A Seed Saver's Garden

Pulsegleaner

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Addendum

All cold frame plants planted in their permanent spots now.

Only bad news is that it looks like I WON'T be getting any watermelons this year. By the time I got out today, all but 2 of the seedlings had died of damping off, and those two broke when I tried to put them in. So next year, I guess*

Looks like the Hooker's Chives are also starting to sprout. I just hope those can re-grow themselves from roots/bulbs once the get established, like the regular ones did. Trade Winds Seeds (where I got the seed from) isn't all that great about KEEPING items in stock (when you cover world wide seed of all kinds, getting things reliably can be quite difficult.) so there's no guarantee they'll have any next time I need it.

Oh and a quick warning. For anyone else who was planning to try the Utrecht Blue wheat, the company I got my seed packs from (Botanical Interests) seems to be having a purity problem with this seed. In BOTH packets, the hard brownish grains (which I assume are the actual Utrecht Blue, on the ground that the majority of seed in a package should probably be what the package says it is.) where mixed with significant amounts of some other, fatter, lighter colored wheat grains (probably an ordinary bread wheat) and quite a few hulled barley grains as well.

* I technically DO have one Silver Yamato seed left, left over from last year's packet. However, the reason I didn't plant it is that it doesn't LOOK anything like the rest (it's solid shiny black, and as far as I can tell by the majority, Silver Yamato seed is supposed to be a rough textured salt and pepper colored seed.) So I have to assume that one is either crossed, or another watermelon entirely.
 

Pulsegleaner

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@Pulsegleaner , you seem to be taking that experience with contaminated seed quite well.

But then ,..

. you are a gleaner :).
Well, if I CATCH it, it really isn't that much of a big deal, usually. Most seed packets have way more seed than the number of plants I can actually get away with growing of it, so having a few fewer isn't really all that important. I suppose if I opened a seed packet and ALL the seeds were the wrong ones (which has happened, with a few Chinatown pickups and things I have gotten online.) I'd be a little miffed. But a few, no big deal.

The one thing that DOES worry me a little is what might happen if I DON'T catch one, which is why I go through EVERYTHING very carefully no matter HOW small or numerous the seeds are. Also, if I don't KNOW what it is, it goes in a pot and in a pot it stays until I figure out what its habits are, and that it poses no threat. If there is a problem, I then can simply tip the pot into a garbage bag and toss it out.

In my weed growing, there HAVE been one or two things that could have gotten out of control if I had let them grow directly in the ground, like the grasp vine (some sort of bindweed relative with hairy stems, leaves with five or more divisions (hence the name, the leaves look a lot like grasping hands) and the ability to apparently make its seeds WITHOUT visible flowers (instead of flowers, it gets these sort of bud like knots that never open (and sometimes grow on top of each other) and the seeds develop in them) as well as to outgrow pretty much EVERYTHING else (including NORMAL bindweed). Or Hellweed, a short sticklike herb with leaves that remind me a bit of a dogwood's (except they are attached directly to the stem) followed by a spike of greyish lavender (or sometimes hot pink) flowers that eventually turn into the seed...the very SHARP seeds that left me with a permanent scar on my finger. Fortunately, NEITHER can survive the winter here (though dormant grasp vine seeds can, which is why I now scarify any bindweed looking thing before I plant it; to make sure that it grows THIS year, when I know about it.)

I suppose the fact that I now have senna and rice beans popping up in odd places means those DID escape my control, but they aren't really serious problems; I can just pull the few that show up each year out (though senna STINKS when you crush it.)
 

heirloomgal

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I'm growing four types. In terms of ones I actually selected, one pot has Abracazebra and the other has Phil's #2, both Tom Wagner tomatoes. I think Abracazebra is another one of his attempts to outdo Green Zebra (as popular as it is, Tom has always maintained he can do better.) Phil's #2 is basically a green when ripe version of Reisentomate (the "brain" tomato with all the individual peel off sections.

