Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

I'm so ashamed of myself. I have been neglecting this blog badly. I have thought about hiring someone to keep it updated!!
I've been working  already on my 2016 growlist and as usual, I think it's the best one by far!! (I think this every year).

I was in France in October and picked up some very cool seeds there. A few peppers and a cool French Basil. Also, I was in a farmers market in Geneva and they had this very sweet looking tomato called Fondanello. The photos don't do it justice. It was goldl/green with red striped skin and bi-color interior.  Of course I had to swipe one for seeds. I have no idea if it's a hybrid or not but willing to let a grower/breeder experiment with

Just shoot me an email: I will post better photos of it once I upload them to my laptop. sigh. 
Owen's Purple
So let's do a review of the 2015 garden. Winners and losers. Of course, the stand-out tomato for this year was Owen's Purple. Black/Purple tomatoes are my favorite and this is the best one I've ever eaten!! Very sweet and juicy. Carbon has always been my benchmark for dark tomatoes but this is my new standard. If you haven't grown it, it's a MUST GROW!!The Marmande Garnier Rouge did exceptionally well this year. Tons of perfectly fluted red beauties. Of course, my La Vie en Rose and Moonshiners Ball produced beautifully. The Moonshiner's seed will not be released until 2016 so stay tuned for that.
I was very proud to finally obtain the seed and growout West Virginia Penitentiary. It was a standard smooth red old timey tomato from the prison farms of W.V. back in the day.
Some of the losers for last season: my Judia de la Granja bean. It produced but being a runner bean, it didn't produce the seed volume I needed to offer it for sale. I will probably have a grower do this next season that can grow large amounts.
I swear to myself every year I am going to cut back on the amount of new varieties and every year it's to insane. I grew so many seedlings last season I was giving away plants and had to decide not to grow a few. That is like torture for me. A real Sophie's choice.
Hope you all had a great season and I wish you all a healthy happy New Year. My New Year's resolution is to keep this blog updated more often. LOL

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tomato Times

I have a lot of catching up to do so this might be a lengthy post. This tomato season is turning out so much better than I thought it was going to. Nothing but rain for the first 6 weeks or so. I was just about at the place where I thought I was going to lose everything to blight if it kept up and it stopped! I'm actually having to water now which is a good thing. I would rather have dry than rainy.
I will be at the 2015 Michigan Tomato Fest on Aug. 22nd.  If you are around this area, please come and meet me!! I plan on bringing a limited amount of seed of some of my new releases so be the first to have them!! Thank you Karen Golden for inviting me. Looking forward to it!
La Vie en Rose

Moonshiner's Ball
Finally, I will release the seed for La Vie en Rose tomato. This is a cross that came out of my garden several years ago. Sebastien sold plants in the spring in France and he said the people were in love with the name. He sold every one of them! I am so proud of this tomato. Not only is it gorgeous but the taste is phenomenal. An SSC exclusive. I know this tomato is going to be a Rockstar in the garden. Unfortunately, the sister tomato to this, Moonshiner's Ball, will be delayed another year. I didn't get the seed from my grower in Australia in time to get the F5 going. I don't like to release seed until it's at F5. Here's a little photo of Moonshiner's Ball due out next season. Both tomatoes have the same parentage.

Owen's Purple
I have started picking ripe tomatoes now and of course I have some reviews.  I have always had the tomato Carbon as my favorite black/purple. This is the standard I use to judge all others. Up until this season I had never had a black I liked better. Well..... this season I do!! It's called Owen's Purple. Holy tomato!! So unbelievably good. This will now be my new standard for blacks. I will have the seed listed within a few days. I expect this one to sell out so get it while you can! I am growing another Black/purple that is also excellent called Black Magic. Not quite as good as Owen's but pretty nice. Then there is a new cherry tomato called Carbon Copy. Of course it's a cherry version of Carbon, If you like that one I would recommend you try this one, Sweet and productive.

