Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Garden Season is in Full Swing

I have to apologize to my Tomato Tuesday readers, I have been busy in the garden and not on my computer. I will be taking a break from Tomato Tuesday for now until fall when I will be spotlighting the new varieties I am growing this year. I have many great new varieties to share with you in fall. I will still post throughout the season and update you on my garden progress. Thanks and happy gardening!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tomato Tuesday- Prue

This weeks Tomato Tuesday spotlight is on Prue. This was another good paste/plum tomato I grew last year. Early in the season the plant looked sickly because of it's extremely wispy leaves, but as the season progressed it produced really nice tomatoes for me up until the first frost. Here is some info from Tatiana's site about it.

Indet. plants with regular wispy foliage, which is sparse and droopy. Fruits are large elongated red plums, some with a nipple at the bottom, some without, variable shapes, but mostly a variation of plum shape. 4-12 oz. Delicious rich flavor, juicy flesh, very few seeds. Originated from Tom Gallucci of Connecticut, seeds came from Tom's ex-wife's grandfather, Mr. Prue of Massachusetts, who was born around 1900 and had been growing this tomato in the 1940s or earlier. Original source is unknown.

Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tomato Tuesday- Grow List & Seedling Update

I thought I would do a post for Tomato Tuesday about the varieties I am growing this year. I listed below my grow list for my Home Garden and Community Garden Plots. I started my dwarf varieties on February 23rd and the rest of my varieties were sown on March 29th. I will be planting them outside into my gardens the middle of May. I have many new varieties to try this year thanks to all the seed trading I did over the winter. I traded seeds with gardeners overseas this year, which was very exciting. I will be doing future Tomato Tuesday posts about each of the varieties at the end of the season.


Community Garden Plots:
Sunrise Bumblebee
Iva's Red Berry
Lucky Tiger
Carbon Copy

Uluru Ochre
Pit Viper
Wild Fred
Sweet Adelaide

Streak Lightning
Orange Banana
Wessel's Purple Pride
Smiley Worms
Smoky Mountain

Carneal Tiger
Sailor's Luck
Janet's Jacinthe Jewel
Everette's Rusty Oxheart
Copper Penny
Noire Charbonneuse
Banded Amazon
Pink Siberian Tiger
Green Copia
Le Cadero
Lithium Sunset
Damascus Steel
Wine Jug
Copper River

Home Garden:

Arctic Rose
Jackass Yellow
CT Large Red
Chocolate Lightning
Dwarf Purple Heart
CT Striped Plum
Shadow Boxing
Patio Song

Angora Super Sweet
Sinister Minister

Med/Large Varieties:
Missouri Rose
Royal Hillbilly
Pink Lemon
Dark Copia Heart
Buffalo Soldier
Red Barn
Sgt. Peppers
NPS x Sgt. Peppers
Reinhard Green Heart
Dolly Parton
Grosse Verte Rose
P20 x Beauty King
Captain Lucky
Marie Antoinette
The Thong
Seedlings started on 3/29. I will be transplanting them into individual cups
this week.

Dwarf plants started on 2/23

Dwarf plants started 2/23
Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tomato Tuesday- Vorlon

Vorlon is a large black beefsteak tomato with a great flavor. The plants are indeterminate and have potato leaves. It is a mid season variety. My plant was not overly productive because it was unfortunately suffered due to disease. Vorlon is a stabilized accidental cross between Cherokee Purple and Pruden's Purple that appeared in the garden of Joe Fisher of Winterport, Maine. Said to be named for the enigmatic alien race of the T.V. program Babylon 5. I really liked the flavor of Vorlon and I will give it another try in my garden in the future.

Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dwarf Tomatoes

 Yes, there are tomato varieties that are called Dwarfs! A Dwarf tomato has certain characteristics just like determinate and indeterminate varieties have. Below is a list of the characteristics of a dwarf tomato that I got from the Dwarf Tomato Project's website http://www.dwarftomatoproject.net/

Dwarf Tomatoes

  • Plants vary in height from 60-140cm (2 to 4.5 feet) depending on which variety is selected.
  • Dark and dense crinkly (rugose) foliage, thick central stem.
  • Tomatoes of all sizes and shapes, including some large fruits around 500 grams (18 ounces)
  • A broad range of flavors - sweet, tangy, fruity, and even a hint of saltiness - something to please   everyone.
  • Fruit colors include green-when-ripe, bi-colors, stripes, blacks (purple & chocolate), pink, red, yellow, orange, white/ivory.
  • Easy to grow in pots, on balconies, or wherever space is limited.

