May 30, 2009

Who Made the Garden 2009

So the time for garden role call has finally arrived for 2009. It was touch and go for a while, but I believe the list is set. Two new accomplishments this season would be, number one, my lack of total panic that is classically followed by the ritual tossing of any sick looking seedlings. Nope....not this season....this season I held onto my sanity and isolated any sick looking babies, and lo and behold most of them grew out of whatever me and the environment had to throw at them. And number two, finally being able to plant my entire tomato garden from my own seedling stock. No store bought starts for me this season. I even had enough plants to give away , and to tuck into stray areas of my flower bed. Even after all of that I still have a few in need of good homes, and I am thinking they will find them at our Community Garden to help fill the local food pantry.

As far as my listing goes, I will leave off the major descriptions and critiques until the Tomatoes on Parade posting in September. For now I will post a basic description if I have one.

So without any further ado...the tomatoes of 2009:

First the cherries.

Whippersnapper - This is a small plant suitable for baskets and pots. The fruit is supposed to be pinkish-red small and oval-ish.

I happened to take a picture of one of my baskets this weekend. I am really pleased with how durable this little guy is.

Green Grape
-This cherry tomato gives a high yield of green fruits with an amber blush when ripe, inside is neon green, thick foliage, very tiny seeds. This variety was bred by Tom Wagner.

Bertucci's Red Grape - Okay, first things first...there is NO VARIETY BY THE NAME BERTUCCI'S RED GRAPE
I only call this plant by that name because I obtained the seeds from a tomato I ate in a salad at the Restaurant that bears the name. Ok so the name says it all, the fruit was a grape shaped red tomato. I only saved the seeds because it was one of a very few tomatoes that I have ever eaten out of season that was even remotely palatable. So I figure ...what the heck, let me see what I get when it actually is tomato season. For all I know it will end up being a big tasteless slicer....but hey , I have the room so I am giving it a shot.

Alyx Little Yellow Sun - I haven't seen much information about this variety out there, and I ordered it based on name alone( It is a long story). But from what I understand this is a yellow cherry. I know, not much to go on there....sorry.

Paste types

Opalka - I have heard a lot of good things about this tomato. The fruits are 3 to 5 inches long, fat and usually with a knob at the blossom end. This tomato originated in Poland.

And Finally

Black Krim - Medium to large,beefsteak shaped reddish-black fruits. From the Island of Krim on the Black Sea.

Brown's Jubilee - As soon as I know what type this is...I will let you know.

Dona - This is a French market variety. It bears smallish, 4-6 ounce slightly oblate shiny red fruit. They are supposed to be very balanced in flavor.

Evergreen - Medium sized, oblate green fruits with an amber blush. I usually love the taste of green when ripes....I hope this one is as juicy and sweet as the others I have tried.

Gregory - I have been informed that this may actually be Gregori's Altais renamed....but there is no way to know for sure. So since I received it as Gregory, I am keeping it as Gregory. However I have no clue what so ever how this tomato will turn out.

Mr. Brown's - Of course I lost all my information on this one. And of course I cant find any info online. I do think I remember being told this is a pink beefsteak. At least I think that is what I remember.....

Orange Strawberry - I am really looking forward to these 8 to 16 oz heart shaped tomatoes. They turn deep orange when mature. A heirloom variety from the USA. Indeterminate.

Primrose Gage
- The primrose-yellow fruit are about the size of a golf ball, with soft, almost velvety skin. Supposedly this variety was collected in 1931 from Dobbie & Company, Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland.

*Updated to add*

Cherokee Green - Collector Craig LeHoullier writes, "In 1997, I grew out Cherokee Chocolate from another seed saver. One plant gave me fruit that stayed green when ripe with delicious flavor. Suspecting it was a cross, it has nonetheless proven to come true from saved seed, indicating that it may be a mutation. It is essentially like Cherokee Purple or Cherokee Chocolate in plant habit, fruit shape and size and flavor, but the interior ripens bright green and the skin takes on a yellowish hue when ripe."

Funny how quickly time starts to fly once the Summer months roll around....but I still can hardly wait for that first fresh tomato.

May 29, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday

I absolutely adore this Iris.

I haven't the foggiest notion what the variety is, and every year all but one stem faces my neighbors driveway....but I do love her delicate pink and luscious peach petals. What a show-off!

