COVID-19: No Delays for this Small, Home-based Seed Business!

COVID-19 concerns 🕷️

Since Delectation of Tomatoes is a one-person operation anyhow, there should be no delays or adjustments because of this pandemic, unless the United States Postal Service shuts down, which is highly unlikely. So if anything, I will be able to get your seed order sent out even more promptly, as so many meetings and other such temptations/distractions have been cancelled.

In inventory are enough seeds, especially tomato seeds, to supply many thousands of small farmers and backyard gardeners. I do so little marketing that only a tiny fraction of the seeds I save are shared with other growers each year.

This seems like a good time to reconsider what you can do for yourself, your family, and your neighbors to help improve your self-reliance. No need for fear-mongering, but there is the possibility of some interruptions in the supply chain of food. Grow your own to stay healthy and independent!

Grow plenty of extra food to share with your neighbors who may not have the space or resources to grow their own.  Stored wheat, dry beans and rice are fine.  But a wide variety of fresh garden veggies will help people stay healthy – especially if what you grow is so tasty, so interesting and so nutritious that people can hardly resist eating well and eating right!

And no, I am NOT going to make any claims that tomatoes are a cure for this novel coronavirus!  But wouldn’t that be awesome…

Light stand is finally set up, which can hold twenty 1020 trays, next to a south-facing window –

I just finished planting three 128-cell plug trays of seeds early tomato varieties for sharing with other growers in the local area.  I am quite interested to see which of these will perform well at this elevation of 6,200′ (1,900 m) where the growing season is fewer than 90 days in some years.

Note that this list of 54 varieties does not include cherry tomato types, although a few of them are rather small saladette types.  Producing larger-fruited ripe tomatoes within 60 days is priority for many gardeners who live where the growing season is short.  A few seedlings of each of these varieties should be available for gardeners in this area by May 1st.

0-33
Alaska Fancy
Amazon Chocolate
Andy Buckflat’s Wonder
Beaver Lodge
Bellestar
Bison
Black Sea Man
Bloody Butcher
Bonsai
Brazilian Beauty
Bulgarian Rose
Bursztyn
Carbon
Cherokee Carbon
Early Chatham
Early Girl
Fourth of July (OP, DT’s PL strain)
Glacier
Goluboy Les
Gregori’s Altai
Grub’s Mystery Green
Iditarod
June Pink
Katja
Krainiy Sever
Lime Green Salad
Malina Treston
Moravsky Div
Mormon World’s Earliest
Moscow
Mountain Magic
Nevskyi
Orange Bourgoin
Purple Not Strawberry
Rosalie’s Early Orange
Rose
Sasha’s Altai
Siberian
Sibirskiy Skorospelyi
Silbertanne
Siletz
Silvery Fir Tree
Slava Moldovoy
Spudakee
Sub-Arctic Maxi
Sub-Arctic Plenty
Swisher Sweet
Totuska
Tsindao
Ultra Skorospelyi
Uralskiy Ranniy
Utyonok
Vorlon

I am taking custom orders for seedlings for the next couple of weeks – see details on the main website here:

DT Seedlings 2020

Make it a great growing season and hope this microscopic grim reaper does the passover thing for you and your loved ones!

 

Beginning of the Greenhouse Challenge

Here’s what the “new”, 738 sq. ft. headquarters of  Delectation of Tomatoes looks like from the front.  In the town of East Carbon, Utah.  House built in 1942 as part of the war effort to house coal miners.

The backyard is dominated by a nearly 70′ tall Siberian Elm tree – right where I want to put in a greenhouse.  But the power company has very recently trimmed back about 30% of the branches.  It will be quite a task to take out the rest of this tree, especially the stump, as I don’t currently have the proper equipment.

The house has a dirt basement – ideas forming about using this space for geothermal heat exchange in the greenhouse, getting a much larger furnace (one that actually works…) and connect it to the greenhouse to allow year-round growing.

Tons of mule deer in the area – because of these, the short growing season and cool summer nights, a greenhouse is virtually mandatory if I hope to raise tomatoes, peppers, melons and other warm season crops at this elevation.

(Photo of mouse in trap removed…) Yes mice, inside, trying to eat all of my seeds.  Just cannot have that.

Tree trimmers agreed to help me start my compost pile/collection of organic matter by depositing the first of what I hope will be many loads of wood chips.

