Tomato Standouts 2012

I’ve heard it said that it can take a good 3 or 4 years to really get new garden soil to where it needs to be for the most productive gardening.  This year was a glimpse of that.  While I didn’t have a great year, production wise, I got at least a taste of almost everything I planted this year.  There were a few that were particularly great for me- whether because they had a great taste, or they were productive, they likely earned a spot in next year’s garden.

I actually was able to start picking a few early tomatoes towards the end of July this year.  And by the second week in August, I was going out for daily pickings, and coming in with quite the handful.

I am happy to report that this year I did not need to purchase any tomatoes from elsewhere.  I made all my salsas with my own tomatoes, and also managed to get a few quarts and pints of plain old canned tomatoes on the shelves.

One of the first to really ripen up this year was my Black Krim tomatoes.

I have overlooked this one in the past, and will not do so again.   It was one of the first to ripen in the first days of August- and I still was harvesting from this plant at the end of September.   And this plant happened to be in my one tomato bed that had some kind of fungus problems.   I am anxious to see how Black Krim does next year in a better location.

Northern Lights is one I’ve wanted to try, but I’ve had terrible luck getting a plant in the ground the last few years.   Now I know what I was missing!

This gorgeous bi-color tomato was insanely productive!  It produced big fat slicers that we devoured on BLT’s and other sandwiches.  Nicely juicy, and they had a great tomato flavor.  I would frequently find myself snacking on these ones.

Black Ethipian was a huge stunner!

I got this plant from Minnesota, and promptly saved seed.  Apparently these were resistant to cracking, because there was literally none that cracked at the end of the season.  A deep purple, almost brown tomato, these had a lovely deep flavor, and were quite productive as well.  These are a plum sized tomato, but more juicy than an Amish Paste.  Delicious every way I ate them.

My cherry tomatoes did well this year too!

Well, sort of.  I had some serious problems with mutations in some of my plants.  My green cherry threw all kinds of non-tasty clunkers, and I never did get the delicious green cherries that Minnesota had in his garden.  My Sweet Beverly, while delicious, looked a lot like the Yellow Pear tomatoes, instead of the bright orange jewels they were supposed to be.  My Reisentraube did spectacularly well- tasting great right up to the frost.  Black Cherry, as always, was a delicious addition to everything.  My reliable Lemon Drop tomato tantalized my taste buds with their sweetness every time I went out to the garden.  The only one I really did not care for this year was the Snow White Cherry.  My tastebuds must just be strange, because I thought they tasted off to me.  I far prefer the Lemon Drop over the Snow White for flavor.

Another standout I didn’t actually grow this year, but I have seed and will grow next year is the Golden Cherokee.  Minnesota grew this one, and it was absolutely delicious.

I am anxious to see if my seeds produce the same tomato next year.  The Golden Cherokee is the bright yellow one on this plate. So sweet and full of tomato flavor, this was a winner.  I don’t remember which green we had on this plate, but the one below it is the Chocolate Stripes tomato.  Another good one, very pretty to look at.  However, it was really unfair to Chocolate Stripes to have it sitting next to that Golden Cherokee- the flavor really paled in comparison.

There were other standouts too, but I don’t have pictures of them.  🙂  Ananas Noire turned out to also be a delicious bi-color tomato, and quite productive, especially late in the season.   The Kamatis Tagalog- a tomato from the Philippines, turned out as delicious as I’d anticipated.  Southern Night was a great early purple tomato.  Not the most flavorful, but it was good enough to grow again. Owen’s Purple was a tomato I’d traded for, and I wasn’t disappointed.  A deep flavored purple, it produced very large fruits, it just didn’t produce in quantity for me.  I plan to grow it next year and give it another chance to really blow me away.  Aunt Ruby’s German Green reminded me how delicious it was, and Humph also impressed me as another “green when ripe” tomato.

I did have a few that I won’t be growing again, I don’t think.  I know things change, but Pink Grapefruit was such a disappointment.  It was a pretty bi-color, but it was really bland taste-wise.  Pilcer Vesey was another blander yellow tomato, and yet it produced some of my largest tomatoes, so I’m not totally sure of it.  I was not a fan of any of the dwarf plants that I grew.  I may try more in the future, and they make a fun winter growing project, but their flavors really paled in comparison to the more traditional tomatoes.