Carbon Copy
There will be more reviews as the season goes along so stay tuned! I would also like to announce that breeder/grower Blane Horton will now be listing on our site Secret Seed Cartel. For those of you that aren't familiar with Blane he is an extremely talented breeder from Mississippi. He has come out with some of the most stunning tomatoes I've seen in years. If you follow the SSC Facebook page you can see some of his tomatoes there. Welcome aboard Blane, glad to have you. 
Also, I know have an Instragram account for the SSC where you can see all the up to the minute tomato pics. You don't have to be a member to see the photos. Everything is under  Secretseedcartel.
Stay tuned for more up-dates and hopefully I will see you at the Michigan Tomatofest!
In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about how we choose to treat others. Always be kind even when you're faced with meaness. There are a lot of mean people in this world. Just feel sorry for them,. It must be so miserable to be carrying around so much bitterness that you choose to be un-kind to people. Remember, it is our choice how we treat others. It's also our choice how we choose to respond to ugliness. Kindness trumps ugly any day of the week. Stay sweet!!!!!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Runner Beans

I've been wanting to do a post on Runner Beans for quite awhile. I've always grown them for their decorative value in the garden. I would build teepees and let them grow up and flower. Not only were they beautiful but I used them as a barrier crop between peppers and tomatoes. I usually would pull out the camera and get some good bee or butterfly photos as a bonus! The thing is here in the U.S. we only grow them as a decorative bean for the flowers. In Mexico and some European countries the dried bean is not only eaten but prized. The English eat the runner beans as pods.
It is Phaseolus Coccineus whereas Pole Beans are Phaseolus Vulgaris. It is believed they originated in the mountains of Central America. Most produce red flowers (think Scarlet Runner Bean) or white flowers. Although there are various other colors of salmon, purple etc....
The French call them Haricot d'Espagne. In Mexico and Central America they go by Ayacote or Ayocote. In Spain, It is called Judia Pinta.
The seeds of Runner Beans are huge. I personally love the multi-colored ones pictured here. They're like little pieces of art. Some are solid colored depending on the color of the flower.
My goal this year is not only to grow them for their floral beauty but I am growing a special one to eat this season. It is called Judia de la Granja. P.Coccineus
It is a Spanish bean from the town of La Granja de San lldefonso. The name translates: Bean from the farm. It dates back to the 1721 to the construction of the palace of La Granja. Originally it was used to feed the livestock of the workers that came to build the palace. At some point someone decided to cook it and the rest is history. Today it has it's own festival on August 25th. It is usually cooked in clay pots with pigs ears, fresh pork, chorizo onions, garlic and salt. I have never eaten the La Granja stew myself but it's legendary.
You can order the cooked beans in jars online or dried beans at high prices. As usual, I prefer to grow them myself. Here's a link for a recipe for the stew, in Spanish so you will have to use a translator.

I have another one I want to grow this year if I can isolate it enough called Black Coat. It's dated pre 1654. German botanist Michael Titus mentioned it in cataloques Plantarum as early as 1654. Its a rare runner with scarlet orange flowers and large black seeds.
I've been researching Runner Beans all winter. I think I've been bitten by the bug. Of course I've ordered more varieties than I can grow this season but I definitely want to try the seeds in a dish this year and what better than one that has it's own festival.

All tomato seeds are up and being potted up. I will post a grow list ASAP. Probably the one I'm most excited about is the West Virginia Penitentiary tomato. Tried to get seeds for this one for several years. Grown back in the 50's in the WV prison farms. Big Pink slicer. Stay tuned for pics this summer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cabin Fever

Super Peppadew
So as most of you know the blight visited the garden in a big way last season. I've put it behind me and I'm planning for this season. Big plans for this year! So let's discuss!

One of the things
 I'm excited about this year is the Super Peppadew. My friend in Wales that I like to call the Pepper King had one of his Peppadew plants produce extra large size fruits. You can see in the photo the difference between the normal PPD and the Super PPD.  Let's all cross our fingers that the seeds produce the same results here.