A number of winter squash still processing for seeds (and dinners)

Fordhook Acorn

Futsu Kurokawa

Among others.  And predictably, I’m still testing whether winter store-bought tomatoes are worth growing and eating.  This one good-sized, good-looking, but not-so-good tasting (quite insipid, to be honest).  A few seeds saved – out of compulsion and curiosity.

Upcoming week I will be preparing for the Utah Urban and Small Farms Conference where Delectation of Tomatoes is a sponsor and vendor.  After that it will be transitioning to planting indoors for seedlings to sell and for my giant tomato project.

Without a greenhouse, I cannot justify trying to grow hundreds of varieties this year.

The Greenhouse Challenge:

  • Getting approval from the government officials
  • Designing – government people insist that plans must be prepared by a certified engineer up to specs – greatly increasing cost
  • Coming up with funding – cost will likely exceed combined gross income for Delectation of Tomatoes for the past 8 years
  • Installing – will need to rent equipment, possibly hire some help

Within a few weeks, I will need to develop a plan for crowdfunding or such, credit and financial resources just are not adequate to the task.

Ideas –

• Ponds inside greenhouse:  one for frogs and salamanders; one for fish; both for nutrient-rich water, temperature regulation, and water storage.  Why amphibians?  Pest control, conservation, biodiversity, interest, and ‘cuz I just like ’em!

• Heating ducts connected to basement furnace (winter) and cool basement air (summer), fans, vents and other devices to regulate temperature.

• Water collection equipment and tank to store and treat water and to help with temperature regulation.

• Berry vines, dwarf fruit trees, fruit-producing shrubs, and other permaculture principles integrated.

Many ideas for such a small space – in the range of 5,000-6,000 square feet available.

As always, no shortage of work to do, never a boring moment!  🤪

 

 

No Longer an Itinerant Farmer

After months of searching, I landed in a small house on a fair-sized lot (0.29 acre) in one of the most affordable towns in Utah, East Carbon.  Located 2-1/2 hours from Salt Lake City, there are no big markets nearby, so there will be more focus on seed production.

However, this backyard has apparently never had a garden.  I brought what I could of a garden: 27 twenty-gallon pots from last year’s giant tomato project:

Old place, elevation 4,600′

New place, 6,200′

These pots might be essentially the entire garden this year, unless I can get some funding to install a greenhouse.  The growing season is just too short, the nights too cool, to be able to grow much in terms of tomatoes, peppers, or melons.

Best case scenario: I install a 5,000 square-foot, fully functional greenhouse by mid-April.  But that may be wishful thinking and overly ambitious – just so many limitations.  At this point, I cannot commit to growing much of anything in 2020, as for the moment, the focus is on unpacking, reorganizing, filling seed orders, and preparing for and attending seed exchanges.

Plenty of seeds to share with other growers!

Delectation of Tomatoes Seeds for Sale

Seed purchases will really help with funding a greenhouse – plans are to use geothermal heat exchange techniques to all year-round growing!

 

Summary of Tomato Seed Harvest from 2019

At long last, lists of tomato seeds harvested in 2019 are ready!

Milestones for the 2019 growing season, everything but tomatoes excluded:

March 12th – First planting of tomato seeds in plug trays (other types started in late February)

May 25th – Last planting of tomato seeds indoors in plug trays

May 15th – First tomato seedlings transplanted into garden (these had to be covered many times because it was an exceptionally cold, wet Spring)

June 8th – Last tomato seedlings transplanted into gardens, except that…

June 9th – Very late killer frost wiped out approximately 800 tender young tomato seedlings

June 15h – Replacement seedlings transplanted for those frozen; and it seems that nearly all tomato vines that did survive frost were stunted and set back by 3-6 weeks in terms of producing ripe fruits.

September 21st – first light frost, with several more light to moderate frosts until…

October 11th – Season ending hard freeze, intense and frantic effort to get everything harvested ahead of this and placed in boxes in the garage.  This year turned out to have a growing season of 104 days counting light frost, about 120 functional.  Way too short for tomatoes at this elevation, when nights are too cool to help much with ripening except that 90-day window from about mid-June to mid-September.

