Grow Mrs. Burns' Lemon Heirloom Basil

| 3/14/2011 1:06:49 PM

PBHobson2Read more from Patsy Bell Hobson at When not in the garden or on the road, find her in southern Missouri. Her travel adventures can be read around the world at Striped Pot Travel. Find more garden, travel and random rants on her Facebook page.  

What is an heirloom?

Lemon basil oneThe word 'heirloom' harkens back to a nostalgic time—when life was sweeter and tomatoes were redder.

Open-pollinated, or parent plants that are naturally pollinated, heirloom plants produce heirloom seed. The new generation of seeds will produce plants that are identical to its parent plants.

Many folks say that to be classified as an heirloom the cultivar has to be at least 50 or 100 years old. Others say before World War II ended. (The end of World War II marked the industrialization of agriculture and widespread hybrid cultivation.)

Heirloom plants have proven to be more heat tolerant, drought tolerant, insect resistant and have more vitamins and minerals. If they didn't have any of these desirable characteristics, we wouldn't grow them and soon they wouldn't exhist.