Common Heirloom / Open-Pollinated Seed List

Common Heirloom / Open-Pollinated Seed List

by John Rourke

Without a doubt the most controversial and significant topic in the gardening world revolves around heirloom versus GMO/hybrid seed use. To understand why this is so controversial is to know what the differences are:


Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated–meaning that unlike hybrids, seeds you collect from one year will produce plants with most of the characteristics of the parent plant. And that’s key to their survival.

Many heirloom varieties were preserved by home gardeners who saved seed from their family gardens from year to year. Other seeds traveled around the world in the pockets or letters of immigrants, which is why, though the tomato evolved in Central America, we have varieties from Russia, Italy, Japan, France, Germany and Kentucky.”


So, heirloom and open pollinated seeds can grow wonderful food and the seeds can be saved – and planted for continued enjoyment for generations.


Hybrid seeds actually occur totally natural in nature all the time. A hybrid seed comes from two similar plants which cross-pollinate. My opinion is hybrids sometimes get a bad reputation they may not totally deserve. Shocking statement? Well – hear me out. Hybrids are often developed to be very disease resistant, require less water, grow in smaller spaces, etc. So – hybrids can allow a larger crop which could be important long-term survival situation. So – hybrid’s do provide some benefit.

A major drawback of hybrids is that most seeds from the plants you grow are sterile – and will not allow you to grow more crops the following season. This, of course, is problematic if seed saving is what will allow you to plant your garden the following year.


GMO Seeds are to be avoided.  Genetically modified seeds have been genetically created – sometimes from many, many different varieties or plants AND other organisms. That’s right – genes from a frog can be spliced into corn genes.   Due to gene splicing, very specific characteristics can be built into a plant and any undesirable ones removed. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Well…..not really. There are some serious questions as to what effect these GMO foods may have on the human body. Additionally – some GMO seeds are designed to produce crops with sterile seeds. There are a lot of confusion as to what is myth and truth about GMO seeds – but here is one truth: I am staying away.



I am no expert on all this stuff but what I have put forth is my understanding. There are many great sources on the Internet to buy heirloom and open-pollinated seeds but they can be on the expensive side. I have been working on a list for some time of heirloom/open pollinated seeds that are often found at your local grocery store,  home improvement, and even dollar stores. Often these seeds can be purchased as low 10 cents a pack versus $2.50 and up when they have “heirloom” printed all over the package.


Let’s get to the list – feel free to suggest others and I will add them: 


Artichoke, Green Globe 


Asparagus, Mary Washington 


Basil, Greek 


Bean Shell, Bush Dragon’s Tongue Wax

Bean, Bush, Early Bush Italian

Bean, Cannelino

Bean, Gold of Bacau

Bean, Italian Rose

Bean, Lima, Big Mama

Bean, Pole, Green Anellino

Bean, Purple Podded Pole

Bean, Runner, White Half

Bean, Snap, Red Swan

Bean, Triumphe De Farcy Bush

Bean (Pole) Romano

Bean – Harvester Bush Snap

Bean – Kentucky Wonder Pole

Bean – Henderson Bush Lima

Bean – Top Crop Bush Snap

Bean – Cherokee Yellow Wax

Bean – Contender Bush Snap Beans 


Beet, Albino

Beet, Bull’s Blood

Beet, Chioggia

Beets – Detroit Dark Red

Beets – Ruby Queen

Beets Early Wonder 


Broccoli, De Cicco

Broccoli, Green Sprouting Calabrese

Broccoli, Purple Sprouting

Broccoli, Romanesco

Broccoli – Calabrese

Broccoli – Waltham 29


Brussels Sprouts, Catskill

Brussels Sprouts, Long Island


Cabbage, Brunswick

Cabbage, CharlestonWakefield

Cabbage – Copenhagen Market 

Cabbage – Early Jersey Wakefield

Cabbage – Golden Acre

Cabbage – Michihili

Cabbage – Pak Choy White Stem

Cabbage – Red Acre

Cabbage – Savoy 


Cantaloupe, Hales Best Jumbo 


Carrot, Danvers 126 Half Long

Carrot, Touchon

Carrot – Chantenay Red

Carrot – Little Finger

Carrot – Scarlet Nantes

Carrot – Tendersweet 


Cauliflower, Snowball Self-Blanching 


Corn, Country Gentleman

Corn, Golden Bantam

Corn – (Sweet) Golden Beauty 


Cucumber, Lemon

Cucumber, Straight Eight

Cucumber – Boston Pickling

Cucumber: Lemon

Cucumber, National Pickling

Cucumber, Spacemaster Cucumber

Cucumber – Poinsett 76

Cucumber – Marketer

Cucumber – Marketmore 76


Eggplant, Black Beauty

Eggplant, Long Purple 


Lettuce Head – Iceberg

Lettuce – Black Seeded Simpson

Lettuce – Buttercrunch

Lettuce – Salad Bowl Green

Lettuce – Romaine


Onion – Red Creole

Onion – Tokyo Long White

Onion – White Lisbon Bunching 


Pea – Green Arrow

Pea – Mammoth Melting Sugar

Pea – Wando

Pea – Lincoln

Pea – Alaska

Pea – Oregon Giant


Pepper – Hot, Cayenne

Pepper – California Wonder

Pepper – Jalapeno

Pepper – Sweet Banana

Pepper – Grand Bell


Pumpkin – Jack O Lantern

Pumpkin – Small Sugar


Squash – Crookneck

Squash – Straightneck 


Tomato – Delicious
Tomato – Beefsteak
Tomato – Rutgers 


Turnip – Purple Top White Globe


Watermelon – Congo

Watermelon – Charleston Grey

Watermelon – Sugar Baby

Watermelon – Crimson Sweet 


Zucchini – Grey

Zucchini – Dark Green

Zucchini – Black Beauty

© 2013, Seasoned Citizen Prepper. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email