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Administrative | New World Seeds & Tubers

Our apologies if you’ve tried to place an order and ran into our new site being in system maintenance, especially if it happened while you were trying to place an order. We discovered a problem this morning after launch. We realize that it’s getting late for southern growers and we’re working on getting it back as soon as possible. If you successfully placed an order, it’s in process. We expect to be back online in 24-48 hours.



Sorry it took so long; we know a lot of folks in the sunbelt and overseas need seeds NOW. If you find this post on this site, please be advised that we have moved our sales site to:

Our domain automatically redirects to the new site, but for some reason this old site won’t redirect, so please update your bookmarks.

The software we use to connect to our gateway seems to be working most of the time, but it’s not supported by our merchant gateway provider, which means that if you have any difficulties paying by credit card, let us know, and we apologize in advance for your inconvenience. It looks like we trade one set of problems for another. Hopefully the improved navigation is worth it. Your patience is appreciated while our system matures.

Have a great growing season this year!


ETA is January 21st. Sorry for the long wait. Also sorry that some orders late in the year got cancelled due to personal circumstances that proved insurmountable. Some of you got free seed as Tom tried to fill orders long after credit card authorizations expired. Hope that makes it up to you!

The good news is that while this site was down, I’ve created a new and improved site that supersedes our old shopping cart. Our old shopping cart had some problems, including a counter-intuitive user interface.

Our old system was an artifact of me having thrown the site together in a few days, reading instructions cook-book fashion, that I bought through a sale on internet sales how-to manuals (not a joke). This new system is, well, the result of the same kind of day-late-and-dollar-short process, but hey, I learn fast if nothing else. And I show up. That’s half the battle.

The new cart is an instance of the popular zen cart. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as Word Press, but it’s internet sales software, not blogging software. I think you’ll like the layout and features a lot better. Our website will finally look professional. You’ll be redirected automatically to the new site, and this old one will either be retired or scaled down.

In the mean time, I’m finishing up missing components, replacing other people’s advertisements (that’s the price you pay for free software…and I will keep some links to our sponsors somewhere on the page because that’s fair) and testing, and Tom is furiously packing seed.

MORE seed will show up in a few months, courtesy of one of Tom’s new partners. I haven’t asked permission to name him yet, but you might hear about him soon. Also thanks to our many friends and helpers who have supported, encouraged, and sometimes bailed us out. Love ya!

P.S.: Those Nightshade-looking things in the photo. Those are tomatoes. Verde Claro, to be precise. Believe it or not those are ripe. They ripen totally green, without even so much as an amber blush as most green-when-ripe tomatoes have. They’re firm as is common among Tom’s tomatoes, and one of his sweetest varieties.


The picture at the left show Taryn Koerker at a public tomato-tasting event she organized, hosted at the local Junction True Value Hardware store. The event featured many of Tom’s tomatoes. The two qualities that seemed to interest tasters the most were color and sweetness.

I’m about to disable the seed shop for the season because the site is desperately in need of maintenance. For one thing, the shopping cart software is barely functional and needs to be replaced. For another, as many of you have noticed, and commented, our seed stocks are very low. Right now I am busy cleaning tomato seeds to restock it with.

Thank you for your patronage. We’ll be back early next year, hopefully no later than January. I’ll send an announcement when we’re back. If you’ve “liked” our page on Facebook, you might get minor announcements from time to time, if the news filters decide to forward them to you. We have no control over that, but I think you might have some control via your own settings. I’ll look into that later and send a Facebook announcement if I figure out what the setting is.

If you have an outstanding order with us, it’s still in the queue to be processed. Thank you for your patience.

If you don’t hear from us before next year, we hope you had a great harvest, and enjoy upcoming holidays with those dear to your hearts. Warm regards from Tom and Rob.


…unless you edit your subscription to sign up for categories other than “Sales” and “Administrative”. The reason is because a few people have expressed an interest in only getting sales announcements. I guess I had it backwards: I thought I had to provide interesting content and only sometimes hit folks up for sales. But some folks who are collectors just want to be notified of tomato seed availability. So, I have changed the system so that by default, you’ll only be notified of sales announcements unless you change your subscription to sign up for other categories.

I have no way of testing this to see that it works, aside from actually implementing it. There’s no change if you’re subscribed via Facebook or Twitter syndication; in the case of Facebook its own algorithms decide what you’re interested in according to what you click on and “Like”.

