Rare, Open-pollinated & Heirloom Garden Seeds
"Preserving the future,
All of our rare and heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, non-hybrid and chemically untreated. No chemicals, unstable hybrids or genetically engineered seeds!
The Complete List of
The list below represents the lifetime work of seedsman, and father of the modern tomato, Alexander W. Livingston. It also represents more than a decade of preservation work by Mike Dunton and the Victory Seed Company. Click Here to read the rest of the story below.
[ Note: Varieties in BOLD-type have been located and are available by clicking the link. The varieties in ITALIC font are presumed to be extinct. Notes about this are in RED.]
Several of the releases above were made by the Livingston Seed Company after the passing of their founder. In time, the status and stature of company declined and all but a few of their varieties were dropped by the seed industry and lost to the home gardening public.
How did all of this get started?
In the late 1990s, after reading A. W. Livingston's semi-biographical book entitled, "Livingston and the Tomato," Mike Dunton was shocked at how this important seedsman had all but vanished into obscurity. It became a personal mission to not only raise awareness of Mr. Livingston's contributions to horticulture, but to re-release as many of his seed varieties as possible.
Thus began the process of accumulating documentation and seeking out seed samples.
Since one did not exist, the first step in this process was to actually create a list of the tomato varieties that Livingston released. A partial list of early releases was made by the man's own hand in his book. The rest of the list was a bit more difficult to assemble and it actually evolved over a period of a couple of years.
Old company seed catalogs were an important part of this research phase. Catalogs were purchased when possible (and make up an important part of the Victory Horticultural Library's Collection). Through the years, friendships were made with catalog collectors and scans of pages were contributed to this effort.
As the list of introductions was being compiled, we requested and received samples of every Livingston variety that the USDA's seed bank held. Seed from commercial sources was also purchased on the open market and trialed (and generally failed to match Livingston's descriptions). Some seed samples were provided by seed savers.
All of the samples were then grown out and compared to the historical records. We only release the varieties that have a lineage to the original releases and that match the original description, artwork and photographs where possible.
After more than a decade of expending time and money to research and grow these tomatoes, the Victory Seed Company is proud to offer the most complete, as well as, the most accurate collection of A. W. Livingston tomato varieties available in perhaps over seventy years.
A word of caution regarding opportunistic folks . . . Just as they did in the time of A. W. Livingston, other seed sellers have purchased seed from us, grown out on their own stock and are offering some of these varieties that we have worked to re-release.
Note that the seed that they offer has not been grown by us. If you would like to grow out seed that is as close to what you could have purchased from old A. W., please consider ordering from us. Your purchases directly support this type of seed variety preservation work. Without it, varieties like these would remain in obscurity or worse, lost forever.
[Note: The Seedsman Hall of Fame, the Victory Horticultural Library, and the Livingston Tomato Collection are all a result of reading "Livingston and the Tomato" and funded through the seed sales from our gardening supporters. Thank you for your active participation in this mission.]