Besides these, and a hedge, I also tossed in two freebie tomatoes I got this year some Brazilian Beauties (freebie with the picked one) and some Jamfi cherries (don't remember WHO sent me those.)

The cherries are also a concession to the fact that I have always had a problem growing full size tomatoes. Even if I can get the plants to live to maturity, they tend to put out one or two very undersized fruit, then drop dead.
Those sound like wonderfully unique varieties, I haven't heard of any of them. There are some fabulous cherry tomatoes out there. I have quite liked the wilder ones like Matt's Wild, Spoon, Mexico Midget, Red Currant, Ted's Pink Currant. Blight is not something I see, but I've read these are very resistant to it. I tried in the last few years Napa Chardonnay, Champagne Cherry, Reisentstraube, Krokha, Gardener's Sweetheart and aboslutely loved them all. Fabulous tomatoes. This year I've got Casino Chips growing which I'm excited for, read good things about it.
 

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i wouldn't lime compost, but mixing in some garden soil might have made some difference, still i think in the end they'll pick up. it seems like the melons i grow here are similar in that they start out slow but then once they get more roots down they take off and by the end of summer the vines are 20ft long - and all from such a tiny seed too! :)
I guess I assumed lime because I thought compost usually is on the acidic side? Mind you, this is old compost, not new at all, so maybe that makes a difference to the pH as well.
 

Pulsegleaner

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Those sound like wonderfully unique varieties, I haven't heard of any of them. There are some fabulous cherry tomatoes out there. I have quite liked the wilder ones like Matt's Wild, Spoon, Mexico Midget, Red Currant, Ted's Pink Currant. Blight is not something I see, but I've read these are very resistant to it. I tried in the last few years Napa Chardonnay, Champagne Cherry, Reisentstraube, Krokha, Gardener's Sweetheart and aboslutely loved them all. Fabulous tomatoes. This year I've got Casino Chips growing which I'm excited for, read good things about it.
Actually the real interesting year is going to be the next one, when I plant the last of the packets I got in that French order, the one for Wooly Green Zebra (basically, Green Zebra with peach fuzz.)

Also if things go wrong I always have piles of seed from those green when ripe cherry tomatoes I get at the farmer's market stand (probably something like Verde Claro, or Frosted Green Grape, as they don't have any yellow cast to them.) Plus, there are the other green cherry tomato seeds; the ones from the plant that made it through the Great Grow out three years ago (when I dumped the entire contents of my tomato box in at once to see if any of those old seeds were still any good; that was the only one that was.) And THIS time, I know in advance I'll need to feel them for ripeness (with a completely lycopene/carotene/xanthophyll free tomato, the fruit don't change color AT ALL when they ripen, so you have to go by touch to pick them.)

And maybe this time I'll get better about making sure I pay attention when saving seeds, both to keeping my eye on them as I process them (I lost the really black tomato I found this year due simply to leaving it in the final fermentation water so long all of the seed sprouted, used up its stored food, and rotted.) and making sure that, when I DO get the saved seed stored, I re-generate it within a reasonable time (the problem with always being willing to try something new is that the stuff you already did tends to just sit around getting older and older until it's dead.)
 

heirloomgal

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Actually the real interesting year is going to be the next one, when I plant the last of the packets I got in that French order, the one for Wooly Green Zebra (basically, Green Zebra with peach fuzz.)

Also if things go wrong I always have piles of seed from those green when ripe cherry tomatoes I get at the farmer's market stand (probably something like Verde Claro, or Frosted Green Grape, as they don't have any yellow cast to them.) Plus, there are the other green cherry tomato seeds; the ones from the plant that made it through the Great Grow out three years ago (when I dumped the entire contents of my tomato box in at once to see if any of those old seeds were still any good; that was the only one that was.) And THIS time, I know in advance I'll need to feel them for ripeness (with a completely lycopene/carotene/xanthophyll free tomato, the fruit don't change color AT ALL when they ripen, so you have to go by touch to pick them.)

