Friday, March 30, 2012

You say tomato, she says toe-mah-toe - I say yum!

I don't know about you, but I have summer on my mind.

Perhaps it is the blustery and rain spattered weather today that is making me long for warmer days and hours in the garden.

Or, perhaps it is the thought of being able to finally eat a tasty and tangy tomato which I am reminded of each time I see one of those anemic, cardboard imposters in the stores now.

Whatever it is, I am sitting here this Friday afternoon with my 2012 garden plan and tomato seed packets dreaming of summer.
This year, I am growing 11 varieties of tomatoes here in our garden - some cherry, some for canning and some for slicing. Some will be repeats from last year, and some will be new to me.

Last year...
Incredibly we managed to have a pretty banner year last summer despite the less than ideal growing growing conditions. My favorites were the Japanese Trifele and the Orange Pixie since were incredibly productive and tasty!  I had little luck with the san marzanos, though that could easily be because I had to wait to put them in until the peas were done in mid July.

Lesson learned - make sure that whatever is planted in the spring has a short growth period so that there is no chance that the tomatoes won't be put in the ground by mid June at the very latest!

The last of summer 2011's haul.
Starts for sale...
I am planning to grow and sell tomato starts again this year - four-inch pots for $2.50 each. They will be ready for pick up by mid to late May, depending on the weather.  I am taking orders right now, and will have some additional starts on-hand on a first come, first served basis.

Cherry Tomatoes
  • NEW! Chocolate cherry: Plants are super productive and produce one inch chestnut and port-wine colored fruit with a delicious, multifaceted flavor. (Indeterminate, 70 days)

  • Gold nugget: Gold Nugget plants are loaded with 1 inch, round golden fruit from early in the season 'til frost. Fruits are unusually rich and sweet flavored when ripe. (Determinate, 60 days)
  • Orange pixie: This plant’s strong, short vines make it the perfect tomato for containers and window boxes. Yellow- orange fruit is just over an inch in diameter and has excellent flavor. (Determinate, 52 days)
  • Sun gold: The unique flavor of this tomato gives it an almost "cult" following. The plants will be loaded with clusters of eight to fourteen tomatoes about an inch in diameter throughout the summer until frost. May be grown in containers with support. (Indeterminate, 57 days)
Sauce/Paste Tomatoes
  • San marzano: This classic Italian paste tomato is considered by many to be the world's best! A low sugar, low-acid tomato, it has a high solids content and excellent flavor. The oblong red fruits are 3"-4" long and 1.5" wide. (Indeterminate, 80 days)
Slicing Tomatoes
  • Brandywine: Amish heirloom with famous distinct flavor, grown since 1885. Fruits are 10 to 14 oz., dark reddish pink, tender and juicy. (Indeterminate, heirloom potato-leafed plants, 85 days)
  • NEW! Burbank slicing: Developed by Luther Burbank around 1915. Determinate and fairly early, Burbank Slicing is a heavy yielder of majestic 3-4 inch fruit. The fruit has a very deep red color and a traditional bold tomato flavor. This was the only variety that Mr. Burbank raised for canning. (Determinate, 75 days)
  • Pineapple: Large, irregular yellow fruits are suffused with red streaks that radiate from a red interior. The flavor is rich and fruity. (Indeterminate, heirloom, 95 days)
  • NEW! Gold medal: This whopper is unbelievably early for its size. The large yellow fruit have an interior blush of red and weigh over 1 pound, some reaching 2 pounds.  The plants grow well in cool nighttime temperatures. (75 days, Indeterminate)
  • Japanese Black Trifele: Pear-shaped fruit has green-streaked shoulders, deepening to a burnished mahogany and finally to a darkened, nearly black base. The meaty interior has similar, opulent shades and an incomparable, almost indescribably complex and rich flavor to match. The fruit reach 2 1/2-3 inches long and wide and are very crack-resistant. Despite the name, this thoroughbred has its origins in Russia. (Indeterminate, heirloom potato-leafed plants, 80-85 days)
  • Green Zebra: This unique tomato is very flavorful and sweet, yet has a zingy and well-balanced taste that isn't too acidic. Mature fruits are golden green with forest green stripes and reach 3 inches in diameter.
About the above descriptions: I have culled these descriptions and images from their seed packets and catalogs – ask if you have additional questions.