My Vegetable, by Alexandra Nelson

As we raise money for a seed saving garden, thoughts turn back to seed saving origins.

Around 2005 I bought my first heirloom tomato seedling, a Black Krim, from a local independent garden center.

It was the most wonderful tomato I’d ever eaten.

Not wanting to risk losing this marvelous plant, I invented the idea of saving the seed.

Okay, I suppose that the idea of saving seeds from one’s backyard garden did not originate with me, but in those days I was gardening entirely in isolation. Not having grown up in a gardening family, I had no idea that anyone else had ever done this. I’m not entirely sure where I thought babies came from, either, come to think of it.

That first year that I saved seeds, I actually did it wrong. And the second. And the third. The fourth year I discovered and this terrific tutorial on saving tomato seeds.

I have now been saving Black Krim seeds from that original plant for nearly 10 years. In fact, you’ll see “Xan’s Black Krim” growing in several Peterson Garden Project plots, and I was thrilled literally to tears at seeing them at our Seed Swap in February.

I was so enamored of seed saving that I’ve started working with the Populuxe Seed Bank in British Columbia, growing a couple of varieties from them each year.

I’m still growing my own backyard cultivar of Black Krim. In fact, I only grow tomatoes from seed I’ve saved.

This year the Peterson Garden Project is teaming up with Seed Savers Exchange to create a Seed Savers Garden at Global Gardens. We’ll be growing rare varieties of tomatoes, peppers, beans and more, and teaching our gardeners and our neighbors how to grow vegetables for the seed harvest.

You can “adopt” a vegetable for a pledge of just $100—we’ll post your name as the “sponsor” of this vegetable in our Seed Savers Garden, and link your name on our website to your adoptee at Seed Savers Exchange.

It feels great to be a vegetable’s mommy (or daddy). Make a pledge of $100 today at