Saturday, November 29, 2008
Here is the story of my miraculous little cherry tomato.
My tomato garden is at the back of my property. Living on almost 3 acres that's quite a distance. In the front of my house is a long rose bed, heavily mulched every year.
For the last 2 years, this random tomato plant sprouts up right next to my Princess Diana Rose. I always find it weird because I wonder how a tomato seed got down thru that mulch and comes up every year in the same spot. Well I'm pretty sure it's a white cherry. The odd part comes in that I have never grown a white tomato until this year and it wasn't a cherry. So being me, I sit and chew on this all of the time. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.... So I decided this year that since that little plant was so determined to come back every year, I would taste it. It was very good. So I saved seeds for it and have named it after the Patron Saint of gardens and gardeners. St. Fiacre cherry. It's on my grow list for next year and will finally have it's proper place in the big garden. I am posting pics because I am wondering if it's a yellow or a white.Let me know what you think.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
I have to brag about my friend Duane Perry. He is a greenhouse owner that lives south of me and is kind enough to allow me to keep my tomato seedlings there in the spring. Well........my friend just won the state record for the largest tomato ever grown in the state of Ohio. 4.48 lbs.
I talked to him and told him that would be a tough record to break and so typical of him, he said he intends to break his own record next year. LOL.
So, congrats to my friend that now has the bragging rights to growing the largest tomato on record ever in the great state of Ohio.
By the way.........the tomato was a Church. Listed on my "waste of garden space" sidebar. lol... It is a spitter but for size, I've never seen 'em bigger.
In the photo is his little girl Taylor...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
OMG!!!! I can't even begin to explain how hot this pepper is. So hot that I don't even know how it could have a culinary purpose.
Certified in 2006 by the Guiness World record keepers as the hottest pepper on the planet. From Northeastern India, it is called Naga Jolokia, or Bhut Jolokia. I believe that translates to "Ghost chili". Apparantly eating one can cause you to give up the ghost.
One of my best friends bit into one and got a blister on his lip. One of my chef's decided to make a hot sauce out of them and had to repeatedly leave the room because the fumes were burning his lungs and sinuses.
So...other than having the bragging rights of having the "hottest chili in the world" growing in your garden, I have no idea what to do with this.... It's just off the charts hot!!!!
I'm curious if anyone else grew it or anyone has any suggestions for uses of a pepper that could destroy your digestive track?
Monday, September 1, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Marlowe Charleston: What a great tomato!! I got the seed for this from my friend Maria in Ky. It's such a dark pink that it almost looks like it should be in the purple category. Very productive and somewhat disease resistant. Sweet beyond belief.
Champagne Cherry: The seed for this one was hard to find but it was worth the work. In the white category but turns yellowish when very ripe. It is larger than a currant tomato but smaller than most cherries. Grows in clusters like grapes. I have never eaten a sweeter cherry. It got rave reviews from every person that ate it.!!
Jack White: This was my first year growing a white variety. I also grew Viva Lindsey's White Ky.Heirloom. It was interesting having two whites side by side to try. The Jack White was early, very disease resistant and so productive it was almost funny. Stayed very white even when ripe. The VLWKH was later, not as productive and turned more yellow as it ripened. Not nearly as good and smaller too. Jack White is an Alan Bishop tomato.
KBX: What a beauty!! It's true, it's better than the RL version. I won a tomato judging in Pittsburgh with a 2 lb. KBX. (pics soon).. Not a big fan of the yellows but this even hooked me.
Now for the losers:
Beauty King: In all fairness, I might have to try this one again. It looked more like a striped variety than a blushing tomato and I believe BK is supposed to be a blusher or true bi-color. This one looked like a Big Zebra but rounder. It had a distinct melon taste and not one of my tasters liked it. I have a suspicion that the seed I received might not have been true so I am giving this a thumbs down with reservations. Whatever I grew labeled Beauty King was a real spitter. If anyone has a comment on this one, feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
Giant Belgium: They were huge and they were beautiful but the taste was very sub-par. I kept trying them thinking they would get better but it never happened. Nice looker but very disappointing in the taste category. There are much better tasting big tomatoes. Very blight suseptable (more than any other variety in the garden).
