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sees savers beware

Posted by marullo (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 13, 12 at 19:54

have had good success for 12 years saving seed and replicating the previous crop. This year a third of my Brandywine Cowlicks have regular leaves...leading me to believe that they have crossed with something else. I therefore don't know what to expect....a cherry-brandywine.....a green brandywine....etc. Used seed from different seasons but the same holds true. I understand that to assure quality, one must bag blossoms or something but I don't want to do that. Henceforth, I will buy all my seed each year in order to assure I am growing what I think I am growing. Sadly, some may be hard to find but I'm throwing all the seeds out and starting over.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: sees savers beware

There is an RL version of the PL Cowlicks that has been discussed at several message sites.

THe link below will explain the difference between the two, or not, as initially descibed by Camo ( Mike) who bought the plant labelled Brandywine at Cowlicks Nursery.

I don't know where you got your seed from, whether traded or purchased and if the latter where from, and if you check Tania's page for it there have been quite a few sources for it.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlicks Brandywine RL


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RE: sees savers beware

I understand what you're saying, and if it's extremely important to you that you get the specific varieties that you intend, you really will need to bag the blossoms or buy seeds from a reputable source.

However, I've been growing out volunteers from the garden for the past few years, and I assure you that I do get tomatoes. Romas and chocolate cherries have come back to me quite consistently (I made some guesses based on where I found the volunteer, and often hit it lucky), and other things I couldn't explicitly identify. One year I got a huge boxy paste-like tomato, and I really wish I'd saved the seeds from it.

So, I guess it really depends on what you're looking for. I really enjoy the "luck of the draw" aspect of growing out my volunteers. I've never been unhappy with the results.

I've resolved not to grow out any volunteers this year, because last year I ended up growing mostly hybrids -- not my preference, but a friend accidentally double-ordered plants for herself, and gave me all of her extras, and since I hadn't started any seeds that year, I just grew them. Looked at another way, though, I suppose this might actually be an ideal year to grow things out, since I really won't get more "luck of the draw" than that. I think my tomato-growing space is spoken for however!


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RE: sees savers beware

I too am sure that many of my tomato have cross bred..I do enjoy the tomatoes, whatever they are. But really wish some
of my saved seeds to be who they are supposed to be..I think last year was the first time I had unidentified tomatoes growing where I was so sure I knew what they should be. I kept thinking I had somehow mixed them up, even after carefully planting each. I am at the moment happy with the luck of the draw, even though I miss out on some.
cheers ;-> Martha Zucchini


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RE: sees savers beware

I've improved varieties for my environment of vegetables by saving seeds over the years from the most desirable and robust plants each year.

That being said, tomatoes are a bit different for me, as saving seed to improve your stock works best when you have minimal amounts of varieties, and I usually grow several different varieties of tomato. I do allow some volunteers to grow back up, but I usually don't save seeds due to the potential cross pollination. If I was just growing one or two favorites, I would put them in separate plots and save seeds, but since I grow many varieties, isolation is difficult, so I generally buy my seed.


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RE: sees savers beware

There is some great value in saving your own seeds. If you save your own, then you can select the best specimens to save seed from. That selective practice improves the tomatoes over time and adapts them to your climate. Some of the best heirloom varieties come from this type of selection. If you get your tomatoes from commercial sources they are not as likely to be as picky about the plants they save seeds from as you yourself would be. So the genes in those tomatoes drift a little from what they were originally and may not be as good as they once were several generations back. Brandywine pink for example varies in the amount of fruit set from company to company, and is considered by some to be different or of less quality than brandywine Suddeth's strain, even though the two probably came from the same seed stock originally.

Another reason to save your own seeds are that there are companies out there who are trying to buy up all the worlds seed producers and they are patenting all the varieties they can so that you need a license from them to grow those types commercially. Right now there are only 4 major seed producers in the US, and one of them is bigger than all the rest. They are also experimenting with genetically modified crops, including tomatoes! I don't know about you but I don't want some major seed corporation to dictate to me what I grow and whether or not I can grow the tomatoes I grow.

Its not hard or even a lot of trouble to bag blossums. I use inexpensive organza bags that I buy at the dollar store. They have draw strings that easily bag blossoms. I just have to be diligent to mark the tomatoes after fruit set. I do that by tying colored string on the vine just above the tomato. I also save seed from open pollinated tomatoes as well. In most cases I don't get crosses, but if I do, I save a generation of seeds every year so that I can go back to the original if I need to. I also don't mind trying to stablize good crosses if I get them. There have been a lot of University research on crossing tomatoes to get the characteristics that are desired. Thats how some of the most popular commercial varieties with various resistances are started. So you may want to consider continuing your seed saving.


