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Packaging Seeds from my Small Kitchen Garden

I laid out seeds, envelopes, and envelope labels on a table in my billiards room. While I’m giving away Blue Hubbard squash, neck pumpkin, and paste tomato seeds, I also collected seeds from butternut squash, dill weed, and several types of peppers. Most of these will go to The Dinner Garden, a charity that provides seeds to family’s starting gardens in response to economic difficulties.

Two weeks ago, Your Small Kitchen Garden offered up sets of seeds to visitors who asked for them. I’ve been pleased by the response; more than 40 people have left comments requesting seed sets. A complete set includes six seeds of Blue Hubbard squash, six seeds of neck pumpkin, and twenty seeds of chili-pepper-shaped paste tomatoes.

In that post I joked that I’d judge comments on creativity and humor, and I’ve enjoyed the humor in some of the comments. However, the only criteria for receiving seeds are:

  1. Leave a comment explaining which seeds you most want to grow
  2. Complete a “Contact Us” form with your mailing address
  3. Do these things before the seeds run out.

The Small Kitchen Garden Seed Project

I’ve been packaging seeds. To do this, I set up a small table in the corner of my billiards room and laid out all the seeds I saved last season. I designed and printed simple labels and stuck them on coin envelopes. As I started to count out seeds and package them it occurred to me: what if the seeds aren’t viable? I’d feel rotten to learn I’d sent seeds to so many people, and none of those seeds sprouted.

More than a week after planting, one of the three tomato seeds I planted to test viabiity sprouted. By the time I finished this post nearly 2 days later, all three seeds had sprouted. I’m mailing out more than 40 packs of these seeds in the coming week. If you left a comment on my post Free Seeds from Your Small Kitchen Garden, did you also send your mailing address to me via the web site’s Contact Us form? I noticed many visitors overlooked that important step.

So, I test-planted some tomato seeds and waited. Last March, when I started tomato seeds indoors, I had sprouts two days after planting! This January, there were no sprouts for over a week. Finally, on Monday, the first tomato seed sprouted. On Tuesday, two more sprouts appeared. These seeds are viable!

As the cutoff date for my seed giveaway approaches, I’ve packaged up several dozen sets of seeds. I’ve more to package, and I haven’t yet addressed all the envelopes, but I’m confident these seeds will perform when treated properly.

I’m excited to share the seeds; I hope that many of the people who receive them will write once or twice to tell me how their seeds do, and to tell me what they think of the produce they grow.

In the meantime, I’ve already started this year’s small kitchen garden; I’m going to try to keep my tomato seedlings alive indoors until April. I’ll build a tent around them to trap in some moisture and heat, and I’ll flood the tent with light. If things go well, I’ll transplant into larger containers once or twice, so I’ll have very large plants when it’s time to move them outdoors.

By “potting up” the plants this way, I may get a 30-day or better jump on the tomato-growing season. Who knows? Maybe I’ll harvest a few tomatoes in early July this year.



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12 Responses to “Packaging Seeds from my Small Kitchen Garden”

  • Sounds great! I cant wait to recieve these wonderful seeds! You never did respond to my offer of the extra seeds I have! Okra, white Pumpkin (make great pies) and Garlic chives! If you are intrested let me know! Thanks!

  • See, this is why I need to quit my day job – so I won’t fall behind on my blog reading and miss awesome giveaways like this! :-) But.. just in case it’s still going on…

    I would love me some neck pumpkins. Because they’re bizarre, that’s why. Contact form here I come!

  • Ah! I’m so excited! I was initially really interested in the tomatoes (and still am), but recently I read about the ‘three sisters’ method to gardening. I already have adzuki bean sprouts and little corn stalks that sprouted last week (indoors) and I’m going to plant the neck pumpkins with them! So Happy! I can’t wait for this harvest!

  • gail:

    Wow – I just discovered you and I hope I’m not too late to get a seed surprise — trouble is, I don’t even know what seeds to ask for. I am getting ready to plan my first garden, in a new house where I don’t know yet the sun-path or much else about my new planting area. I’ve never started seedlings before. So I know nothing and have nothing, and all I am sure of is that I will definitely plant kale, potatoes (in a cardboard box) and tomatoes! Now I have to figure out what you mean by a ‘contact us’ form . . . I’m on to the search!

  • admin:

    Elletra: The first time I saw neck pumpkins growing in a garden, they were wending among several rows of corn stalks. They looked very happy together.

  • admin:

    Gail: Last season I posted quite a bit about planting, and in the next week I plan to post about starting seeds indoors. I hadn’t started my own plants pre-season until last winter. I planted seeds two to a starter container, figuring some might not sprout and for those that did sprout, I’d sacrifice the weaker plant and nurture the remaining one. EVERY SEED SPROUTED! And, plant wimp that I am, I couldn’t kill the runts… I ended up transplanting more than 60 into my garden. I tell you this to encourage you: starting most seeds indoors is easy; they really want to be started! Please watch for the post – with video – about starting seeds indoors.

  • Debbie:

    I would love to receive some of the seeds, I would like the Blue Hubbard squash ones. I just discovered your site tonight, and started a potager last summer., but didn’t grow squash. Thanks Debbie

  • Hi, and thanks so much for the seeds! They arrived just a couple of days ago. I think offering seeds to share is one of the best ways on the planet to encourage others to grow their own food. After reading your thoughts on the origin of the paste tomato, I went out Googling and I think you’re right- it appears to be the Andes, or Cornue des Andes tomato. And every description was highly complimentary.

    My seed starting bench has been (somewhat) cleared, the light stand has also been (somewhat) cleared, and today seeds are getting started. Thanks again, and I’ll check back in with updates (will also do so on my own blog.) Happy growing!

  • admin:

    Thanks for the update! I’m growing confident that these seeds are of the Andes tomato. I like the listing here: Andes Tomato The description is perfect: “Meaty with few seeds and rich flavor.”

    I hope you have good results with them, and I look forward to hearing about it!

  • I’m so excited and grateful for the seeds you mailed to me. I received them today. How fun to get seeds from another gardener, such interesting varieties. I can’t wait to try the blue hubbard squash and neck pumpkin. Thanks so much for your efforts!

  • admin:

    Eleanor: Thanks for letting me know the seeds arrived. I do hope you’ll drop by in August or so and let me know how they produce for you… and maybe what you’ve done with the produce. I hope you have a great growing season!

  • Christina:

    I got the seeds and was quite excited about getting some blue hubbard seeds. Of course, this means I’ll have to rethink my garden as I had forgotten I signed up to get these (don’t be offended…I’m one of those people that would forget my head if it weren’t permanently attached). Thanks again for doing this!!

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