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Old August 25, 2021   #2
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 34

I advise against purchasing seeds by mail order in the summer or during any hot weather, due to the possibility of the seeds enduring high temperatures in transit. I took advantage of a great sale from a reputable vendor in July 2019 and ended up with some seeds that didn't germinate, probably because the package traveled for 10 days in 90+ degree weather and then sat in my outdoor metal mail box for hours in the sun and heat.

Best time to purchase probably is late December or early January, when the new seeds become available and before anything is sold out. If you buy now, you'll get seeds packed for 2021, vs. seeds packed for 2022 if you buy in December/January or later.

For longest viability, people store tomato seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. I just keep mine indoors in a climate-controlled house in a dry place in a plastic box, with the individual packages sealed with tape. Tomato seeds last for many years that way; I got excellent germination this year with some Fourth of July hybrid seeds from 2012. Certainly you can expect tomato seeds to last at least five years if kept dry indoors with no special treatment.

I've been very happy with purchases from: Harris Seeds, Johnny's, Tomato Growers Supply, Botanical Interests, Renee's Garden, Sandhill Preservation, and Park Seed. I'm a lifelong faithful Burpee customer, but their mail order prices have become ridiculous, so I don't buy much from them anymore, except from retail store racks.

I grew Braveheart (purchased from Park Seed) this year for the first time and have been happy with it; I'll probably grow it again. It has been healthy and disease-resistant, holding up well to the early blight and septoria in the garden. It's a vigorous, big plant and extremely prolific, covered with tomatoes. The tomatoes are beautiful, deep red, perfectly round, and very resistant to splitting. The skins are thicker or more noticeable than I like, and the tomatoes are a little on the firm side, but the advantage of that is they keep for a long time after picking. They are sweet and tasty but not unusual or exceptional.

I'm in northern Virginia, with a hot, humid growing climate. Diseases here primarily are early blight and septoria; late blight is very rare here, so I can't really speak to that.
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