I had one garden bed that really didn’t do well this year, and unfortunately, that was where half of my tomatoes were.  Last year I had ONE plant that had some kind of wilt in that garden.  This year, all the plants in that bed were stunted in one way or another.  Next year I will be planting legumes in that patch to try and get the soil corrected, and will move the tomatoes to the next bed over.   So as a result of that, I didn’t get to taste many of my favorites.  I had just a few from the Malakite Box and Grace Lahman plants over there.  As I look at that list from that bed… so many I wished I’d had more than just one small taste of.  Next year will be better, and I have such a massive list of new tomatoes to try…  I wish I had more space!

Garden Update: End of June

What a beautiful garden!  Every time it rains, the garden shoots up like gangbusters.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been doing that much, and watering has had to suffice.  I’m really enjoying my garden this year, and I’m already planning how to deal with the abundance that will be rolling in soon!  Let’s take a tour!

This is my zucchini patch.  All three plants are doing great.  One is a bush zucchini, one is a traditional green, and one should be a yellow.  We’ll see what actually shows up!

Next door to the zucchini we have the tomatillos.  This bush is massive and so pretty with all the blossoms.  I’m still waiting for some of them to take, and I’ve certainly seen bees and other bugs about to do their thing… I think the second bush just needs to do some catching up.

The hot peppers, and sweet peppers for that matter, are really loving the heat.  We have blossoms, peppers and some growth.  Surprisingly, the Ghost peppers I have in pots are neck and neck with the ones in the garden proper.  I find that very interesting.   I think the peppers above are Bulgarian Carrot- which we’ve decided I need to try pickling for Andy.

The beans and cucumbers are doing amazing.  Many of the bean plants have the beginnings of blossoms- I’m hoping they can hold off until after our camping week coming up to start fruiting.   I have beans planted all over the place.  After getting only a few handfuls last year, I decided I wanted tons this year.  My freezer is just dying for several quarts of frozen green beans!

We’ve been sneaking a few carrots here and there.  The kids just love them so much!  I’d love for them to continue growing and get bigger, but it’s hard to resist a carrot fresh from the soil.  I do have more planted- these are from my March planting- but the germination on the second round is not as great as the first round.

So how about some tomato talk?  My tomatoes… wow, are they blessed this year!  They’re so large and deep dark green, and the blossoms are rolling in.  Many are bearing fruit already!  I have the thickest stems I’ve ever seen- I’ve been doing the Florida Weave for support, but honestly, these plants are four feet tall and don’t need the support yet.  Absolutely amazing.

Here’s one of the beds above.  This bed has the dwarves planted in it- which has been my only problem so far.  They’re shorter than the other plants (duh) and they grow slower, so using the Florida Weave has been problematic.  If I continue to grow dwarves in the future, I’m going to have to take that into consideration and plant the dwarves in rows together.

My Southern Night is in the bed above, and these are the size of the leaves on that plant.  I’ve never had tomato leaves this large!  It’s a potato leaved plant, and is also supposed to be a determinate- we’ll see how it does!

Here is some fruit on my Raspberry Lyanna! This was one of those varieties that I had to have once I read the description.  I have another one somewhere in the garden.

Here’s the second tomato bed.  This is the home of most of my cherries and determinates.   This bed is doing great, of course.

Here are some Earlinorth- true to form!  An early determinate, I have four of these in the garden, and am so eager for a taste!

The Sungolds are the first cherry to bear fruit as well.  I really wasn’t going to plant any of these.  Now I’m glad I did, because these guys may give us an early taste!

Here is bed number three.  There are also eggplants in this bed- no blossoms on the eggplants yet, but the tomatoes are looking wonderful.  I need to go out later today and fertilize this bed- a few too many blossoms have not taken for my taste.  Part of that could be a lack of pollinators, but I definitely see the bees working it, and I do my daily inspection and shaking, so we’ll add some fertilizer as a back-up.

