In 1984 12.5 million tomato seeds (Rutgers California Supreme), were sent into space where they circled the earth for 6 years aboard a satellite, until the crew of the Columbia retrieved them. Back on earth they were distributed to more than 3 million school children, 64,000 teachers and others around the world. When planted, no significant differences were found between them and their terrestrial counterparts. Although there were no worrisome mutations, there were however, casualties.
“Dear Nasa,” wrote one participant, “My name is Matt. I am in grade 2. I really enjoy growing my plants. Here are my results. My earth seed did not grow. My space seed grew but it fell off my desk. It died.”
Hmmm…these tomato seeds have traveled more than I have!
I rec’d an interesting question from one of my customers. He asked me how my garden was growing and what was my favorite red variety. Every year I grow different tomato varieties, not all of them red. This year, I am loving the Marbella, Red Pear, Willamette and Giant Tree Tomato, all of which are red and very prolific. I won a grand prize at the fair for my Willamettes, an aspiring early heirloom from Oregon.
As for how my garden is doing, I’ve had the worst season ever. Every slug, every flea beetle, aphid and spider mite for miles afround has attacked my vegetable and flower garden. Powdery mildew, early blight, physiological damage (ie curly leaves) from the hot/cold/wet/dry weather we’ve had this summer, has blessed my plants too. Aaaagh!