Also on the list for this season are La Vie en Rose and Moonshiner's Ball. These are the two sister crosses that came out of my garden several years ago. This will be the last growing season before the seeds are released. I'm soooo proud of these two tomatoes. Not only gorgeous but delicious!! Look for the seeds in the Fall of 2015. (the blight delayed the release in 2014). 
Moonshiner's Ball
Also coming to the garden this season are two very rare Basque beans that took me months to locate and get over here to the U.S. I'll mention more about the varieties closer to planting time. Foodies and chefs will be very excited about these and bean collectors as well. Took a lot of work on these two. Also adding to the list of hard to locate items are some new Basque peppers and a new Italian frying pepper. Hopefully we'll have a much better growing season and all these things will be available at the end of the season.

La Vie en Rose
I'm still working on my grow list. It's evolving daily as I add and delete almost hourly. I'm expanding the garden yet again this year. I think I'm getting too old for this. Thank God for the growers I have out there that help me out. Speaking of that, I can still use 2 more so anyone that might be interested can email me at:
I've got some new Blues on my list although I still look at them as curiosities more than eating tomatoes. A lot of people want them so I'm going with the flow. Are there any blues out there that any of you consider actually flavorful? Just curious.
I did finally get my hands on the West Virginia Penitentiary tomato from SSE. It's been freed!! I'm so excited about this one. I know there's a lot of breeding of new tomatoes going on but I'm still most passionate about endangered and the old old heirlooms. This one is quite rare and is one of the old prison tomatoes grown by inmates when they had prison farms that grew their own food and also sold some of their produce to locals. It's interesting reading if you google the Prison Farm systems back in the day.
So I try and leave you with something to think about and today it's just cabin fever. Saying spring is around the corner is lame so I won't say it. Get under your electric blanket with your coffee or tea, start or work on your grow list and remember, winter can't last forever and until spring at least there's

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hello Again!

I apologize to the followers of this blog for neglecting it so badly. I have been swamped with the seed store and the garden but I'm here to bring you up to speed. Finally!!
This was the second year in a row the dreaded blight has hit. So depressing to nurse the seedlings from babies and see them months later get hit. I made a rookie mistake this year. Something I knew better than to do. I transplanted my seedlings into regular garden dirt instead of seed starting mix and lost about 1/3 of them. Then, I had a critter start digging up the plants when I planted out and then the blight. So between the 3 calamities, it was a poor season.
The sunflowers, peppers, beans and cucumbers went un-scathed. Thank you baby Jesus.
The good news is not everything was bad. I had some tomatoes that I loved and want to share with you.
Probably the star of the garden this year was Fleur de Reagir. Not only was it the most beautiful tomato I have ever grown, it avoided disease. I'm posting a photo because words cannot describe the beauty.
Fleur de Reagir
 I used to think that Marmande Garnier Rouge was the most beautiful but this one was exquisite. It's going to be hard to out do this one. I've never seen a tomato sliced that looked like this. It's listed as a black tomato but the color was more of a brick red.  The center where there is normally a core, it had a gel sac with seeds. Unusual. It's of course a French tomato as is Marmande Garnier Rouge. You have to hand it to the French for their gorgeous tomatoes. I'll be listing the seeds in a few weeks. I am waiting on more information about the history so stay tuned.
Fleur de Reagir

I will do an All star and Waste of Garden space in about 3 weeks where I will give a complete review of everything.
Took a little trip to Savannah in the midst of all this with my baby cousin. Soooo beautiful there. Wish I could buy one of those historic homes on one of the squares. Bonaventure cemetery. OMG beautiful. If you've never been it's worth the trip.
I give my word I'll post again in a couple of weeks. haha. Honest! In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of my sunflower photos to remind everyone to keep your faces towards the Sun.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happenings for 2014

Wow! I can't believe I have gone so long without writing a new post. I have a lot to say so get comfortable.
First I would like to thank all the people that are supporting my seed site with orders. God bless you and good gardening 2014!!
I am leaving for France on March 6th and returning on the 20th. I always bring home new seed varieties so it's a win/win. Also get to bring  back my Donkey milk soap. Sounds crazy but it makes your skin sooooooo soft. You can buy it in the U.S. on Amazon. Try it you'll be hooked. I always like to share the good stuff.

In a few weeks I want to do a post about Tommy Toe tomatoes and Landrace veggies. Something new that has become interesting to me.

