The plants in our organic garden are the easily recognized garden produce in a Western backyard garden. The majority of the seeds come from garden stores both online and in-person and are readily available in large quantities. However, that does not mean they are the only options to grow.

These two beds focus on important crops to areas outside the US, such as staple crops and seasonings. Beyond planting produce that are not regularly found in big box garden stores, we also focused on where we sourced our seeds. The majority of these plants come from heirloom varieties. An heirloom plant comes from seeds saved and passed down through generations without human intervention. Most of the available seeds are bred by humans for very specific traits, such as zucchini plants that grow as bushes instead of vining or fruits without seeds, and they are grown in greenhouses without pollinators. This takes away the natural diversity, opening up crops to large scale infestations and even extinction.

Heirloom seeds are saved from the best fruits of the season’s plants and planted the following year, maintaining that biodiversity that is so important. Heirloom seeds carry a rich, cultural history that the Greenburgh Nature Center is honored and proud to take part in.