Today I packaged the last of the seeds harvested from tomatoes in 2016 — nine batches from fruits picked on or about October 11, 2016. Here’s a picture from one of those batches, Letneye Solntse (0.332 DT 2016).
Some “authorities” claim that seeds are no good if saved from green tomatoes that are allowed to ripen off the vine. I have proven this wrong several times, with germination rates around 80%. No, I’m not talking about tiny little immature green tomatoes. If the fruits are full-sized or close to it, they will likely ripen fully over several weeks and the seeds will mature during this process. A picked tomato is a living, metabolizing organism. Although it no longer receives nutrients from the vine (including water, thus wrinkling is expected), a tomato still strives to fulfill it’s evolutionary purpose: perpetuate its DNA into the next generation. Unfortunately, this phenomenon of seed off-the-vine seed maturation seems to be much less the case for peppers, melons and especially squash.
Where I reside, it’s been too chilly for much fermentation to take place, so I used a heating mat of the sort used for seedling propagation.
Now for some analytics from 2016, hopefully not too boring —
• Attempted to produce seeds of 476 varieties, including 20 or so tracked lineages of Big Zac, etc.
• Among these, I got ZERO seeds of 89 varieties
• Among the 387 varieties from which seeds were saved, 172 are new to Delectation of Tomatoes; that is, this is the first year I will be able to offer seeds.
• This will bring the total to about 1,630 varieties of tomato seeds for sale
• Total number of tomato seeds saved: 252,055 (an estimate of course, based on adding up the total number of seeds from each of 650 batches of tomatoes from which seeds were saved)
• Estimated number of hours it took me to produce this many seeds: 2,252 (this does not count the hundreds of hours spent on the computer: processing pictures, researching varieties, writing descriptions, filling seed orders, working on website, etc.)
• Potential income per seed: 10 cents
• Likely proportion of seeds that will be sold:17% (based on five years of data)
• Expected gross income for the year (seed sales were 90% of income this year): well, I’ll leave that math problem for you. Keep in mind, the minimum wage in Utah is $7.25 per hour. And I don’t get paid overtime. And I get zero benefits (of the monetary kind, that is). And yes, business expenses (there are plenty) have to come out of this.
• Perspective – trend is positive! In the past three years, business profit has risen steadily from being on par with an average citizen of Burundi to that of Tanzania. Fortunately, my food budget is quite low, since I grow most of what I eat!
And some have wondered why I don’t just buy my own land for this business, or hire someone to manage the website, or hire someone to weed and harvest, or…
Perhaps I really am insane…
And maybe I’ve said too much here – it would not be the first time…
So please do encourage your gardening friends to visit www.delectationoftomatoes.com
At least maybe we can boost that 17% number by a few points?