Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tomato Tuesday


This weeks tomato spotlight is on "Basinga". Basinga is an indeterminate tomato plant with regular leaves which produces medium size light yellow fruit with a pink blush at the blossom end. My plant was very prolific and the tomatoes were very sweet and juicy. I found that if I waited till they were darker yellow the flavor was much better. The sizes averaged around 4-8 oz, however the first tomato picked off the plant was fairly large. This was the first tomato I was able to harvest last year. There are currently different versions of this tomato in circulation, such as large, medium, small and heart shaped pale yellow fruit. The seeds I grew produced medium sized pale yellow fruit. The different versions may be due to cross pollination over the years. Regardless of the this issue, it was a great tomato and I will definitely grow it again. My seed source for this variety was wintersown.org.

This was the first one I picked off the plant, which was large and pale yellow. 

These three were picked later in the season and were allowed to ripen more.

Thanks for checking out my Tomato Tuesday post. Stop by next week to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my garden.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tomato Tuesday

This weeks Tomato Tuesday spotlight is on "Cuore di Bue" tomato. Cuore di Bue is an Italian heirloom oxheart, which has been a favorite in Italy for many years.  These prolific plants produce different sized tomatoes that are sweet and delicious. On average they were around 12oz.  They are great to eat fresh or used for cooking. This was my first time growing this variety, and when I first received the seeds I did some research about them. I found multiple spellings of this variety, such as Cuor di Bue and Coure di Bue. Some of the pictures showed pink heart shaped tomatoes and others showed pear shaped red tomatoes with pleating. So needless to say when I planted them in spring I didn't know what to expect. My seeds which were labeled "Cuore di Bue" produced an abundance of pink heart shaped tomatoes. Regardless of the confusion they were well worth growing, I will be growing them again next year.  The vines were sprawling and the leaves were not too wispy like most oxheart tomatoes. It would be interesting to hear from other gardeners who have grown this variety to see what their experience was like.

Thanks for checking out my Tomato Tuesday post. It has been awhile since I have posted a Tomato Tuesday post beings my tomato growing is on hold for now. I figure I will start posting again because I have many more varieties that I grew last year that I could talk about until my 2014 season begins. So check back next week for my newest Tomato Tuesday post!

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Cold Crops

It's that time of year to start planning which cold crops I will be growing. I am going to be growing some new varieties and some old to me varieties. The new varieties I will mark with a star. I am going to start some of my seeds the Winter Sown method and the rest I will direct sow when the ground can be worked. Every year I plant cauliflower and I don't have luck, but I am determined to get it right. Here is a list of the varieties I will be growing.

Di Ciccio*
Sun King*
Early Purple Sprouting (this will be started later and planted in July)*
Purple Peacock Broccoli (kale and broccoli cross I will plant in Fall)*
Romanesco (Fall crop)*

Purple of Sicily*
Green Harmony (Fall crop)*
Snowball Y Improved*
Winter Dream*

Cour di Bue*
January King (Fall crop)*

Purple Russian*


Chinese Cabbage
Soloist Cabbage*
Bilko F1 Cabbage*
Pechay Pak Choi*
Michihili Cabbage (Fall crop)*

Golden Sweet
Carouby de Maussane
Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers*

Walla Walla*
Red Long of Tropea*
Blood Red Onion of Bassano*
Sweet Spanish Utah*

 This is Deadon cabbage I grew in 2012.

Winter Sowing Time!

I have been absent from my blog for a while and I need to get back in the swing of things again. Happy New Year to everyone! My first blog of the new year is about Winter Sowing. I tried this technique of seed starting last year for the first time. I was pretty successful with my first attempt. The seedlings were definitely healthy and strong. I could not believe the size of the roots when I transplanted the various seedlings. The rule is you can start winter sowing any time after the Winter Solstice, which is December 21. I waited last year until the beginning of January to start my first phase of winter sowing and I started with my cold hardy crops first. Last year I started the first phase with broccoli, Swiss chard, Pak Choi, kohlrabi and cabbage. The broccoli and kohlrabi both sprouted by the end of January. This year I will be winter sowing broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and onions. I will be starting the next phase in the beginning of February. I will be winter sowing tomatoes, borage, pansies and dill. The third phase will start the beginning of March and I will be planting heading lettuce, celery, zinnias, sunflowers, nasturtium and marigolds. The great thing about winter sowing is that you don't have to worry about hardening off the plants because they were exposed to the outside from the beginning! If you would like to read more about Winter Sowing you can check out my post from last year or go to wintersown.org.

So far I have winter sown my broccoli and onions, tomorrow I will be sowing my cabbage, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

My New Addiction

During my time away from my blog, I learned about a new group called "Tomato Depot". This is a proboards group that anyone can join and it is all about growing tomatoes! The link to the site is listed on my blog page on the right hand side under favorite sites. I have met some really nice, knowledgeable and generous people through the group. I have received so many new tomato varieties from the members that I now have over 200 varieties. There are many threads(posts) that you can browse through and learn just about anything pertaining to growing tomatoes. Some of the members are involved in cross pollinating tomato varieties and creating new tomato varieties from their successful crosses. It is so interesting to see some of the tomatoes they have created. They gave me the itch to try it myself this year in my garden, I can't wait to see what tomato varieties I create. The whole process takes about 6-7 years till the variety is stabilized. I will do future posts about my tomato cross pollinating adventures. If you are a tomato lover like myself check out the Tomato Depot