An investment to get tomato seeds

Now that winter is rearing its icy head, I am not one of those people who wax nostalgic about fireplaces and heating their homes with open fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves or furnaces.

Due to an overwhelming number of requests for this, that or the other variety of tomato seeds, I have come up with a plan that, I hope, will make it possible for me to share seeds with anyone willing to invest a $5.00 bill, a DOUBLE stamped LEGAL (41/2 x 91/2) envelope and a little effort into getting them.

I’m assuming that most readers know that I have to contend with Parkinson’s Disease in the process of getting anything/everything done. Suffice to say that the only thing I don’t have a problem with when it comes to saving tomato seeds is shaking the jar in which I have them fermenting to make the seeds fall to the bottom. Loretta says that I’d be better off just planting whatever T-shirt or pants I’m wearing as I go about getting the seeds into jars because she’s convinced I get as many seeds stuck to my clothing as I get into the fermentation jars.

There are serious problems with planting my clothes, mostly having to do with my limited wardrobe as well as the fact that I usually can up three or four varieties the same day. There would be no way to tell which variety was which when my britches started sprouting. The same problem would exist if she strained the laundry water. Even though a well-trained eye can detect subtle differences between the various varieties of tomato seeds, it is too easy to get confused when it’s time to separate them.

I do have a system of making sure that I label each batch separately as they are fermenting and drying but that’s only half the effort required to get the seeds into little zip lock bags and proper labels attached to identify them. Mr. Parkinson simply doesn’t have the use of enough digits to pull that off. Getting seeds to folks who want them means that I’ll have to hire help to do all the tedious finesse work required to ultimately get them in the mail.

I figure I can talk my adopted Mount Vernon Middle School, 7th Grade, Granddaughter, 12 year-old, Alyssa Edwards, into spending a couple of weekends with me and that she will work for less than union scale wages. She’ll have to if we intend to break even on the offer I’m about to describe.

I already have five varieties of heirloom tomato seeds drying and another 2 in the fermenting jars. I intend to save yet another between now and the end of the month for a total of 8. I feel sure that I can guarantee everybody a start of Molly Helton Sunbursts and hopefully a scant few Giant Syrian seeds. The Giant Syrians only have about ¼ the amount of seeds per fruit as any of the others while the Molly Heltons will yield up to nearly 100 seeds per fruit. All these seed varieties I’m saving will produce very large heirloom tomatoes.

Other varieties include red, orange and pink Brandywines, giant ox heart, a huge, acid-free pale yellow, and a variety variously dubbed Italian Mountain Man, pint jar and rusty anvil, depending on which West Virginia Hillbilly you’re conversing with. This last one has become my favorite new tomato in several years and averages well over a pound per fruit in size. So heavy that it often falls of the vine before it’s fully ripe, at which point it does, in fact, resemble a rust=colored, one- pint Mason canning jar.

Here’s the deal: Send me a self-addressed LEGAL size (4 ½” X 91/2”) envelope with 2 stamps on it and a 5 dollar bill or check. Sometime in October or November you will get the envelope back in the mail with at least 4 varieties of heirloom tomato seeds guaranteed to include Molly Helton Sunbursts and at least 5 or 6 Giant Syrian seeds. The only other place you can find the Giant Syrians and be guaranteed to grow the true variety is and they will cost you $8.70 cents including S&H, for 10 seeds. I’ve grown mine from saved seeds 3 years in a row and they continue to come back true to the originals.

We need the larger envelope to make the job easier but we’ll try to make a regular envelope work if you absolutely can’t find the legal size. Dollar Tree has them 30 for a buck.

Please don’t order the seeds unless you intend to plant them yourself or give them to someone who will. I can think of numerous better ways to make money than saving tomato seeds.

Please send your order before the end of September so that I can have a handle on how much help I’m going to need from Miss Alyssa. If we run out of seeds, we’ll use your SASE to return your five bucks. Please include your email address if you have one. Ike Adams, 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.