Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I owe a big THANK YOU to Granny for pointing me to this great tomato seed source, WinterSown.org.  All summer long I followed her tomato growing adventures (here and here) on her blog Annie's Kitchen Garden and was so amazed by the different types of tomatoes she was growing.  Granny was growing a whopping 41 tomato plants!  So inspiring!  I had to ask her where she got seeds for all these different types of tomatoes, I'm a gardening newbie and only grew 3 tomato varieties last year.  She let me in our her secret, she told me about WinterSown Educational a non-profit organization, right in my area in East Meadow, Long Island, NY.  I never even heard about this organization and it's less  than an hour away!  How funny that a gardener in Washington State, 2700 miles from us, introduced me to something that is "in our neck of the woods", a mere 44 miles away.   How could I not know about such a cool gardener's resource that is literally our neighbors?  Another true testament of how wonderful this garden blogging community is.  Always ready to pass on the knowledge!  WinterSown's website educates gardeners about sowing hardy seedlings in the winter.  From their website, "Winter Sowing is done outdoors during Winter using mini-greenhouses made from recyclables; there are no heating devices, no energy wasting light set-ups or expensive seed starting devices."  Alison over at Bonney Lassie has been encouraging me to Winter Sow plants all winter.   Alison sent me an article on Wintersowing written by Trudi Davidoff, the President of WinterSown.org.  I think I'm going to take the plunge and try it with some hardy seeds I've recently obtained.  I'm going to use Dave's Method on The Home Garden.  He uses juice bottles as a mini-greenhouse.

WinterSown.org also is a seedbank of sorts, in that they accept donations of seeds (veggies, fruits, flowers, trees) and provides 6 free small-count seed packs of their choice to gardeners, or 12 seed packs for a small donation through their SASE program.  They also distributes the seeds in bulk to worthy organizations (school, youth group, senior center, garden club etc.)  I just love an organization that promotes gardening for pennies, and encourages you to do so with low costs such as recycled containers and free seeds.  It just re-emphasizes that anyone can start a garden, it doesn't have to be an expensive hobby.  If you have extra viable seeds you want to donate, you can see their donating instructions here.

They also have a SASE program for different types of tomatoes.  How the SASE program for tomatoes work is that you fill out their seed selection form and send them a Self Address Stamped Envelope with two stamps on the envelope.  They will send you 6 varieties of tomato seed packs free.  All packs are small count seed packs that contain a minimum of six seeds each pack.  Many of my packs had more than 6 seeds.  If you are like us and are tomato growing newbies, this is a great way to grow different kinds of tomato varieties and taste them without committing to spending a lot of money buying seed packets of something you might not like.  If you want to try more than 6 varieties, you can send them a monetary donation that starts at $5.  $5 donation for a gift of 10 Varieties (6 choices & 4 defaults). A $10 donation for  a gift of 20 Varieties  (12 choices & 8 defaults) and so on and so forth.  All donations are tax-deductible.  I really encourage you to donate to this non-profit.  What they are doing is wonderful and the money will keep them going.  Here's more info about WinterSown.org.

I sent them my $5.00 and requested these tomato varieties.  I was so giddy when I received my SASE from WinterSown in the mail today.
  1. Black Mystery ~ Beautiful brick-tone fruits, nice for slice or salad, most weigh a half-pound, delicious, IND, 72+ DTM
  2. Beefsteak ~ Classic heirloom, meaty fruits usually weigh over a pound, IND, 80 DTM
  3. German Johnson ~ Virginia heirloom makes large deep pink beefsteaks, yum and pretty, IND, about 80 DTM 
  4. Giant Belgium ~ Deep pink beefsteaks can weigh up to two pounds, meaty fruits have excellent flavor, 80+ DTM, IND 
  5. Tiny Tim ~ Abundant, yum red cherries on dwarf plants, nice for containers and planters, DET, 58+ DTM 
  6. Rutgers ~ Red fruits weigh about 6 ounces, well known reliable cropper, DET, 75 DTM 
  7. Chocolate Cherry ~ Clusters of maroon-brown fruits, 1" each, delicious, IND, 70 DTM 
  8. Manitoba ~ Favorite for short seasons, produces loads of good tasting red fruits, 4 - 6 ounces each, DET,  about 70 DTM 
  9. Isis Candy ~ Warm yellow cherries are uniquely marbled with a red blush to full streaks, lovely and delicious, IND, 80 DTM 
  10. Jaune Flamme ~ French heirloom has golden-orange fruits, about three ounces each, delicious and pretty, IND, 70+ DTM 
WinterSown was out of Beefsteak, so instead they send me the following alternates.
  1. Hovarth ~ Red fruit, IND, 80+ DTM
  2. Druzba ~ Bulgarian heirloom has pretty red globes, can weigh over a half-pound, great flavor, IND, 80+ DTM 
  3. Palmira's Northern Italian ~ 75-85 days, IND, regular leaf, 6'+ plants, up to 2+ lb red fruit, good tomato taste, slightly more acid than sweet, few splits, very vigorous, productive, 40 lbs/plant.
Along with some bonus seed packs.
  1. Romanian Sweet Pepper  ~ Pretty pepper, ripes from ivory, to orange and then red.
  2. Dill
When I received the seeds, it also came with this Pamphlet with step-by-step instructions and images on how to save your own tomato seeds.  So very cool!  I'll be using this technique this summer with the tomatoes I grow, and then I can give back by donating the tomato seeds back to WinterSown.org.  If you're still looking for tomato seeds, I definitely recommend checking them out.


  1. Cool! I'm so glad you're going to give it a try. I think you will love it! And it is great that you got some tomato seeds from Trudi.

  2. That was one of the first places I got seed from when I started gardening, have fun with it!

  3. I'm going to try winter sowing this year. My plan is to grow a few types of hardy salad greens. I didn't know that Wintersown.org had so much info. I'm going to have to spend more time on their site.

  4. What a great resource. Good luck with all your tomatoes. I winter sowed some flower seeds Saturday. They're outside being covered by snow right now.

  5. What a great way to get to try lots of tomatoes, and sounds like a fabulous organization!

  6. Fresh tomatoes are the best... :o)

  7. OMG, thanks so much for sharing this. I'm SOOOO going to do this wit them!! $5 for all that?!! is definitely a MUST! good luck on your winter sowing, I never had much luck with it, but I'm not such a 'winter' person, and I have no doubt that I didn't tend to them enough, but I usually at least start my seeds a few months early and this would be great to do now to prepare! and you're gonna LOVE the Dill! and it's easy to let go to seed for saving, donating, and such!

  8. Granny really is pretty amazing...one of my gardening heroes, especially when it comes to her potted tomatoes. Thanks for the information on WinterSown.org

  9. Awesome! I just checked my first winter sown box, itty-bitty chamomile babies are greening up their box. So Kewl! Glad you found it...now I need to find granny who apparently is my neighbor.

  10. Thanks for the info! Great source of seeds too.

  11. Hi! Your gardening blog is cool! Thanks for your visits to my blog...glad I could finally get over to say hi! This is a wonderful post. I wish tomatoes and I did better together...I am still trying one plant this winter/spring...it is called 'Mr. Stripey'...supposedly with yellow and orange stripes on it. Grandson picked it out and we decided to give it a go and see what happens!!!

  12. Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to try new tomato varieties.

  13. Did you save any seeds from your tomatoes?! Some of those look super interesting!


We love to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Book Recommendations