Reliable Seed Sources

pksinan(z7NM)August 29, 2014

I am finding that some varieties I am growing are not displaying the characteristics they should be displaying (according to Carolyn Mayle). This raises my suspicion that the seeds I bought were either mislabled or not the true stated variety.

Can anyone suggest sources you have used whose seed consistently grows true to the variety?

Example: Cuostralee - plants on the small side, tomatoes under 1 lb. This does not at all jive with what Carolyn describes in her book.

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pksinan, are you talking about this book: 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Carolyn J. Male ?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:53AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Both of the examples you give - plant size and fruit weight - are primarily growing conditions related, not indicators of seed validity.

Carolyn Male along with many others often makes the point that the same variety grows very differently in different gardens under very different growing conditions. Not to mention regional difference in weather and planting times, containers vs. in ground, fertilization and watering regimens, etc.


That said, and as well as several other sources are often listed here as very reliable sources.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:57AM
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Dave, if I may a suggestion: in order to make those links ACTIVE, use this HTML code:


Remove the blank spaces before and after .

The URL has to start with www.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:05PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

There are many links here with seed sources listed, but I for one do NOT think that all that are listed are so called reliable.

For several years I did a wrong varieties thread here and there are some that did much better than others as to true OP seed with the least percentage of crossed seed.

And still today the highest number of crossed tomato seed is from seed trading/

But fact is,no place that produces their own OP seed can ever be perfect, just by the nature of problems having to do with prevention of X pollination when plants are grown commercially. Yet some are still much better than others and I'll NEVER do a wrong varieties thread here again and suggest that no one does so b'c of the problems I ran into with the owners of some seed sites.

Fact is, I agree with everything Dave said to the OP ( original poster)about differences in traits of varieties grown in different places,in different seasons, and all the other variables that can affect plant growth and production.

If the original poster will look at the appendix in the back of my book you'll see that for almost all of the varieties I featured, the seeds were from the original person who first SSE listed the variety, including myself. I had to gently fight Workman Press to get that appendix since there was a page limitation.

And also good to remember that not all the ones in my book were my top 100 or so, since I wanted to present family heirlooms,ones that were bred, commercial heirlooms,well,you can see that section as well.

At the time I was asked to write that book I'd grown only about 1200 varieties and now it's up to over 4,000.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I've had good luck with

Heritage Tomato Seed
The Sample Seed Shop
Trade Winds Fruit

There are lots......


    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:25PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

use this HTML code:

Yes I know and I do that when appropriate.

In this case the source of the seed is not the problem and I'm not pushing the two sources I listed, merely listing them as two that are often recommended here.

As I said above when the seed source is the real issue then there are numerous threads here on 'seed sources' - both good and bad - and the search will pull them up. There is also an entire forum devoted to rating various seed vendors called the Rate & Review Vendors forum.

The OP didn't mention the seed source and that is probably just as well since the odds are very slim that the source is the real issue.

When it comes down to determining if a seed is breeding true to the variety's genetic characteristics then one examines leaf type, shape of the fruit especially shoulders and blossom end, number of seed cavities, color spectrum, type of growth (ind. vs. det.), etc. Should those characteristics differ then sure, an off seed is possible. But the height of the plant and the size of the fruit are primarily tied to the growing conditions provided and only secondarily to the seed genetics.

For example one can grow any of the beefsteak varieties in the ground and another of the same variety in a container and there will be little comparison between the 2 plants in height or fruit size. Change the weather exposure of the two plants or the growing zone or the feeding schedule or the water availability and even more differences between the two quickly become apparent.

Without knowing the details of the growing conditions the OP has provided one can only speculate as to why he has those results.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:38PM
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I wrote: > ... [digdirt ] use this HTML code:

digdirt wrote: > Yes I know and I do that when appropriate.

Well, sorry to bother you, and trying to help you. I didnâÂÂt know that you⦠KNOW.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:58PM
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digdirt/Carolyn, how about this: One of the "Cuostralee" plants I mentioned in my post just gave me a yellow tomato, so I really have no idea what variety it is. Go figure. I do understand the different variations based on growing location. Also, I searched "Seed Sources" BEFORE posting and did not find much in terms of reliable suppliers. I am a pretty experienced grower looking to start a small scale growing operation and was merely wondering where people who are serious like me get their seeds.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 12:18PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

One of the "Cuostralee" plants I mentioned in my post just gave me a yellow tomato, so I really have no idea what variety it is.

Good point! Possible but highly unprobable.

Our family has a similar operation to your plan, a nursery business and grow to sell both transplants and fruit at farmer's market. So keeping in mind that an off seed in a packet or mis-labeld packet is always a slim possibility all I can tell you is the seed suppliers we count on and have for years:

Tomato Growers Supply



Johnny's Seeds

Territorial Seeds

Baker Creek Seeds

There are others we have used but those are our primary suppliers.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 12:45PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

pk, there is NO place that sells OP seed that has a perfect record. It's impossible to do b'c most of the places that most deal with have hundreds of plants out each year and cannot bag blossoms and cannot use geographic isolation.

And some places subcontract out for seed production as well.

I started growing Cuostralee back in 1993 as Tania describes in her link to this variety, but I should add that the seed trade with Norbert in 1992 included not just Craig and myself, but also Joe Bratka and Bill Minkey as well. Link below.

I've SSE listed it, I've offered it in many seed offers in the past and have never seen a Yellow Cuostralee myself or at any of the message sites where I read and sometimes post.

If it's just one plant that gave all yellow tomatoes, it's a stray seed. Had it been one fruit on a plant or one branch on a plant that would be a somatic mutation which is a totally different issue.

The epidermis of Cuostralee is yellow If there had been a mutation to a clear epidermis it would have been pink, and yes, some have seen some pink fruited plants since the mutation between clear and yellow is not all that rare.

I never distributed seeds for anything other than what the original color should be, with few exceptions such as FishLake Oxheart when there was a mutaional change,but of late, many have been doing that, Sigh.

Hope that helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cuostralee

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 2:21PM
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