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RE: sees savers beware

Again on seed saving, I love the potato leave varieties because I know when they were crossed. The potato variation in the leaves is recessive and so you can know early on that your seeds may not be pure. Also, you may or may not know this, but you can have pure seeds and crossed seeds from the same tomato. The individual plants that produced the potato leaved plants are likely pure, unless you grow a lot of potato leaved varieties. Then you would not know for sure, but then again you might get an improved plant from one of those crosses. Here is a link that shows how the potato leave thing works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato genetics explained


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RE: sees savers beware

Kevin, you've linked to Keith Mueller's superb website and below I'm going to link to the home page so folks can see the many kinds of info there.

I and some others reviewed what you posted from his site, he asked us to before he put it up at the site, and I do think it's excellent.

In a nutshell, taking just one blossom, if all the ovules in the tomato ovary are not self pollenized, then yes, those unfertilized ovules can be cross pollinated via insect transmission of pollen.

Up to three different kinds of seeds have been found from seeds saved from just one fruit: usually self pollenized ones as well as two different X pollinated ones.

In the past I've grown up to 800 plants and several hundred varieties each year and no way was I going to bag blossoms. But I knew my X pollination percentage for my area and it ran around 5%, which means of seed saved from 100 varieties on average 5 could be X pollinated.

And for those of us who for one reason or another can't bag blossoms,be sure to saved seeds NEVER from one fruit, better is many fruits from one plant and still better many fruits from several plants of the same variety, etc. That way you dilute out any Xed seeds.

The degree of seed purity needed really relates to what a person expects to do with the seeds, whether SSE listing varieties,making seed offers online,or trading seeds, and the latter is THE major way that bad seeds for a variety get passed around.

I've distributed many hundreds of seeds for a variety before a crossed one shows up.

IMO there is no such thing as local adaptation.That takes thousands of years for subtle changes to show up, and the best examples are Ethiopian Wheat and some rice strains, and most refer to them as landraces.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Keith Mueller's Website


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RE: sees savers beware

Good post Kevinitis.

It's really easy to pick the best vegetables in the garden for eating, but we should always aim to preserve the best for seed, and then eat the next best for the table. If not we act to select for lower quality then the best.

It's actually amazing how few generations it takes to significantly improve a strain by this method for a person's microclimate. It is a bit of extra work though when you grow multiple strains and have to do isolation.


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RE: sees savers beware

I don't think Carolyn that it's true evolution to a climate, yes that takes many years, but you can select for genetic variations within a strain that does do better your backyard. I've seen it in action myself by picking the best of what I have and using it's seeds.


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RE: sees savers beware

If you do some searching about saving seed from tomatoes, you'll find in most places that it says not to save from the best fruits on a plant but to save from small and large fruits on a plant b'c that preserves the natural biological diversity that is inherent in any variety.

Just one example. For many years Chuck Wyatt saved seed from the earliest fruits on Brandywine ( Sudduth) and decided he had an early strain of Brandywine and named it Joyce's ( his wifes name) Brandywine.

Others grew it out and found there was no difference at all from other BRandywines.

So no, after being raised on a farm where we had acres and acres of tomatoes, and then later in life having grown now over 3,000 varieties and doing a lot of research, it's my opinion that adaptation to a local area is not possible with tomatoes.

Siberian varieties grow just as well in TX as a fall crop, same in CA, as they did as sourced from Siberia.

But if any of you feel differently about strains and adaptation, let's agree to disagree about this. ( smile)

Carolyn


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RE: sees savers beware

Yes saving from different variations you get does save genetic diversity. That is good from a big picture or archive/diversity level which is probably in YOUR best interests as a researcher. In MY best interests, I want to pick out the phenotypes that do best in MY garden. I have extremely sandy soil, and saving variants that do well on MY soil, may not do any better in a clay environment for example. Now since there are not a lot of mutations happening in a short period, there will be a limit to how much I can optimize the genetics I have to work with, but in my experience, it can still be pretty substantial, especially if you allow a bit of crossing with similar strains to introduce some more genetic variation.


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RE: sees savers beware

What's the deal with the "YOUR" and "MY" thingy ?


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RE: sees savers beware

Yes saving from different variations you get does save genetic diversity. That is good from a big picture or archive/diversity level which is probably in YOUR best interests as a researcher. In MY best interests, I want to pick out the phenotypes that do best in MY garden.