Here is my problem spot that is causing me all kinds of angst.  At the very far right of this picture is my hot pepper patch.  At the top you can see some broccoli plants and kale plants.  And tomatoes.  Lots of them.  Every single one is a volunteer- there are at least a dozen, though I haven’t counted.  At the bottom of this picture is the second planting of carrots.  I just don’t know what to do here!  In this bed last year I had Sweet 100’s, Purple Russians, Black Krim and Pineapple tomatoes planted.  The Pineapple never bore fruit, but the others did… and for absolute certain, there were Sweet 100’s that were dropped.  Zander loves Sweet 100’s, and I didn’t plant any this year.   I want to leave some, but I just can’t bear to pull any out!  We’ll see.  At this point I’m thinking I’ll pull the smallest ones, and there is one in the middle of my kale that needs to go.  Sigh.  As it happens, I also have a cucumber growing in one of my tomato beds that I did not plant.  I was going to pull it out, but it lives on for another day.

And finally, here’s a picture of the potato patch, which appears to be doing well.  Some of the plants are flowering, and we’ve added dirt quite a few times.  The dirt is now up to the top of the cinder blocks, and I’m unsure if I need to keep hilling up or if there is enough dirt to keep the potatoes safe.  I have no idea, but so far, this growing potatoes gig is really easy.  If it produces, I think they’ve just become a staple in the garden.


New Beginnings

January.  Synonymous with cold, snow, frigid temperatures, and dark days.

And yet there are the little things that brighten our days and get us through this long month as we wait for seed-starting season.

Take this tomato plant, for example.

A gift from the Minnesota gardeners, this is a dwarf tomato which seems very happy to be in my care.  Rumor is that it will produce tomatoes for me before I can even think about working in the dirt this spring.  I’m very excited to see how it does.  It grew a lot last week, despite the fact that it was grey and gloomy out all week long.  Yesterday and today we’ve had some sunshine, and it’s really looking good.

I also have started just one round of seeds.  I was also gifted with some Ghost Pepper seeds this Christmas.  I gave these super-hot seeds an eight hour soak in warm water and then put them in a pot of seed starting mix.  I have seven seeds in this pot.

They could take a good three weeks before emerging, but I’m hopeful that the soak in water gave them a bit of a jumpstart.  I have the pot in front of the fireplace for now- it’s keeping them toasty without being too toasty.   These can take a full 160 days to harvest, and since the can be so slow to germinate, I wanted to give them a good head start. One of these Ghost Chilies has a date with the salsa pot.  Just one.  The rest?  Gosh, they scare me just thinking about them, but I’ve recently become obsessed with finding out what kind of flavor these super-hots actually have.  One of THE hottest in the world with scoville units off the charts, I may be insane for even thinking about trying them.

I can’t wait.  🙂

The Unscientific Tomato Experiment

Unscientific because there are way too many variables at stake with these two tomato plants.  However, the results of this experiment are definitely enough to make me pause and give some thought to next year’s garden.

Far and away, THE healthiest tomato plant in my garden is the one that’s not in the garden.  It’s my Valiant.  The one that was extremely anemic, so it didn’t even merit planting in the garden.  On a lark, I planted it, along with several others in the side garden bed, just to see what would happen.  They were summarily snapped or nibbled off by rabbits.  The Valiant was the lone survivor- but even he was snapped off at the soil line.  There was no plant- just a stub of stem.  I wrote it off, but then a few days later discovered that this little plant was struggling to sustain life- it had a new branch and teeny-tiny leaves.

And now?

It’s absolutely beautiful.  It is the healthiest plant in my yard, and it is loaded with large clusters of good-sized tomatoes.  The soil here has been worked two years in a row with composted manure, but it still has a long way to go.  And yet, this tomato plant is just thriving!  It is loaded with large, tennis-to-softball sized fruit.

My Valiant plant in the garden, however is anemic and struggling.   It’s put out very little fruit, and what is still on the plant is small- no bigger than a baseball, but probably closer to a golf ball.