  • Last year I grew a couple Dwarf varieties to give them a try. Most of my plants were grown in 5 gallon buckets and a couple I grew in the ground. I grew four varieties, which were Dwarf Mr. Snow, Sleeping Lady, Tasmanian Chocolate and Rainbow Dwarf. The plants in the 5 gallon buckets required minimal support, however the plants I had growing in the ground required caging because some grew taller than 4.5 feet. Some dwarf varieties stay compact and others can grow taller if allowed. I enjoyed growing the dwarf varieties so much I am growing many more this year. I started my Dwarf seeds the end of February along with my pepper seeds, because they take longer to grow compared to indeterminate and determinate varieties. Here is a picture of my Dwarf seedlings I currently have growing. There is one variety with lime green colored leaves, they are called chartreuse leaves. There are not many varieties with this gene.

    If you have limited gardening space or do container gardening these dwarf tomato varieties are great! Be warned that some of the dwarf varieties will grow taller, especially when grown in the ground. I will be growing most of my dwarf varieties in 5 gallon buckets this year. These are the Dwarf tomato varieties I will be growing this year...
    Sweet Adelaide
    Pit Viper
    Arctic Rose
    Shadow Boxing
    Wild Fred
    Chocolate Lightning
    Sweet Adelaide
    Jackass Yellow
    Uluru Ochre
    Patio Song
    Orange Pixie
    Coastal Pride Orange
    Rosella Crimson
    Rainbow Dwarf
    Sleeping Lady
    Dwarf Purple Heart
    Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum
    Cherokee Tiger Large Red

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday-Sun Sugar

    This weeks spotlight is on a yummy little cherry tomato called Sun Sugar. If you like Sun Gold cherry tomato you will like Sun Sugar. Here is some info I got from Trade Winds website on Sun Sugar.

    A medium-sized, orange ripening cherry tomato, sought after for its intense sweet flavor. The fruits grow to a bit under an inch wide, with a thin skin that is very crack resistant. Sun Sugar plants fruit in huge quantities, with a single plant often bearing hundreds of fruits in a single season. The fruits have decent storage capabilities, generally lasting off the vine for 1-2 weeks. Flavor is highly sweet, with fruity overtones, setting the Sun Sugar apart from many of its red counterparts. Plants are vigorous and may grow to 6-7ft, though it will fruit nicely in containers.

    Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
    Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday- Michael Pollan

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!! I thought it would be appropriate to spotlight a "Green When Ripe" variety today called Michael Pollan.  This variety was developed by Brad Gates at Wild Boar Farms, Napa, California from an odd-shaped mutant of Green Zebra. This variety was named after writer, journalist, and teacher, Michael Pollan, a man who has contributed greatly to our understanding and appreciation of plants, and by virtue of his contribution has enhanced the quality of all of our lives. It is green with yellow stripes with a weird pointed pear shape. The size ranges from 2.5 to 5 inches long. The flavor is similar to Green Zebra. The plants are indeterminate with regular leaves. I grew my plant in a 5 gallon bucket with a tomato cage for support. My plant was very prolific and I liked the refreshing flavor, it's sweet with a little tang. This variety is available at many seed vendors and it may be called Mint Julep.

    Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
    Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Onion Snow

    I learned my something new today! I learned what "Onion Snow" means. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and I have never heard of onion snow. "Onion snow" is a regional term used primarily in the state of Pennsylvania, referring colloquially to the final snowfall before the end of the spring season. Some sources indicate that the onion snow typically occurs after the traditional time for planting spring onions, while others state that onion snow is an indicator of when the appropriate time has arisen to plant onions. In either case, onion snow is defined as a light snow that melts quickly. This regional expression is said to originate from the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language.

    Three snow-related expressions, including onion snow, are unique to Pennsylvania Dutch culture. A sapling-bender refers to a wet and heavy snow that weighs down tree limbs, while a crack-stuffer is the term for a dry fine-grained snow that settles into cracks. Legend holds that all three types of snow must occur before spring has arrived.
    I usually plant my onion sets the end of March or beginning of April depending on the weather. Last year I planted onion transplants for the first time and I planted them in April. Last year my spring garden had a late start because of the weather, however my onions were the largest they have ever been. I think this legend or practice is interesting and I wonder how much Onion Snow really effects our onion crops. How many of you have heard of this tradition and when do you plant your onions?