******
Capoman, just so you know I am NOT a researcher. Yes, I had a former academic life teaching med students infectious disease and doing research that goes with an acadmic life that had nothing at all to do with tomatoes and that also helped me with a better understanding of tomato diseases.

But I've been retired for many years and sure, my interest is in preserving tomato varieties and that also means preserving the biological diversity within a variety, no doubt about it.

As to "allowing" crosses between varieties, rather, you might want to do what many others do and do some directed crosses with known parents and then make selections from the F2 saved seeds to hopefully find what does best for you and carry that out to the F generation that results in a stable OP.

Carolyn


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RE: sees savers beware

Tylenol. Wasn't intending to yell, but I was just pointing out that people's priorities are different. A home seed saver that selects the best phenotypes for seeds will reduce genetic diversity in their own garden while selecting for existing genes that work best in their environment. Someone who is concerned about maintaining genetic diversity has different priorities. Personally, I don't do a lot seed trading so my effect on the overall genetic diversity on our planet is minimal.

I also understand doing directed crosses and the F generations and how they work. For most home gardeners, they may not want to be that formal, and can still get improvement by picking their best plants for seeds. That is how we got many of our current vegetables in the past before we knew anything about genetics and dominant and recessive genes. And sometimes we do actually get a mutation that can change things significantly, and although I realize that's not that common it does happen. Also, recessive genes that are only in a small part of the population can become common by human selection.

Then there is also the new science of the epigenome, that can change how living things actually express their DNA. We still don't fully understand how that works.


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RE: sees savers beware

I would also like to point out that I think the genetic diversity issue is really a non-issue in the long term. Our technology for reading and editing DNA is accelerating at an exponential pace. Our catalogue and understanding of DNA is expanding at the same rate. Pretty soon, we will have DNA sequences mapped so that if for some reason we lose a strain, we can recreate it, or even custom design it as our needs require. I know that many are afraid of GMO, especially where we still don't fully understand the effects of modifying DNA, but I think as we understand how our DNA works, there will be less resistance to it, as we always fear the unknown. I may be opening up a whole other discussion here, but although diversity is a short term issue, I don't think it will be long term. We will be able to recreate DNA at will, much sooner then we think. My biggest concern though is allowing the patenting of DNA. That alone may be the biggest reason to continue maintaining heirloom varieties. In my mind, patent laws are broken for many things (aside from just plants), and need to be updated to prevent control over DNA. This is really our biggest risk.


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RE: sees savers beware

The problem is that OP heirlooms belong to no one so there's no one to pay for DNA sequence analysis, which is currently quite costly and I thought that the cost might come down, but it hasn't. The same is true for OP non-heirlooms.

The same costly process that one has to go through to be able to say that this or that variety is tolerant of this or that is still a barrier.

DNA sequence analysis is done for some hybrids when a grower challenges that the seeds sent were not what they were supposed to be and brings a law suit against the company that developed the hybrid, and that has happened.

I do understand what you're talking about b'c I did teach molecular genetics and I have done a bit of sequence analysis myself when I was still working.

I forget right now the number of genes a tomato has and am too lazy to go look it up, but I don't see anyone yet who has determined the complete DNA sequence of any tomato variety on all the chromosomes although the work of the Cornell SOL project and those at Ohio State U such as Ester Van der Knapp have made good progress in that direction when studying introgression of genes from wild types in terms of the evolution of tomatoes.

And even if that were true there's still all the epigenetic, you called it modifying of DNA, events that occur within a seed/plant that are still not well understood.

So yes, I still feel that preservation of the many different Tomato varieties is needed.

And none of the above relates to GMO's and I think I remember there's a separate Forum here for discussion of that.

We can hypothesize all we want to into future possible developments, but this is there here and now that has to be faced.

Carolyn, remembering the two tomato varieties that were introduced that were GMO's one with a fish gene in it and both bombed out ASAP. ( smile)


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RE: sees savers beware

Actually I said epigenitics modifies how DNA is expressed, not modifying the actual DNA. Environment seems to affect this a lot. I have put identical cuttings in slightly different environments and had consistent differences, such as between something as minor as bark and peat based soil, which you wouldn't think would make much of a difference.

