Editors Note: This is a guest blog post by Beth Riddick, who grows and sells Heirloom Tomato seedlings at her home at 792 Grant St, Herndon, VA to raise money for Nova Labs FIRST Robotics teams. This year’s sale was held Saturday April 26th.
I saw first hand how Robotics benefited both my kids, even though they are very different from each other. After my son, Ian, took part in Tom Welsh’s LEGO Robotics team, he started to say how he really loved math and wanted to program robots for a living. My daughter, Leah, joined the Herndon High—NASA Headquarters Team 116, and helped establish an Animation Award hosted by Team 116. She brought her writing skills and creativity to the team.
FIRST Robotics gives young inventors a way to pursue their passion, the same way that sports programs give athletes a chance to perform at their best. FIRST also teaches kids to work with people of different talents to create something new and exciting.
Just as we give every kid a chance to try sports, we need to make Robotics available to every child. The best way to do this is to incorporate it into our schools, as we do with sports, art, drama, and music. Until that happens, groups like Nova Labs Robotics gives kids that opportunity.
Rather than sell the tomatoes themselves, we sell the seedlings for gardeners to grow their own plants. The varieties we offer are rarely found in nurseries: dwarf tomatoes that can be grown in pots but produce full-sized, delicious fruit; blue tomatoes that produce anthocyanins in their skin.
All of them are heirlooms, so as long as you make sure they are not cross-pollinated by a different type, you can save the seeds and grow the same type next year. Of course, you’re always welcome to come back and buy new seedlings from us.
Each year, we offer varieties we have grown in our garden ourselves as well as some that are new to us. We mark the ones we have grown before with an asterisk, and only bring back varieties that we really love.
This pic was taken about a week ago.
Cherokee Purple is an old favorite dating back to the 1800’s. Indigo Apple is a new variety that we hope to test this year.
Along with tomato seedlings, we have seedlings for sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, and basil, over 50 varieties in total. We suggest a $3 donation for a well-formed seedling in a 3-inch pot.
With gratitude, I invite all of you back to my front porch. Have a cup of coffee with us, chat about tomatoes, choose something special for your garden.
Nova Labs is offering Summer Camps for Teen Makers and Youth Robotics!