Garden seeds

I have a question about your garden seeds. I’m trying to have almost everything heirloom, but it’s almost impossible isn’t it if you don’t want your squash, cucumbers and other plants to cross pollinate? Do you plant some hybrids for this reason? Also do hybrids store better in a root cellar than heirloom? One last question- can I save my potatoes from last summer to plant this coming summer if there are some left-they are heirloom.

Jacqueline Wieser
Sidney, Nebraska

Growing nearly everything in the garden from open pollinated seeds IS possible with a little thought. For instance, only plant one variety of cucumber, bean, pepper, etc. Some crops, such as tomatoes and beans are pretty much self-pollinating, so you can just separate the varieties by several feet and still raise pure seeds. Pumpkins and squash have different varieties in each of the four common species. By choosing only one of each to save seeds from, you can still grow a big variety of them and still raise pure seed. I’d suggest you take a look at my article in BHM, Saving Seeds, which is in Issue 129 (May/June 2011) for more detailed information.

No, hybrids do not store better. My all-time totally best storing vegetable still remains my wonderful Hopi Pale Grey squash. I have one right now, sitting on the floor in our greenhouse, that was harvested in the fall of 2010 and it is still hard and plump! This is NOT unusual.

Yes, you can save your own seed potatoes as long as the potatoes showed no signs of disease when growing or upon harvesting. — Jackie

Acorn bread

I came across your wonderful article on acorn bread. I have a question. Do you have a recipe for making acorn bread without any other form of flour? If not, in your opinion do you think it would be possible to make bread with just acorn flour. I have about 3 cups ready to go and I’ve been looking around for this type of recipe.

Christy Adamucci
New Jersey

You really can’t make acorn bread without any flour. Native Americans would make acorn “cakes” with no flour by mixing a little fat and ash (tastes similar to salt) and patting them into fat tortilla-like cakes and baking them on hot stones. Without the flour, acorn bread will not rise and the “bread” will be VERY dense, indeed. I’d use a recipe that included flour and leavening, whether baking powder or yeast. Some Native Americans used a recipe that included both acorn flour and cornmeal, but again, that was patted into cakes and baked, making a very dense, yet tasty food. — Jackie