Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today in the Garden

Today was my first long day working out in the garden. My Uncle Will is visiting from Philly so he was out there helping me. God bless him. LOL.

We planted 4 new rose bushes. I'm a little worried about some of the other roses. It seems like some of them aren't greening up. I'm pretty new at growing them so maybe it's normal some years??

Tilled up the lettuce patch and got it all planted. This year it's:

Iceberg, Summertime, Red Velvet, Freckles, Speckles and Buttercrunch. Just for my dad I planted a long row of radishes. (yuk).

I also planted my white Peony bush today. Now I have red, pink and white.

I was going to till the back half of the garden but my Uncle insisted. So......since he forced me, I let him. Haha
In the pics you'll see the garlic and chives are all coming up. The Chocolate mint is already going crazy. Got two of my bean trellises up too. Going to plant the North Carolina greasy beans on those two.

My scarey owl is back on the back trellis to scare the bejezzus out of the bunnies.

Tonight I got a call from my Tomato Hero, Gary Millwood.

We are planning our visit we are having next Friday. Opening day at his nursery. I can't wait to see Gary in action. Maria Stenger from Blue Ribbon Tomatoes will be there too so it should be soooooooo cool. Gary was telling me about some of the very cool tomatoes he is growing this year. Can't wait to check out the inventory Friday. LOL. I will make sure to take lots of pics to post on the blog.
After today I feel like it is finally go time. I will be posting less and less on the blog as I spend more time in the garden but I'm sure you all understand that.

Have a great season!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Most excited to Grow List

Well, it's that time again.... my list of tomatoes I'm most excited to grow. I know I'm not alone in this... most of you have to have some that you are more excited to grow then others.

Absinthe: Another Alan Bishop tomato. This one is a green when ripe. His Jack White made my list last year and it was not a disappointment. Growing it again this year. Absinthe is flavoured distilled liquor, emerald green in colour, turning to cloudy, opalescent white when mixed with water. Absinthe inspired many prominent artists, writers and poets. Just to name a few - Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway - in fact his masterpiece " For Whom The Bell Tolls " was written under the influence of "The Green Fairy". Absinthe was first produced commercially in 1797 by Henry-Louis Pernod, who purchased the formula from a French exile living in Switzerland. That's just a little history on Absinthe... the tomato itself is a cross Alan did between Emaraude (or Evergreen) and Aunt Ruby's German Green and then later crossed back to what he "knew" was Evergreen.It is close to stable, maybe just a bit more work. The pic is from the French Tomodori peeps. Notice the Euro next to the mater. LOL. Got the seeds directly from Alan.

OSU Blue Fruit This is an experimental tomato being researched and developed at Oregon State University. Sometimes referred to as P20. Considered the first blue tomato. Not yet released to the public and probably won't be for a few years. Of course we hard-core growers have a secret seed cartel and not much doesn't get into our hands. Here's a copy/paste from Alan Bishop about it:

Jim Meyers has been working on this project for years. I believe the original breeding material for this particular project came from the Tomato Genetic Resources Center and was originally called LA 1996 I think (could be wrong). Anyhow, it's not just a novelty. It's actually an attempt by a university breeder to create a high Anthocyanin tomato line which will rival and possibly surpass blueberries as a commercial source of this valuable free amino acid!The taste is unremarkable from the conversations that I have had with Jim Meyers as well as articles I've read on the web where students of Jim's had spoken of tasting it with one even replying that it tasted like "Ink", something I don't think that anyone wants to taste in a tomato.I believe the idea was to cross this tomato to cultivars rated high in brix and in flavor to eventually develop lines which will be commercially available as seed and plants to home gardeners. I vaugely remember one student remarking that some sun-gold tomato crosses had already been made.One thing that I had in mind with this tomato was taking it and making crosses with the crimson gene that controlls high lycopene content and possibly (I'm not sure if it's possible to have both of these traits together) with something like Caro-Rich which is high in Beta Carotine. Then we would really be talking about a nutritionally efficient tomato crop of novel and medical use and what I like to call a "value added" seed line.In time I would love to get ahold of some seeds for this particular line whether from OSU or as it will be released eventually to home gardeners and do some crosses with it myself.-Alan

This should be an interesting grow-out. One of my U.K. friends grew it last year and said to make sure it get's maximum sun because it makes it more blue.

Mr. Hege's German Pink.. Don't have any pics of this one but got the seed from my tomato hero Gary Millwood. The seeds Gary sent me came directly from the stock of Mr. Hege that had been in his freezer. Unfortunately Mr. Hege has passed away so getting some of his original seed was a thrill. Mr. Hege germinated hundreds and hundreds (thousands) of this tomato each year and sold the seedlings at the Farmer's Markets in several locations near his home in Welcome, NC. Visitors to market always selected his tomatoes for home use over any other growers or varieties there! They loved the taste and quality! I understand he acquired the German Pink from an elderly gentleman who grew for market many years ago. So, it is an honor to continue the legacy passed on to us from the men who made growing this tomato for their livelihood.

Orange Minsk-- I got this seed from Andrey Baranovski in Belarus. He got the heirloom from an old woman at the Minsk Farmer's Market in 2006. I know from past experience that I have never gotten any Russian varieties from Andrey that weren't awesome.
The orange beefsteak-type fruits are huge (up to thirty six ounces). Less juice than other beefsteak types. Very meaty.

Rose Beauty--Got the seed from my good friend Remy in NY.

: Large yellow fruit with pink blush on blossom end, 1.5 lbs., very good flavor & productivity. Indeterminate. Yes, Rose Beauty is a YELLOW tomato! The name comes from John Rose of Richmond,KY. It was grown by his family on Happy Top Mountain on the Estlii/Jackson Co. line in KY, in the late 1920's and early 1930's.It is a large lemon yellow beefsteak with a wonderful mild flavor.Some yellows are bland tasting and mealy in texture,but this one is quite zippy when bitten into.Some fruits show faint pink streaks in the blossom end,and others show no pink at all.For a true heirloom that has never been 'monkeyed with' by the seed companies,this one's a keeper!

Maurine Verte ou Belle Maurinoise and Pamplemousse du Grand Père. Both new crosses from the French Peeps. (Thanks Laurent!!)... No pics. If I can get one off of Tomodori I will post them.
One is a green when ripe and the other is a blusher. I'll get more info from Laurent for you guys.

Edit: Both pics are from Tomodori. I will get the info on what the parents of both are.