Unfortunately most of you are probably having to deal with unfavorable weather. For most of you it’s excessive heat, and for many, drought too. Oddly enough, those of us in maritime climates got the opposite: a cold, wintery, rainy spring and early summer. It was so cold and so wet that planting has been severely impacted. It’s going to be nip and tuck getting crops ripe for harvest. We had to scale back to get anything planted.

Here’s one exception: our crop of Barley is doing great. It’s just starting to turn golden; I expect it will be harvestable by August.

The wheat did not fare as well; it’s not as tolerant of high rainfall and disease. We’ve also lost about 60% of our corn crop.

We’re sold out of many tomato and potato lines. That was expected; at any one time, our inventories are modest. Sorry if you didn’t get everything you wanted. Next year tomatoes might be a little sparce: it was particularly hard for us to grow tomatoes this year due to cold, wet weather. We’ll come up with contingency plans to grow more tomatoes next year using greenhouses and partners in more southerly climates whose irrigation hopefully does not run out.

Sorry our shopping cart is not friendlier about handling sold-out items. I will see about replacing it if I have time and can find something a little friendlier and “smarter”.

Some of you who lost crops to heat and drought might get a second chance: late summer through early winter is another growing season for many cool-growing crops in many parts of the world including here. I’ll be growing out a lot of quick-growing greens for salads, and some root crops for long-term storage. I’ll refresh inventories of what I think might make good late-season crops and post when they’re online.

One way or another I hope you can make the best of this challenging growing season.


Nur für Kunden in Übersee in Ländern, in denen die Zahlung per Kreditkarte ist nicht möglich:

Sie können von uns, indem Sie bestellen

Payment Method = “Send check”

Dann senden Sie Ihre Zahlung per Paypal an

Bitte verwenden Sie diese Methode nur, wenn nötig.

Только для зарубежных заказчиков в странах, где оплата по кредитной карте не представляется возможным:

Вы можете заказать у нас, выбрав

Payment Method = “Send check”

Затем отправить платеж через Paypal на

Пожалуйста, используйте этот метод только тогда, когда это необходимо.


It was a challenge getting these listed. I won’t trouble you with the details of all the obstacles, except to mention that our shopping cart software requires a great deal of tedious one-by-one processing of items. I went over everything multiple times but if an item has the wrong button on it let me know and I’ll fix it. There must be an easier way to do this, but I bet it costs more money than the shopping cart we’re using. I went looking for an upgrade, took one look at the prices, and kept the one we’ve got! (

I should also mention that I’m out of labels. I’ll see what I can do about making some more this weekend. If push comes to shove you might get a hand-written envelop or two. Luckily my handwriting is more legible than Tom’s (sorry Bud).

We will probably have more seed come trickling in, though it depends on Tom’s health, and tubers will show up later this month. There is some built-up demand so I expect everything to sell out quickly; apologies for any disappointments. We will continue to do the small potato packs, but might discontinue the big ones, due to cost (to both you and us) and effort compared to how much time we have to get other things done. There are plenty of companies doing tubers and we’re one of the few doing true seed. True seed is a godsend to home growers because it creates the option of rotating potatoes out completely before disease builds up, and saving the seeds in storage for later planting. It’s also a more sanitary and economical way to buy and ship genetic resources.

I (Rob) am currently looking for someone interested in growing out tomatoes on contract, to either sell to a bigger seed company and give us our cut, or to use in some other way and give us back the seeds. The purpose is to get more seed of our best varieties available to you, in a more efficient manner than our current system, so that we can handle it with our limited human resources. We have a huge backlog of varieties that could be grown out. The intent is to make this a profitable and worthwhile venture for all parties involved. We believe in “win-win or no deal”, and will do what it takes from our side to make it happen.

Tom eating lemon-gingersnap ice cream

As for Tom, I wish I had better news, but I don’t. I’ll go see him the next possible occasion and see what I can do to make life easier for him while I’m there. In the picture he’s eating the ice cream I brought over last time I was there. Thanks, everyone, who have sent along your warm thoughts and prayers. We appreciate that.