I have the best growlist I have ever had but as you know I don't like to publish it until the middle of May but heres a preview: I am growing and releasing seed for a cross from my garden several years back. One cross produced two sister tomatoes; a pink beefsteak and a yellow beefsteak. They are both gorgeous and super tasty. Power producers of crackfree fruit. La Vie en Rose and Moonshiners Ball. Here's a couple of photos: Once released they will become rockstars in the tomato world!
La Vie en Rose

Moonshiner's Ball
Other things coming to my garden this year: A very old Irish Pole bean, A runner bean not available in the U.S. More rare Spanish peppers and un-available Spanish heirloom tomatoes. A very rare radish and edible flowers for salads. 
Check back in the middle of May when I publish the growlist and get a good look at everything. 

I also have a request; Have any of you come across the seed for the golden Peppadew? I think they call it the Goldadew. If you have any seed please message me (purty please) :-)
I don't know if I had posted this yet but we have a new style Tomato Whisperer baseball style tee in the store and Tomato Addict tote bags. Both available in the SSC Store:
Another new thing, I am carrying all of Alan Bishops seed varieties you are a fan. I am!
I would also like to thank the growers that volunteered to do some growing for me this year. THANK YOU!! You know who you are. I couldn't have grown all of the varieties myself this year. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.  
I've sown my pepper seeds and when I return from France I will be starting the tomatoes. I wish a good garden to you all and the best season ever!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


For those that have been requesting Gernika seed we now have limited quantities in stock. Please visit our seed store for your order.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Alan Bishop seeds

I am very proud to announce that Secret Seed Cartel will be the exclusive vendor for Alan Bishop seed varieties. Alan is the breeder of two of my favorite varieties of tomatoes; Jack White and Absinthe. Here is Alan's bio:
Alan Bishop and Kimberly Ratts
Alan has run Bishops Homegrown, an ecologically managed sustainable farm in Pekin Indiana with roots in his family dating back to the 1940s since 2004 alongside Kimberly Ratts. As an outgrowth of his interest in developing local food sheds Alan began pursuing heirloom seeds both locally and abroad through his Homegrown Goodness forum and blog, trialling thousands of varieties for taste, flavor, productivity, and suitability to low input agriculture, when existing varieties proved unsuitable for current methods and environmental conditions Alan turned to population breeding in order to develop new landrace type crops, an act which at the time to seed purists seemed heretical but has proved reliable, productive, and profitable. Many of the earliest introductions were shared with other like minded breeders through his previous efforts with his own Face of the earth seed collective,those genetics now make up the foundation stock for localized landraces worldwide. Alan has been interviewed and honored by Association Kokopelli for his work, has written for local, national, and international publications, has taught master gardeners classes and maintains connections with breeders and farmers worldwide, as well he finds secondary employment as an agricultural advisor. In recent years he has stepped away from his seed list to focus on honing and increasing his seed stock in preparation for what he sees as the rough road ahead for all of us as well as turning his attention to his local community where he is a co-founder, current president, and former vice president of Washington County Artisans and Farmers market, a volunteer miller and distiller and reenact or at the historic Becks Mill and president of Old Settlers Days where he represents the distiller and yeoman farmer. Some of Alans previous works have filled particular niches and gained small cult followings. A few varieties of notoriety include Absinthe tomato, Jack white tomatoes, and Astronomy Domine sweet corn.
Secret Seed Cartel has become Alan's choice of vendor to release new landrace varieties from his work as they become available. The seed you will find here has not been commercially available for two years and never in its current form. The landraces here are highly genetically diverse and particularly hone to low input agriculture in the wider Ohio Valley. Phenotypes will tend to vary (sometimes drastically) from plant to plant but the genetic diversity within will allow the seedsaver to select for those best adapted to their cultural and environmental conditions and culinary use. This years selection is limited but more will follow. ~Alan Bishop
Please feel free to go to the store and take a look at Alan's offerings. Here's to good gardening. Go to the shop tab on the home page to see Alan's varieties.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Your Seeds


