Here is a simple garden plan you can use for your first seed-saving garden. It features popular vegetables, and helps safeguard against cross-pollination.
All the heirloom vegetables in our design are ones which are both ‘open-pollinated’ and ‘self-pollinated’. Open pollinated means the offspring will resemble the parents. Self-pollinated means they have closed flowers with both male and female parts, and fertilization occurs in the interior before the flowers open.
You don’t have to plant the exact varieties shown here. It is the layout that is important.
From the top, working down the image, there are rows or groups of:
- Tomatoes (We show Quintes as an example)
- Peas (Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas)
- Tomatoes (Moscow)
- Beans (Pencil Pod Wax)
- Lettuce (the gorgeous and tasty Forellenschluss)
- Tomatoes (Brandywine)
- Beans (Great Northern green beans)
- Lettuce or Cucumbers (Tom Thumb lettuce is delicate, miniature head lettuce). Cucumbers could be Improved Long Cucumber. But cukes are more vulnerable to cross-pollination within a large distance, so you’d need to be isolated, or get your neighbours to plant your variety, too.
So, for instance, you can grow three different types of heirloom tomatoes in the same plot, provided you separate them by an intervening row of something else. This way, they are very unlikely to cross with the other varieties (though occasionally an insect could get inside the flower, bringing pollen from a neighbour!).