[tomato] Re: [CH] seed certification

Dave Anderson (Tomato@GlobalGarden.com)
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 20:55:14 -0700

I'm going to just post two paragraphs which Byron sent to me and 
the entire tomato group on June 18, 1999.

"My $7 purchase of diseased seeds has cost me over $1000 in 
seed disease testing, soil testing, lost wages and soil 
replacement. Am I extremely PO'd ??, you bet.

If your seeds are certified disease free and you advertise as such, I 
don't see the problem."

That's a big step from his quotes below from Stokes and Johnny's. 
I'll be happy to forward his entire message to anyone who is 

Now, let me quote from the Stoke's terms and conditions of sale:

"Note: Seed is a live product which depends on many important 
related grower skills such as proper planting time, seed depth, type 
of soil, irrigation, proper use of fertilizers, weed controls, fungicides, 
insecticides, disease free soil, and reasonable weather conditions 
during the growing period. These factors are totally out of the 
seedsman's control and are the grower's responsibility and risk. 
Our seed cannot be unconditionally guaranteed to perform properly -
 regardless of weather conditions or the grower's methods or 

The following is taken from cultural information for tomatoes on 
page 50 of the 1999 Stokes Growers Guide:

"TOMATO DISEASES: In the last few years growers have almost 
eliminated seed borne diseases on tomato seeds. Now the leading 
causes are considered to be (a) field trimmed transplants that have 
been mowed before shipping, (b) unsterilized plastic foam 
transplanting trays, (c) unsterilized potting soil, (d) improperly 
fumigated greenhouses, (e) nesting insects from outdoors, (f) 
perennial diseased host plants from the field (golden rod, wild 
turnip, asparagus), (g) failure to rotate crops from the previous year, 
(h) overhead irrigation and (i) contaminated knives or tools used 
when suckering or cultivating. Recent evidence indicates that 
migratory insects cause bacterial disease."

"HOT WATER TREATED SEED: Most of our open pollinated row 
crop and our own extensive hybrid tomato seed has been defuzzed 
and HWT/TSP/Chlorine treated. We also use natural fermentation. 
This treatment should reduce the possibilities of seed borne 
disease but will not eliminate it -no treatment to date, has proven 
fool proof. It will not prevent disease if It is already present in your 
greenhouse, soil, flats, etc. Some of our suppliers are supplying us 
with seedborne disease certification certificates (Peto, Rogers, 
Asgrow) which they claim makes HWT unnecessary and less 
harmful to germination. If you need HWT tomato seed - you must 
indicate theis (HWT) on your order. This is a harmless, organic, hot 
water rinse. Orders must be placed by March 15th. HWT on 
request @ $15.00/lb."

Stokes may be getting some certification from their wholesalers, 
but  they sure aren't passing it on to Byron.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stokes and their 
products and regularly purchase from them at both the wholesale 
and retail levels. Their information on how to grow from various 
seeds is second to none and I would recommend their catalog to 
any grower, but they sure aren't certifying their seeds as disease 
free. That's just another of Byron's many inventions.

> RE Dave Anderson statement
> >That is because Byron makes new things up as he goes along. In 
> >his last tirade at me, he invented some new "seed certification" 
> >process where seed suppliers are required to certify that their seed is
> >"disease free". I probably have 50 catalogs and no supplier in his right
> >mind would say that.
> re Stokes Seed; 1999 catalog Pg 42 under Culture
> "All our seed is Georgia Treatment (chlorine treatment) to limit seed
> borne disease. All varieties are screened @ 0/30,000 for bacterial spot"
> re Johnny's Seed; 1999 catalog. pg 45 under culture
> "Bacterial Spot Notice: Bacterial spot can be a seed borne disease. All
> Johnny's seed lots are tested for bacterial spot, and we chlorine treat
> all positive lots. No treatment can assure absolute freedom from disease" 

Here's the information from page 42 of the Stokes catalog for 
peppers culture:

"BACTERIAL DISEASES: All our seed is Georgia Treatment 
(Chlorine treated) to limit seed born disease. All varieties are 
screened @ 0/30,000 for Bacterial Spot. The new X3R varieties are 
tolerant (but not immune) to races 1, 2 and 3 of Bacterial Spot. Be 
cautious of secondary bacterial infections form migratory insects. 
Start spraying by late June and stay out of wet fields to limit 
spreading diseases."

That statement certainly doesn't expand on Byron's newly invented 
"Certified disease free" seed requirement.

For the last year since Byron started complaining about the seed 
borne diseases which he alledgedly suffered from, and which were 
documented by the University of New Hampshire, I've asked for 
three things:

Which seed varieties?

Which seed borne diseases?

A copy of the documentation from the University.

Byron never answers those requests. Remember that he was 
originally working on Tobacco Mosaic Virus, but since that didn't 
work out too well, he's concentrating on Bacterial Leaf Spot this 

If the University report specifies that the seeds were contaminated 
by TMV, that could make Byron the culprit if he handled them, but 
we don't really know if there is a report, do we?

Dave Anderson
Tough Love Chile Co.