The typical growing season is 183 days for American Fork, so a full two months were lost due to weather.  No wonder 2019 was such a struggle – that and trying to do the work of 10 people…

December 8th – Last of seeds extracted from the main batches of tomatoes

December 27th – Last of leftover/slow to ripen batches processed and seeds extracted.  Not all of them looked as good as this one:

Final batches processing and drying:

 

The week of December 22-27 was very intense with packaging, inventorying and alphabetizing seeds –

December 28th, excess microdwarf tomato seedlings put outside in the frigid weather.  Despite several attempts with local online ads, it seems that nobody was interested in these, and I had to vacate the premises.

December 30th – finally finished inventory and data entry.  Following is the summary

No. varieties planted from seed (includes 17 microdwarf varieties planted in December 2018) 825
Seedlings transplanted into gardens 2,083
Est. no. seedlings killed by very late frost on June 9th; replaced with other seedlings by June 15th 800
Est. no. plants died from Curly Top Virus, goats and other pests or diseases besides frost 190
No. unique varieties transplanted into gardens 795
No. varieties for which all seedlings died or plants produced zero seeds 310
No. varieties for which too few seeds (<50) were produced to allow for listing or no permission to list 26
No. varieties harvested in 2018, stored for 365+ days before seed extraction 2
No. varieties which were offtype, but seeds saved anyhow 16
No. varieties that are now new on offer from Delectation of Tomatoes 240
No. of varieties from which seeds were saved to replenish those already in inventory 200
Misc. varieties, seeds saved, not listing 9
Total number of varieties from which adequate seeds were harvested in 2019 for listing, presumed true to type 449

 

So it is this list of 244 “New to Delectation of Tomatoes” that will be of most interest to other tomato growers, and that list will follow here below.

Some of these varieties will likely be introductions to the tomato world.  I am several weeks, or rather months away from preparing descriptions and photos (more than 25,000 photos still to name, for starters…).  But please drop me an email if you have any specific questions, to dale@gianttomatoseeds.com.

Here is a link to the full list of tomatoes that I grew, or rather attempted to grow in 2019:

    Tomato varieties grown by Delectation of Tomatoes in 2019

The goal was to save seeds from 450 new varieties in 2019; I invested more than $800 to this end.  The season felt like a disaster, almost an utter failure.  But I suppose that 54% (244 of 450) is an “F” grade, but not an utter failure.  Failure is not even trying.

In 2019 I hit and tried hard to exceed my limits of time, resources, motivation, strength, endurance and patience.  I planted about four times as many plants as I can comfortably manage, if I have nothing else going on with my life.  Farmers markets and related activities took up about 40 hrs per week, so any attempt at saving seeds, weeding, tending plants, seed orders, business meetings, etc. was all on top of that.

Back in 2014 I vowed I would never attempt to do farmers markets and/or CSA’s again, at least not if I were to try to save seeds also.  But my biggest curse caught up to me again:  excessive ambition.

Anyhow, without regard to hybrid status, etc., here is the list of 244 varieties new to Delectation of Tomatoes:

Artisan Blush Tiger
Artisan Green Tiger
Atomic Fusion
Aunt Ginny’s Purple
Babushkin Potseluy
Balabanovskiye
Barry’s Crazy Cherry
Bart’s Best
Bavrinskiye
Be My Baby
Beauty Lottringa
Bellestar
Belyy Gigant
Berkeley Tie-dye Green
Big Braggart
Big Cheef Pink
Big White Pink Stripe
Bisignano #2
BKX
Black Aisberg
Black Amber
Black Keyes
Blue Cream Berries
Boar’s Tooth
Bolgiano’s Extremely Early ‘I.X.L.’
Bonté Tigret
Brad’s Atomic Grape
Bronze Orb
Brown Berry
Bubblegum Dwarf
Budaï Torpe
Bychki Serdtsevidnyie
Canadian Heart
Carnoso Extremenyo
Chelyaba
Cherokee Carbon
Cherokee Lemon
Cherokee Tiger Orange
Chibikko Micro Dwarf
Chinese
Chocolate Cherry
Chudo
Chudo Iz Kazakhstana
Chudo Selektsyi
Chudo Zemli Oranzhevoye
Cindy’s West Virginia
Clare Valley Pink
Clare Valley Red
Clearview
Coorong Pink
Cosmos
County Agent
Dark Galaxy
Dedushka Grisha
Delta Diver
Desperado
Diener
Dixiewine
Domati
Domingo X Libanaise des Montagnes
Dorodnyi
Dot’s Delight
Dragon’s Eye
Drug (Dzhan)
Dwarf Awesome
Dwarf Bendigo Blush
Dwarf Bendigo Drop
Dwarf Bendigo Moon
Dwarf Bendigo Rose
Dwarf Egypt Yellow
Dwarf Fatima
Dwarf Galen’s Yellow
Dwarf Grandma’s Chocolate
Dwarf Grandpa Gary’s Green
Dwarf Jasmine Yellow
Dwarf Maliniak
Dwarf Mary’s
Dwarf Maura’s Cardinal
Dwarf Mystic Lady
Dwarf Ondroszek
Dwarf Peppermint Stripes
Dwarf Sibirski Stambruyji
Dwarf Solokah
Dwarf Sunny’s Pear
Dwarf Suz’s Beauty
Dwarf Zyska
Earl’s Best Canner
Earl’s Red Beefsteak
Early Pick
Enormous Plum
Extreme North
Famous Dutch Girl
Faworyt
Fireworks
Flamenco
Flint Red
French Farmers Market
Fruit Punch
Galina
Garnet X Black Krim
Gem State
Giant Yellow Florentine Beauty
Giant Yugoslavian
Gold Nugget
Golden Jubilee
Good to Gold
Grace Lahman’s Pink
Great White Blue
Gruziny
Hazelfield Farm
Herb Taylor Golden
Honey Drop Cherry
Honey Nails
Inciardi
Irish Pink
Isalnita cu Cutie
Italian Ice
Ivan
Janet’s Jacinthe Jewel
Jenkins Creek
John Baer
John’s Huge Greek Red
Kaleidoscopic Jewel
Kampong
Kangaroo Paw Red
Kazanskiye Malinovyie
Kimberley
King Aramis
Korobeynik
Kozula #25
Krasnyi Petukh
Krasnyi Priz
Krymskaya Pipochka
La Vie en Rose
Landshuter Riese
Lariskino Serdtse
Ledi Di
Legenda Multiflora
Lev
Libanaise des Montagnes X Domingo
Lille Lise
Lillian’s Kansas Red Paste
Lil’s Favorite
Linhart’s Giant
Livingston’s Beauty
Livingston’s Yellow Oxheart
Long Tall Sally
Malinovyi Globus
Manalucie
Margareto
Marianna’s Conflict
Marion
Marjara
Maule’s Success
Melvina
Minusinskiy Gigant Kyashkinoy
Minusinskiy Gigant Rozovyi
Minusinskiy Kistevoy
Minusinskiy Malinovyi Gigant
Minusinskiy ot Baluyeva Yuriya
Minusinskiy ot Medvedkovoy N.A.
Minusinskiy Srednivye ot Starozhilov s Nosikom
Minusinskiy Urozhaynyi Krupnyi
Moonshiner’s Ball
Mountain Princess
Murhurlu
Nipples
Nosiki
Obedennaya Tarelka
Olimp Malinovyi
Omich
Orange Grape
Orange Lithuanian
Ot Sosedki Iriny
Ot Zuraba Kukhinidze
Penny
Pikalevskiye
Pink Petticoat
Pink Pioneer
Pink Siberian Tiger
Plate de Chateaurenard
Plum Regal
Polesskiy Gigant Tarasenko
Polish
President Garfield
Prezidentskiye
Pritchard (Scarlet Topper)
Rainbow Dwarf
Raspberry
Ravenum
Rawlings
Red Giant Banat
Red Target
Redhouse Freestanding
Rimma
Rocket
Rosy Finch
Ruby Treasure
Rufa
Rumplestiltskin
Russian House
San Marzano Gigante 3
Santiam
Santiam Sunrise
Sarandipity
Sgt. Pepper’s X Domingo
Shah
Shoshone
Skrytyie Sokrovishcha Vechnoy Zemli
Soul Patch
Spadaro
Spud Viper
Stick
Stormin Norman
Super Bush
Super Tasty
Surender’s Indian Curry
Sweet Alice
Sweet Beverley
Sweet Pea Currant
Syzranskaya Skorospelka
Taimyr
Taya
Tennessee Persimmon
The Thong
Timmy’s Wild Rajah
Unknown #54 Boar’s Tooth small
Uzhin na Plite
Valley Girl
Vernisazh Chernyi
Vilma
Vinnaya Bukhta
Vinson Watts
Wagner Blue Green
Wild Spudleaf Dwarf
Wilpena
Yefimiya
Yellow Out Red In
Yermakovskiye
Yoshkin Kot
Yubileynyi Tarasenko Krupnoplodnyi
Zarnitsa
Zavtrak Emira
Zhar Goryashchiye Ugli

 

Changing Seasons and Circumstances

Continuous change is standard procedure for outdoor endeavors on a planet that is tilted 23.5° with respect to its source of light and heat.  Big snowstorm this week:

Apparently the harvest season is over, though there was a lot I did not get harvested for seed saving – lettuce, flowers, radishes, most peppers and more.

