Re: [tomato] It's your turn

Louis Mensing (
Sun, 18 Oct 1998 10:11:16 -0700

Hi Chuck,

>>> I am not interested, however, in finding out
>how I am being duped by big business or some other nebulous force  when I
>don't mind spending a few bucks for the convince of buying seeds or
>Your lack of interest in preserving germ plasm that has evolved over
>centuries in opposition to utilizing that which is easiest for the moment,
>seems frivolous.  The baby boomer generation seems beset with those who
>think only of "me" and "now".

Gosh Chuck, relax.  Don't blame the baby boomers.  I'm 59 years old.  I know
I'm important but I just didn't realize that I was the one that was causing
the extinction of the old varieties of tomatoes.  Most all of my neighbors
don't raise tomatoes.  Where do they fit in?

 Extinct is forever and even the hybridizers
>must have stable germ plasm from which to work.  To cite an example, a mule
>is a hybrid and if mules are to continue to exist past the current
>generation, somebody must continue to raise the horses and donkeys which
>are crossed to create the mule.  Your few bucks for convenience are
>financing the destruction of the very foundation on which gardening was
>developed.  This invites going back to the "hunter/gatherer stage in the
>evolution of mankind.

Come now, hybrid tomatoes usually aren't sterile.  Horses and donkeys are a
completely different situation.  Also, what a 'heavy' order to follow.  My
shoulders are not broad or strong enough tocarry this load.

As far as the perpetrators being some "nebulous" force, I submit such
>companies as Ceiba/Geigy, Shell, and Volvo as three of the top ten in
>infamy.  Do you consider those behamothe nebulous? Companies of this
>magnitude have the ability to "pull the wool over the eyes" of the majority
>of readers.  After all of my research I must admit to falling for Burpees
>pitch about 4th of July and once again I was disappointed.  To continue
>with ones head in the sand is to march with the crowd as our genetic base
>is eroded by those who are only interested in money now.  On the other
>hand, it has been said that "where ignorance is bliss.'tis folly to be

Chuck, if I can't identify the person(s) who are making the decissions or
causing the problems, then I don't take on the issue.  I refuse to be
disipated by reacting to a whole company.  I have limited energy.

>Stabilazation of a variety involves starting woth about two dozen plants
>from f2 seed, collected from a hybrid fruit.  From these plants, collect
>seed from the one that most closely resemples the original.  Continue this
>winnowing process until all plants are edenticalfor three generations and
>you can consider yourself to have a stable variety.  This is the lengthy
>although vital step that the seed barons have ignored.  When they decide to
>drop a seed it becomes EXTINCT as in for ever and that can very well cost
>us our food crops worldwide.

Thanks for sharing this information.  I am sure though, that over many
generations of saving seed that there are slight changes in varieties so
that after 20  or 30 years the change could be quite great.  All varieties
of plants need continued selection over the years.  Also as we change I'm
sure we sellect for slightly difference prefferences.

Good gardening to you too,
Louis Mensing
Eugene, OR