About the GMO comment, I realize the current definition is about taking a piece of DNA from one organism and splicing it to another. If we take it a bit further, some current experiments are showing us how to change one single "bit" of DNA. This could lead to recreating whole strings of DNA, bit by bit. To me, that is not that different then GMO. The line is starting to blur since I think eventually we will be able to splice individual bits and strings of DNA at will. Will that not be a form of GMO? I agree that we don't know the future for sure, but if you looked at the human genome project, it happened far faster near the end, then it was envisioned in the beginning, and now sequences can be done in even much shorter time. It's only a matter of time before the prices drop exponentially as well, and we will be mapping genomes as a classification method, similar to the "genetic barcoding" that is now being done the earth's biota. One good use of this is to truly determine what is heirloom so the patent trolls can't patent heirloom varieties. I am still hopeful. That being said, keeping diverse samples would be good for this mapping so that when someone does have a claim on DNA, we could go the vaults to prove that they actually are claiming an heirloom variety. I hope we don't get to that, and hope that patent law will itself to change and get rid of DNA patents. I won't be holding my breath though.

Good discussion. Sorry to hijack your thread marullo.


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RE: sees savers beware

Carolyn, I always appreciate your posts. I also agree, excellent website. I agree with both you and capoman in regards to adapting the tomatoes to a local area. Your arguments both are valid. True, mutations in the genetic codes are rare and would take a long time to adapt that plant that way. However, I also believe as capoman has suggested that one can select from a suite of existing genes that may improve a tomato strain.

Take dogs for example, the genes that produce all the different breeds are few, but those handful of genes lead to vast differences in size, coat texture, coat length, color, temperment, and so forth. Changes in those characters can be made through selective breeding over relatively short periods of time. In the end they are still dogs but with vastly different characteristics.


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RE: sees savers beware

However, I also believe as capoman has suggested that one can select from a suite of existing genes that may improve a tomato strain.

******

HEre's where I think we diverge in our viewpoints.

If it's an heirloom variety I want to preserve that variety as it is for what it is and NOT improve it. I am not happy to see the several hybrids that have been made using an heirloom variety, ones such as Brandy Boy, Glory, Buck's County Red ( Red Brandywine), etc.

What I would prefer to see, as I mentioned above, if someone wanted to select parents that have genes that they think are useful , then do some hybridizing and create a new OP that they could name whatever they wanted to.

But hands off the many wonderful heirloom varieties that are extant. LOL

I don't know if either of you are SSE members and have had a chance to read the tomato listings in the YEarbooks, over 4,000 listed varieties. Beyond that about 7 K varieties are now offered commercially and I've seen it said that about 15K varieties are known if you add up all the accessions in the various seed banks in different countries. And of course some of those would be non-heirloom OP's as well.

About the dogs. There was a great article in a recent National Geographic about how dog genes move around and what that has led to in terms of different breeds. I loved the pictures, of which there were many.

But I still wish to make the observation that local adaption, as I know it in terms of landraces, happens very slowly over thousands of years. There are those at some websites who use the word landrace in a more looser sense, with which I don't agree. This came up a few years ago when I was asked to contribute to a series of books being written, just the first book, and there was a vigorous discussion about the definition of what a landrace really is and there was no agreement by the editors nor the folks making contributions.

Being entitled to my own opinion, I'm still holding out for the original definition of a landrace. ( smile)

Carolyn


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RE: sees savers beware

I guess that some of us are not really causing local "adaptation" in a strict sense of evolution by DNA mutation over time. But within strains we grow, there are still a significant variation of phenotypes that may make a strain grow much better in our environments, which include selecting for genes that may not be common or may be recessive in strain that work best in our own microclimates. I also think epigenetics plays a bigger role then we may realize as evidenced by seeing major phenotype differences in cuttings in only slight environmental changes. Although we may be reducing diversity in our own plots by doing this, who's to say we aren't adding to diversity overall by modifying the dominant characteristics of an heirloom? Some of our priorities are different and may select for different genes. I have dry sandy soil. If I select plants that do well in dry sandy soil, it may be different selections then someone would do in clay soil where they may select for less water update. The plant may have genes that can handle both already there to express. Also, I live at high altitude, with high temperature variations which would be different then someone near water with a more steady climate. Some of this ability may already be in the plant. If not, then the we move on to a different strain.


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RE: sees savers beware

One other note Carolyn, why are you so concerned about not making changes or selecting out some traits? The fact is, heirlooms are due the thousands of years of selection, and thus are the result of selection themselves. At what point (or what year? do you consider these strains are fixed and should not change? The original tomatoes were nothing like they are now, and human selection of tomatoes for both size and taste have created these strains. Why do you feel we should not continue that process in our own yards? I agree that vaulting or mapping current heirlooms for posterity or to go back and restore the DNA when needed is a good thing, but why stymie the improvement of the breeds at the point of today?