It's seed ordering time!!! Everything is now online. Supply of some seed is low so don't want anyone to miss out on something they might want.
I have had a lot of inquiry about Gernika seeds. Unfortunately I lost 14 Gernika plants to the late frost this past spring. So will re-plant this coming year and will have seed available for 2014.
If any of you are like me, I have already started my growing list for next season. It ends up being changed up many many times but it gives me something to work on in the winter months. Of course I'm looking for the rare and different things. I'll have a peek preview of the list sometime in March.
Check out the store and take a look at all of the new items for this year!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pepper Pandemonium

I'm buried under peppers here. Harvested everything that was still out there. Now I'm spending the day frying bushels of them for winter. All fresh pepper seed for this year. I sold out of Gernika so those that are looking for it, it will be available for 2014.
Moya Noire
I had a big surprise out in the garden a couple of days ago. I thought I had totally lost my Moya Jaune and Moya Noire plants to blight. I was tearing down cages and found 3 perfect, ripe Moya Noire's hanging from the healthy top part of the plant!! I couldn't believe how beautiful the color was. Then I walk over and see 1 perfect Moya Jaune. Wow. I love this variety in every color. I ate the big Moya Noire (for research purposes of course) and it was exquisite!! Perfect meat to juice balance and sweet with the smokey finish. I haven't eaten the Jaune yet so stay tuned.
Yes, I am already working on the 2014 growlist. I will work on this for months, adding, subtracting, worrying, questioning until my hair is grey. I torture myself before I have the final list.
I have new neighbors!! A herd of sheep in the back. For a couple of days I kept hearing what I thought sounded like the bells on the French cows. I thought I was having some kind of missing France issue. Then I walked outside and there they are. 6 sheep running around the back field with bells on. haha. I love to hear their bells. I took some photos so I'll have to post them in the future.

I've been hitting the farmer's markets. Yesterday was a good day for that. Connected with some other growers and picked up a whole lot of Cherokee Trail of Tear bean seed from an organic farmer. I didn't grow that bean this year but I did list it in the store for those that love this historical bean. I love the veggies that come with great history in their DNA. Speaking of beans....I bought some seed from a Spanish grower for a bean called Buenos Aires Roja. From the research I have done it looks like it's going to be a good one. Here's a photo of it from a Spanish blogger. Beautiful!!!! Also want to grow the Tabais bean for those that want to use the authentic bean in Cassoulet. For anyone that wants to take a whirl at Cassoulet, here's a link for a recipe.  Cassoulet recipe.
I still need to plant the garlic and then....a little break until Febuary when seed starting again. I'm planting 2 varieties this year and that's it.
Ohhhh before I forget. I planted rhubarb this year!! You can't cut it the first season so looking forward to making rhubarb/strawberry pie next year.
Thanks for all the support from everyone with the store, on my blog and good wishes always sent my way from the best people in the world. Growers and gardeners!! Peace

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Good the Bad and the Ugly of

Honestly, it was a horrible season weather wise for the tomatoes. Too cool and too much rain. Most of my new varieties got the blight. It wasn't a total bust but about 80% wipe-out. So many of the new things I was going to offer in the store will have to wait until next year. There were a few bright spots. My tomato Marmande Verte did exceptionally well! Avoided disease and produced for 2 months. I grew a Spanish variety called Morado Vejer de la Frontera and it also did exceptional. The peppers and beans are still going and no problems with them. I have most new items listed in the store with the exception of the beans. They will be listed in about 6 weeks.
Also..... I finally got a shirt made for hard core tomato enthusiast! Most of the time I feel like I'm a tomato whisperer so why not put it on a shirt right?! It's in the store also in sizes M and XL. I have one that's 2XL so if you want that one email me. I'll do my All-Star and Waste of Garden space list sooooooon! So let's get to planting the fall garden.Store link:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Garden Update July 29, 2013

