Saving Miss Lucy


| 8/29/2017 12:00:00 AM


Tags: seed saving, growing heirloom tomatoes, organic gardening, tecniques, Cindy Barlowe,

She’s quite the lady.  Strong and productive, even when adversity strikes.  Also, she has one of the biggest hearts around.  Miss Lucy is her name.  Well, it’s not her real name, but since the man who introduced her to me calls her Miss Lucy, I do the same.  Although she is a relative newcomer to my garden, Miss Lucy, a tall vining heirloom tomato, produces abundant, beautiful fruit and she seems to thrive when her neighbors wither in drought or drown in heavy rains. 

Miss Lucy pounder

Through the patchwork quilt serendipity that connects heirloom seed savers, I exchanged emails with Arty Schronce, an agricultural specialist in Georgia, who saw a story I wrote about growing black peanuts.  Arty’s father, Gordon Schronce, who lives in Iron Station, NC, grows black peanuts and supplies seed to companies, including the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  Mr. Schronce and I corresponded and I was thrilled when he sent some special heirloom seeds to me.  Along with white cucumbers, seed for a pink oxheart tomato was tucked in the package.  Mr. Schronce said he received the seed from an elderly woman, Miss Lucy, who grew these lovely tomatoes for many years.  In honor of her, Mr. Schronce called the tomato the “Miss Lucy.” 

A tall plant, Miss Lucy usually outgrows six-foot cages.  Abundant fruit sets on her strong limbs and ripe tomatoes often weigh more than a pound.  Smooth pink skin and richly colored, juicy flesh are trademarks of Miss Lucy.  With few seeds for the size of her fruit, Miss Lucy is an excellent slicing tomato and a sandwich made from her fruit is the ultimate summer treat.  Because she consistently produces in a variety of growing conditions and because she is delicious, I select a few of Miss Lucy’s most perfect specimens and harvest seeds to save for future planting.

Although there are many methods for saving tomato seed, I find the following to be most successful for me.  If you have a favorite heirloom tomato in your summer garden, harvest some seeds to grow next year.  With that first taste of next-generation fruit, you will happily welcome back a friend. 

 Miss Lucy seeding




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