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Seed Saving Blog

How to Turn 1 Tomato into 90,000

January 20, 2022 | Kari

Time, money, and energy are limited and valuable commodities. People have only so much of them to spend.  When determining how to allocate these resources, Return on Investment (ROI) is often a major consideration.  According to Investopedia, ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of an investment.  People tend to informally evaluate ROI all the time and make choices based on what will serve best to achieve an objective, whatever it may be.

Gardeners and urban farmers are not exempt from making ROI evaluations.  We ask ourselves questions such as How can I grow the most food in the amount of space available?  How can I make cultivation more enjoyable?  How can I multiply my efforts?

In terms of multiplication, there is no better Return on Investment for gardeners than saving and planting one’s own seeds.  Saving seeds costs no money and requires very little time and effort.  It is cheaper and easier than shopping for commercial seeds year after year.  And the returns are exponential.

Consider the Early Girl tomato.  Nestled inside each tomato are 150 to 300 seeds.  How many tomatoes can 300 seeds yield?  A lot!  In a Bonnie Plants test garden, each Early Girl tomato plant averaged a yield of 300 tomatoes.  300 seeds X 300 fruits = 90,000 tomatoes!

Even if you cut that number in half to account for germination failure or lower than average yield, that is an amazing ROI.

The mission of the Great American Seed Up is to get seeds into the hands of gardeners and support the resilience of communities across the country.  The heirloom seed varieties that we stock are easy to grow and suitable for seed saving.  We love to hear about our customer’s gardens.  And we are even more thrilled when they save seeds from the harvest to plant the next season. By doing so year after year, these gardeners may never need to buy seeds to those varieties again.  And they will undoubtedly have plenty of extra seeds to share with others.

GASU seed bundles can be found here.  Each bundle contains plenty of seed to grow, save and share amongst 10 or more gardeners.

If you happen to be in the Phoenix area, register to attend the Phoenix Seed Up on November 4th and 5th, 2022.  This is a live, in-person event held in Phoenix, Arizona. Registration and more info can be found here.