Everglades Tomatoes – The Final Free Shipment

The Free Everglades seeds offer is now over.
As I write this, there is a mailbox in front of my house that is jammed full of outgoing mail, every one of them with enough Everglades tomato seeds to kick start a tomato seed business. (So if you haven’t received your seeds by June 20th, contact me!) As Ron (my mailman, you DO know your mailman’s name, don’t you?) picks them up, he takes away an unexpected burden that has been haunting me for almost six months.

SIX! Holy smokes! However, as much of a pain as it has been, I’ve learned a few lessons. (Lemons = lemonade!) Now that it is over, I’ll share my findings.

The Last Free Everglades tomato seeds

Lessons Learned:


  • When I offered to open the free seeds, I never expected more than a couple dozen requests. I received over 1,000!
  • I had a stockpile of around 1,00 seeds. I was initially sending out 10-15 seeds per package…then quickly ran out.
  • Being tomatoes that love the heat, production was at its lowest in February when the article came out, so I couldn’t get more seeds in a timely manner.
  • Ron (my mailman, remember?) stated that I might need to speak with the Post Office about picking up my box of mail if I keep getting this volume of mail, or at least get a bigger mailbox.
  • There is an old axiom –
    You can have it fast, cheap, and done right. Pick two
    These were the right seeds, no questions. These were free, doesn’t get much cheaper! Therefore, it was going to take some time. Some folks, far too many for my efforts, decided they wanted all three, and were indignant at best, and downright nasty in some cases. This on its own has ruined the free offer seeds.
  • I requested folks subscribe to my website as part of this offer. Costs nothing, you get an email every time I publish an article, and if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Well there were more than a few folks that subscribed, I’d eventually send out their seeds, and a week later, they would unsubscribe. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be upset. Bribery is not the way to generate organic, long term traffic. I don’t blame those folks, but it hurt my widdle feewings. :)


  • Some folks went money! I didn’t expect it, but was very happy and touched when I’d open an envelope and find a dollar bill. In the end, it was these folks that were my saviors, as I ended up using the possibility of finding more cash as incentives to my daughters to fill the envelopes. (Stay tuned, my ten year old has shown an interest in continuing the seed business…for a small fee)
  • More than half sent some form of message. Some were fantastic! Most were heartfelt and touching. A few were blunt – “I want free seeds”, no signature. Even those showed they put forth some effort, so I laughed at them and moved on.
  • Some have become a regular correspondence, expanding my circle of friends.

Above all else, THAT is the reason I operate this website, not for the $50 or so a month I make from advertising. I am skilled enough to go out empty handed in just about any spot in this country and make $50 in a day. I know how to hustle (the good kind) and have a double fistful of skills, so money is not the driving force. Community is why I do this. I WANT to help you to learn to be more self-reliant.

Every person that I move towards being responsible for themselves makes my world a better place, and improves their lives through self confidence and personal freedom. As fast as we are losing both of those, I’m holding back the tide, just a wee little bit. If enough pick up the task and start pushing back, we may just recapture what this country once was.

Here is to hoping we aren’t too late…


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  1. Are you kidding me? “You can have it fast, cheap, and done right. Pick two”. That’s my firm’s new official motto. Done.

    1. For those looking for a lawyer, Barry is actually a decent guy…I’m not just saying that because he is a subscriber (that actually reads my stuff), or because he agree with most of what I say…Barry understands community and knows how to improve it and does so as often as he is able…not to improve his standing, but because it is the right thing to do…

      He also laughs at my jokes, that doesn’t hurt, either (actually, to me, that may be his most redeeming quality…) Drop me a note if you want his contact info…

      1. I just wanted to say that after reading this blog I have to tell you my experience with email and subscribing. I have two emails. I am even now receiving two emails from you. I tried to stop one by blocking and unsubscribing it but then it blocks both emails. I could have just written you but didn’t want to bother. I unblocked the one email and here you both are again. I know it is MY fault for not remembering which email I use and if I was one that hurt your feewings I am so sorry. I am still enjoying my everglades tomatoes and appreciate your kindness.

        1. Nope, not you….

          For a a while, I would try to ask each person why they are unsubscribing, and there were a few folks that flat told me they only subscribed to get free seeds.