Same yard, same composted manure, same fertilizer schedule going on here.  But there is one majorly big difference.  The awesome Valiant plant is planted directly in the ground.  The wimpy Valiant plant is in a raised bed.   I’ve long known that tomatoes prefer to be in the ground versus in pots, but in-ground versus raised beds isn’t that different.  Especially when the beds are like mine- directly on the soil.

I don’t have a die-hard conclusion here, just observation.  On the one hand, the awesome plant experienced major trauma- supposedly tomato plants thrive with a bit of trauma in their lives.  That alone could explain the vibrancy of the plant.

And yet I cannot dismiss the idea that maybe my struggling tomato plants simply don’t like the raised beds.

But on the other hand, last year my plants were in the ground and produced practically nothing.  Though the soil was dismal at best last year.

So we’ll see.  Maybe next year will be a hybrid of some tomatoes in raised beds, and some directly in the ground.  But that means this must be given serious thought now- as I have several bulbs of garlic to plant this fall, and I’m unsure where those will grow best.

Planted and Thriving

Everything is planted and growing. All of the tomato and pepper plants were planted on Memorial Day. I ended up planting 4 of my tomato plants and 6 of my pepper plants. After planting I was out of town for the rest of the week, and got back late Friday. I took a look at my plants and all of them were looking good except for the ones that I started. I decided to go back to the farmer’s market Saturday morning and see what I could find to replace most of them.

The four tomato plants were pretty easy to find replacements for. I grabbed another Cherokee Purple, a Caspian Pink, a Thesolonika, and a Roma. I ended up picking up four pepper plants too, 2 Caribbean Red Habs and two more jalapeno plants. I hope the jalapenos produce, as they are the staple pepper in my salsa.

As Erika stated I had also avoided posting on here, as my starts this year were horrendous. By Memorial Day I still had 2 inch tall plants. It is like they decided to grow to 2 inches, and then sit at that size for 6 weeks. Some days it made me want to cry.

A user on one of the forums I frequent posted pictures the day before Memorial Day of some tomato plants that he had [i]sown[/i] on May 2nd. They were 10-12 inches tall and looked fabulous. I couldn’t believe it, I thought he must have typed in the date wrong, so I sent him a private message asking him. He said no, he did not have the date wrong, they were in fact sown only 4 weeks ago. Needless to say I now know his secret recipe, and I will be testing some tomato starts tomorrow using this special mix and see how it goes. If they start well I will probably throw two of them in some 5 gallon buckets in that same mix and see how much fruit I can get off of them even though they were started so late. We’ll see – I will be documenting the entire process and post progression pictures.

The list below is almost identical to Erika’s, we bought most of the same plants at the farmers market. Reading up on the varieties I am really looking forward to August! People really need to name their tomatoes better though. It seems like they don’t know how to tell one color from another. For instance, Pruden’s Purple is actually a pink tomato, and Dr. Wyche’s Yellow is golden orange, not even close to being yellow. It seems that orange and yellow are the biggest colors that you can’t count on the name to determine what color they are. We need some standards!

I have 4 super hots this year – I really enjoyed making and tasting my hot sauce last year and plan on making some more. I also want to make something in the hot range in addition to the absolute scorcher that I made last year. We will see if the habaneros have enough time to spit out ripe fruit for me. If not there is always an abundance at the farmers market in the fall for cheap. I think I will also add a few to some small batches of salsa to actually make a hot salsa. I made one last year that bordered on hot and another that was a strong medium. I might even try a mild this year, who knows.

Ok, on to the lists 🙂

Tomatoes 2011:

German Johnson
Purple Calabash
Cherokee Purple (2)
Striped German
Black Cherry
Yellow Brandywine
Green Zebra
Pruden’s Purple (Pink!)
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Purple Russian
Sweet 100
Black Krim
Caspian Pink

Hot Peppers 2011:

Caribbean Red Habanero (2)
Bulgarian Carrot
Maule’s Red Hot
Joe’s Round
Orange Habanero (2)
Jalapeno (7)

No pictures with this post, but I promise some next week!

