Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Tomatoes

As this blog often serves as a visual diary for me, I am recording the tomato varieties for this year. The tomato bed was last year's green bean, cucumber and zucchini bed, and I believe in rotating plantings to avoid diseases etc. That being said, I did throw in two zucchini plants and discovered a volunteer cucumber, so nevermind.

I love homegrown tomatoes and while I am the only eater in the family, I do believe in sharing the harvest. O wait...Chumley likes tomatoes, even the rotten ones. eek.
There are so many varieties available, even exotic ones were found at my local Walmart garden center. Super Fantastic appealed to me, if only for the name, which had better live up to its hype.

How nice that I can find examples of the fruit on Google Images.
I had to buy Cherokee Purple, which to me sounds exotic. It's an  heirloom variety and it was a difficult choice between this and Mortgage Lifter, which is a huge beefsteak type. The Cherokee is a 'black' variety, but the flavor is supposedly delish...I hope so!

Here's the Bonnie Grape tomato.
The description: Bonnie Grape grows into a vigorous vine that can reach 8 to 9 feet tall in a season, easily growing over the top of the cage and back down again. Because it is disease resistant, you will enjoy an extended harvest. This makes an absolutely beautiful branch of tomatoes that you can lay out on a table and let folks pick their own from the stem, kinda like grapes. It’s a crowd pleaser. All I will need is the crowd.
In case I need more clusters of small tomatoes, I went for Husky Cherry which I had last year, and while it says it is dwarf, it is also indeterminate, aka uncontrollable. It got very big last year, but had lots and lots of fruit.

And now a word about BASIL. I know I have mentioned this before, or ranted about it I guess. It is time to plant some basil, even if you live in the way up north. It is the easiest plant to grow and offers such marvelous rewards, especially with tomatoes. If you have a sunny spot with at least four to six hours of sunlight, get a long cheap plastic window box, a bag of potting soil and one packet of seeds.  I left an unopened packet of seeds outside and it got rained on. Upon opening the paper I discovered the seeds had all sprouted. Into the planter they went, with the aid of tweezers, as the seeds are gummy once sprouting has taken place. Two days later, tiny green leaves began to show and I hadn't even buried the seeds. Water lightly daily until well established and expect fragrant rewards.
This year I planted Mammoth, Lettuce Leaf,  Opal and Purple varieties, and a few Genovese just for old times sake. I'll be sharing the harvest of these too.
Basil, Opal

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  1. Here's a tip about Cherokee Purple tomatoes I wish I'd known when I started growing them:

    If you wait until they look ripe and purple to eat them, they're going to be over-ripe and not as tasty. We like them best when they still look just a little too green.

    Of course, your mileage may vary, there's no accounting for taste, and objects in the mirror may be closer than they look.

    Enjoy your garden!

  2. My dad loved Cherokee Purple and so do I! Just got a free seedling this weekend, so I am happy.

    They are definitely tasty and retail for $5.99 a pound at our Taos natural foods market.

  3. Hi Melody,
    I haven't tried this myself yet, but a few years ago one of the gardeners at Crabtree Farms said that Cherokee Purple can be a little tricky and they are happy if you put a little bit of Epsom salts in the hole at planting time. I remembered this after setting mine in the garden, so I'm going to top dress once the ground dries up. Isn't this rain lovely?

  4. I love home grown tomatoes right off the vine. Each time I pass the garden I have to pluck a cherry tomato off and enjoy its warm delicious flavor. Just planted ours too, finally warm enough.

  5. My dog Stirling loves to eat tomatoes JUST when they turn ripe! It took a loooong time for us to figure that out, we were baffled by the tomato disappearances until we caught him in the act! :-)

  6. What a delightful garden you are making-- thanks for sharing
    Kiwi Jan
    Jan Cotton NZ


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