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.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Garden Forums

Last year I did a post called "My New Addiction", which was about my involvement in garden forums. I am still participating in "The Tomato Depot" forum, however I am also very involved in a newer forum called "Doc and Katies Garden Xanadu".

I have learned so much from these garden forums and have met some amazing gardeners. I participated in two large seed trades at both forums and received many great seed varieties. Forums are a great place to meet people from all over the world with the same interests. I recently sent seeds to one of the members that lives in the UK.  We all share and learn from each other. They are also a great place to post and share pictures of your gardening experiences as well. These garden forums definitely occupy me during the off season! If you are looking for something new to do, I highly recommend both of these garden forums. You will be amazed at the amount of information available to you through these forums, plus the members are very generous and kind!