Tomato starts

vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

OK, I know tomatoes are actually a fruit, but more folks categorize them in the vegetables.

@Torey My Pollock tomatoes are sprouting!!!!

Hopefully our snow will be gone in time to move them outside. LOL The snow is hanging on way too long this year.



  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have never heard of Pollock tomatoes so I looked them up. I had no idea there was such a thing as a frost resistant tomato. Wow! I hope they grow well for you.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    @Torey Where did you get these tomato seeds? It sounds like something I should consider.

    I have so many tomato seed varieties already that I had to choose among them this year. 😬

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,518 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I'm pretty sure it was Salt Spring Seeds but Annapolis carries them and another company that I hadn't heard of before, Heritage Harvest Seeds.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    Thanks, @Torey.

    I am very curious who may have had it first. I say this because I won't order from HHS (it is in MB), and don't want to buy from a place who may have gotten seed from them.

    I discovered long ago, when I had applied to possibly be a grower for them, that they do not care about seed purity and do not choose their growers well to keep their growing properly isolated. That's also when I started questioning the definition of "heritage" seed. It can mean very different things, including their intriguing, "so & so grew this once/for a long time in a country far, far away, let's name it after them!" Its not just that the variety has a long history of growing in a way to keep the line consistent, as I had first believed. Then knowing many heritage companies swap seed, it made me very hesitant to try other heritage places.

    For many years later, I heard stories from people I knew who weren't getting what was described in their catalog from their seeds.

    I want to know that I'm getting what I pay for when buying seeds.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,518 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I'm pretty sure it would have been Salt Spring Seeds that had them first as the guy who developed them is from BC. But I can look into it a bit more and find out if that is in fact the first place that had them for sale.

    Good to know about HHS. I hadn't noticed them as a seed supplier before this.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,518 admin

    An update on the Pollock tomatoes.

    It appears as though the original breeder, Andy Pollock, first distributed his seeds through Seeds of Diversity. It is hard to tell which of the seed companies was the first to obtain them and grow them for commercial production.

    Salt Spring Seeds is a pretty good company but ..... I wonder, if they are growing their own seed stock, wouldn't their climate start to affect the tomato growth and the resulting tomato plants wouldn't necessarily be as frost hardy any more? Salt Spring Island is one of the Gulf Islands off the BC's southern coast with a Mediterranean climate in zone 8b-9a.

    You could order seeds through Seeds of Diversity and use them to start a landrace for your area.

    Maybe we should have @vickeym saving seeds for us. We'll have an international tomato seed smuggling ring. :)

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I could do that, but it might take me a few years. Need to clear some property so I can separate varieties a bit further than I can right now. But I do indeed plan to try a similar plan to what I read Andy Pollock did.

    We intend to do some this year in a hydroponic greenhouse and some outside to see how they do. If the ones outside do well, I might try to save seeds from some of those and plant next year, and see if I can get it going to something that works well in my area.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    @Torey I think for them to keep their traits, people would have to be careful to keep them separate & select the hardiest ones out of what they grow. Of course hardy on the Island is not the same as hardy on the prairies. Even hardy in southern Alberta or southern Manitoba doesn't equal hardy here. Our conditions can vary greatly. If I trusted HHS for maintaining quality, that would be the company to choose from, even though their season is still noticeably longer than here.

    It doesn't mean we can't still put in the work & pick the best out of what is hardiest. He developed them and so it should be possible to re-capture that trait once again by careful selection.

    It's much the same with chickens. I put much through the lens of a heritage chicken breeder, because that's what I'm actively doing. It's both rewarding and frustrating.

    They say that 3 years is enough time to erase all the work a great breeder has done. You know you had a master breeder when the quality disappears 3 years after they either quit or die. That's so sad. I think it is usually much less. This is why some breeds are now considered rare. Jersey giants are certainly getting lower on that list, and it's getting increasingly more difficult to find a great breeder in North America. French Black Copper Maran are getting to be similar in North America. The quality is poor.

