Let’s talk more about seeds.
Besides loving them into fruition, we need to talk about diversity
. A friend was having some luck with a very prolific ‘cherry tomato’ he was growing in a container on his lanai. He brought us a few to try out. They were shaped more oblong then round and about the size of a large grape [pretty much like a standard cherry tomato]. They were very evenly colored, that fabulous color that can only be described as well, tomato red. The skins were not too thick or too thin and they tasted sweet and didn’t have you looking for the salt. All in all, we decided to save the seeds and see if we could have some success growing them, or something new.
You have to understand that growing tomatoes in Kauai can be challenging, because, we have what I call Mr. Sting Fly. He likes to come round and lay eggs in your fruit, of all kinds, which basically ruins it. This is a legacy left to us from commercial fruit growers of the past. Mono cropping and mega chemical fertilizers combined with black plastic, …. well, don’t get me started.
Anyway, this lovely little guy had seemed to elude Mr. Sting Fly, another reason we wanted to try it.
We saved the seeds from two small ‘de kine’ (that’s Hawaiian for ‘the best’) and let them dry out (not in full sun, that doesn’t work) and later, I planted them with lots of hope, in just two 4” pots on the lanai and gave them lots of love.
Yep, you guessed it; they all came roaring up like a small group of survivors ready to go.
When they were about 4” tall I carefully separated them and planted them along the fence in the Magic Garden. I pinched out those pesky side shoots until they reached the top of the 4’ fence, then I gave up because these guys definitely had a mind of their own. But, by then I didn’t care because they were ‘going off’ as we say here. All of them were flowering (see last blog picture), and fruiting in the most amazing ways. Yes, way, ways.
On each plant the fruit was shaped differently than the little tomatoes from which we grew them. Some were fat and round, with those little tomato grooves about the size of a plum. Some were elongated by 3’’with little tips or tails at the end. Some were just perfectly smooth oblong beauties. And, they all were born on ‘vines’ (in tomato-talk that means a tomato is coming off a single stem that runs down the center for each flower). And, these vines were holding 12 to 14 of these beautiful wonders for each vine and they were already starting to turn red. I can’t wait to see what comes from their seeds.
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Maybe you are beginning to get a broader meaning for the word ‘heirloom variety’.
Now, I know you guys on the mainland don’t want to hear about the fact that I am having red tomatoes in December, but that’s not the point. It is, however, the time of year when you will all be receiving your seed catalogues. I want to encourage you to go for the open pollinated ‘heirloom’ varieties.
Hybrid seeds, which you will have to buy each year, have had the variety/surprise bred out of them. There is nothing wrong with consistency…. but if you collect their seed they will not give you the same results.
Why? because Hybrid seed companies want you to continue to buy from them.
What I want you to get here is the concept of the diversity of Nature and the fun you can have by being a part of it, by saving your own, or your neighbors, your mothers, your grandparents, open pollinated [non-hybrid] seeds.
This, along with other things like; the weather, the bees, the soil, the love/attention you give them, will all go into creating your very own heirloom variety, which you can then duplicate next year, and, hand down for generations.
Gee, I just love the way genetic diversity work! There are so many factors involved, and, just as with humans, that great diversity makes our world what it is.
The seeds you loved into being this year will bring immense pleasure to you, year after year, as well as, what can I say…just plain Magic
into your life and your gardening experience.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or would like more information on how to be more in touch with your plant spirit guide(s).
Blessings with much love and aloha,marissa