Sunday, March 7, 2010

In a continuation of our family shift toward self reliance, I'm starting tomato seedlings in the basement tonight. I planted about 7 varieties last year with varying results. This year I'm going to plant the types that had the best results. This includes several Heirlooms like Brandywine, Amish paste, and a European variety called Moskvich that did very well last year. I sometimes, well often, well always, go over board with the tomatoes. But not this year. I will exhibit restraint and only grow a limited amount of plants; say 30 or so.

This year, too, I am FOR SURE going to save some seeds. It's not hard. It's just that when the garden is winding down and I have the large, mature fruit I need for seed saving, school is usually beginning and I'm slammed busy. But not this year. The price of seed is ever going up, especially for heirloom or open pollinated plants. And I really don't want to save anything but the seeds from the best quality food. I try, like most moms, to give my children the best food I can afford. I make all our baked goods from scratch, we grow a big garden and this year we are raising chicken for eggs and meat. We have successfully raised meat rabbits for several years as well.

(Disclaimer: What follows is a small maternal rant on food safety. Just a mild warning for those not prepared.)

I'm no June Cleaver, (I do have a beautiful string of pearls that my mountain boy husband gave me several years ago), but if I can prepare most of our food at home, instead of buying food prepared and packaged at the store, the food should have greater nutritional value. And I'll know exactly what my children are eating. I thought that if I could prepare all, if not, most of our food at home, I would know that my children were eating safe preservatives, no MSG, no excessive salt. Right? Well, maybe not. What if the wheat that is ground into the flour I use to make the bread at home is contaminated at the cellular level? It's scary to think that I might slowly be poisoning my children and that I might not even have a choice. The FDA has never regulated the use or insisted on the labeling of GMO's in our food. That means that the basic flour I buy at the grocery store to make bread at home, might have been ground from wheat that has been genetically modified. That means that the sugar I buy to make the chocolate chip cookies my kids eat, might be derived from sugar beets that have been changed at the cellular level to withstand the onslaught of chemical weed killer. My children trust me to protect them, to supply them with their most basic needs: clean food and water. When I look at these sweet baby faces, fat cheeks, ear-to-ear grins, all of them looking just like their daddy----

.....How can I give them anything that might hurt them? So I start tomatoes in the basement. And this year will be the year I save seeds!


  1. How will you keep the varities seperate? Or will next years tomotoes be brandywineAmishpasteMoskivchs? That might end up being delicious!

  2. Shirley,
    I'm lucky enough to have a pretty big area to dig for my garden spot. So I hope to keep all the 'maters flavors separated by at least 50 feet. It was enough last year. Hopefully it will be enough this year. But you know how gardening is.....every year rests on itself!