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RE: sees savers beware

Are you suggesting then that selection of an heirloom to improve it for specific locations might lead to problems from inbreeding depression and deletarious recessive genes such as happened in dogs? I could see why that could be a concern. Havn't many of the heirlooms have gotten to be heirlooms because the people who developed the strains used the selective process, or are you suggesting that they hybridized existing breeds to create their new strain and then stablized. Whats your opinion of the origin of the many heirloom tomatoes?


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RE: sees savers beware

I'm sure that both have happened as well as accidental crosses. Many heirlooms are just that, seeds from families that have been growing them for generations. I'm sure that all methods of controlled and uncontrolled selection and crossing has been involved. I suspect that many of these have grown long enough to see the odd mutation as well.


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RE: sees savers beware

Origin of heirloom tomatoes?

I've seen it estimated that maybe 95% of them were the result of accidental cross pollinations and then some astute farmer or individual dehybridized the initial hybrid to the OP state and then named it. And that can take up to 7 years, making selections along the way.

I know it took me 5 years to dehybridize an accidental cross between Yellow Brandywine and an unknown male parent, always selecting for the picture and seeds that were sent back to Craig LeHoullier after he sent the person Yellow Brandywine seeds. What the picture showed was a large red PL beefsteak, so that's what I was selecting for.

We named it OTV Brandywine, the OTV stands for Off The Vine, an international newsletter about tomatoes that Craig and I used to publish back in the 90's. But I wish, in retrospect, that we had not used the word brandywine in the name, even though one parent was Yellow Brandywine.

When I dehybridized Ramapo F1 it only took out to the F3 to dehybridize that one and the OP version has reminaed stable for many years now.

I like the name that someone gave to a somatic mutation of the variety Casino, from Italy, where one branch had just cherry sized fruits. He named it Casino Chips. LOL And both are great varieties.

I've been lucky to see a few somatic mutations myself. One was one branch of the variety Green Gage, which is yellow, that showed only red fruits. The other was one branch of Dix Doight de Naples which showed fruits, still red, of a different shape.

Somatic mutations are permanent and stable, as are seed mutations, in most cases.

Carolyn

THE other maybe 5% are the result of mutation from a pre-existing variety.

And here I speak mainkly to somatic mutations and not necessarily seed mutations.

BTW, there is no inbreeding depression toth tomatoes even though they are generally slef pollenizing with a bit of help from wind,air movement, which helps the pollen to fall to the stigma.

Carolyn


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RE: sees savers beware

I keep hoping the OP will come back and clarify the point of this post or at least comment on some of the follow-ups. It has bothered me that the thread has continued, although in a much more informative tone, because its original premise -

I understand that to assure quality, one must bag blossoms or something but I don't want to do that. Henceforth, I will buy all my seed each year in order to assure I am growing what I think I am growing. Sadly, some may be hard to find but I'm throwing all the seeds out and starting over.

just doesn't make sense to me. It isn't a "quality" issue to begin with. Since when does a brand name label equate with quality be it tomatoes or airlines or whatever?

If you don't want to bag blooms, even though it is quite simple to do, fine. Your choice. But unless you are actively trading seeds with a claim of purity attached or marketing them to the public then the small percentage of natural crossing that happens is unimportant.

I sure wouldn't want to encourage other seed savers, especially those new to doing it, to adopt the same attitude of tossing everything out because it may not be pure - that smacks of ethnic cleansing - and would be a sad loss to breed diversity and seed supplies.

Thanks to all of you who have attempted to put the importance of both those issues into a more rational perspective.

Dave


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Okay, I am back

Didn't mean to start a controversy here but I think my point was fairly clear. I grow about 200 plants (for myself, relatives, and friends) They trust my choices of varieties and have done so for years. A few years ago all my so called Brandywine Sudduths turned out to be black tomatoes. They were excellent but some did not like the green seeds and dark colors when they made their tomato sauce. I ditched that batch and started with Cowlicks...which have pleased everyone for several years. Now some of my new Cowlick seedlings have regular leaves and I fear the cross with something that will not please the 'sauce makers' in my group. They can a lot of tomatoes and simply don't want dark varieties with greenish seeds for those purposes. I have no problem eating any cross variety but, for my purposes, it is important that I provide plants which, at the very least, will produce "Red" tomatoes. Comparing these simple goals with something like 'ethnic cleansing" is way over the top. I simply choose the wrong tomato from which to collect seeds. My fault of course but I'd rather be sure that what I give out will be what my people want. That is all.


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RE: sees savers beware

Instead of chucking out last year's unused seeds please donate them to any of your local garden clubs or non-profits that grow and donate their fruits to shelters, senior centers, unemployed veterans, food banks, etc etc. Talk to your local extension, grange, or county legislator to find out who in your area is growing to help those in need and offer your seed.

