Thursday, December 14, 2006
I will have it be known to all that I killed a mosquito in our kitchen this morning. Yep; 12/14/06, and global warming is a theory.
I have wondered how I would review the vegetables, and it struck me that I could adopt the Academy Awards format. Too hokey, certainly; though in many people's gardens, tomatoes ARE the best actors or even the best picture.
Well. My notes say I planted 7 types of tomatoes from seed, and one tomato from an extra plant my mom had. In general, this was a very wet year, and we also had a cool spring; all this means that tomatoes took a while longer to ripen. I harvested our first small tomatoes the last week of July, but the first big ones didn't ripen for another week or more...and the chickens nabbed my first harvest. Little buggers. I fixed them, though.
So here's the list, from small to big:
Black Cherry (Baker Creek, '05 seeds). Heirloom, purple, prolific, tasty. Also known around here as Pox On Your House, as these were the only volunteers I found, and I found them in EVERY bed (compost not hot enough, I guess)
Riesentraube (Baker Creek, '06 seeds). "Giant bunch of grapes" red, nippled tomatoes; good sweet salad tomatoes; small plants, small leaves.
Sweet 1000s cherry: random plant. Somewhat thick skin, orange-ish, very prolific; not as tasty as the above two.
Green Zebra (Baker Creek, '05 seeds). Best fresh tomato; heirloom, know it's ready when it gets yellow shoulders. Fussy plant, not terribly prolific, but worth it.
Amish Paste (Baker Creek, '06 seeds). Plum-like, fleshy paste tomato. Very prolific, somewhat uniform fruit; tends to ripen all at once so be prepared.
Striped Romans (Baker Creek, '05 seed). Beauty queen winner; elongated, thick-ish skin, fussy heirloom. Will get blossom end rot if conditions not ideal (mulch is the answer). This is the "Oooo" fruit to impress the guests; easy to peel and can.
Hillbilly Potato Leaf/Flame (Baker Creek, '05 seed). Big beauty that can crack at the shoulders if it gets dry. Cut it open and it is beyond gorgeous. I made lots of salsa with this and the Green Zebras for my kid's school (so that is a LOT of salsa); quite tasty.
Brandywine (Baker Creek, '06 seed). THE heirloom. Big, thick, pink tomatoes; my largest one weighed in over a pound. Quite tasty, too. Like all large tomatoes, prone to cracking and catfacing; watch their water when they're plumping up.
I always wonder why I plant large tomatoes at about the time when it seems like they're taking forever to pinken up, but then, when they're all coming in (at once, it seems) I wonder why the hell I plant small tomatoes. I can't win, in other words.
The tomatoes were planted out with a half scoop of well-rotted sheep manure in their holes, and they were planted next to 2x2x8' posts. I lost my first batch to our ridiculously late frost. Once the second batch took hold, I put compost on them up to their shoulders, and compost (about a double handful) on each plant once more toward bloom set in mid-July. I mulched first with straw, then with grass clippings once the season went on. My other tricks this year were to plant Genovese basil in the middle of the plants: it didn't bolt once the tomatoes blocked their light, so I always had some on hand. I also planted vining nasturtiums on the beds' perimeter to act as a type of green mulch. The nasturtiums climbed the plants and made a colorful display. My watering schedule was nil after the 2nd week of July, but I had watered plenty to get the plants going.
Next year? Who knows. There'll always be tomatoes around here, though.