    This is my most recent picture of my onion seedlings that I started the first
    week of January. I plan on planting them into my garden the middle of April.

    Tomato Tuesday- Brad's Black Heart

    This weeks Tomato Tuesday spotlight is on a yummy dark variety called Brad's Black Heart. This variety is the first known black heart-shaped tomato, found by Brad Gates of CA (Wild Boar Farms) in a patch of several thousand Black Krim plants at a farm close by. The plants grow in a compact indeterminate habit with droopy wispy leaves.  Most heart-shaped tomato varieties have plants with wispy droopy leaves, they are not sickly or lacking nutrients. The tomatoes are dark, dense and meaty. They average around 12oz. and are mostly flattened hearts with some being pointy and others with a blunt point. They have the classic flavor of dark tomatoes, which are my favorite! My plant was very productive and continued to produce even when the plant was mostly taken over by disease. I will be growing this one again for sure! If you are interested in giving Brad's Black Heart a try in your garden there are many vendors that sell the seeds.
    Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
    Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    2015 Peppers

    I sowed my pepper seeds on Wednesday! This year I will be trying a lot of new varieties that I received in seed trades from other gardeners. I am mainly growing sweet peppers with the exception of three hot peppers. Here are the varieties I will be growing.

    Doux Long D'Antibes
    Ljubov Dlan Paprika
    Golden Marconi
    Yolo Wonder
    Hungarian Pumpkin
    Chocolate Beauty
    Chervena Chushka
    Elephant Ear
    Albino Bullnose
    Jalapeno Orange
    Black Brant
    Here are a few pictures I copied from the internet of a few of the varieties I will be growing.

    Albino Bullnose

    Chocolate Beauty
    Elephant Ear
    Golden Marconi
    Orange Jalapeno
    What pepper varieties will you be growing this year?

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday- Cherokee Lime

    This week I am spotlighting a green tomato, often referred to as Green When Ripe. Yes there are tomato varieties that are supposed to stay green! When I first heard about them I was hesitant to try them thinking they would be very tart. I was totally wrong!!!! They are delicious with a sweet and tangy flavor. I'm sure most of you have heard of Cherokee Purple, this variety is from the same line. Over the years Cherokee Purple has produced other varieties due to mutations, bee crosses or intentional crosses. Here are all the varieties that originated from Cherokee Purple.
    Cherokee Purple >> Cherokee Chocolate >> Cherokee Green >> Golden Cherokee >> Cherokee Lemon >> Cherokee Lime

    Here is the history behind Cherokee Lime (History and Information was taken from Michigan Heirlooms)
    Beautiful Green-When-Ripe (GWR) beefsteak tomatoes that are tangy and noticeably sweet (as GWR's are noted for) with the most beautiful rose-colored swirl in the center that extends out to the blossom end of the fruit. Fruits average just under a pound.
    HISTORY: Bill Jeffers wrote: I ordered Golden Cherokee from an SSE member via the SSE Yearbook several years ago (IL LO N). I grew 3 plants. One was true Golden Cherokee (deep yellow flesh with red streaks and yellow epidermis), one was what I call Cherokee Lemon (pure yellow w/clear epidermis), and the third plant was yellow flesh with a red blush on blossom end and clear epidermis. I regrew seeds from the pure yellow/clear epidermis off-type and got what we now call Cherokee Lime (pure green-when-ripe with clear epidermis).

    If you haven't tried a Green When Ripe tomato variety yet, I highly recommend them. There are many GWR varieties available that I have tried and recommend, such as Aunt Ruby's German Green, Kiwi, and Green Grape.
    Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
    Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday- Solar Flare

    Here is another beauty I grew last year! This is Solar Flare, a creation made by Brad Gates. Solar Flare is a 6-10oz. red beefsteak with gold stripes. They are very meaty with a delicious sweet flavor. The plants are indeterminate with regular leaves. This variety was a result from a cross with Beauty King. My plant had great production and produced up until the first frost in mid October. 