And maybe this time I'll get better about making sure I pay attention when saving seeds, both to keeping my eye on them as I process them (I lost the really black tomato I found this year due simply to leaving it in the final fermentation water so long all of the seed sprouted, used up its stored food, and rotted.) and making sure that, when I DO get the saved seed stored, I re-generate it within a reasonable time (the problem with always being willing to try something new is that the stuff you already did tends to just sit around getting older and older until it's dead.)
That does sound interesting, Green Zebra with a twist. I think it was 2018 I did a woolly tomato grow out, every variety I could find. Some actually produced quite well - 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' was probably at the top of the list. The weirdest one, the leaves were super grey green, and looked like dryer lint. The tomato was yellow with blue shoulders. I recall the plant stayed quite small, though I forget the taste and production. That was when I was growing 150 varieties a year, and the taste burnout was real. But I did save a lot of seed from it though so I will try it again someday.

Two years ago I grew Verdo Claro from seed saved a few years before, and found my first tomato cross. It produced golf ball sized fruit with the oddest colour, definitely green but with a bruised look, brownish pinkish tones in there. The taste was off the charts, so I planted seeds from it this year to see what I get, I have two plants of it.

I've tried a few of the 'doesn't turn colour when ripe' greens, and it is a tricky deal to figure out when they're ready for sure. Some of the green beefsteak tomatoes from the Cross Hemisphere Dwarf Tomato Project are like that, and I find even Green Giant can lack that slight colour shift of slight yellow or even amber over the green pigment. Mentally they are an obstacle for me to enjoy due to that unripe look, and yet green beefsteak tomatoes that visibly ripen, I think, are possibly the finest beefsteak tomato around. Most I find vastly superior to the average red. Aunt Ruby's German Green is tops on my list, but I've grown Kiwi, Grub's Mystery Green, Cherokee Green, Absinthe, Hugh's, Malachite Box and a bunch of others and they were all fantastic. Not a stinker in the bunch. I find 'Gobstopper' nearly enchanting. Immature they are a minty white, then to faint lime and onto other shades that defy description but they do get a notable ripe hue when done. And they're super delicious, possibly due to Sungold being in there ancestry.
 

Pulsegleaner

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That does sound interesting, Green Zebra with a twist. I think it was 2018 I did a woolly tomato grow out, every variety I could find. Some actually produced quite well - 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' was probably at the top of the list. The weirdest one, the leaves were super grey green, and looked like dryer lint. The tomato was yellow with blue shoulders. I recall the plant stayed quite small, though I forget the taste and production. That was when I was growing 150 varieties a year, and the taste burnout was real. But I did save a lot of seed from it though so I will try it again someday.

Two years ago I grew Verdo Claro from seed saved a few years before, and found my first tomato cross. It produced golf ball sized fruit with the oddest colour, definitely green but with a bruised look, brownish pinkish tones in there. The taste was off the charts, so I planted seeds from it this year to see what I get, I have two plants of it.

I've tried a few of the 'doesn't turn colour when ripe' greens, and it is a tricky deal to figure out when they're ready for sure. Some of the green beefsteak tomatoes from the Cross Hemisphere Dwarf Tomato Project are like that, and I find even Green Giant can lack that slight colour shift of slight yellow or even amber over the green pigment. Mentally they are an obstacle for me to enjoy due to that unripe look, and yet green beefsteak tomatoes that visibly ripen, I think, are possibly the finest beefsteak tomato around. Most I find vastly superior to the average red. Aunt Ruby's German Green is tops on my list, but I've grown Kiwi, Grub's Mystery Green, Cherokee Green, Absinthe, Hugh's, Malachite Box and a bunch of others and they were all fantastic. Not a stinker in the bunch. I find 'Gobstopper' nearly enchanting. Immature they are a minty white, then to faint lime and onto other shades that defy description but they do get a notable ripe hue when done. And they're super delicious, possibly due to Sungold being in there ancestry.