And,'s raining again, sigh. Not turning out to  be the best season for the tomatoes. Late start due to weather now temps are more like fall. And the rain....well let's just say the spicket needs turned off now.
Margaret Curtain
Just now starting to get some ripe maters. The first ripe was Margaret Curtain. A black heirloom from New Zealand. The tomato is A++++++ Love it! Just started drying seeds and making them available on the website. A nice one for serious collectors or those that just love a good black tomato.
Another gem I found in the garden this year was a Marmande Garnier HEART!! I think last year one crossed with Everett's Rusty Oxheart. Saved seed from 1 and checking to see if I can stabilize it  next season. Working name: Queen of Hearts.
I've been spending a lot of time uploading new data and products on the website. I should have everything available for fall within the month. Sooo proud of the new items.
Margaret Curtain
I'm buying a pressure canner so I can do some serious sauce making this year. I just want to can until I drop. The only way I can be sure what is in the food my family eats. :-(
Hope all your gardens are flourishing!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Garden Happenings 2013

I know I've been slacking off on the blog but I have been sooooo busy in the garden!
I sowed the seed from the CERN poppy that Seb sent me in March. I've never grown poppies before so I crossed my fingers that they would come up. Boy did they come up!! Beautiful red poppies blooming like crazy. I'm in love with them!! I can't stop photographing them haha. I think this might be my new favorite garden flower. I want yellow and white poppies now.
Alot of rain this summer. sigh. Also had a late frost and I lost 18 tomato plants. Some of them were replaced by some kind gardening friends that over-nighted what I needed but not all. The others will just have to wait until next year. Also growing my first grafted tomato this year thanks to Buddy Malone. A Green Giant. One of the victims of the
 frost but replaced. I'm curious to see how the grafted plant does in comparison to the non-grafted Green Giants.
Unfortunately, I lost a good gardening friend this spring. Gary Millwood. He was my garden hero and mentor. He was from my hometown of Louisville so I was fortunate enough to see him and his wife when I was in town. He procured so many Kentucky heirloom tomatoes that I can't even list them all.  I really looked up to him and valued our friendship enormously. RIP Gary. You will be greatly missed.
I built a bottle tree in the garden that was inspired by my friend Rena Abernathy. Here's a link on the history.
Although I'm not using it to trap spirits, I like the folk art aspect of it. Mine isn't quite finished. I need to find some more bottles worthy of the tree. I've always believed that the garden should not only be functional but beautiful ( This is where I am influenced by the Euros). I've worked hard to incorporate beautiful spaces right in the middle of the vegetables. The bottle tree is just the newest addition.
Tomatoes are growing like crazy. Just starting to get too much rain. I see a little blight starting on a couple so I'm hoping it eases up now.
The Mini-Kumatos are coming in as hoped. I wasn't sure if they were F1 seed or not but it looks like they are OP. Woot! Here's a photos of them. These are not from my garden but from the grocery store but wanted to show what they look like.
Looks like I also have a cross from Marmande Garnier Rouge with a heart! I'll keep you posted on this one.
I'll try and stay up with the blog a little better as the season progresses. Hope your gardens are growing well. Fresh tomatoes soon!!!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stay up to date on our Facebook Page

Come visit our Facebook Page. Garden and seed news is usually posted there first. See what we're growing this year and enjoy garden and tomato photos all year. Don't forget to hit the "like" button so our postings show in your newsfeed. Happy gardening 2013!!'

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Black Turnip of France

Photo by Sebastien Prunet
The Black Turnip of Pardailhan (Navets de Pardailhan)  Not to be confused with black radishes.The Pardailhan Black Turnip is a variety called Caluire Long Black, named for its region of origin to the north of Pardailhan. Unlike the normal round shape associated with turnips, this one is long and pointy with black skin,   The black turnip is an ancient variety grown almost exclusively in this region of France for centuries. It is said to have been served at the King's table in Versailles.  After WWII, there was a decline in local agriculture and the cultivation of the variety became scarce to almost non existant. About ten years ago, a handful of producers created the association Lou Nap dal Pardailha to save the Caluire Long Black and bring it back to its former glory.   Free from manipulation from breeders, it is considered a virtual wild form of turnip. Thanks to my friend Gerard in Brittany and Seb, I have seed for it this year. Woot!! I have heard different accounts of the taste. Seb says it is sweeter than the normal turnip but he raved about it. It's been said to taste a little like Hazelnut or Chestnut depending on your palette. I've read that it is starchier than our common varieties.  It must be sliced lengthwise to cook. Although I will be growing it this season, unfortunately it will take 2 growing seasons for seed. (Like most turnips). Therefore,  I will plant one patch for eating and one patch for seed. At the end of my growing season I will give a review on the taste. Stay tuned. 
Photo by Sebastien Prunet