As soon as possible I will try and post pics of these. I have to upload hundreds of pics I have taken while my pc was down.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Wisconsin 55 Yellow/Gold is a yellow mutant of Wisconsin 55 (This splendid cultivar represents some of the last focused open pollinated tomato breeding done at the University of Wisconsin in the early 1950's. by J.C. Walker, who was actually a plant pathologist. Shortly after that time, breeding efforts shifted to F1 hybrids and this was among the varieties that were nearly forgotten.) that Dr. Robert Raabe, professor emeritus UC Berkeley, found growing in a field of the original Wisconsin 55 growouts in 1953/54 when he was a student tending fields and picking fruit for processing. Raabe saved some seeds as a curiosity. He's grown them for them 50 years since because he likes them but never thought there would be widespread interest in such a thing until Alison Stewart got excited about it and asked him for seeds. Raabe gave Alison some seedlings from which she got a supply of seeds some of which she sent to Martin Longseth, a champion of Wisconsin 55. This tomato grows hardy plants under harsh conditions in shallow soil and makes thick walled, dense tomatoes suitable for canning and slicing. WI-55 Gold seems tolerant to disease, heat, heavy rain, and survives bug infestations while producing relatively blemish free fruit without cracks that ripen to a very pretty yellow/gold color that is not orange. (Variety info from IN JE B2)
Friday, August 1, 2008
Jack White 75 Days RL
This is one of my new whites I'm trying this year. It comes from Alan Bishop..
This is a beefsteak shape, thin skinned white usually 10 oz or more. It is a stabilized cross between Great White, White Beauty and White Tomesol. Very Productive. Said to have more flavor than most whites. Named after the lead singer of the rock band the White Stripes. Review will follow.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
This is about the tomatoes on my "I'm so excited to grow this one" list. I usually have one every year and it's funny how it plays out. Some of them end up being duds and some of the mater's that I'm "not excited" to grow, end up being great. So, here's the line up of the "Most Excited about" tomatoes.
Jack White--This is a tomato created by Alan Bishop. A large 12 ounce or more, beefsteak type, White/Cream colored tomato of excellent quality. Relatively thin skinned but holds up better than most whites. A stabilized cross and selection between Great White, White Beauty and White Tomesol . If you think whites don't have a taste try this one on for size, very productive. Named after the lead singer of the rock band The White Stripes. From what I have been reading, white tomatoes are a very good choice with seafood.
Coeur De Poulain-- A red heart from my friend Lucine in France. She received it from her neighbor who got it from a truck farmer in Lyons, France. It's a heart shape and she reports that it is very sweet and juicy. The name translates to "Heart of the Foal".
Belmonte--A beautiful tomato I first heard about from the French peeps. Originally from Calabria, Italy.
Pink Peach-- This is a matte, fuzzy skin pink tomato. Bright red inside when you cut it open. Only about 2 oz. but reported to be excellent! Sweet and juicy.
Liguria-A fluted paste tomato.Stable variety originally from Albenga in the Province de Savone in the Region of Ligurie in
Champagne Cherry--A white cherry tomato that is very obscure. I love the name and hope it's a great one so I can share with my fellow mater-heads.
Purple Dog Creek--Another Kentucky heirloom. Purple Dog Creek is a very rare family heirloom from the small community of Dog Creek near Munfordville
Couiless Du Taureau--This translates "Balls of the Bull". Got these seeds from Roland Robins in France. He received the seeds from his Spanish neighbor. So the tomato is originally from Spain .