When you're working to combat hunger and/or ward of mild to moderate malnutrition you don't care if OP seeds could be possibly crossed or sprout at 85 or 90% instead of 95%, you care that the seeds which sprout produce nutritious food to be shared. That's the goal.

Please do not waste viable food plant seed.


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RE: sees savers beware

That's pretty idealistic and I admire the thought that I could contribute to world hunger merely by donating some tomato seed. Can you provide further evidence as to how that might be possibly accurate? I sincerely believe I would be greeted with a "Huh?" were I to show up at any shelter, senior center, veteran's office, food bank, or other facility trying to assist the poor with a few bags of tomato seed.
Are you kidding me? Every department store, grocery store, dollar store, and convenience store have leftover seeds enough to grow millions of plants (if anyone so desired to use them). If there is a place in the world in need of tomato seed, please advise me how to get it there.


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RE: sees savers beware

Marullo, I would be glad to recieve your seeds. Rather than throw them away, send them to me.

Kevin


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RE: sees savers beware

I fear the cross with something that will not please the 'sauce makers' in my group. They can a lot of tomatoes and simply don't want dark varieties with greenish seeds for those purposes. I have no problem eating any cross variety but, for my purposes, it is important that I provide plants which, at the very least, will produce "Red" tomatoes.

There is your problem. That is the real issue, not seed saving or possible cross pollination so the warning to seed savers is unwarranted.

You are stuck with supplying a group of people who only can "red" tomatoes. They'd probably be happy with nothing but plain old Better Boy or such so each year just buy a couple of packs of some plain old red hybrid to grow for them and grow what you want for yourself.

They apparently have never learned to appreciate the superior, more complex flavors obtained from canning and saucing multiple colors of tomatoes. I sure hope they don't leave the seeds in their sauce anyway. Refer them to the Harvest Forum here where all the regulars there can work on convincing them how much they are missing out on.

And no, donating your seeds rather than tossing them is not idealistic at all. Just like Kevin there are hundreds of folks here who'd trade or accept batches of cross-pollinated ?named seeds. There are whole exchange forums devoted to trades. And there are even more organizations who would kiss your feet to have them. If there is a food pantry in your area just ask them who grows produce for them and call that grower. Better yet just send them all to wintersown.org They distribute thousands of free tomato seeds every year to those who can't afford to buy them.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: WinterSown.org


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RE: sees savers beware

Thank you Dave, but I won't be kissing anybody's feet if you don't mind.

Marullo,

You don't just show up at a non-profit or organization with seed. You call and dialogue with them first, if they want the seeds they'll tell you to send them or bring them in person, if they're not growing they can direct you to a group that is growing or to someone who knows about groups that are growing to help others.

WinterSown does distribute tomato seeds, but also distributes veggie and flower seed too. I've just come off of my busiest season yet with sharing with groups. The link below has the info and a form that groups send in.

I cannot say enough good things about members at this forum and others across the internet that have donated their excess tomato seed, as well as veggies, flowers and herbs. In a way, I'm the middleman--the seeds come in and they go out. They leave through three different seed offers made at WinterSown. The Six Pack SASE, the Your Choice Tomato SASE, and the Group Seed Request. I would say that the majority of the Group Seed Requests come from schools or organizations that are hooked up with food banks--their gardeners reap the bounty and their excess goes to feed those who are in need. Many of the groups do grow specifically for food banks and shelters--that is their purpose, their goal.

Large hardware stores and other seed distributors often donate their excess stock to America The Beautiful Fund which distributes to groups--they've been around for a zillion years doing charitable work. WinterSown has been privately sharing with groups for six or seven years; with help, training and encouragement from my AgNIC partners and with seeds so kindly and generously shared from home-growers and some mainstreet hardwares, I was able a few short years back to publicly launch the Group Seed Request.

Marullo, there is a world of good out there that comes from growing plants from seed. Giving people those seed is not a handout, it's a hand up. I just distribute the seeds to people and groups who request them. It's the growers themselves who put in the labor to provide the food that fills an empty plate. So please, contact your local charities or county government officials and extension and ask them where you can send your seeds to help people feed themselves and feed others who are in need. Through WinterSown I proudly distribute seeds from gardeners across America, across the world too. I can do that because people don't throw away their unused seed--they share it for good.

Trudi

PS...I make my own sauce, and some of the very best has been Yellow Tomato Sauce. OMG, it's manna from heaven.

