“When you save your own seed you complete the circle. You fulfill in full measure the Gardener’s Covenant with the Plant to save, cherish, distribute and plant its seeds.”
–Carol Deppe, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
Once again I want to give away a few of the tomato and pepper seeds I have saved from my garden, hopefully while folks are still in the planning stages of their 2018 gardens. Due to custom issues and postage costs, I will limit this giveaway to folks in the U.S. or Canada. I don’t have unlimited amounts of these seeds available, but I am happy to share them with my readers while the supply lasts.
First up is the Champagne Cherry tomato. These little pale yellow gems are sweet, almost like tomato candy, and the size is in between a currant tomato and a regular cherry tomato. The strong indeterminate vines have regular shaped leaves, and my prolific plants produced right up until frost zapped them. I got my original seeds from Secret Seed Cartel, which is one of the few places I found that currently list this seed for sale. Tatiana’s TOMATOBase says it was first offered in the 2010 Seed Savers Yearbook. I gave seeds for this one away last year too, and I hope they did well for those that got them. It is one of my favorite tomatoes for snacking, and many of mine are consumed right in the garden.
Another of my favorite small fruited open-pollinated tomatoes is Mexico Midget. It’s a red cherry type that’ s a bit bigger than Champagne but still smaller (½-¾ inch) than the typical cherry tomato. The rambling indeterminate vines are loaded with the small, sweet, dark red tomatoes that grow on trusses. I got my original seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, where it won their 2014 Tomato Tasting event. It’s always a winner here at Happy Acres, where it appears on and in many salads. I gave this one away last year too.
A new tomato I tried this year is an o/p white cherry type called Snow White. It has a sweet fruity flavor we really enjoyed on salads or eating as is. They are lovely when mixed in with other colored cherry tomatoes, and certainly add a new color to the tomato palette. The strong growing vines are indeterminate and need to be staked or caged.
And I have seeds from a Marzano Fire plant that was not exactly true to type. Marzano Fire is an o/p paste tomato from Artisan Seeds that has a classic San Marzano shape and taste but with the stripes of Speckled Roman (which was very likely used in the breeding). Last year it was a great performer, so this year I planted two of them. One came true to type, while the other plant made bigger, blocky fruit. Both are tasty and make great sauce, and I have saved seeds from the rogue which I have called Stripey Marzano. Breeder Fred Hempel at Artisan Seeds thinks it’s an accidental cross made by bees. I have no idea what kind of tomatoes they will make, so these are only for gardeners who like to experiment!
For peppers, I have seeds for two of my favorite C. baccatum varieties. Aji Golden is a fairly rare baccatum pepper that gets a lot of use around here. It has mildly hot peppers, and they are a golden yellow color when ripe. It is great for fresh use as well as turning into hot sauce and powder, and I’ve also used it to make a pepper jam. It makes a good container plant too. I got my original seeds from Dust Bowl Seeds.
The other baccatum pepper is called Malawi Piquante, aka Peppadew pepper. It’s a small cherry type baccatum pepper with mild heat that can get up to one inch in diameter. It is similar to (if not the same as) the peppers used to make the pricey pickled peppadew peppers, and I use mine mostly for pickling where they wind up on salads, sandwiches and pizza. The plants can get quite large in my garden, as you can see in the photo of me in the pepper patch last year. This pepper is also a good candidate for growing in containers, and I have had good luck overwintering it indoors. I got my original seed from Refining Fire Chiles.
I also have extra seeds for a couple of winter squash that I didn’t save myself. Tetsukabuto is a hybrid C. maxima x C. moschata cross, and must be pollinated by either a C. maxima or C. moschata type. So you need to grow a butternut, hubbard, buttercup or kabocha type nearby in order for the blossoms to get pollinated and the plant to set fruit. I had several C. moschata types planted nearby this year and I didn’t have any pollination issues, but you can always hand pollinate to insure success. The fruits weigh between 3 and 5 pounds and store well, while the flesh is fairly dry with a rich, nutty flavor.
And I have a few seeds for the Dickinson pumpkin, which is a C. moschata type that can get up to 30 pounds, though mine weighed in the 10 to 20 pound range. The flesh is a bit dryer than many butternuts and neck pumpkins I’ve grown, and is wonderful for use in pies and other desserts. Libby’s uses a strain of Dickinson for their canned pumpkin, which means there’s a good chance you have already tasted it! It’s a good keeper too. The vines get quite big though, so it’s not a good choice for those with limited space.
To round out the lineup, I have seeds I saved from the Outhouse hollyhock. This is a single flowered heirloom strain I grew this year from seed I got from the Seed Savers Exchange, and it has blooms in shades of white, pink and red. The bumblebees really enjoy these blossoms, and they wind up covered in pollen as they visit them. The plants are biennial, so they will bloom the second year and die back, but they should self sow with a bit of encouragement.
Here’s a recap of the seeds I have to share:
- Champagne Cherry tomato
- Mexico Midget cherry tomato
- Snow White tomato
- Stripey Marzano tomato
- Malawi Piquante pepper
- Aji Golden pepper
Tetsukabuto squash Dickinson pumpkin
- Outhouse hollyhock
If you are interested in any of these seeds, just leave a comment here indicating your interest. I will get back to you via email, so please use an email address you check regularly. Or you can email me directly if you prefer. Either way, I will be happy to send them out to you, while supplies last. And while I’m here let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday season!
UPDATE: The seed giveaway is now closed. I will try and start sending seeds out soon.