Yellow 1884 Pinkheart--It was developed by Darrell Merrell (recently deceased) from a chance cross between "The 1884 Tomato" and an unknown yellow. He had been selecting seed for nine years and has it stabilized it to produce a light yellow skinned tomato with pink on the blossom end and pink striations in the meat and sometimes a pink splotch right in the middle of the meat. It has a creamy smooth, sweet flavor. The more pink, the sweeter the flavor. (Low acidity.) Prolific, and I mean prolific production. He said it was one of the best producing tomatoes of all that he grew. Early on the tomatoes are up to one pound and oblate in shape. The tomato man and daughter
Kumato--I did a whole post about this one. If you go in the archives, you can read about it in detail. I small black that was never released in the U.S.. Said to be great at any stage of ripeness.
T.C. Jones --A newly discovered heirloom from Kentucky. A big yellow beefsteak. My friend Gary acquired this one from one of his friends. Apparently, the friend said that it had been in his family for generations.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Every year I am asked to name my favorite tomato. My honest response — I don’t have one; I enjoy variety. Yet I think it’s fair to say that of all the “big reds” (as I call them), ‘Abraham Lincoln’ consistently ranks at the top. It is one of those heirloom varieties that faithfully produces huge crops of extra large, meaty fruit, and resists foliage diseases, making it ideal for organic growers like me. On top of that, it has a real summery tomato flavor that is largely missing in modern hybrids. I also like the fact that it produces heavily right up to the first killing frost and keeps me in pre-ripened green tomatoes for jams and chutneys all the way to Christmas. And on a sultry August day, there is nothing like a chilled glass of white wine and a light bruschetta made with fresh ‘Abraham Lincoln’ tomatoes.
Save money and connect with local gardeners by exchanging garden seeds through organized seed swaps...
‘Abraham Lincoln’ was introduced in 1923 by the W. H. Buckbee seed company of Rockford, Ill., which named the tomato in honor of the state’s favorite son. It was released without much fanfare, but over the years it has proved itself to be one of the great tomato classics that happily survived the big shift to hybrids during the 1940s. After the demise of the Buckbee firm, the tomato was continued by R. H. Shumway of Randolph, Wis.
Looking back on the tomato situation in the 1920s, there were a lot of other big reds competing for culinary attention: ‘John Baer,’ ‘Bonny Best,’ ‘Landreth’ and ‘Henderson’s Winsall’ (developed in 1924 in response to ‘Abraham Lincoln’), yet most of those are selections of one another and when placed side by side, it’s pretty difficult to tell them apart. ‘Abraham Lincoln’ stands out, perhaps because of its dark red color and bronzy-green leaves. Buckbee claimed that the average fruit weighed about a pound; I would say it’s closer to 8 ounces, though some fruits occasionally do get that large. You tend to get smaller fruits if you allow them to develop in clusters from six to nine tomatoes, and larger specimens if you pull off the small ones.
Today, there are two strains of ‘Abraham Lincoln.’ The original 1923 strain is considered a late-season tomato, maturing in 87 to 90 days. Because I plant tomatoes outdoors in mid-April, this means I will have harvest-ready tomatoes by mid-July or early August at the latest. Another strain of ‘Abraham Lincoln,’ which is offered by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, was introduced around 1975 as a more mid-season tomato that matures about two weeks earlier. This strain does not have the distinctive bronzy green leaves of the original, but it is identical in all other respects, even the same flavorful dark red fruit.
Rather than oblate (a flattened sphere) in shape like common beefsteak tomatoes, ‘Abraham Lincoln’ is round, solid and firm, which is why it’s such a good slicer. And unlike some heirlooms, ‘Abe Lincoln’ can tolerate rainy weather without splitting. In my garden, where I have a problem with tiny ants, splitting is an important issue because as soon as cracks develop on any of my tomatoes, the ants appear and the invaded fruit is quickly ruined. Last year, ‘Abe Lincoln’ won the war against the ants, so I didn’t have to resort to any remedial treatments (a real plus for organic gardeners).
Friday, May 2, 2008
Planting by the Lunar Phases
Gardening by the moon is as old as time. Going back as far as Babylonian times. Unfortunately, most gardeners have cast it aside in modern times.
Not only does the moon affect the tides, many scientist will tell you it affects human behavior, animal behavior and plant behavior.