Decimation And New Hope

I’ve been putting off updating here on the garden blog.  In fact, the Minnesota gardeners have been putting off updating as well, because we’ve been stymied this year.  After growing like gangbusters, for apparently no reason at all, my tomatoes began dying.  And not just a little wilting or leaf-dropping, but full out keeling over of plants.   When I first noticed that my plants were on the decline, it was at the beginning of a busy company weekend, and the plants had to wait several days before attention could be given, and that was the beginning of the end.

I suspect that my first culprit was over-watering.  Growing under lights was a whole new ballgame, and there obviously is a learning curve.  I over-watered, and I watered from the top, so the roots on my plants had no incentive to grow and expand south as they normally do.  Once I realized this, I re-potted my tomatoes, using Miracle Gro soil (hoping the added nutrients would help) and then I didn’t even water them for a few days.  But by then, the damage was done, and they started dropping like flies.  Of the 48 heirloom tomato plants I started with, I have about 6 remaining that I’ll put into the ground, but don’t really expect much to happen there.

This whole time, my peppers and herbs, which were grown under the exact same conditions were thriving like gangbusters.  They’re all beautiful plants and almost ready to go into the ground.

So I resigned myself to having to buy tomatoes this year, knowing full well the limited selection of heirloom tomatoes that I would find at my favorite garden center.

Then, this past weekend, hope arrived at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.  We were out visiting the Minnesota gardeners, and our great big planned plant swap consisted of just a few of my hot peppers arriving in Minnesota.  But that farmer’s market!  We found heirloom after heirloom, and at SUCH reasonable prices.  Not only did we find hope- we found joy, as we recognized these tomatoes.  While I will go yet another year without knowing how Pink Grapefruit and Emerald Evergreen taste, I will get to enjoy some new varieties, such as German Johnson and Moskovich, Tigerella and Cherokee Purple.   We both found ample heirlooms, and it was as if everything in the world was right again.   We also now know for years to come.  Should we experience further problems with tomato propagation, we now have a fallback plan to be able to plant those wonderful heirlooms into our own dirt.

And now the growing season can begin.  The sun is finally beginning to shine, and the waiting game begins.   Pictures are forthcoming, as my first 40 square feet of garden was planted this evening, and the remaining 120 will be planted tomorrow.

As long as there are new seeds, there will always be new hope.

Erika’s 2010 Tomato Report

Despite my poor growing year, I do need to take the time to reflect on this past summer’s tomato harvest.  I had a few stars, a few that were a waste of time to grow, and still others who didn’t produce well for me, but did awesome in the garden in Minnesota.  I have a few that I need to try again because by the time they were all producing, they were at the very end of the season, and I didn’t keep track of what came off what plant.  So, here is my limited tomato report from the 2010 growing season.

I will not grow white tomatoes again.  The White Tomesol I planted was actually quite productive, but they didn’t taste like much of anything at all.  I think if I had space or did market gardening, I would consider it for the novelty.  But I have limited space, and this just wasn’t flavorful like so many other tomatoes.

Black Cherry tomatoes are by far the best cherry to date.  I think I am going to skip the Sungolds this next year and focus on Black Cherry, Reisentraube and find a green cherry as well.  If we can find an elusive sweet yellow pear, we might try that again as well.

A surprise hit for me was the Woodle Orange.  Such a pretty, vibrant orange color, with a TON of sweet tomato flavor.  This was a favorite, and quite productive- even in poor growing conditions.  This one’s a keeper.

The Black From Tula and the Black Krim both were quite productive as well.  However, I didn’t think the Black Krim were near as tasty as other purple varieties of tomato.  While mine didn’t do as well as Tomatobug’s , I really enjoyed the Vorlon and Carbon that I had from both his and my gardens.  The flavor is great, but I’m not crazy about all the green shoulders the purple tomatoes seem to have.  I wonder if that’s a regional growing thing, because when I would leave them to ripen further, they would go bad before any more colors changed.

For green tomatoes, Malakite and Green Zebra are just such reliable deliciousness, that I don’t see replacing them anytime soon.  The Malakite are also some of the first to ripen up.

My Brave General was a brave general indeed and put out a great effort towards the end.  The straight up red fruit was tasty and since the plant produced well in stressful conditions, I’d like to see how it does in a better environment.

