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

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.