Newsflash! Suckers don't suck!
You know that old gardening tip for tomatoes: pinch off those suckers - they sap energy from the plant? I've even read in a book about growing tomatoes that they will NEVER produce fruit so you should get rid of them immediately. Well, I tested it out myself way back then and that was not true - they did flower and produce fruit. It just goes to show that sometimes even the most repeated garden advice can be dead wrong.
The one time I do pinch off "suckers" and even blossoms that are starting to form on my tomatoes is around the end of the season when I can see that any new tomatoes that form won't even get to a state when they can be ripened inside. My theory is that the plant can then put its energy into the remaining fruit rather than trying to make even more. I haven't put this theory to the test yet though. Perhaps this season I will. Stay tuned!
Some good info and a video about "suckers" and what they are all about is here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-tomatoes/prune-tomato-plants-zmvz15jjzsor.aspx
Sow seeds outside in the WINTER??
You guys! I just found a new way to garden and I feel like my world has been turned upside down. It's called winter sowing, and I had never even heard a peep about it before until I saw it in the Jan/Feb 2014 Northern Gardening magazine in the break room at work. I was sort of puzzled and excited - could it really be true? Can you plant seeds and stick 'em outside in the winter and magically have seedlings to plant in the spring?
I googled it, and the answer is a resounding YES! I don't know how I had never heard of it before because there is tons of info about it out there. Even Bachmann's and Home Depot have info about it. Where was I - under a rock? How had I never come across this magical method before? Well, who cares - I am SUPER EXCITED about it now - can you tell? :)
I am also stoked that it will be WAY more green than using grow lights, and you generally use recyclable containers to plant the seeds. Also, seeds that say "soak overnight", "pre-chill" or "nick with a knife" you just plant and let the elements take care of that for you. I have many seeds I have never had much luck with that require this and now it'll apparently be easy as pie. I'm telling you, it seems like the best thing ever!
I don't know about you, but as a seed addict I have dozens of seed packets for flowers that I thought would be so pretty that I've never ended up with time for - or space under the grow lights for that matter. Now I can plant them out in containers and forget about them until spring!
Ok, so by now those of you like me not in the know are screaming at your screen - but how does this seemingly magical and impossible trick work??? Well, here are some resources with all the info you need to get you just as excited as I am:
Rest assured, I WILL be doing this for sure this year, and I plan on posting how to's on it as well, so stay tuned!
A rainbow mountain of chard!
Chard is really one of the prettiest edibles to grow in your garden- good for you and tasty too! I grow about 6 varieties each year around my front yard tomatoes, and intersperse with Lisianthus flowers. It's one of my prettiest gardens.
Do you grow chard? If your just growing the green "Swiss Chard" why not try some colors next year? Taste the rainbow!
Didja miss me? It's only been 3 years! :)
I thought I'd get my blogging feet wet again with a nice little tomato review post. So here goes:
Lucky Tiger from Johnny's Select Seeds
I am a total sucker for seed marketing - at least when it come to the name. Name anything with tiger, and I will buy it. Dragon? Forget about it - I am so there. Golden Queen tomato, Thai Dragon pepper, Purple Haze carrot? Yep. Bought 'em all. Sometimes you get burned and the plant or the fruit is a total dud and you chide yourself for being so foolish--but sometimes, it totally works out and you find a new favorite.
That was definitely the case with the Lucky Tiger tomato seeds I got from Johnny's. At first I thought it was actually a dud because they were all cracking wide open on the vine and I thought - well, I guess that tiger is not so lucky. But them I realized that it was just my mistake in not realizing they were getting too ripe! The photo in the catalog showed them being a more golden color, but at least in my garden they are much more green with a red blush. I finally picked some and tried them and they are great! Sweet and mild with an almost green grape flavor. They are also more thick skinned, but in a good way - they almost crunch! But, they are juicy and great for salads or just eating by themselves.
Definitely going to grow them again and would recommend! Added bonus, I think they are a beautiful tomato and to me that is a great selling point. I am always on the lookout for THE most beautiful tomato. :)
So, what new varieties did you try this year? Any new favs or were you plagued by duds?
Vintage Wine - It's about time!Wow - it's been 2 years since I posted? Where has the time gone? To social media I guess. ;) Well, if there's anyone out there - spambots, this does NOT include you! (Die spambots die! etc, etc) Here is a beautiful tomato. It's called Vintage Wine and it's a medium large beefsteak heirloom. One of the largest I've got this year, which isn't saying that much unfortunately. With all the heat and rain you'd think I'd have some giants - but then I never got around to ordering seeds and the stores just did not have the heirlooms I was looking for - lesson learned! Order online if you want the weird (best) tomato varietes! The flavor is generally good on this one, haven't actually busted into one yet this year, but I recall it having a pretty good sweetness and balance. A good slicer for your tomato sandwiches for sure, and pretty to boot. Just about the prettiest I've seen. What is your favorite variety this year? (Spambots, not you! I know it would be a stupid Early Girl or some other mass produced tasteless thing anyway. :P)
Ode to Tomatoes
filled with tomatoes
light is halved
like a tomato,
its juice runs through the streets.
the tomato invades the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes its ease on countertops,
It sheds its own light,
we must murder it:
the knife sinks into living flesh,
a cool sun,
populates the salads of Chile,
happily, it is wed to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we pour oil,
essential child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper adds its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding of the day,
parsley hoists its flag,
potatoes bubble vigorously,
the aroma of the roast knocks at the door,
and, on the table,
at the midpoint of summer,
star of earth,
recurrent and fertile star,
displays its convolutions,
its remarkable amplitude and abundance,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.
First potatoes from my @SecretFarm! They are French Fingerlings
Originally uploaded by Lorika13.
These are the first potatoes I have ever grown. Such cute little guys. They are French Fingerlings- pink inside and out. Basically they are recycled potatoes I got from the co-op that had started growing in the dark cupboard inside their plastic bag. So, I planted them. Highly recommend it. Barely any effort and now I hopefully have a whole new bag o' taters!
I can't wait to harvest the rest!