Last May when I still lived in Cambridge, MA, I got to spend a day working in the garden with Kathy of Skippy’s Vegetable Garden. It was definitely an informative prelude to having my own community garden plot down here in DC. We also exchanged some seedlings that day. She gave me a couple of her extra tomato seedlings and I gave her one of my cayenne peppers that I had grown from seeds I saved from the year before. Then SHE saved the subsequent cayenne seeds from her plant and has now started calling this year’s crop “Amelia’s Cayenne” on her blog. Fun!
Now, I had never planned to save the seeds from those tomatoes – a Purple Calabash and an Orange Blossom tomato – which ended up living on my fire escape last summer. I didn’t really clean up the plants when the season was over, though, and a few dried out old tomatoes stuck on the withered vines all winter long. So a few weeks ago I plucked one of the dried tomatoes and planted some of the seeds I found inside. I didn’t really think it would work, but sure enough some seeds germinated:
To return the favor, I’m calling this Kathy’s Purple Calabash! I only wish I had thought to plant the seeds sooner. This little seedling is way behind the others. Ah well, it can be one of my late tomatoes.
Saving cayenne seeds year to year has been very easy, because cayennes aren’t fleshy and dry out on their own very easily. But I didn’t realize it would also be so easy to save tomato seeds, too. I thought there had to be some kind of complicated process, perhaps involving special drying techniques and sterile environments and hermetic seals. My process was basically a six-month abandonment. In fairness, I guess plants are meant to be able to seed themselves without our help.
Maybe I’ll try saving more varieties this year. Or hand-pollinating and making some new crosses!