Does seed source matter?
I have noticed over the past few years since I started growing plants from seed, that the varieties that do well has changed in that short time. I found that Cherokee Purple, which had always done well for me, petered out and the plants got smaller and less robust and the fruit smaller. I was ready to stop growing it. Then, I tried the new CP Heart (different seed source) and suddenly had a visibly more healthy plant again and larger tomatoes, even though it was a terrible year. I almost gave up on Orange minsk but tried a new seed source, relegated it to a smart pot, and it did much better, if not outstanding.
My thoughts are these.
1. If I purchase seeds from a source that grows out their own, and it is in a zone a little closer to mine, will I be likely to get plants that do better for me?
2. If a seed source grows out their own, do they normally harvest seeds from all tomatoes they get regardless of size, or harvest from the best of the crop? If they find a variety is having a poor year for them, do most harvest and sell what they can get, or try to get seed elsewhere or drop it from the varieties offered until they get a good crop? Could that have an impact on the the quality and health of the plants grown from that seed? I have no real knowledge of the commercial seed business, so I have no idea.
What other factors should I maybe consider, if any, in determining where to buy my seeds? I would like to try to determine when to drop a plant because it simply doesn't do well in my garden or doesn't appeal to me and when it might be a factor of seed source.
Please note that I have not and am not identifying any one place that I have had problems with. I don't even know IF there is a relationship. I have used mostly well recommended seed sources from this forum and don't think anyone does anything to knowingly offer inferior seed.
I particularly interested if seed might being selected for zone and weather conditions that I can't duplicate. So, if sources were available in zone 9 or 10, and I am in zone 6, maybe the same plants would do better in my garden if I ordered them from a source that grows them in zone 7?
If a new variety is offered, does the growing out process for stabilization mean that only the best specimens are used for seed and maybe result in a more healthy vigorous plant than a variety that has been grown mainly for commercial seed production for a while?
Too many questions, lol?