Saturday, April 10, 2010
There is a real joy and satisfaction in saving seeds. When I married Joe, one of the things that came with him was the “Dr. Stover Bean.” The first Stover Bean was given to my mother-in-law by her family physician, whose name was…..you guessed it….Dr. Stover. The beans produced by this seed are flat-podded and grow on a bush. They stay tender all the way through the big bean stage which is the way my family likes them and they don’t have any strings. I’ve never found anything in a seed catalogue that matches. Every year, I plant an extra few feet of beans just so we will have seed for next year. Joe’s brother does the same and if by chance the harvest is slim in my garden, then I can call him for seed next year. Justin is dating a girl whose family grows a very similar bean which they call the Refa Bell Bean. Like us, they carefully hoard the seed each season to ensure next year’s crop.
We also love a sweet tomato that’s marbled with red and yellow. Geneva had seeds for that as well, but after she died I couldn’t find them and I don’t know what it was called. I’ve tried Old German and Mr. Stripey and this year I’m trying one called The Hillbilly tomato which originated not too far from here. When I finally grow one as sweet as Geneva’s original, I will save the seed for my children and grandchildren. Their inheritance will be found in little glass jars full of seeds, carefully labeled and stored on the cool shelves of my root cellar. I like to think that, like me, they will feel connected to their past, as the first sturdy sprouts of Dr. Stover beans poke their heads out of damp soil beds.