The practice, known as moon or lunar gardening, centers on the moon's gravitational effect on the flow of moisture in soil and plants.
The basic concept is:
Plant above ground crops during the "Waxing" or rising moon. This is a period of increasing light from the new moon to the full moon.
Plant root crops during the "Waning" or declining moon. This is from the full moon to the new moon when the moonlight is declining.The moon moves through a complete cycle every 29 days. For moon gardening purposes, this cycle is divided into four quarters or phases. The first two quarters are waxing increasing) phases and the two latter quarters are waning (diminishing) phases. The term phase refers to the moon's apparent shape as viewed from earth during the month.The full moon as marked on a calendar is the demarcation between the two types of phases. To plant by the moon phases you will need an almanac or calendar that lists the exact time and date of the moon phases.
So how does this all relate to your garden? Well, in the waxing phase, the theory is that the water table rises and plants take up nutrients faster, making it an ideal time to plant.
The waning phase is much better for pruning and weeding as the water table is lower and things like tree sap run much slower. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that harvests are larger and plants don't go to seed as quickly if planted in the appropriate cycle.Here are two sites that explain it in depth and are dedicated to the topic.
Names of full moons
February: Snow, Quickening, Storm
March: Worm, Sap, Chaste
April: Seed, Pink, Grass, Sprouting, Wind
May: Flower, Corn Planting, Hare
June: Strong, Rose, Sun, Strawberry
July: Mead, Thunder, Buck
August: Sturgeon, Wort, Corn
September: Barley, Harvest
October: Hunter's, Blood
November: Mourning, Beaver
December: Cold, Oak, Long Night's
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Whew!!! I've been re-potting and hardening off the plants for the garden. Just the hauling them in and out of the garage everyday is a 15 minute job if you're working fast. Finally have the garden tilled and the 4 new herb beds done. I decided at least for this year to put the perennial herbs in the beds and put the annuals out in the open. The whiskey barrels are for the mint. That stuff will go crazy on you if you let it. Doing some new things when planting this year too. Going to be doing some pruning the Euro way on the maters. Can put them closer together but that means bagging blossoms for the seeds I want to save. I have my new St. Fiacre in his new home. taken Here's a pic on the left of my baby lettuce coming up. Whoo hooo!!!! Now to just keep the pesky rabbits out. I ordered a tomato plant by mail which I normally never do. It's called T.C. Jones. A newly discovered Ky heirloom. Big yellow beefsteak. Kept going in the same Ky family for 5 generations. Picture on the right for your viewing pleasure. LOL Trying out some new Basils this year. So far the winner of the beauty contest is one called Ararat. Beautiful varigated purple and green. I think I will do a special post just on the different kinds of Basil. I never realized how many there are. Of course, then there's the Starbucks coffee grounds. I think my garden gets more caffeine than I do.
I figure two more weeks and I can put the maters in the ground!!!!!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't share good info, even if it's not tomato related? HaHa
I saw this on the Food Channel and maybe it's the Hillbilly in me, but I was fascinated by it.
It's better info if you watch the re-runs on the Food Network.
Friday, April 25th: 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 26th: Midnight
Monday, April 28th: 1 p.m.
Friday, May 9th: Noon
In a nutshell, these folks have a hot dog business in W. Virginia and it's as Hillbilly as you can get.
In a broken down school bus. LOL
Word is that they have some of the best hot dogs in America and the Hillbilly motif is an all in fun poke at themselves.
As soon as Jack gets here in May, I am making the trek to W.V. for some of the dogs. Nothing beats a road trip just for laughs.
Life's short, have fun!!!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The Mysterious Kumato
Known as the Kumato in Europe and called Rosso Bruno in Canada. (I have no idea why the company changed the name for Canadians).
As with all new varieties, questions abound and curiosity gets us tomato growers. Much mis-information is floating around the internet about this one.
The company that circulates it in North America, Dulcinea, says it is a hybrid (a cross of two known or unknown tomatoes, first generation)
The distributor states that it is not a GMO (Genetically modified Organism) which is a plus.
