I bought these four varieties of heirloom dry (soup) beans from a neighbor who has a small-scale fruit/vegetable farm business. The yellow eye, soldier, Vermont cranberry, and Jacob’s cattle beans date back to the 1700s and 1800s. I made soup out of some of them with plenty left over for planting in my garden this spring to multiply my supply for carrying me through next winter.
I packaged some of each variety of the bean seeds in handmade seed packets to share with a friend to plant in her garden that I will give to her along with my "Stormy Day Bean Soup" recipe. Did you say, "I want to be your friend?" I downloaded the seed packet templates from a link that was in a "101 Hip, Handmade Gifts" publication that I purchased with my 40% off Joann Fabrics coupon.
Have you wondered, “What is the difference between a regular seed plant and an heirloom seed plant?” The following information comes from the "TomatoFest" web site. Even though the article specifically refers to tomatoes, the explanation is apropos to other seeds/plants as well. For the past 40 years or so, when most people spoke of "regular" tomatoes they meant hybrid tomatoes because these were the most commonly available in markets and seed catalogues. Hybrid tomatoes are genetically created for the particular purpose of marketing and distribution (i.e., thick skins so they can withstand the weight of huge amounts of tomatoes stacked in a truck, a longer shelf-life so they might last a week or longer at the market, or a particular disease resistance). Too often a hybrid's last priority has been taste. Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated tomatoes, whose seeds have been handed down from generation to generation. (Heirloom status is attained when plants have bred true from seed for 50+ years.) Heirloom tomatoes are generally thin-skinned, extremely flavorful and have a natural resistance to disease.
Can I save the seeds from hybrid tomatoes? Yes. However, you will not get a tomato like the parent. If you want to have fruit that is identical to the fruit you are seeding, you need to do so from an open-pollinated or heirloom tomato. One of the primary reasons that heirloom tomatoes are so popular is because after finding a favorite heirloom tomato variety, you can save the seeds of that variety for many generations to come.