Monday, March 21, 2011

This old seed

For better or for worse, 2011 is starting out as a lean year around here and I'm trying to make good use of the seeds I have left over (ok, or purchased and not used...I admit it!).  
I know they (yes, the big and powerful "they") say to always purchase and use fresh seeds because they (the seeds, not the big and powerful "they") are more reliable and less frustrating.  But, problem is, I actually have these older seeds here with me and, even in more plentiful years, I am pretty cheap.

Also, I have my grandparents to thank for setting a good/bad example for my seed holding on habits--I have fond memories of my Iowa grandparents incredible vegetable garden (and, to be honest, memories of me and my brother griping our way through the daily task of picking rows of bush beans and peas--but even that has turned into a fond memory!).  Really, they were incredible and probably the inspiration for my gardening--not only would they proudly grow all kinds of everything, but my grandma would proceed to can, pickle, and blanch and freeze to feed themselves all through the winter.  Amazing (and absolutely the best pickles ever, bar none)!
And, as I was saying, they set a good/bad example for my seed holding on habits--in addition to the fond garden memories, I have fond memories of them going through the old seed packets they had saved in a coffee can in the outdoor shed and deciding what would or wouldn't be fine to use--10 to 15 years old might be pushing it, maybe, but 1 or 2 years was a no problem no brainer.

So, I figure what's the harm in trying?

But, along with the trying is a bit of trying to evaluate what did or didn't go so well for me last year and make another step or 2 in a different, more hopeful direction.

One of those strange failures was actually my Brandywine tomatoes--weird, huh?  Everything I've read says these are slow but the best tasting tomatoes anyone will ever have the privilege to eat.  Slow was right, but tasty?  No, not the plants we had, anyway--neither Rose nor I were very impressed.  Too bad because I had hoped to be able to save the seeds and have them for this year, but didn't seem worth the effort to us, both with the unimpressive taste, the unimpressive wait, and the impressively small yield we ended up with.

Best Boy from Burpee Website

Now I fully understand that sometimes some plants just don't go true to strain, and I even wonder if these nursery purchases had been mislabeled, but for whatever reason, with high hopes and without much space to spare, it was not the highpoint of our 2010 garden.  This year I've started some Best Boy Hybrid seeds that I had in the freezer from a couple of years ago--I'd like to get my hands on something heirloom to try again and save the seeds, but that may have to wait for another season.
Chocolate Cherry tomatoes
At least I have some 2009 Chocolate Cherry tomatoes started, as well--I had those in 2009 and they grew well and tasted nice--at the time Rose was quite put off by the purple/brown color, but I'm hoping that will go better now that she's an 11 year old and not 9--and one way or the other, those aren't hybrid and the seeds should be just fine to save and grow again for free! Does my frugal heart good.

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