Thursday, April 16, 2009


One of my Birthday gifts, a willow trellis.
It's expandable, and portable...


I took my Vegetable Container Gardening class yesterday and learned a lot of things, but I also got my (mainly) heirloom tomatoes (Cynthia who provides tomatoes and veggies to Manresa, is selling them now), and this is what I ended up with:

Ananas Noir - (Black Pineapple - French). 1 to 1.5 lbs multi-colored, beautiful and delicious, I tasted some last year, it's one of my favs. 85 days.
Black Prince - chocolate smokey tomato, Chef's favorite. I haven't tried it yet. 2 inch fruits. 75 days

Black Zebra. I love Green Zebra, but the grower, who also likes Green Zebra said "This is even better". So I'm trying it this year. 70 days.

Bloody Butcher. This is my largest seedling, I had to put it in a 5 gallon pot to "pot it up" because in it's 2" pot there was no room for it's roots. It's a potato leaf variety, produces very early, and is apparently prolific. Bright red! 55 days.

Brad's Black Oxhart - "A black oxheart! Large fruits, oxheart type, with plenty of tender, juicy flesh. Delicious. Nice, rich aromatic flavor. Skin color is dark red with purplish hues. Slightly variable shape, usually like a fat strawberry. Medium size plants, about 1 m tall. Recently selected by Bradley Gates from California. 90 days." (link for seeds)

Brandywine Red Landis
- "This old time legendary and very special strain of Red Brandywine is named for Brandywine Creek and comes from Chester County Pennsylvania where it originated in 1885. These big, vigorous vines produce 8 -12 ounce, deep bright-red round fruits in clusters of 4 to 6. Outstanding, prolific, robust, with intense tomato flavor which stands up to its legendary 100 year history. " 78 days

Chile Verdi - indet., "regular leaf plant with a good yield of 4-8 oz green-yellow paste type fruit, very good flavor, bred by Tom Wagner, Everett, WA." This is new to my grower, Cynthia, and she's never grown it before either. It's not even in most seed catalogs. Experimentation! I thought a green yellow past sounded very intriguing. 85 days.

Green Grape - a favorite of mine. These resemble Muscat grapes, they are in clusters... Very tasty and a nice contrast to red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes. 60 days.

Mandarin Cross - Last year when I took the Master Tomato Growing Class, this was one of my favorite yellow/orange tomatoes in the taste test. I bought some of these and saved the seeds, so these are from seed, I didn't buy them. Gorgeous yellow orange, medium sized tomato. 80 days.

Paul Robeson - Hard to explain how delicious these are, it's no wonder the Russians named this after their favorite black opera star... The flavors are rich, full and complex. "This favorite tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was admired world-wide, especially in the Soviet Union" This grows to about 4 inches, and won best of show at the Carmel Tomato Fest (well worth going to). This is definitely one of my favorite tomatoes and works well in climates like mine. 74 days.

Super San Marzano - A very prolific, wonderful paste tomato. Probably the best of the Marzanos. Much better than Roma. 70 days.

Sungold - One of the best Cherry Tomatoes ever. It's sweet, like sugar, and a beautiful golden orange. It's one of those you pass by in the garden and can't resist to pop in your mouth. I've tried them dried too, exquisite! Candy you can grow. And yes, it's a hybrid. But a REALLY good hybrid. 55-58 days.

Sweet 100's - Hundreds (they aren't kidding) of currant sized tomatoes bedeckle this plant. It's a hybrid too, but don't let that deter you! These are amazingly good. Combine these in a tomato salad with all these, and this is heaven! 65 days (more or less).

I potted them up, at least those that were in pots way too small for 2" containers, after disinfecting some one gallon pots and one 5 gallon pot with some bleach and hot water and washing VERY thoroughly. Those plants I potted up I put some soil down first, added 4-5 chicken shells, some worm castings, some time release fertilizer, and some bone meal. Mixed that up, then put the tomato in, trimmed the side branches, and filled up with soil until the soil was right under the top most leaves. They will be in these containers for at least two weeks, maybe longer if the cold weather doesn't stop. So I wanted to boost them up.

The tomatoes that take the longest time to ripen will be in that deep bed that gets the hottest sun and the rest will be in 15 gallon pots. That's 8 in that bed and 6 in pots. All will get 7 foot tall cages.

Getting concrete reinforcing wire cages in May. And rebar to reinforce the cages and shade cloth for the tomatoes that will be in black pots.

Getting 6 large pots with potting soil to plant a whole bunch of cucumbers to grow up the fence...
Yes we WILL be pickling this year, have no doubt!

I'm making a "bean teepee" with a great goodie I got from gardeners supply for my birthday, which is at the top of the page.

I'll put 15 gallon pots in the four corners for this, set this in the soil, and grow green, yellow, and purple beans, as well as scarlet runner beans for the hummingbirds and the flowers (which are great in salads).

We have raspberries growing now, all kinds of lettuces which make for amazing salads, our strawberries are popping out blossoms all over the place, in fact going insane, broccoli starting to really become broccoli, onions pushing up, garlic becoming bulby, Rabe surprisingly good, Kale that I'm unsure of - I'm not a great lover of kale, Snowpeas that are magnificent, and very delicate to train, Curly Cress being very tasty.

One half of one my beds is going to be dedicated to Basil, which I'm pinching off constantly in the green house and replanting into larger pots to encourage intense bushy growth, and the other half is going to be dedicated to cilantro, which bolts fast and I will have to have places to grow new batches on a consistent basis. (*reminder to self, plant some more cilantro seeds tomorrow).
We are starting strawbale gardening as well, which are basically instant beds, and are hydroponic for the most part. We will be growing a scad of peppers, a pumpkin, a zucchini, maybe a melon, and other seed plants.

The hops are taking off like, well, hops, they know where the things to climb are, and with an uncanny and incredible accuracy they will grab on to a rope to lift them up to the sky. There's something almost spooky about hops. They move faster than you expect and grow really fast. I swear they can see the rope ladders you create for them and as soon as your back is turned, they have grabbed that thing to grow up on. In minutes! It's really weird.

I've planted hyssop for the first time, and have lots of marjoram and thyme to plant. Thyme will be my primary herb outside the fence.

It's still too early to plant the tomatoes, but I'm getting prepped. To plant excellent tomatoes, you need to prep. I needed to talk to the chef at Sandabs to find a source for fish heads and he's amenable (I only need enough for 14 plants, and he's more than happy to provide them). I needed to take these classes from Love Apple Farms on both how to grow tomatoes with a masters touch (because I've not had luck or knowledge the last few years) and with the right attitude. I needed to see how a really good garden grows. I needed to be empowered to do it. Cynthia did that with a lot of information, and a lot of inspiration. I highly recommend her classes!

I think this years garden is going to blow us away. After all this work, it better! :)

I hope to share pickles, jam, and salsa this year with my good and dear friends.

1 comment:

jdev said...

Hi Joy, just wanted to let you know I liked your site. I really liked the hummingbird pictures, I never knew you could get them to sit still that long. I hope your tomatoes turn out well, I bet they'll be delicious. I'll talk to you later,

Good Luck, Jed