Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Hi!  My name is Mary and I blog over at Back to the Basics and Mary’s Kitchen.  I also run an online heirloom seed company called Mary’s Heirloom Seeds.  We now offer over 160 varieties of heirloom, Non-GMO, open-pollinated, non-hybrid, untreated seeds.

We try to live as sustainably and frugally as possible.  Growing our own organic produce and helping other grow their own is the simplest way to save money and live “green.”  Have you ever grown your own kitchen garden?  It can be as simple as a few herbs in a container or as elaborate as turning your backyard into a food production operation.  I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to dig up your lawn or spend hours planting and pulling weeds to reap the benefits of your own kitchen garden (unless you'd like to).
Mary’s Heirloom

Heirloom Seed varieties are a must for any garden.  An heirloom seed has been saved and passed down from generation to generation. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and are considered a great value to the recipient. Some say an heirloom variety is 50 years old or more.  Some heirloom varieties have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years.

Hybrids and gmo varieties are not heirlooms.  These have been genetically "tweaked."  We call gmo varieties “franken-seeds” and they are not welcome in our house OR our garden.
I have written about
GMOs many times. 
Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom varieties are often called rare because they aren't "mainstream" and if you do find them in the store (as produce) they're expensive!

Heirloom seeds are not necessarily organic but some seed companies, like Mary's Heirloom Seeds, state that their seeds are organic and un-treated.  Why untreated?  Some companies use a chemical anti-bacterial to keep their seeds from growing mold.  Personally, I stay away from treated seeds.  I don't need added chemicals thank you very much!

My top 5 favorite veggies to grow are Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce, Cucumbers and Eggplant.
Mary’s Heirloom

That’s not to say that these are the easiest to grow but they’re my favorite.  In my opinion, the easiest plants to grow in a kitchen garden are GREENS: Extra Dwarf Pak Choy Cabbage, Pak Choy Cabbage, Little Gem and Tom Thumb Lettuce.
Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

Peppers are a must for a kitchen garden.  Think about how much the grocery store sells certain produce.  My local store charges $3.99 for peppers.  That’s CRAZY!  For $4 you can get a packet of pepper seeds and grow hundreds of pepper plants by saving seeds from each harvest.
Tomatoes may not be the easiest garden item to grow but if you use the companion planting method you should have a healthier, more abundant harvest.  Companion Planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another.  For example, planting Marigolds, Basil and Borage around Tomatoes will help deter tomato hornworms, repel flies and mosquitoes, and will attract bees and butterflies.
Depending on your tastes, Radishes are a great addition as they are ready in as little as 25 days.

The easiest herb to grow is Basil.  I have grown Fine Verde, Genovese Basil and Dark Purple Opal Basil in the garden and the recipes I have made are spectacular! We also offer unique varieties such as Cinnamon Basil, Red Shiso Basil and Thai Holy Basil.
Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

New Arrivals include 2 more varieties of Swiss Chard: Fordhook Giant and Vulcan.  These are a must in our kitchen garden since we can snip off a few outer leaves as needed and the plant continues to grow.  I make a tasty Garden Veggie Egg Bake with homegrown ingredients and Chard is perfect for this creation.

We've also added 2 varieties of Amaranth (from the 1,700s)


Additional links for getting started:
September Seed Starting Guide for the US by Region

If you have additional questions on how to get started or which varieties to choose please feel free to stop by and leave me a message.  I'm always happy to help!


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