Here is a link that might be useful: Group Seed Requests


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RE: sees savers beware

I agree with all the prior posters but also hope you understand my situation as to why I am choosing not to save seed for myself. I have specific requirements (based on the plants I give away and just want to make people happy with what they get. They will eat yellow, black, orange tomatoes but do not want them for sauce. The major portion of what they grow goes into canning. The crossing that has occurred (which will likely occur again) - creates that dilemna of not knowing what results they may expect. That's their right. Hey, I am rewarded when they tell me how much they love the tomatoes produced by my plants (that, and a nice bottle of bourbon, is plenty for me :)
Yet, I have to ask maybe a stupid question as I gather my old seed in preparation for mailing to someone or some charitable group.
Seeds are incredible easy to save and one can get hundreds of them from a single tomato. A small plot of tomatoes could easily provide a million seeds. Thus I wonder why there would be a need for free seeds from anyone who gardens. What am I missing here?


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RE: sees savers beware

Not everyone has the skill or knowledge to save seed, and not everyone has the money to buy that seed. And some people don't know how to grow from seed yet they are willing to learn. When I send out tomato seed I include a brochure on how to easily save that seed, and I also include the address on where people, if they want, can share their extra seed.

At WinterSown, I have an open-to-the public list of about 150 varieties of tomato seeds, giving people the ability to learn about growing tomatoes from seed, to experience the vast range of heirlooms without the initial expenditure for that seed. It opens the door for more people to sow and grow, and to learn at the same time that there are differences in tomatoes--they're not all round and red, the plants aren't all the same--they learn by doing, they gain knowledge and experience through hands on work.

So, what are you missing here?

A concept and goal, maybe a broader range of focus.

That providing people with food seed is an initiative to improving their lives and/or the lives of others through learning and doing.


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RE: sees savers beware

That, dear Trudi, was a rather condescending response to which I take some offense. I note that you like to collect free seeds and then charge $15 for shipping and handling. Care to comment on that?

I have a rather large range of focus as well and fully understand what concepts and goals are. I have no problem with providing people with "food seed" but was only asking why the process of seed collection and preservation might not be encouraged at the same time. If one is trying to help people, it might help to teach them some very basis means of reproduction of that seed themselves. No?

You are wrong. It does not take any particular skills or knowledge to save seed. I am not asking that people without means should have to buy seed. But, once they have seed, once they use the seed, once they produce a crop of whatever, isn't it reasonable to think that they would then know how to collect seeds for the next season? How much skill and knowledge does that require?
So what I am missing here is a bit of humility on your part and an understanding (started with a simple question) as to what it takes to really help people. Not just a reference to a site which charges $15 for a shipment that costs a dollar to send.
So, what are you missing here?


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RE: sees savers beware

A dollar to ship 200+ packets across the country. Do you live in a cave?

The majority of vegetable and flower seed that leave here are purchased. I cannot maintain a national seed distribtion program solely on donated seed. I would be out of business quickly. Seed must be purchased in bulk, stored, packed and labeled. GSRs are mailed via priority to the recipient. I WISH that was a dollar! Go to USPS and tell me how much it costs to ship a over a pound of seed across the country--do you have any idea how much squash, bean or corn weighs or how much room they take up in a box? Groups grow full gardens with all sorts of veggies, not just maters. Tell me how much it costs to pack and label those seed. Then tell me how much it costs to keep the records, maintain the website, buy the toner, the paper, and then, after you pencil that out you can tell me why I don't draw a salary. I'll give you a hint, over 70 thousand packs left here last year, and it looks like it will be more this year. It's more every year. The economy stinks and people need to supplement their own plates.

BTW, many organizations teach seed saving, including mine. And I do provide that information with seed as well as post it online. There's a LOT of agricultural info online. People can find it, they can use it or not. To assume that such information is not provided in multiple forms by multiple information providers is naive.

Now, what do you do, other than fuss and whine because your canners moan and groan if you don't give them red maters? If I was providing people with tomatoes to can, they'd get a piece of my mind with that if they huffed and puffed. Take all that frustrated energy you have and do something to help with it. Get out there, find a garden and give them the seed to grow a row for the hungry. If you object to give seed then buy them a shovel or a rake, a hose or a wheelbarerow, offer to harvest and distribute. Do something. Make a faceless stranger's life better.

Will you participate in that?


