Each year the seed is grown, it stores information about the environment to pass down to the next generation.
The high-altitude adapting seed they’ve been carefully cultivating over the last three years is now available through Seeds Trust. The company’s new line of “High-High” (hh) seed is grown on the Parmenter’s own mountain.
Penn promises there are more mountain-adapted tomato varieties on the way. After all, she grew more than 130 different tomato varieties last season.
In addition to the special high-altitude tomato seeds, Seeds Trust is offering the Parmenter’s short-season ‘Candy Mountain’ sweet corn.
Penn Parmenter learned how to grow food in the mountains of south-central Colorado the hard way. Since 1991 she and her husband Cord have worked to overcome the challenges of gardening at an elevation of 8,120 feet and are now experts at mountain food growing.
The Parmenters were inspired to start saving their mountain-grown seed after attending Seed School led by noted seed authority Bill McDorman. They also created a seed library and “now teach and preach” seed saving.
More information on growing food in the mountains is available on the Parmenter’s website.
Gardeners who like to grow their tomatoes from seed, but struggle to grow them in summers that end too soon, benefit from planting Penn’s short-season, cold-hardy tomatoes. Some of her favorites include ‘Sasha’s Altai’, ‘Perestroika’, ‘Olga’s Yellow Chicken’, ‘Mother Russia’, ‘Mikarda Sweet’, ‘Glacier’ and ‘Mt. Roma’.
“Most store-bought seeds are from far-away places, often near sea level, and grown with humus and humidity,” Penn explained. “The seed needs to acclimate to our Wild West conditions and the amazing thing is, it starts working immediately.”
If you've ever run into problems growing vegetables in your garden, imagine the challenges of gardening at 8,120 feet high.