The seeds are not available for gardeners, only the fruit. Which means that if you save the seeds and plant them out, it would take approximately 7 generations to stabilize it for conisistancy.
The company that owns the rights to the Kumato, Syngenta Seeds Europe, has itself put out some mis-information on it's own product. They state that the tomato is from the Galapagos Islands. Hmmmmm, that might be only half true.
"Kumato Tomatoes are described as black, but they are actually more of a dark brown. It developed over six years by Damien Flores, a Spanish grower in Aguilas, southern Spain (100 km from Murcia) for by Syngenta Seeds Europe. The company was looking for a tomato that would grow in salty soil. According to marketers' press releases, the tomato was developed from a variety from the Galapagos Islands. However, there are actually no black tomatoes in the Galapagos Islands. Syngenta may have used some tomatoes from the Galapagos, which are "Lycopersicon cheesmanii", in the cross-breeding it did, but those tomatoes are not black -- the black actually comes from tomatoes that have been in Europe for hundreds of years, through selection. Kumato is seed not available on retail market to home gardeners, only to commercial producers, and Syngenta has said it will not be released to the public. "
I have even heard speculation from growers that are stabilizing it for home gardeners that they think it might not be a Hybrid at all.Possibly that Syngenta put out the hybrid bit as a ruse to keep gardeners from growing and saving the seed. Protecting their investment.
One of my gardening friends in Canada has grown it for 4 seasons and has reported that it is true to the F1 every year. No variations.
That would indicate that it is indeed an open pollinated variety and not a hybrid. You would expect some variations in fruit size and color every year from hybrid seed.
The Kumato is reportadly very sweet and edible at 3 different stages.
This year, my French peeps and myself have started "Operation Kumato". We are all growing plants from the seeds to compare results.
If we all obtain the same results, it would indicate it is an OP.It will be interesting. Stay tuned for results.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Wow, I haven't been this impressed with a product in awhile.
This is a company that was founded by two Princeton University students who left to create the most eco-friendly products without premium prices. They call it Eco-Capitalism.( I think Al Gore does a form of this by selling "Carbon Credits" ) They use recycled drink and food containers to package everything from fertilizer to bird feeders.
Here in the pic is the tomato food. You'll notice at the top it says "contains liquid worm poop". LOL. It goes on to say that they feed premium organic material to millions of worms. Then they collect the worm poop and liquefy it to create this fert. No mixing required, just feed with it as you would any liquid fertilizer. This is a 64 oz. recycled pop bottle. This would work fine for a small garden, but I don't think some of us that have 200+ tomatoes could afford it. LOL.
But I love the concept and the products. I will add their link to the sidebar if you want to check out their other products. In my area, Home Depot, Walmart and Target carry the line.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I am writing about this tomato because I find the passionate disagreement over it very amusing. Many tomato growers turn their nose up at this one as "silly" and a "gimmick". I will give you my take on it and you can make up your own mind.
There is a family by the name of Wagner. This tomato has been in their family for many generations beginning with their ancestors in
Well, here's the rub, the family that has been growing this tomato, decided to give it a name and thought it would be funny to call it Monkey Ass. They trademarked the name and sell the seeds on E-Bay. That is the part that annoys some tomato growers.
The family didn't use the normal channels of tomato growers, the forums, seed savers or giving seeds to a commercial seed supplier. I say; SO?
Some of the arguements I have heard are; "it could be a know variety and they re-named it". So? That happens every year all over the country. People buy a tomato at a market stand and like it but don't know what it is. So they give it a new name and call it there own.
I've heard " the name is silly". I personally find it funny. I don't think all tomato names have to be serious.
Some tomato growers don't like the fact that they sell the seeds on E-bay. So?
What this family has done is taken a family tomato and marketed it. And cleverly I might add. What they have done is no different than what many seed companies do with their tomatoes. Some growers find it irritating that they didn't use the "proper" channels.