Over the past month, focus has been on reducing some 70 boxes of containers of tomatoes, melons, corn, beans, etc. –

down to a less overwhelming 20 boxes or so:

Stacks and stacks of plates with drying seeds –

So I am still a couple of weeks away from managing the time to package and inventory all of these.  Only then can I compile and publish lists and get back to listing which seeds are available here:

https://www.delectationoftomatoes.com/seeds.html

In addition to seriously less-than-super-human abilities, much time recently has been spent looking at moving with Delectation of Tomatoes.  Many options are under consideration.  Several properties visited.  Dreams considered, expounded, multiplied, blossomed, withered and died; or at least dying due to limiting resources.

So many possibilities, even at high elevation, with the right equipment, greenhouse designs, geothermal heat exchange technologies, and time…

Trying to strike a balance between visions, ambitions, idealism and the harsh realities of a competitive world ruled by dollars rather than ideas.

One of these days I really need to make the time to describe what I envision for growing fresh garden vegetables year-round, and permaculture, sustainable off-grid living, etc.  But for now, it’s back to seed processing.

= = = = =

Update

Late on December 8th, I finally finished separating seeds from tomatoes for all but about 20 small batches (tomatoes brought indoors to finish ripening).

Virtually every square inch of available shelf space is filled with plates of drying seeds – even the boxes of tomato seeds are temporarily inaccessible.

Since moving with Delectation of Tomatoes must be completed within three weeks, getting these seeds packaged and inventoried is now a very high priority project.

Where to move to is still a very big ?

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds from 2019 Growing Season

Regrettably, seeds from the 2019 growing season are not ready yet – only about 300 hours of seed processing left to do, then packaging, drying and inventory 😵  So hopefully by early December I can post the list that I wish I could post here today.

At last count, over 67,100 photographs taken for Delectation of Tomatoes, with more than 20,000 still to be named.  I’ll post a couple of newer ones here, at least.

Super cold, record cold, the past few days.  Only 7° F yesterday morning where I grow, and an amazing – 45° at Peter Sinks, Utah yesterday morning!

I harvested a really good crop of Glass Gem Corn (a popcorn) over the past few days, including these beauties:

Ears of several additional varieties of corn are in processing for seeds.  More to come – not succeeding very well at keeping up this season.  Just returned from the last farmers market of the season, so that should free up about 40 hours per week, meaning I should be able to get back on track soon.  Except for that “must move by the end of the year” looming – yikes!

 

Short Growing Season

Frost last night shortened the 2019 growing season to 113 days, which is 74 days shorter than what I was accustomed to a few years ago in West Valley City.

It has not been devastating frost yet, as there are still many tomato vines still alive and producing where weeds and corn stalks have protected them.  The prediction is for even colder temperatures tonight.

A number of the tomato vines have yet to produce their first ripe tomato.  And it’s been a very tough year for hot peppers, eggplant, okra and melons which prefer hot weather.  There were a few weeks of hot weather in July and August, but it has been unusually cool, overall, for the past five months.

So far, I have saved seeds from 20% of the tomato varieties planned for 2019, and I am an estimated 300 hours behind schedule with this massive project.  Here’s the first sizeable batch of tomatoes processing for seeds: dwarf varieties on August 31st.

The “missing” 300 hours has been more than taken up with participation in two local farmers markets every week:

Saturday the 28th was the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers’ annual weighoff event.  (Let’s not talk about the pumpkin I reluctantly submitted…)  The winner weighed 1,608 lbs.!

This one might be the most interesting of the lot:

The giant tomato contest was extremely close.  The winner was a 2.18 lb. Big Zac, still hard green.  My largest submission was a 2.16 lb. Domingo:

This was the first ripe tomato of the season on this vine.  At least it, and another Domingo off the same vine, topped 2 lbs. – something I didn’t manage to do in 2018!