The Coeur de Buie was a disappointment.  I was expecting a lot of flavor from this heirloom variety, and it really didn’t deliver.  I don’t expect I’ll be trying this one again.

My purple Gypsy tomato was also a good plant- the fruit it produced was very pretty to look at, and tasty.  Not very productive, but might be worth another shot.

Golden Sunray was an early producer and produced heavy fruit as well.

Those are the standouts from my garden this year.  My Grace Lahman’s had issues this year, so I plan to try a new batch of seed, because two years ago that one produced wonderful tomatoes.  The Arkansas Traveler’s did okay, and the Cosmonaut Volkov’s were good as well.

I’m on the fence about the Fox Cherry for next year.  I know I say that every year, and then I plant them and then I enjoy them.  But they’re only an okay tomato.  They’re bigger than a standard cherry, but not as flavorful as other cherries.  What keeps me planting it again and again is it’s productivity.  It does great and just keeps on putting out more fruit.

As I think about next year’s garden and scaling back…sigh… what an effort when every day there are new varieties of tomato to discover.  I’ve even been reading about the efforts to breed blue tomatoes- which are loaded with anthocyanin to produce a stunning looking true blue-purple tomato.  The seeds are not available commercially yet (thank goodness) but it just shows that there is always something new out there to try.

The rumor is on the street that Baker Creek’s catalog is in transit right now… I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold off reading that baby until after Christmas, which is what I try to do.

Next year I also want to do better with pepper production.  I would like to be able to make salsa without having to go get anything other than garlic and onions- and that’s only because I don’t want to devote precious garden space to plain old onions.  Leeks, scallions and chives yes.  Plain old cheap onions, no.  Ooh, the Allium Bed! How I can’t wait to give it attention.

Andy has started building my raised beds for next year, and I just can’t wait to see more of them put together.  He has a plan in mind to also be able to convert two of the beds into a hoophouse, so that I can get in the garden earlier in the season, or make it last longer into the fall.

I’m so excited!

And maybe now that I have put together my 2010 Tomato Report, we can all wait with baited breath for the report from Minnesota.  His report is going to be a good one.

Hardening Off

It’s finally warmed back up here!  The sun has come out to play- and seems to plan on sticking around for a while.  My tomato plants, while still growing, just have not seemed anywhere near as healthy as last years plants.  I’m going to have to do some researching and learn how to properly grow plants via grow lights.   In the meantime though, it was time to upgrade my tomato plants one more time to larger pots.  These are the last pots they will be in before planting in the ground.  They went this time from 2-inch cell packs to 4-inch stand alone pots.  I used a basic potting mix for the soil that I planted them in.

Now that they are in larger pots, there is room for their roots to spread out, which is what we’re really hoping for in this last phase of potted plant.  In a perfect world, at this stage, the tomatoes would be watered from the bottom of the plant, allowing for the roots to reach and try to suck up the water themselves.  The problem I have with bottom watering is that it can leave the soil too wet if you don’t do it properly.  So I will probably just continue watering from the top.

Which brings us to the ever-important subject of hardening off.  All garden plants grown indoors need a period of time where they can adjust and become acclimated to the elements outside.  My plants have been pampered inside the house- but just setting them outside for good can cause dozens of problems with plants.  A good gust of wind could topple the tender stems over, the leaves could become sunburned, and the plant could not know how to react to bugs.

So yesterday I assembled my portable greenhouse rack- minus the plastic cover.  I set it under the apple tree in the yard, where it would still get a good deal of sun, but that for part of the day, the sun would be dappled by apple tree leaves.  My plants are out there right now as I type this, getting their first taste of late-spring sunshine.  They will sit on that rack for just two hours today.  Tomorrow I will extend that to three, four the following day, and so on.  When they are not on the rack in the sun, they will be moved to my screen porch, where they will not get any sunshine, but will still have the benefit of the warm air and the gentle breeze blowing through.

The peppers will join the tomatoes later this week in being potted up and hardened off.  But for now, I’m very happy to see the progress towards the final planting in the ground.  Now my focus returns to the yard full of weeds- and the ever-present task of clearing out the beds for planting in just a few weeks.  I have a long way to go yet.