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RE: sees savers beware

sure I have. But, considering your "packs" contain a minimum of "6" (six) seeds, a hundred packs would contain a minimum of "600" seeds. Unless you're into selling avocados, 600 seeds doesn't weigh much, does it? (You started this)

You never answered the innocent question but chose to attack the questioner (always a bad idea), Your interest in resolving world hunger is admirable......too bad you have to make a profit on your wondrous generosity. Hey I have enough seed to send out that it might make you a few bucks.
I have a couple people who want the seed simply to grow (and not redistribute under some profiting scheme.
Think I'll send it to them. No thanks.


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RE: sees savers beware

Six seeds? lol. And six packs? lol. 200 packs? lol. You don't understand the principal of undersell and outperform, it's kind of a mantra here. You don't know what I do and you don't know me. Which is fine. You're on a forum with many recipients and donors of WinterSown, what you say has no effect. In fairness, you don't know the organization, its history, or what it does, I don't hold that against you.

You're throwing out seed in frustration because your associates may be displeased with the colors of tomatoes you bring them. People here have suggested that you don't do that, they've discussed saving seed, growing out volunteers, genetics, charitable use for the seeds instead of them being tossed and you're lashing out. You've been frustrated in many ways--the canners, the seeds, the advice.

Tomorrow is a new day. Order some new Cowlicks to start over. Talk to the canning group and suggest they try a batch of sauce made with colors other than red, encourage them to try something new. If they like it then they'll do it again, if they don't, then that's okay too. Some people won't change for anyone. It can be a little frustrating.


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RE: sees savers beware

"So, what are you missing here?
A concept and goal, maybe a broader range of focus"
"To assume that such information is not provided in multiple forms by multiple information providers is naive."

"six seeds" is from your own website.

I am fairly wise but can still be capable of learning many things but calling someone 'you do not know' incapable of concepts, goals, and focus and, in addition 'naive' is over the top. You may well have many contributors on this site as you have obviously been here longer than I but you have no basis to make such judgments about me. I will however accept your apology and, upon receipt of such, will do the same. Fair enough? If not, let the battle continue as you have still not answered my honest and reasonable questions.
I did not start this thread to cause trouble...only to express my frustrations with cross pollination. I don't like the position you have placed me in but I'm fully capable of defending myself (and challenging you) if required. Such was not my intent.


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RE: sees savers beware

Read comprehension is so vital. Sigh.

It say "Six seeds minimum." I don't have the time to sit and count out seeds per packet. I use a small spoon which is so much faster. You're jumping to conclusions based on your rushed observations.

And you're confusing the mailing costs of the Your Choice Tomato SASE with the Group Seed Requests. Your Choice Tomato SASE is a SASE, the requester puts the stamps on their return envelope. Same with the Six Pack SASE. These are three entirely different seed offers. The six packs require two stamps for mailing. The GSR isn't six packs, it's 200, well actually I do 240 before I start adding in extras and that's usually another 50, 60+ packets. Again, that reflects undersell and outperform. Someday I may have less resources and I may have to actually give the amounts I say I'll send instead of what I really do send, but when that happens at least I won't have to change the text and graphics.

For compariosn, I'll paste in the order from from America the Beautiful Fund, they want 14.95 to send the first hundred packets.

Well, thank you Marullo for giving me an opportunity to suggest to you that sharing your seeds with those in need is a far better end for them than the trash can. I do hope you can impress your canning group that tomatoes don't have to be red to make great sauce. And I hope that they give you the respect you deserve for your hard work in providing them with tomatoes of any color. It's their loss that they don't try something different to make sauce.

Here is a link that might be useful: America the Beautiful Fund Request Form


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RE: sees savers beware

You are welcome for my having given you the opportunity to suggest to me that the sharing my seeds with those in need is a far better end for them than the trash can (though I never said that at all).
You will no doubt be absolutely thrilled, therefore, upon knowing that I, this very day, have packaged and mailed those seeds to someone who wants them. Kinda a special moment, isn't it? I'm getting goose-bumps. I trust the recipient will understand his role in this process and be in tears upon opening this precious package. Go, Kevin....you got the ball! Now kick World Hunger's ass!


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RE: sees savers beware

Good for you, I'm glad to see you found a home for those unwanted seeds.


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RE: sees savers beware

hallelujah......(can I go home now?)


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RE: sees savers beware

Thanks Marullo! I will take good care of them, and in fact I do use my seeds to help out world hunger. I grow alot of starts and give them to folks in my neighborhood who don't have the funds to buy seedlings from the local nursury. I also encourage and teach a lot of folks to grow home gardens.


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RE: sees savers beware

Good for you, Kevin. I read your impressive resume so I know those seeds are in good hands and you will do the right thing. Now, the Tomato Nazi, she's another story.


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