          You are still here, so are not part of the problem :)


  2. I follow you post and appreciate learning about your efforts and experiences, especially since you are a fellow south Floridian and I learn by gleaning from your posts. Anyway, nice post today – as usual. You are kind to those who are not quite there yet, and it is good to know there are still some very considerate folks around. So, I tried my hand with Everglades tomatoes this season and did not have much luck. The seeds were from a local (ft. Lauderdale) farm. I planted them in a pot, they grew fine but only produced about 3 little tomatoes. The only thing I can think of that I did wrong was inconsistent watering but really have no idea. I thought these plants would be pretty hardy but maybe I was too neglectful. Any pointers as I try again? Thanks for your posts and what you are doing.

    1. Do you live in a house? With an AC unit? Plant them near the water drain line…then stand back.

      Mine DO receive consistent watering, and the plants in larger containers (raised beds being the best) do better than those ins smaller containers.

      God soil might also be a factor…but then, I have a plant in an aquaponic system (with no fish to make plant food!). This plant basically has no soil on its roots, yet is over ten feet long, and is growing still….so I’m going to stick with steady, consistent water and a larger container to help maintain a constant temp and moisture level…

      1. What’s the best way to start the seeds? I have some “jiffy pellets”. Will these work?

        Also how do save the seeds? Do you cut the tomato then take the seeds out and let them dry?

        This is all new to me.

        1. I just plant them in some rich soil, then cover lightly, and water daily.

          Squeeze the best ripe tomatoes, squirting the seeds into a fine wire strainer. Wash vigorously, then air dry.

      2. Thanks for the info, it makes sense to put the pots next to a more consistent water source. We do have ac/house. Will try again!

  3. Hi db – I find myself with lots of extra pigeon pea seeds and sooo want to share them with people for the cost of a SASE as well, but your experience stops me cold in making that offer on my (mostly) gardening blog. Bad people suck. And I don’t want my feewings hurt either!

    1. I’ve thought about alternative methods of doing it….the best ones involved an inventory with a rolling total and a shopping cart of some sort.

      There are several online seed exchanges out there…my local library has an old card catalog (Dewey Decimal, anyone?) that has been modified to be a seed exchange station….

      There ARE options….


      1. The library card file exchange is awesome! I need to move to a small town…sigh. I’ve signed up at Dave’s Garden blog and will see how well that works for seed exchange. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I hate that so many stinky folks made this whole thing go south for you. people DO tend to take advantage. just wanted to tell you that some of us really appreciated your efforts. I shared my seed with one of my homesteading friends and we both have beautiful tomato plants from them. mine are blooming right now and setting small fruit so won’t be long until I can try them. going to save seeds from them for next year. they seem to do well here in ky. thank you again for sending them

    1. So I have great-grandbaby tomato plants in Kentucky? Awesome :) Keep me in the lop on how they do up there…I know mine are going crazy now that it is starting to get hot…

      And as far as the stinky folks are concerned…don’t let them steal any more of your time. Folks like you are the reason I do what I can. And the stinky folks can’t get ALL of the blame…my underestimation of how much of a response I would get is also to blame…

  5. I’m new to the site , so missed the free seed offer, DARN! but loved this article and Barry’s response. I’m here to learn what I can and become more self sufficient but it never hurts to laugh along the way. Really appreciate your efforts to pull heads out of the sand and build a community of doers. Thanks!

    1. Welcome to the site…and sorry you missed it…I’ll put in a good word for you with my daughter, if she decides to go into the seed business….


  6. I would be interested in seeing what your daughter has for sale in the way of seeds, etc.

    Can’t believe I never heard that saying before. Favorite blurb of the day!

    1. I’m working with her to see how she would like to proceed, if at all….

      I worked in the IT section of an automotive consulting firm….I’ve heard a LOT of sales related blurbs…car salesmen think they are so funny…and sometimes they are right! Almost.


  7. Hi DB, Enjoying your site. Letting you know that Restarted my plants from seeds that I purchased from the link you provided. They have started showing signs of life now. I even brought some plants and seeds up to Tenn with me. I am hoping that my son has taken good care of my babies while I am away. :)

  8. have been dropping in since your initial offering of lovely little tomato seeds . . . I sent many thanks, but again, would like to send more. it’s got me all sorts of excited for growing my own, and I appreciate your good heart and compassionate soul. keep on keepin’ on . . .sandy

  9. Hey DB—
    I received your free seeds (I guess I got in before the nasties). They are growing well and have some blossoms. I’m looking forward to the first fruits. I plan on passing the seeds along when I get those first little guys.
    Thanks for what you do.

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