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Heirloom tomato question

  • Subject: [cg] Heirloom tomato question
  • From: Jgembr0@cs.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 17:30:19 EDT

Community gardeners,

i am responding to the Heirloom tomato question....but i do not have an 
answer...but i feel certain that a friend here in Lexington Kentucky has the 
answer. His name is Roger Postley...he has backyard greehhouses where he grows about 
130 different types of heirlooj tomatoes from all over the world......and 
would assume that he has figured out how to grow them in a small amount of space. 
i am forwarding this essage t o him as welll in hopes that he will respond to 
the question that was raised in the emamil listed below right after his email 
to me. So Roger, please respond to us and maybe resend your "addenda list has 
the descriptions"

take good care 

jim embry
Lexington, KY 
Sustainable Communities Network


Subj:   My tomato plants-with 2 attachments     
Date:   4/15/2006 2:51:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time  
From:   RPostley@aol.com    
BCC:    Jgembr0 
File:   Tomato Seeds-Plants.doc+.zip#1 (30088 bytes) DL Time (48000 bps): <1 

Dear Folks-

Thank you for expressing an interest in my heirloom tomato plants. This 
message has two attached MS Word documents. Please print them out and read 
carefully. When you decide which plant(s) you wish to reserve, e-mail or telephone me 
(859-278-4846) and I will log in your requests -- remember -- "first come, 
first served", and the number of each plant variety may be extremely limited! No 
advance payment is required or requested -- pay when you pick up the plants 
either at my home or at the market.

The longer plant/seed list contains descriptions from my personal 
observations from last year's garden. The addenda list has the descriptions from the 
hobbyist, seed round-robin, or catalog where I obtained the seeds. With one or two 
exceptions, I have not raised these cultivars before...

If you have any questions, or wish to have me help you select -- please ask. 
Several of the tomatoes and peppers are well suited for container growing. (I 
raise 6'-7' tomato plants in 20 gallon tubs, but some of my plants are much 
shorter!) The plants will not be ready for delivery until the end of April, or 
better yet, the first or second week of May, as we almost always get an early 
May frost and late April and early May heavy thunderstorms!

Once again, thank you. See you at the Lexington Farmers' Market.

Tomatoes. Etc.
"I never met a tomato I didn't like -- then I went to a grocery!"


Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 14:50:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Don Boekelheide <dboekelheide@yahoo.com>
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] Re: Ack! Heirloom tomato question

Hi, Holly,

LOL! I know how you feel about gardening, got the same
problem. Maybe there's a 12 step program for folks
like us (maybe this list is a virtual CGA meeting...?)

First, two favorite outfits in the seed saving dept: 

Seed Savers Exchange - http://seedsavers.org

Southern Exposure - http://www.southernexposure.com

On tomatoes, Holly, I'm not sure your source has it
quite right botanically for tomato isolation
distances. Tomatoes, like beans and lettuce, are
self-pollinators, meaning the plant itself can
generate fertile seed and does not require pollination
from another plant. This is in sharp contrast to
cross-pollinators such as, say, members of the squash
family that cross like crazy (and need pollinators
such as bees to set fruit at all). You have to isolate
(or otherwise manipulate) squash, melons and cukes, or
you'll end up with cukazukaloupes. With tomatoes, this
isn't a worry, and many old timers simply save seed
from a few of their best and biggest 'maters each

However, it isn't quite this simple if you really want
to safeguard a particular tomato variety. To do that,
you are better off with some distance between
varieties you want to keep 'pure'. 6 meters (20 ft) is
a 'rule of thumb' I've heard a couple of times-
though it depends. Here's a very good overview from
Jeff McCormack, founder of Southern Exposure:


Also, 'maters require an additional step or two - you
have to ferment the seed. Rather than try to explain
it, here's an illustrated guide to the fermentation
process (it's easy, and good for kids because it's
messy) from Victory Seed:


Seed saving is really fun, and I'm hoping to do more
of it. David Bradshaw of Clemson University is a great
speaker on the subject, and has done a terrific job at
Clemson setting up a seed saving area. His list is at

Seed saving is especially important as a way to
maintain varieties that work best in our particular
agroecosystems, or that have wonderful
characteristics, such as flavor, that don't always
make it through the conventional 'square tomato'
breeding process and into those pretty looking but
cardboard tasting tomatoes in the supermarket.

In the meantime, there are a number of heirloom seed
companies and organizations that sell very interesting
varieties and deserve our support, especially for
veggies that are hard to save seed from on a small

Go for it, Holly!

Don Boekelheide
Urban Ministry Center
Charlotte, NC

From: ilexwhite@yahoo.com
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: [cg] Ack! Heirloom tomato question

Hello everyone, I'm very new to the list and new to
gardening, period, 
but I got 
bit by the bug pretty bad this year and now I even
dream at night about 
vegetables! I'm doomed, doomed... I love the
conversation in here and 
plan on 
becoming a dues-paying member next paycheck- this list
really brightens 
my day. 
The no-till conversation has been very informative.

I just came across something surprising/
disappointing, and I'd love 
on this. It seems that the International Seed Saving
planting heirloom tomatoes 100 feet apart. Now, I
have a container 
garden on my 
small porch in downtown Detroit, and I'm planning on
creating a 
rooftop vegetable/ herb/ whatever garden for my
apartment building next 
I'm already compiling a list of heirloom tomato
varieties I'm dying to 
try next 
year, and I'd be pretty bummed if I could only try one
or two. Is the 
100 foot 
recommendation simply for seed saving, in the interest
of keeping the 
from cross-pollinating? Just how close can I plant
heirloom varieties? 
I am 
interested in learning proper seed saving, but I also
want to plant as 
much as 
my family can eat! Input?

Thanks so much-


Message: 2
Subject: Re: [cg] Re: Ack! Heirloom tomato question- 20' rule
To: community_garden@mallorn.com, community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
From: Pat_Elazar@cwb.ca
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 17:08:00 -0500

Hi Holly,

You got some good advice from Don which I will back up with my own
experience: I've been growing heirloom tomatoes staked about 50cm (~20")
apart for about 20 years with no problems saving seeds from 4 or 5
favourite varieties.

But last year my prized "banana legs" yellow-with-green-streaks processing
tomato hybridized with some other variety. The resulting seeds germinated
nicely, but dont produce fruit that I like.

So...... If you really want to keep pure seed from from a specific variety,
then you need to isolate them like Don said.


Subj:   Re: My tomato plants-with 2 attachments     
Date:   4/17/2006 7:44:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time  
From:   RPostley@aol.com    
To: Jgembr0 


Your order is 'logged in'. Thank you.

"I never met a tomato I didn't like -- then I went to a grocery!"

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