One of the things I most regret losing was a fuzzy. Way, way back, I was in communication with the people at Wild Boar Farms (this was so long ago, that they were just starting out, and relying on eBay for all of their seed distribution. Berkeley Tie-Dye and the rest were just in their infancy; I was probably one of the first people to get them) One of the things I picked up from them was a quirk that they had found in their grow outs, a version of Purple Cherokee with BROWN fuzz on it. Alas, waited too long to plant it, and don't think they still have it (with no other major differences besides the fuzz, and the brown fuzz making it not look very appetizing, I think they decided it wasn't marketable.)

Those brownish pinkish tones sound a bit like what I call "integrated browns and blacks". With most brown and "black" tomatoes, the color you are actually getting is usually more along the lines of dark pink or red with heavy green streaks, plus possibly a greenish or yellowish skin. But there are one or two where the colors are fully integrated, and you get a tomato that really IS flat brown through and through. Mr. Brown is one.

Your color combination sounds a bit like the one in the German tomato Indishe Fleish; that same sort of pinky green.

I try to avoid using "bruised" for that color combination, as I reserve it for Purple Calabash, which I really DO think is the color of a bruise (besides being very, very old, Purple Calabash has a lot of other weird things about it, like a different kind of follicular hairs on the seeds (normal tomato seed hairs are long and silky, which is why they flatten out into that "halo" when you dry the seeds. Purple Calabash's are short and spiky, like Velcro.

There are a LOT of odd tomatoes I have lost over the years. Eyeball (I've mentioned that one before, transparent white, super sweet grape like taste.), Trefoil (basically a red that did the locule division thing like Reisentomate but was NOT a beefsteak with it's polylocular arrangement* so it was just three totally separate wedges. Valisiev Green (got on eBay from someone who got it and a lot of others from Russia. Never got it to grow, but was supposed to be a really cold tolerant green when ripe.), The Blob (a cherry that was what I based my polylocular Beefsteak theory on, as it seemed to be in the middle of transitioning between the two states.*.

*The polylocular theory is my best guess as to how wild tomatoes turned into larger beefsteaks. As someone who has presumably eaten a lot of tomatoes of various types, you have probably noticed that, the bigger a tomato fruit gets the more locules (seed cavities) it has. Wild type and a lot of cherries have two, mediums usually have three or four, most even (i.e. not blobby) beefsteaks have around six to eight and so on. You have probably also noted a lot of larger tomatoes and beefsteaks have flowers with double sets of petals (ten instead of five). What I think happened is that flowers started growing closer and closer together until they integrated, so that those double flowers are actually two or more flowers growing within each other. And The Blob was my evidence since it was in the process of doing this. Some flowers it made were single, and made single fruit. Others would grow so close to each other they would semi merge and make fruits that were unified. and a few totally merged and made sort of beefsteak like fruit. There was also one odd one where about five flowers tried to merge and wound up creating a ring of tomato flesh with an extra set of calyces (i.e. the little green part around where the fruit and stem meet) growing out of the middle! Lousy tasting, but developmentally fascinating.

This has also left me very interested in the few so called "beefsteak cherries"; cherry tomatoes with the beefsteak's wheel like fruit shape and multiple locules. Fabloynetski is one, and I think there may be a cherry version of Aunt Ruby's German Green now as well (though as they is also an Auth Ruby's German Black Cherry tomato, I may be getting confused.)
 

digitS'

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@Pulsegleaner ,

I remember way, way back when Johnny's was just starting out :). Remember when Early Girl was first offered ... (Suspicious of it. I was growing Sub Arctic Plenty ;).) Gardening Information was from my Organic Gardening subscription.

Years later, there was the internet ☁️ . EBay? Funny name. East Bay, oooh!

Steve
 

heirloomgal

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One of the things I most regret losing was a fuzzy. Way, way back, I was in communication with the people at Wild Boar Farms (this was so long ago, that they were just starting out, and relying on eBay for all of their seed distribution. Berkeley Tie-Dye and the rest were just in their infancy; I was probably one of the first people to get them) One of the things I picked up from them was a quirk that they had found in their grow outs, a version of Purple Cherokee with BROWN fuzz on it. Alas, waited too long to plant it, and don't think they still have it (with no other major differences besides the fuzz, and the brown fuzz making it not look very appetizing, I think they decided it wasn't marketable.)