    If someone gets well bred birds but doesn't consistently continue to select for the best traits, these traits will quickly get lost. I can see this in the breeds that I have.

    People think they will hatch itty bitty cute chicks to make some cash, but don't choose their best, don't have them separated long enough to prevent crosses, or usually don't even have well bred birds to begin with (crosses or just plain poor specimens)... and they just don't read, listen nor care. Some don't even know the proper names nor care to be corrected. Some even make up names! 🤦‍♀️

    The worst are those that call & advertise themselves as breeders, hatch lots, but don't follow any or many guidelines. Then they flood the market with inferior birds, and the hatching cycle starts again from someone who doesn't care to put in any work.

    Right now is a very bad time for many heritage breeds as this is happening like crazy right now thanks to covid, the price of food, the gloomy outlook, and of course, hatcheries who sell "purebreds" but only care about high volume selling & not quality.

    I try to teach people who wish to breed chickens, what to look for and how to do things properly. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but to keep going & do things well, you need to be informed.

    Sorry, I got rambling. Its just one of those frustrating things that could easily be prevented with some knowledge and a willing spirit. 😑 Preserving is hard.

    Well, back to tomatoes. 😏 I will have to look into different companies practices & see what I will choose from there. Certainly, if done right, @vickeym has the potential to end up being able to select for having hardy tomatoes once she gets them outside.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had a discussion with some of the ladies at my Azure drop this week over some of the frustrations with selecting seed companies and having confidence in what we are getting. It was brought up that maybe we should start a local seed swap from things we each save. This would be easy to do with tomatoes that do well here.

    We have a shorter growing season than a lot of people but probably not as short as any of you @vickeym @Torey or @LaurieLovesLearning I'm still quite interested in the idea of frost resistant tomato plants. I will have to track down some of those seeds also.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Torey I looked into seeds of Diversity. Says they have 5 samples of Pollock tomato seed. One does show as being from Andy Pollack. This is what it shows, doesn't look like they have enough of any of them to sell. There is similar information from the other growers as well.

    Grower/Source: Andy Pollock

    Sample #5642

    Quantity in storage: 5 grams

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,920 ✭✭✭✭✭

    “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

    ― Miles Kington

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,920 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning "I discovered long ago, when I had applied to possibly be a grower for them, that they do not care about seed purity and do not choose their growers well to keep their growing properly isolated."

    It's not just isolation, but doing trial grow-outs and roguing off-types that do not meet the standard for the variety.

    Keeping any variety pure requires maintenance, because plants are constantly changing on their own from generation to generation.

    Steve Solomon has written extensively about how cheap seed producers and sellers don't bother with trials, and Carol Deppe has written about the need to rogue potatoes when you grow them yourself.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    @VermontCathy Great points. It's the same with breeding top quality...anything.

    It is work that not everyone cares about nor cares to do.

    On another subject, if you wish to quote a portion of someone's post, you can do so, and make it clear that its a quote, by clicking on the paragraph symbol in the choices that show up at the bottom of your posting box, and click on the quote symbol, and paste your quote after the thick line that will then appear in your post. It will show up like this:

    work that not everyone cares about nor cares to

    I will have to do a tutorial on these symbols & their uses.

  • Sheila
    Sheila Posts: 107 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning if you are interested in Pollock tomatoes I have some of his original seed from when he was growing them in Houston, BC. He was a very good friend and is dearly missed. I continue to grow and select my seed as he did aiming for strong plants with tasty tomatoes that have small seed cavities and larger seeds. If you end me your address and I will pop them in the mail.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    I will send it by pm. That would be awesome! It would be interesting to see how his variety would do here.

    It is late to start tomatoes from seed here, but I could try a few anyway and save the rest of the seed for a special proper trial next year. If I can get them to do well, I know of a few people in a zone colder who would be willing to test them out in their climate as well. I'd pass seed along to them to try, with any special information & their history of course.

    If you could send any extra tips with them, I'd be very grateful!

    Is there anything you might be looking for that I might have? Are you interested in buttercup squash seeds (I have very many!) or possibly something else?