This tomato meets all the criteria for an heirloom. It's been in a family for generations, beginning with their Grandmother that brought it from Italy. It's been passed down thru the family as most heirlooms are.
I grew this last year and it was good. I would give it a 7.5/10 It did indeed develop a crack like a Monkey Ass. My gardening friends and I had a blast with it. Caused alot of laughs at some of the tomato events I went to.
I don't see the harm done here. The family was smart enough to market the tomato and ensure it's longevity for many generations by selling the seed to everyone. As far as I'm concerned, the family did what many seed companies do. Come out with a tomato,trademark the name, and market and sell the tomato only from their company.
So, in closing my thoughts are, Good for you Wagner family. You are a clever group. Tomato growers should stop treating this tomato like a silly joke, and realize that it is a true heirloom from Italy. Just happens to be sold on E-bay.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I would say Black cherry is hands down one of the best tasting cherries you can grow.
Not only are they beautiful to look at, the taste is amazing.
Yep, this is one of my Blue Ribbon winners from the fair last year.
Black cherry was developed by Vince Sapp, husband of Linda Sapp, owner of Tomato Growers Supply Company.
Dark purple-red skins. I can't add much more here other than to say, if you haven't grown it, you should this year. It's one of my All-Stars.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This is one un-believably good tomato.
It's a 'green when ripe'. It never turns red.
How do I know when it is ready you might ask? You only know by feel. You have to gently squeeze it until you feel some give then wait 1 day.
I first met this tomato at a plant swap. A fellow mater head kept pushing this plant on me. I had no interest. I had already made up my mind that a green when ripe was not going to taste very good. Finally, to get this insane tomato person off of my back, I took the plant.
I went home and grumbling under my breath the whole time, gave him a home in the garden. I didn't pay much attention to him because I "just knew" it was going to be a bad one.
It was a hardy plant I noticed. Big potato leaves. Seemed very healthy.
Finally, the tomatoes were getting ready. I cut my first one off of the vine. Took it inside and cut it open. Just a light green color. Yuk!!!!!!!!!!!! But I don't like green tomatoes. I took one bite. I know my eyes had to get really big. It tasted great. I thought I had better take another bite to make sure. Yep! this was one of the best tomatoes I had ever tasted. If you had your eyes closed and were eating it, you would swear it was a red or orange mater.
Originally from a selection/stabilization made from another green when ripe variety by Reinhard Kraft, German tomato enthusiast. Large clear-skinned, lime green when ripe fruits on a potato leaf plant.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I thought I might start posting individual posts about the tomatoes that are on my All-star list. These would be tomatoes that score a 9 or 10 out of 10 (according to my taste buds of course). Every year I plant new varieties and only the best make the all-star list and those get planted every season. To start out with we will go with Goose Creek. There is some controversy surrounding this one. Usually when there is some disagreement over a tomato it has to do with the history and some of the mater heads have informed me that they do not believe the history on this one is accurate. Here is a copy/paste from Laurel's page:
"This family treasure comes to us from edible landscape expert, Jimmy Williams, owner of Hayground Organic Gardening in
The Gullah are still keepers of a fascinating culture of food, language and beloved traditions--a most extraordinary and delightful people.
The seeds of this sublime fruit have been passed down through generations since the 1800's when Jimmy's great-great grandmother, a young Caribbean slave, smuggled them with her aboard ship. When the ship docked at
Along with being very heat tolerant, it shows remarkable cold-tolerance along the cooler coastal areas where the fruits continue to set and ripen through November and December. It is a wonderful choice for growing in containers."
Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes
Okay, I have no idea if it really came from slaves or not. But when a tomato is great, it's great no matter what the history is. Grew this one last season ( '07). The fruit wasn't big and I wasn't expecting much as far as taste. Wow! I couldn't have been more wrong. It is amazing. Out of 50 plants, this one stood out for taste alone.
I had a counter full of tomatoes last year and twice I had someone in the family say " what was the little red one you had in the back because it was great".
Jacques and Lydia personally requested this one by name for '08.