*I can't find the cord to charge my camera , so pictures for the time being will be a bit grainy as I am taking them with my phone...Thanks for understanding my scatter-brained-ness.

**I posted this a day early so I wouldn't forget about posting. I am worrying myself to death over a Jury Duty date on Monday and figured my aforementioned scatter-brained-ness might again rear it's ugly head...Thank you again for understanding

May 21, 2009

Radiant , Radical...Radishes

radishes on the left: German Giant ........ radishes on the right:Sparkler

This is the first year....and I mean the first year ever, that radishes have been viable in my garden. And all I can say is....Oh the joy...oh the rapture.... oh the glory of spicy radish-y goodness. That being said, I can also confidently say that there is nothing more satisfying and soul soothing, than the first fruit or veggie out of the garden gracing the dinner table.

So from now on, radishes will have a place in my vegetable patch.
I will admit, this first radish triumph was from an everyday and ordinary sort of peppery good radish. But I am hooked. Sooooo....I vow to try more exotic and luscious varieties in the near future. I am on to bigger and better bulbs. Roots of black, white, pink and the winter wonderful types. My motto will forever root left behind.

Now hows that for radish devotion.

May 18, 2009

Wow...I wasn't expecting the over night temperature to be so low in mid-May. But there you go...37 degrees Fahrenheit tonight, and 33 for tomorrow. I'm glad that I held off planting my tomatoes. Its been a rough enough year with them as it is, what with the cool and damp for weeks at a time.
The peppers are in, but there are only a dozen or so of them, and they are all snuggled comfortably under pots for the night. I am keeping my fingers crossed, as this is the first time in the 20 years I have had a veggie garden that a freeze has become an issue for me. And please do not try to figure out my age by that past statement....I am in no way even close to being older than dirt.
I am listening to my weather guy, and very hopeful that after tonight things will go smoothly I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed, and unless the 8 day forecast changes drastically over the next two days, my tomatoes will make their garden debut on Tuesday or Wednesday, then I will post the varieties that made the final 2009 cut right afterwards...I am soooo looking forward to a nice ripe 'mater.

*EDITED Monday: the above was supposed to be posted Sunday night, but due to teenagers in the house I was unable to secure computer time....however, tonight there is a freeze warning for inland areas around me, so this posting is just as valid today as it was yesterday*

May 7, 2009

Rain, Rain ....Go Away

You would never catch that phrase coming out of my mouth in the heat of August when the lawn is browner than my favorite chocolate cake. But today is somewhere around the 8th day that has had some sort of rain or drizzle-y gloominess. My tomatoes are definitely worse for the saturated air....and truthfully , so am I. Saturday there was a short period of sun, but of course that was followed by a rainy Sunday. Monday was spotty drizzle, but dry long enough for me to get out and fuss with my seedlings, and by the way my tomatoes looked pretty good then. Tuesday was another grey day followed up with less drizzle and more serious rain, which of course splashed driveway dirt and sand up onto my seedlings. Yesterday started out with showers, but by afternoon the sun managed to peak out from behind the clouds off and I was hopeful the maters would get a good chance to dry off. That was when I noticed all of the water logged spots on a few of the varieties. Then of course once the sun went down the rain came back, and although my local meteorologist claimed that we would have afternoon clearing, here it is 2:40 in the P.M. and it still is as grey as an elephants rear out my front window(out the back window too for anyone who wants to get specific)....I don't think I can take much more of this.

This is my third year growing my own plants from my own seeds, and the second year in a row with issues....sheesh. But I am going to be much more optimistic this year than I was last year when I threw away many seedlings that very well may have outgrown their wilty-ness and become viable plants. So I have isolated the plants that are most spotted, and am crossing my fingers for the rest. Now I am no expert, and I probably have a host of damp/cold related fungus and bacteria on my precious plants, but I am hoping that this is just weather related nastiness and the plants will grow out of it once the sun comes back for a more prolonged period of time and I can actually get them into the garden. Come on rain ....take a week off , will ya?!?!

Cross your fingers for me too!!

May 3, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday

I haven't posted on Green Thumb Sunday in a long , long long time. But now that Spring has Sprung I feel the urge.

Here is a pretty interesting moth that fluttered to the ground in front of me last weekend. I thought at firs it was an old brown leaf from one of the busshes or off the tree above me...until I realised there was no breeze or leaves fluttering around, and the flutter had purpose.

Happy Green Thumb Sunday!!