All the notes, thoughts, and prayers of concern have touched our hearts, and we appreciate them. Tom has been spending a lot of time with the doctors this week. Nevertheless, the old boy is going to try to get some seeds sorted for me to pick up later this week. Meanwhile, I will be packaging up those seeds that are already in my possession, which tend to be everything OTHER THAN the potatoes and tomatoes you’ve been waiting for.

It’s a little nip and tuck, but I expect one batch of seeds to be listed by Sunday, January 2012. The rest will trickle in over the next few months–sorry for the inconvenience, but the good news is that we cover postage for most orders and even the ones we don’t we don’t charge much, so you won’t feel reamed by shipping and handling costs if you make multiple orders. Most of the cost of shipping and handling is on us.

To make it up to you for the wait, we’ve got a little treat in store for those who are signed up to receive posts like this one.

Personally, I just can’t wait to see seedlings popping up. I haven’t planted anything too warm-growing yet, but I did plant some Cyphomandras (“Tree Tomatoes”–except they are neither trees nor tomatoes) under florescent grow-lights in my basement, and shortly I will plant some Physalis. Both grow a little cooler than Tomatoes do. My basement is probably warm enough for tomatoes, but it could still be a bit chilly (not to mention crowded) in my polytunnels once they outgrow their seed trays.

I need to obtain, and plant, some species potatoes, too, for a breeding project I want to work on this year. Tom has shown me how to cross-pollinate, so it’s time I tried my hand at it. I don’t particularly want to even try to fill his shoes; this is just a specific project I have a personal interest in.

We’re going to make some changes to the company. We still plan on getting Tom’s backlog of tomato and potato varieties to you one way or another, but the market focus of our business will evolve into supporting local production. That means supplying crops covering the major food groups that either have wide tolerances, or are adapted to specific challenging situations.

It also means supplying crops that are either easy-to-store, or have a long harvest season. I’m constantly on the lookout for long-storing root crops, and cut-and-come-again greens. We assume that most of you, like us, don’t have access to hydro-cooling, nitro-packing, and commercial-quality refrigeration. “Canning” (bottling, actually) and lacto-fermented pickling (think “Sauerkraut” and kimchee) are fine, but home-canning gets expensive. Few people do lacto-fermentation anymore, but we’ll cover it as one relatively inexpensive way to store food. A lot of our favorite crops are self-storing, like dry beans and squashes.

Does this shift in our line of business make sense to you? Are you interested in having more home-grown produce, available over a longer time frame, with less overhead to preserve it?

I’ll send another post once the listings are up.


Thanks to everyone who have sent their wishes for a speedy recovery for Tom.

Last I heard from him, he was alive but miserable.

Listings will come back online once he recovers and we’ve had a chance to pack and list our inventory. Our apologies for keeping you waiting.


I suspect that Tom Wagner is himself a “rare breed” not to mention a “Zebra of a different Stripe”. I don’t think there are many independent plant-breeders left.

So far I’ve met in person exactly two, and not for lack of trying.

Well, fancy that: it’s hard to make a living as an independent plant breeder. There are reasons for division of labor. Systems of production work best when each “unit” within the system can concentrate on part of a more complex process, instead of trying to do the whole thing by themselves.

Why? Because if one person tries to do everything, he goes broke buying tools and other resources that sit idle most of the time while he’s working on a stage of the process that doesn’t require that particular tool. It results in high capital overhead and inefficient allocation of tools.

We’re chronically short on “seed money” (no pun intended) too. We can’t just buy our way out of the production bottlenecks we’re constantly in.

What would make more sense is for us to expand our business by partnering with OTHER independent plant breeders who themselves need income. We provide the sales and marketing overhead that we’ve already invested a lot of time in, and someone else supplies the seeds.

The interesting thing about commerce is that one person’s by-product is someone else’s valuable commodity. For example, Tom was producing lots of seed as a by-product of his breeding work, most of which either got eaten or composted (he doesn’t seed every tomato from every plant). He had tried to run his own seed business, but that’s too much overhead for a one-man operation.

There are probably more professional and amateur plant breeders out there, and in a few cases, growers, who have a surplus of something sufficiently interesting, unique, or useful, to be marketable. Having us sell it could bring someone some needed income. In this economy, I suggest not turning up a nose to small but fairly effortless income streams.

I’ll post a semi-permanent link on this page to solicit offers. Wish us luck; it could be a win-win-win situation for our future partners, our customers, and us too.

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