Growing Tomatoes Indoors

I have determined that growing tomatoes indoors, in the off-season, is entirely do-able.

Over this past weekend, I discovered that one of my cherry tomatoes was actually beginning to change colors.   A second one followed suit shortly enough, and now I have a pair of cherries marching on towards perfect ripeness.

These plants will be taken down and moved in just two days.  I’m not confident at all that they will survive the moving process, but boy, has this experiment process been fun!

Here is a picture taken just now of the two plants in my bedroom.

Yes, my gardening friends, these plants really are all the way up to the ceiling.  They are nothing short of amazing!  The sheer volume of blossoms and fruit in various stages is mind-boggling.  These plants each take 1/2 gallon of water a day- and probably could stand to be watered more than that, but I don’t want to take a risk of water leaking all over the carpet.

In contrast, here is the third tomato plant.  This one is on the first floor, and is drastically smaller than the two that are upstairs.

Crazy to think that all three seeds came from the same packet, and were started at the same time.  The one by itself is a much smaller plant, and I have better hopes that it will take kindly to the moving process.  This one is a good 2 1/2 feet shorter than the other ones, with the very tip of the longest branch reaching just to the top of the patio door.  This one also takes half a gallon of water a day.

There are just two difference between these plants.  One is geography.  The two are upstairs, the one is downstairs.  Otherwise they are in the exact same windows, receiving the same amount of sunshine.  The biggest difference?  When I potted up the upper plants, I blessed them.  I spoke encouraging words to them and told them to bear abundant fruit and be blessed.   Is that really what makes the big difference?  That’s hard to say, but for my trial run in that regard, I would say that further experimentation of this kind would be well worth the effort.

For now I am very pleased with my efforts to grow tomatoes indoors.  I have already determined that for next year’s experiments, I would like Andy to build me a pair of self-watering containers for the indoor garden.  Imagine the possibilities that could come from having fresh, home grown tomatoes year round?  And that’s only the beginning! Why, I just saw today a fellow gardener shared photos of his tomato plants that look a lot like mine.  He also had a pepper garden indoors- hot peppers and chiles year round?  That sounds just as wonderful.

Hopefully when you next hear from me it will be from my new garden home.  Two days and counting.  I can’t wait.

Tomato Seeds Are In!

Today was the day!  I had about an hour all to myself this afternoon and I decided that time would best be utilized to start some more seeds.  My peppers are doing quite well, and it’s about time for the tomatoes to be on their way too.

All told, I have planted 42 tomato seeds, and at the last minute, I threw in 3 tomatillo seeds as well.  I’m very, very excited to see how the tomatillos do in the ground, as I will have the space.

Ah, space.  Yes, my gardening friends, we are moving to a garden space that has just been waiting for me.  I can’t wait!  In just over two weeks we’ll be moving in and as soon as I can get the boxes ripped open and unpacked, I’ll be digging in that wonderful dirt.

I hadn’t planned on planting 42 tomato seeds.  But I started with 8 varieties that I was also starting for my brother.  Then I went through my seed packets… I have some plants coming to me from my brother as well- a plant swap, if you will… some I planted for myself to try out and enjoy, some I planted to share.  And if any of the ones I started for my brother do not pan out, I have reserves to throw into the mix.

Without further ado, the tomato seeds I planted, listed by color (all seeds come from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds):

White: White Tomesol

Green: Green Zebra, Emerald Evergreen, and Malakite

Pink: Arkansas Traveler, Brave General, Grace Lahman’s Pink, and Manomakh’s Hat

Orange: Woodle Orange, Sungold Select II

Purple: Black From Tula, Gypsy, Ananas Noire (or Black Pineapple)

Striped: Gold Medal, Nature’s Riddle

Yellow: Golden King of Siberia, Pink Grapefruit, Golden Monarch, Roman Candle, Yellow Pear

Red: Amish Paste, Cosmonaut Volkov, Fox Cherry, Reisentraube, Valiant, German Red Strawberry

Yes, that’s a lot of tomatoes.  I have no idea how much actual space I’ll have to devote to them, so I will have to go through and prioritize, and then I’ll be passing on all the extras.