    Thanks for taking a look at my Tomato Tuesday post!
    Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday- Danko

    Danko is a red heart-shaped or ox heart type tomato. I thought it would be fitting to spotlight a heart-shaped variety this week beings it is Valentine's Day week. The determinate plants have wispy regular leaves and produce in abundance. I did not realize at first that this variety was supposed to be short and wispy, I thought my plant was sick. I was relieved when I found out is was not sick. I did have to support the branches of my plant because the weight of the tomatoes pulled on the branches. The tomatoes formed in clusters of 3-4 tomatoes, so there was a lot of weight on each cluster branch. This plant could easily be grown in a bucket or container with some type of support. The tomatoes averaged between 5-10 oz. and had a delicious flavor.
    Danko is a Russian commercial variety that was developed by Siberian Research Plant Breeding Institute. Danko is a hero from a legend/story by Maksim Gorky. Danko sacrificed himself to save his people by tearing out his heart and holding its burning heart to lead them from darkness to freedom.
    I enjoy growing heart-shaped tomatoes because they have the meatiness of a paste tomato, but have the flavor of a standard tomato. I try and grow a few heart-shaped varieties every year in my garden. I will be spotlighting the other heart-shaped varieties I grew last year in upcoming posts. I definitely recommend giving this variety a try in your garden! Stop by next week to see which tomato variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden. Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Onion Seedling Update

    Well it has been a month now since I started my onion seeds, so I thought I would give you an update. They are growing nicely for the most part, except my leeks and Spanish White onions had some germination issues. I have been trimming them every couple days to prevent them from getting too tall and falling over. I am also keeping the soil moist but not sopping wet. I am hoping the weather starts to get a little warmer so I can start getting them outside little by little. They are all getting their true leaves and starting to get thicker stems. I am hoping they will be big enough come spring, so far so good!

    How are your onion seedlings doing?

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday- Snow White

    This weeks spotlight is on a very yummy little cherry tomato called Snow White. I always try to grow a couple cherry tomato varieties in my garden every year. Snow White was my favorite cherry last year! The plant is indeterminate with regular leaves and produces creamy white cherry tomatoes that ripen to pale yellow. Most white tomato varieties have a bland flavor, not Snow White. They are sweet and fruity. Everyone who tried one from my garden loved them. My plant was very productive and I loved snacking on them while working in my garden. This variety was developed by Joe Bratka of New Jersey. This one will definitely be returning to my garden!

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Tomato Tuesday post! Stop
    by next week to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 growing season.

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday-Serendipity

     Serendipity is a bicolored pink/yellow beefsteak tomato. They average around 7-14oz and have a very good sweet flavor. The plants are indeterminate with potato leaves. Serendipity is a natural cross of Earl's Faux and an unknown variety, selected and stabilized by Millard Murdock of East Flat Rock, North Carolina. It is a very pretty tomato as you can see in my pictures. I found that the longer they were on the vine the prettier the coloring.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Tomato Tuesday post! Stop by next week
    to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 growing season.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday-Clackamas Blueberry

    This weeks spotlight is on Clackamas Blueberry. It is an antho variety, which means it has anthocyanin in its genetics. Anthocyanin is what causes the dark blue coloring on the tomato in areas that were exposed to sunlight. There are many new varieties that fit into this category. Last year I grew Indigo Rose. My Clackamas Blueberry plant was extremely prolific and it was one of my first plants I could harvest from. The flavor was better than Indigo Rose. The plants are indeterminate with regular leaves.  The tomatoes are about 1oz. in size and round in shape with some being irregularly shaped. They are very pretty tomatoes and when the stem is removed there is a flower design left behind were there was no sun exposure. This will definitely be a conversation piece in your garden! It is available for sale by many vendors.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Tomato Tuesday post! Stop by next week
    to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 growing season.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Tomato Tuesday-Chocolate Stripes

    Chocolate Stripes is another great variety I grew last year. It was tasty and beautiful! This is a dark tomato with beautiful olive green stripes, similar to Black Zebra which I spotlighted previously in Tomato Tuesday. It is a beefsteak tomato produced on indeterminate plants with regular leaves. Chocolate Stripes is a mid season variety and it is very productive. Unfortunately disease took over my plant early in the season and I was only able to harvest a few. This variety has a great flavor like most dark tomatoes have. Some people say that dark tomatoes have a smokey flavor. I happen to love dark tomatoes! This variety was created from a cross of Schimmeig Creg and a pink beefsteak by John Siegel of Covington, Ohio. I will be growing this one again this year for sure. I really enjoyed the flavor of Chocolate Stripes and I hope to have a better harvest this year.