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Grow list

Cuerno De Cabra
Doux de Espane 
Doux des Landes
Guindillas Tolosa
Piquillo Lodosa
Piment de Bresse
Pimiento de Arnoia
Pimiento Blanco Rosal
Ros de Mallorca



Green Giant
Marmande Verte
Moya Verte
Dino Egg Verte


Margaret Curtain
Moya Noire
Negrillo de Almoguera


Goose Creek
Rosa de Perales
Rosa de Zarautz


Marmande Garnier Rouge
Uncle Remi
Pepe Jose
Moko Luze
Morado de Aretxabaleta
Morado vejer de la Frontera


Banjan Rumi
Moya Jaune
Kentucky Cabin Yellow

Abbattista Paste
Work Release Paste
Pomodoro Banana Marino


Marmande de Montpellier
Zebra Rita
Ananas Noire
Ananas Bleu
Lynn's Mahogany Garnet
Grosse Verte Rose
Copper River
Pamplemousse de Grand Pere
Hippie Zebra
Yellow 1884 Pinkheart

Black Hole Sun
Mini Kumato
Pink Bumblebee
Purple Bumblebee

Fairytale F4
Claude's Coral F4
Moonshiner's Ball F4

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Anyone out there have any info about the Mini Kumato? Has anyone grown the RAF tomato? Any info would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Photographer and Tech Man

Sebastien Prunet
I am the luckiest grower in the world to have Sebastien Prunet as my garden photographer. Well.....yes he is more than my photographer but for now..we'll discuss his photography, and maybe a few other things.
In my opinion, No one takes better garden porn than Seb. His tomato photos are un-believably good. Perfection. I tell him what photos I need, and he takes them. (Good soldier)...They are art.
He lives in the French Alps region which is not known for gardening, but Seb gets around all that by using Greenhouses. He is an A+ grower. He has a FB page that displays his gardening skills and photos if you want to see more.  Jadin de Sebastien

He has a couple of cats. Here's a photo with Scarpette. I call her his barnacle because she attaches to him 24/7. He has another cat named Grisou that is a hunter/killer cat. haha
Some people might find it strange that my photographer lives in France but it all works out. Good people always find each other. We visit back and forth several times a year. We speak Franglais together and it is mighty funny let me tell you. :-)
He is my right hand man with the Secret Seed Cartel. He's my French tomato spy.
Of course, sometimes I like to take photos of Seb. Here's a couple. My favorite is when I photoshopped him into an Amish man.  Yes, taking him to Amish Country and telling him it was OK to take photos of the Amish was quite amusing. hahaha... I know, I'm bad.
He is quite the baker too. He has just recently perfected bagels. Something they don't sell in France. They looked professional to me! taught me how to make a classic French dessert called 'Clafoutis'. Probably my favorite dessert ever! So inside this tomato grower is a photographer, Alpine skier, pastry chef and hilariously funny man and good human being.
So this is a shout out to the best photographer, tomato grower, tech man and so much more. I love you Seb!! Thank you for all the work you do for me and other tomato growers. xoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Litchi Tomato

So this is a very interesting little fruit. Also called Morelle de Balbis. Mother Earth News did a great article about it so heres a copy/paste from them:

"The Morelle de Balbis, or Litchi tomato, has been grown as an ornamental curiosity in American gardens since the 19th century, but only recently has it gained attention as a novel-tasting food. Its dark red cherry-size berries, with the distinctive flavor of sour cherries and a hint of tomato, can be used in a wide variety of culinary applications — from fruit tarts, preserves, jams and sauces, to sorbets and wine. Plus, it’s easy to grow and frost resistant.
The Litchi tomato comes to us from South America, where it has been an important part of indigenous cookery for hundreds of years. Because the plant itself is covered with thorns, it is sometimes used as a hedge plant to discourage animals from wandering into vegetable gardens — not a bad idea.
 The fruits ripen dark red and are round and somewhat bullet-shaped, tapering to a blunt point. The interior flesh is yellow and full of tiny flat seeds that are arranged much the same way as seeds in a cherry tomato. Thus, when eaten out of hand, the raw fruit has the mouth feeling of raspberries. The actual flavor is tart and refreshing, quite similar to a sour cherry, for which it can be used as a relatively good substitute in pies." (Mother Earth News)

 Sebastien LOVES the Litchi Tomato. He has been trying to get me to grow it for 2 years. He uses it to make Clafoutis and Ketchup (I think). He sent me enough seed to sell on my seed site for this year but I am definitely growing it next season., I have to admit, I love the appearance of it. I think they are beautiful. As you know, I'm always on the lookout for unique and interesting things. The Litchi tomato is definitely interesting. Although it related to tomatoes, it's catagory is S. sisymbriifolium, therefore you do not have to worry about it crossing with your heirloom or hybrid tomatoes.

If any of my readers have grown it, I would love to hear your opinions and maybe recipes for it. The photo above was taken by Sebastien Prunet and used with his permission.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 My cousin Ted and his friend Sterling eating the Brown Trinidad Scorpian pepper. haha
Order seeds for this on my seed site.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 Winners and Losers

I have really been slacking about getting this list done but here it is for 2012!!!!! There are 2 that I despised but wont bother talking about because they were not stable varieties nor is there seed available commercially. Please...keep in mind as usual, this is ONLY my opinion.
The Losers or AKA Waste of Garden Space:

The first big disappointment I grew this year and will never show up in my garden again is:
Every single one of the Dwarves I grew from the Dwarf Project. I know that saying this will not make me popular in some circles but I"m willing to risk it for my followers. The following is what I grew and grown in France by Seb with a very similar report as mine.
Wild Fred
Mr. Snow
Summertime Gold
Summertime Green
Some were grown in pots and some were actually put in the garden. All produced poorly with small fruits. Although the tastes were average, they still left me confused and disillusioned. Not at all up to the hype you hear about them. The Mr. Snow in the garden, grew to 7 ft. Not sure how that fits the dwarf catagory. Sebastien had almost identical results in France. He also was disappointed.  Saying all that, the growers that work on the Dwarf project are amazing. They have put tireless effort and years into these varieties. This is in no way to diminish their work. Just trying to be true to my findings. If you've thought about growing any of these, move on.
There were other disappointing tomatoes but honestly I believe they were crossed seed so I will spare them the bad review. If I was sure they were 100% not crossed I would be more forthcoming in my critique of them.
The All-Star List:
The first one is:Marmande Garnier Rouge. This is a French, 1970ish selection of Marmande kept by a private collector for years. The most beautiful tomato I think I have ever grown. Super producer. Never quits pumping out tomatoes until the first frost. The taste is excellent with a more firm meaty interior with plenty of juice. Very tomatoey taste.

Banjan Rumi
Banjan Rumi. A small, beefsteak looking yellow orange tomato from Afghanistan. This little guy was amazing. You get a much better taste then you are expecting from a small tomato. VERY juicy and sweet. Got many good reviews on it from all of my volunteer tasters.
Blackberry. A purple/black heirloom from Kentucky. What I liked about this black was not only it's production and sweet taste but it seems to genetically be programmed to not scar or crack which can be a problem with many of the blacks. The appearance factor pushed it above some of the other blacks that are equally as good in taste.

So these are the ones that either stood above or below all the others. There were many that were very good but didn't have that little bit extra to make me grow them again or rave about.
Hope you all find this helpful and had a great season!

Post Script: I forgot to add Honeydrop Cherry to my favorites list. This was by far, the best cherry tomato I have ever grown. Heads above Black Cherry. Super sweet and a very nice cantoloupe color. Comparable to Sungold but an open pollinated variety. If I didn't grow for seed, this would be the only cherry I ever grew for the rest of my life.