I was informed by the breeder of the show winning tomato Zenith that it’s now available to me once more after much pressure from myself to have it re instated. The phone calls I had expressing disappointment from growers regarding its demise from last years shop speaks volumes regarding it’s superb quality in every way. The shape is as near to round as you can get with a lovely wide expanse of bright green calyx that invitingly turns upwards to face the judge!. It’s also a vine ripe variety offering the grower a much larger amount of fully ripened fruit to select from as the tomatoes stay firm on the plant much longer. We will have stock in from next week and these are fresh ‘Grade A’ seed having a 90% germination level. They will be available from my on line shop. There’s no doubt that Jim McCartney can grow some top quality tomatoes having been in amongst the cards at National level on numerous occasions and winning at the NVS Championships at Dorchester last year with a really top quality set.
For information. Seed merchants are legally obliged to sell seed with a minimum percentage germination on all vegetables whereas with flower seed there is no such legal requirement!! Tomato seed have a minimum requirement of 70% although we strive to order and store precision seed that have a much higher minimum germination level. Provokingly, if we order 10,000 seed, in theory 2,500 seed could fail to germinate and we would still be legally correct!!. However the truth is that the seed producers are much more reliable than that and have very sophisticated cleaning and storing facilities to ensure that you have seed of the highest germination possible. All our seed are stored in a large commercial style fridge in order to try and achieve as high a germination rate as possible.
It’s generally accepted that tomato seed will stay viable for four years if stored correctly in a cool environment. If tomato seeds are appropriately fermented, dried, and stored, they can last up to 10 years with a germination rate of 50%. If used within 4-7 years, the germination rate will be much better. A Heirloom tomato pioneer, Carolyn Male, has re-awakened 22-year-old tomato seeds with the documented record of rejuvenation being 50 years. That’s certainly a long time to lay dormant.