    This variety is available at many seeds vendors, such as Heritage Tomato Seeds-Bunny Hop Seeds http://heritagetomatoseed.com. My gardening friend Ellie has recently partnered with Heritage and has her own seeds available on the site in the Bunny Hop Seeds section. It's a wonderful site with great varieties and prices.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Tomato Tuesday post. Stop by next week to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    Snowy Garden

    I took a drive down to my community garden plots today. It was so quiet and peaceful. My plots are pretty much snow covered, but it didn't stop me from walking around. I was visualizing where I will be planting everything this year. While I was there I filled my bird feeders. The whole time I was filling them a sparrow was sitting on a fence post watching me. There were a few animal tracks in the snow. I could indentify that a rabbit or rabbits have been visiting my garden and eating the leftover fall crops I did not pull out. I will have to secure my fence better come spring. It will be spring before I know it!

    Sparrow watching me fill the bird feeders
    Snow covered garlic bed

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Winter Birds

    There is not much going on right now outside, however the birds are busy at my multiple feeders. I love watching the birds in my garden and at home. I even feed the squirrels in my neighborhood. I have a squirrel feeder, 2 regular bird feeders, 2 Suet feeders and my new Snowman bird feeder in my back yard. I also have two feeders down at my community garden plots to feed the birds throughout the year. So far I have seen Chickadees, Morning Doves, Cardinals, Juncos, Nuthatches, Titmouse, Purple Finch and House Sparrows. I have House Sparrows living in my gourd birdhouse hanging in my peach tree. They pop their heads out every now and then to see what's going on. They don't have far to go for food because there are feeders all around them.

    The female House Sparrow is sitting on a branch above the gourd house.

     This is the first time I have seen a Woodpecker in my yard. It is a Downy Woodpecker and it visits my Suet feeder every day. I have tried multiple times to get a good picture of it because it is so beautiful, but it is very shy and flies away the minute it hears or sees me.

    This is my best picture of the Downy Woodpecker. You can see it sitting on the branch next to the suet feeder.

    On Saturday during the snow showers we were having, the birds were having a feeding frenzy. 
    There were Morning Doves, House Sparrows and Juncos all eating together.

    This is my new Snowman bird feeder I bought on sale at Home Depot!

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Winter Bird post!
    What types of winter birds 
    visit your garden?

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    My 2015 Growing Season Begins!

    On Saturday I sowed my first seeds for the 2015 growing season! I sowed some onion seeds and leeks. This is my third attempt at starting my own onion transplants. The first two times I started them the end of January and they did not get large enough in time for transplanting. They were wimpy onion seedlings. This year I started them earlier and after they germinate I am going to keep them under my grow lights longer. I want to have nice strong pencil size onion transplants by the end of March. I sowed 5 onion varieties and King Richard Leeks. The 5 onion varieties I am growing this year are Red Long of Tropea, Red Wethersfield, Candy, Walla Walla and Sweet Spanish Utah Strain. Last year I grew Walla Walla onions from transplants I purchased at Home Depot and they were the biggest and best onions I have ever grown. I chose all long day varieties except for Red Long of Tropea, which are intermediate-long. I used small plastic containers I bought at the dollar store to start my seeds in. I am hoping for success this year with my onion transplants! Do you have any pointers for me to increase my chances of success? I found this helpful article on the top ten tips for growing onions from seed

    Have you started any seeds for your 2015 growing season? The next seeds I will be sowing are peppers, tomatillos, ground cherries and dwarf tomatoes at the end of February. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post! Happy New Year!

    Tomato Tuesday-Fuzzy Wuzzy

    Fuzzy Wuzzy
    This weeks Tomato Tuesday variety is "Fuzzy Wuzzy". This was a fun variety to grow! The plant and tomatoes have a fine fuzz all over them, hence the name. The plants are small enough to grow in a 5 gallon bucket and it didn't require any staking or support. The plants grow to about 2-21/2 feet with fuzzy regular leaves. The plant produced cute little striped tomatoes in abundance. I picked tomatoes from this little plant all summer long up until the first frost in October. The tomatoes have a great flavor, however the skins were a little crunchy. I did not mind the crunchy skin.  This would be a fun variety to grow in a children's garden. If you don't have a lot of growing space, consider this variety for container gardening. I received my seeds in a seed trade, unfortunately I have not seen any vendors online that sell this variety except at Tatiana's Tomatobase. Tatiana's Tomatobase http://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/Main_Page  has information about this variety and she offers it for sale in her seed catalog.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Tomato Tuesday post. Stop by next week to see which variety I will be spotlighting from my 2014 garden.