Tomato plants, bean plants, artichoke plants, pepper plants, pumpkin plants, cabbages, lettuces, carrots… since humans began to grow plants for consumption, seeds and cuttings were the object of exchange or sale with which the different cultures have been integrating their products into their diet. In this way, nowadays wheat is cultivated, originally from the Middle East; aubergines, from northern India; citrus fruits, from the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia or potatoes, from South America.
With each new planting, the farmer selected the largest and best fruits and the plants most resistant to pests, inclement weather or those most adapted to the types of sun. In this way, year after year there has been a selection of the seeds destined for the plantations for the following season and without realizing it, we have carried out an artificial selection. So, in each area of the territory, people cultivate local varieties of tomatoes, beans or melons, the result of the history of the domestication of vegetables. These traditional varieties stand out for their taste, the great variety of colors or shapes, and sometimes also for the specific uses of some of their fruits.
The extension of agriculture and the use of monocultures break a little with this mosaic of local varieties, where seeds are often bought from large companies that distribute simultaneously to many countries. This uniformity of cultivated species presents a lower adaptability to the territory, and many times it is necessary for the farmer to use chemical products in order to eradicate pests or promote the development of plants. In this way, more and more, many of the varieties of all life are harder to find or, in some cases, end up being lost. The presence of these varieties in the market has also managed to revalue some of these plants, such as Santa Pau beans, crochet beans, Berguedà black peas, bull’s heart tomatoes or Montserrat tomatoes or calabash squash of angel, among many others. We must also think that these vegetables, fruits and vegetables are part of our plant, cultural and historical heritage.
The Jardí Botànic Marimurtra carries out activities and objectives of conservation and dissemination of the flora of the territory, ensuring that a large part of the wild and horticultural flora of Catalonia can be preserved. This year we have sown a wide variety of traditional horticultural species of pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, corn, courgettes, lettuce… coming from the Vallès Oriental Seed Bank, the Les Refardes association or other farmers. You will be able to find many of these specimens in the garden area of the garden or distributed in different places throughout the visit.
See all the horticultural variety files: