biodiversity by collecting, growing, and trading