Every now and then I get feeling a bit big for my britches, thinking I know a lot about gardening, vegetables and especially tomatoes. Then along comes a stiff breeze to take the wind out of my sails and bring me back to being humble.

This spring, as I was trying to order seeds from my favorite seed company located in the Ozarks, EVERY seed I tried to purchase was out of stock. Every single one!

So I went hunting for another place to purchase heirloom and open pollinated (OP) seeds, the fruit from which I can save seeds from for the following year. And I found the most fabulous seed company in California!

They are a company founded to give seeds to us all, rather than create breeds of veggies that belong to corporations and may not be saved and/or shared. This company is online at tomatofest.com.

There are two downsides to ordering from this company I found. They require a $15 minimum purchase, and they sell only tomatoes, nothing else. No broccoli, peppers or – well – I guess only tomatoes means only tomatoes.

But what a find! They have newly bred varieties I’ve never heard of. They have every shape, size and color of tomato you could ever think to grow.

Now, I really don’t need any new varieties of tomatoes, as I already have my favorites, and they are many. But reading through their list of tomato varieties, I found several I “need” to try.

I was scrolling through the alphabetical list and found that I had not gotten too far before I had a shopping cart with a dozen new varieties, and I hadn’t even gotten to the Julia Child variety yet. I fast-forwarded to the “J’s” and ordered a pack, and closed the website. I passed by the Clint Eastwood variety without stopping.

But of course, I went back, only to discover a truly unique breeding program tomatofest.com is involved in. They also offer 30 varieties of dwarf tomatoes.

These plants can grow up to four and a half feet tall, and are perfect for pots (and bags). They will grow on a porch, a balcony and any small space, they say. They are indeterminate, so you’ll have tomatoes all season long without the sprawl of most indeterminate varieties.

So I dug out another $15 plus shipping and handling, and ordered some dwarf tomato varieties.

I know I sound enthusiastic, so let me assure you they are not paying me, and I am getting no seeds for free. I’m curious to see if they are as good as they sound.

I might need to order some more bags ...

Need some eggplant seeds, too

One day I opened a seed catalog just for something to read, and it opened to a page touting tomato varieties specifically bred for greenhouse growing. There were eggplants, too.

These are bred to resist lots of diseases that may be caused by the hot and humid conditions encountered in a greenhouse.

I decided to bite on the bait. So I went to order them and discovered that a packet is 15 seeds, and a packet of the variety I want costs $22. The eggplant seeds were a little less expensive. Only $12 for 15 seeds.

I gasped and choked. I slapped the pages of that catalog shut, threw it on the kitchen table and walked away.

But soon I was back, credit card in hand, ordering some greenhouse tomato and eggplant seeds developed to be grown in a greenhouse. How could I not at least give them a try?

Tomato and eggplant seeds are viable for up to five years, if stored properly. Though they are not open pollinated, so I cannot save seeds. If I like them, I won’t have to buy any more for a while.

As for the company out of EVERY seed variety I wanted, it turns out they were having a computer problem. So I went back and placed an order there, too.

I am so excited to get gardening! This month I turn on my expensive LED lights in my grow box, plug in my heating mat for my seeds, set up my greenhouse, and try to keep from drooling as my mouth waters for the veggies I will grow.

In addition to purchasing more grow bags, I might have to hire someone to help me clean out my entire garden. Being in casts prevented me from doing it last fall. And, you might be seeing me at a Farmers’ Market near you with all sorts of tomatoes and eggplants (and broccoli and peppers and ...).

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