Sunday, May 15, 2011

More About Tomatoes

The spring rains continue; any day now the "girls" will leave their pots to be planted out.  Many are getting leggy and even though they are hardening off outside, there is little sun to warm them. The transition from  inside to outside takes place over a period of ten days or so, in a framed plastic greenhouse. The zipper has long since given up the ghost, so we use document clips to close the sides during the night. If really cold weather is expected, we drape a blanket over and tuck garden fleece around the bottom.

This year, we are trying a number of new varieties like Mexico Midget and Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf, seed shared by Year Round Veggie Gardener originating from Craig the Tomatoman. The latter I plan to put in the raised bed assuming as a dwarf  it will be easy to harvest (as well as Rosella Purple also a dwarf). Wentzell, a local tomato, should do very well for our area and I'm also hoping Granadero, a paste, will produce high yields but good flavor.  Wonder how it will measure up to the one San Marzano we purchased at the local farmers market.

As for the purple black types (which I favor), we are trying Black Plum, Black Cherry, Purple Prince, Pruden's Purple and Rosella Purple. For some brightness....Woodle Orange from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed , Sun Gold Cherry and German Gold.

We have grown Green Zebra in the past and found, if  left that little bit too long, it felt soft and mealy in the mouth and lost a lot of flavor. It really needs picking early, when it is still firm and so, a bit tart..perfect for salsas with some chopped purple hot pepper, lime juice, onion and of our best fresh salsa tomatoes and so, they're back in the garden this year. (This green tomato must be high in pectin as the salsa is almost jelly)

And now for something completely different, OSU Blue from Annapolis Valley Seeds.  There are many pros and cons about it's flavor and blue color, so think we will just 'see for ourselves' how this does in our climate on the South Shore here in Nova Scotia. If nothing else, it's unique but I'm hoping it will be much more than that.

Imagine all those colors... orange, red, yellow, blue, purple black, served on a large white platter; sitting in the shade on a hot summer day sharing the garden's bounty with friends and family.  That's what I imagine as I baby them along, encouraging them to grow big and strong, telling  them "the soft spring rains are here now and once the soil gets a little bit warmer, you can go outside to play"....


  1. Oh Bren.. that photo.. such promise!! Your transplants are by far, the healthiest I've seen.. just lovely. So many wonderful varieties and thank you as well to you for sharing some of your seed with me!

    Craig, the tomato man was on my radio show this morning and we had a great chat about his dwarf tomato project and some of his favourite varieties..

    If only summer would hurry up and get here!

  2. That's a LOT of tomatoes! I can't wait for the day I have a real garden and can plant that many.
    I'm with you on the rain though. I'm ready for real Spring.

  3. Wow! that is a lot of varieties, how do you grow so many? Do you buy plants or grow from seed? If from seed how do you not produce too many. I planted the seed from just ONE small yellow pear shaped tomato a friend had given me and got about 2 dozen plants! I coundn't believe there were so many seeds in one small tomato. I look forward to seeing the crop later in the year! Christina

  4. and I thought I had a lot of tomatoes! what a lovely picture they are and what a lovely picture you've created of all the colours that are to come. Can't wait to see what they will all look like.

  5. Thanks so much for your kind comments, and taking the time to visit the blog.

    Niki, so sorry I missed Craig...really looking forward to finding out how the dwarf project progresses and glad to be trying Rosella Purple and Tazmanian Chocolate Dwarf thanks to you both.

    Potted it is finally sunny and fingers crossed it will stay for a few days at least. I see a farm in your future ;-)

    Christina, thanks for visiting! I never plan to have so many tomatoes but like your yellow pears, suddenly, they all germinate (yes I grow from seed), and if lucky, no damping off, and before you know it...too many tomatoes. I have friends who like to receive some; we take part in a Garden plant exchange each May and also contribute to garden club sales locally. I only have room for about twenty this year as I am doing some rotation of crops. Hope to post photos later if we have a good season.

    Thank you Marguerite, I do hope good weather and healthy plants (for both of us) will result in the tomato platter of my dreams)))

  6. I can just imagine who wonderful your platter of tomatoes will look. I did not have a chance to start tomatoes from seed this year because creating the new vegetable beds has taken up my time. Next year though... For now I will content myself following your progress and I look forward to your reviews of the varieties that you have grown.

  7. Being that we aren't gardens, I had not heard of all the types of tomato's you listed ... but you know the "Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf" caught my attention!! Be sure and post a pic of it this summer! I love "color" and your platter of tomato's is going to be so beautiful! (and yummy too!) You will have great fun photographing them!

  8. Beautiful tomato plants Brenda.The promise of things to come. I have been reading your blog even though I haven't often left a message but good thoughts have been coming your way.

    I have also been potting up but things of a different kind.. . my soul food, 500 perennials to date. The magnolias are blooming, the rhodies are breaking bud and the SUN has been out two days in a row!

    Happy days.