Those brownish pinkish tones sound a bit like what I call "integrated browns and blacks". With most brown and "black" tomatoes, the color you are actually getting is usually more along the lines of dark pink or red with heavy green streaks, plus possibly a greenish or yellowish skin. But there are one or two where the colors are fully integrated, and you get a tomato that really IS flat brown through and through. Mr. Brown is one.

Your color combination sounds a bit like the one in the German tomato Indishe Fleish; that same sort of pinky green.

I try to avoid using "bruised" for that color combination, as I reserve it for Purple Calabash, which I really DO think is the color of a bruise (besides being very, very old, Purple Calabash has a lot of other weird things about it, like a different kind of follicular hairs on the seeds (normal tomato seed hairs are long and silky, which is why they flatten out into that "halo" when you dry the seeds. Purple Calabash's are short and spiky, like Velcro.

There are a LOT of odd tomatoes I have lost over the years. Eyeball (I've mentioned that one before, transparent white, super sweet grape like taste.), Trefoil (basically a red that did the locule division thing like Reisentomate but was NOT a beefsteak with it's polylocular arrangement* so it was just three totally separate wedges. Valisiev Green (got on eBay from someone who got it and a lot of others from Russia. Never got it to grow, but was supposed to be a really cold tolerant green when ripe.), The Blob (a cherry that was what I based my polylocular Beefsteak theory on, as it seemed to be in the middle of transitioning between the two states.*.

*The polylocular theory is my best guess as to how wild tomatoes turned into larger beefsteaks. As someone who has presumably eaten a lot of tomatoes of various types, you have probably noticed that, the bigger a tomato fruit gets the more locules (seed cavities) it has. Wild type and a lot of cherries have two, mediums usually have three or four, most even (i.e. not blobby) beefsteaks have around six to eight and so on. You have probably also noted a lot of larger tomatoes and beefsteaks have flowers with double sets of petals (ten instead of five). What I think happened is that flowers started growing closer and closer together until they integrated, so that those double flowers are actually two or more flowers growing within each other. And The Blob was my evidence since it was in the process of doing this. Some flowers it made were single, and made single fruit. Others would grow so close to each other they would semi merge and make fruits that were unified. and a few totally merged and made sort of beefsteak like fruit. There was also one odd one where about five flowers tried to merge and wound up creating a ring of tomato flesh with an extra set of calyces (i.e. the little green part around where the fruit and stem meet) growing out of the middle! Lousy tasting, but developmentally fascinating.

This has also left me very interested in the few so called "beefsteak cherries"; cherry tomatoes with the beefsteak's wheel like fruit shape and multiple locules. Fabloynetski is one, and I think there may be a cherry version of Aunt Ruby's German Green now as well (though as they is also an Auth Ruby's German Black Cherry tomato, I may be getting confused.)
Mr. Brown is a tomato I've always wanted to try; I tried Brown Berry and the colour was incredible. 'The Blob' - what a name! That is interesting how tomatoes evolved in size through flowers merging. It makes me think of some of the 'older' tomatoes I've grown, like the Purple Calabash you mention which is small and highly ruffled. The historical portraits of 'beefsteak' tomatoes all show rather ruffled, 'lumpy' fruit. The Italian Costoluto is ruffled, the African one I tried called Korrogo du Senegal was a 'beefsteak cherry' also ruffled, and one from Afghanistan called Rumi Banjan was a beefsteak cherry too, in yellow. I think these are all rather old varieties. So it makes me wonder if, as the size of tomatoes increased, this ruffle quality was part of the progression away from small cherry types. And then from there the movement was to breed the 'lumps' out of the bigger ad bigger tomatoes, selecting for smoothness. Yes, there is a Aunt Ruby's German Green cherry, I've been tempted to try it but the vendor listed in the description 'must be picked just before maturity for best taste' which suggests to me they might be bland?
 

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