Friday, May 6, 2016

A Perplexing Case of Mystery Seeds

Last month, while clearing out a cubby beside his desk in our home office, my husband found this:



I have no idea how old these seeds are or where I got them.  That's my handwriting, so there's no doubt that I was the one that saved them.  There are dozens of them, stuck to the inside of the paper towel ... like I just squeezed them out of the tomato and folded it up.  The newest I think they could be is from 2008, because that's when I moved my stuff out of the office and gave it over to my husband.  'Hillbilly' is a real heirloom tomato cultivar, a pass-along variety, but I don't remember if that's what these are or if I just called them hillbilly seeds.

I like a challenge, and I was really curious about these seeds, so I decided to see what would happen if I planted some of them.  I soaked 24 seeds in a cup of water overnight, then I planted them in a take-out container, with drainage holes drilled in the bottom of it and a lid, and put it under the lights in my basement grow area.  Within a week, I had this:



Babies!!  Over the course of the next few days, more seeds sprouted.  Twenty of the twenty-four seeds germinated.  One of sprouts was weird and stunted, so I discarded that one.  Last week, when the babies were large enough to handle, I transplanted them from the community container into little individual pots.

There's one rose seedling here, too.  I will tell you about it some other time.


This morning, one week later, the babies look like this:



They're all about three inches tall, and they are fat, healthy and happy ... and almost ready to transplant into larger pots.



Our weather has been unseasonably cool and very rainy, so I will have to wait till it's warmer to begin to harden these off to life outside.  I plan to keep three or four plants and give the others to friends and family.  

I have to confess that I have never been a very good vegetable gardener.  I know roses, of course, and I'm pretty proficient at gardening with ornamentals in the sun and in shade, but I never been able to get the hang of growing food.  I try, and results are always less than stellar.  Maybe this year will be better ... I say that every year.

20 comments:

  1. You do have a green thumb if those seeds from 2008 sprouted for you! WOW!!
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. Perhaps they were so successful because I honestly didn’t hope for much when I planted them. Seriously, though, the credit for this belongs squarely on the seeds themselves. I guess they’re the type that can keep for a long time.

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  2. How exciting! Can't wait to see what they turn out to be. Clearly you saved them because you knew they were strong :) yes, all part of a plan. Haha

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    1. Truth is, I saved them because I tend to hoard things. I'm wondering if a friend gave me a real Hillbilly tomato and I saved those seeds? I'm going to have to ask around.

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  3. Well your seedlings look a hell of a lot better than mine right now!

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    1. Have you thought of rigging some lights in your greenhouse? Mine are cheap 4' fluorescent fixtures with a pull on/off chain, fitted with one warm and one cool bulb. I raise the plants so they're right underneath the bulbs, and I either raise the light or lower the plants as they get taller.

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  4. By the looks of your seedlings, I'd say you're off to a great start in conquering the vegetable gardening plateau. Keep us posted.

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    1. For me, growing seedlings and cuttings indoors under lights is the easy part of the process. The challenge comes when I put them outside into the garden. I keep trying. This year, I'm going to put them into a new spot where I can keep a closer eye on them, and I plan to rig a fence to discourage the groundhogs.

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  5. Well now isn't that a change up: Food I can grow. Today I brought my first climbing rose. We shall see how this rose growing thing goes. I have a bit of confidence since two lovely roses plants gifted to me by a certain rose goddess we all love are doing quite well.

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    1. It was your garden that gave me incentive to try veggie gardening again. Thank you for the inspiration!! (It's great to hear that your roses are thriving.)

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  6. They look great, Connie. I've heard that some seeds collected from the Ancient Pyramids are still viable. Hillbilly tomatoes are sure to be a success with your gardening knowledge. ♥

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    1. I thought about those viable ancient seeds as I was deciding whether or not to try these.

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  7. So far, so good! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! I'm probably gonna need all the luck I can get.

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  8. What is the problem(s) your tomato plants encounter outside - is it being eaten by critters? Disease?

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    1. I'm not sure that I can ever remember giving veggie plants 100% of the effort and attention that they required. My primo sunny spots on this property are devoted to rose gardens. Other sunny spots are more out of the way, easy to overlook, and accessible to a whole host of critters. This year, I am doing what I should have done in the first place, putting a small garden near the house and doing what I can to tend and protect it. We shall see if this yields better results.

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  9. What success with these old seeds! I hope you will be rewarded with wonderful tomatoes.

    Have a lovely Mother's Day weekend ~ FlowerLady

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  10. Wow, they look awesome, I have never heard of that tomato, interesting...I have all my seedlings ready to plant out, and was going to start my new bed today, fortunately I opened the box from Gardener's Supply, and realized that the screws and caps must have fallen out in the UPS truck...so I guess we wait another weekend to set up the Tomato bed....Happy Mother's day!

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  11. I'm amazed!
    You've given me hope for all the little seed packets that I found as I'm decluttering!
    I too am horrible growing food. LOL!
    I've just given up.

    Happy Mothers Day!
    xoxo

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