Small plot gardener, looking for small scale variety seed sources

artic(7 - Albuquerque)October 10, 2005


I'm both relatively new to starting a garden by seed, and this forum (though I have been lurking for a while). As of recently I have decided that I would like to start a small scale heirloom tomato garden, though due to size constrains imposed by too small of a yard, I can't imagine being able to facilitate more than 15 or 20 tomato plants. My problem is I want to grow a variety of different types of heirloom tomatoes, to find ones I like the best, I assume two or three of each of selected varieties. The problem is ordering 10 packs of differing varieties of seed would not only be a bit pricey (new college grad with no job yet), but a good portion of the seeds in even a small pack would go to waste. In essence what I'm asking is...

Does any company / anyone sell heirloom tomatoes (and possibly other heirloom seeds) in a sample type package offering a variety of seeds, but with only a few seeds of each type per package?


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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)


Pinetree seeds ( would be my first choice; some of the heirlooms are less than a dollar a pack; the hybrids cost a little more. Then, if you're interested in other varieties, you can try tomato seed collections like they have a and

You can also check the tomato message board or local garening clubs. Where I am, there is the Organic Gardners association and the California Organic Gardeners club. Both groups have gardeners who are willing to swap seeds with you, or refer you to more sources. Some even bring their extra seedling plants to meetings in the springtime.

And good luck. The dry, constant winds and extreme weather of Albuquerque posts challenges to gardeners there.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:20PM
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There was a reference to on the container garden board a few days ago. They have a few heirloom seeds and also a few tomatoes. Not sure if there are heirloom tomatoes!

I am also reading the Square Foot Gardening book and the author discusses saving seeds from year to year. If kept under the right conditions (cool and dry) seeds can maintain viability for 3-5 years. (Or if you entomb them in a pyramid in the desert, they will germinate a few thousand years later I have heard!)

Anyway if you keep them for more than a year, you can begin to amortize costs. I have just started a few extra plants which I plan to share with friends or on Freecycle. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 2:09PM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Robert, Sandhill Preservation is a affordable source for a wide variety of open pollinated seed. Glenn does not take orders over the internet or telephone. You will need to send in a check or money order (no credit cards) via snail mail. No orders processed between Aug 15-Dec 25, and be sure to check the out of stock page first.

Packets for any RED tomatoes are $1.50 each, any combination of 5 for $7.00, any 10 for $13.50, any 20 for $25.00 (Can be mixed with yellow, pink, black, green. or white for quantity discounts.) Packets will contain at least 25 seeds, usually 50-100.

Packets for any CHERRY tomatoes are $1.25 each, any combination of 5 for $5.00, any 10 for $9.00, any 20 for $17.00. Packets will contain between 25-100 seeds

Longkeepers, stuffers and paste types cost more.

You may also want to visit the exchange section of the growing tomatoes forum as there are occasionally free offers posted over there. There's a couple right now...

I'd also like to suggest to that at least half of your selections should be small fruited (cherry to 2-4 oz), and early to early-midseason maturity. Small fruited varieties tend to set fruit better in the heat.

Stupice is a good one to try for your area, so is Black Cherry.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing tomatoes forum

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 9:53PM
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artic(7 - Albuquerque)

I just wanted to stop by and say "thank you" to everyone that has been so willing to help out. The lists of sources, and ideas are truly helpful. My garden will (hopefully) be more so spectacular because of all your input.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 11:32PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

Or, you could e-mail a fool like me, who just HAS to try different heirlooms each year. and-i do keep extra seeds in the ref, sealed glass jar.i really, really didnt need to start 125 tomatoes this spring, when theres only 2 of us. oh, well, kids enjoyed them

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 10:59AM
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I realize that good conditions lend to better seed viability, but Carolyn has germinated 10+ year old tomato seeds (Tomato forum might be a better place to ask about more varieties of toms!)

I havent been the most concerned about making sure my seed boxes NEVER see light, or are always air conditioned, and I till have seed come up year to year. (2001 Thyme came up this year. not sure if it usually lasts this long)

good luck (an also newly graduated, not yet job-holding, gardener!)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 9:22AM
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