Monday, February 28, 2005

Tomato Escalation

Got some free tomato seeds with my tomato seed order. What a shocker!

Azoychka #3680 (30 seeds) $2.10
This is a delightful small yellow beefsteak tomato that matures so early it will be one of the first varieties to ripen in your garden. Beautifully smooth, lemon yellow fruit weighs about 8 ozs. and is very flavorful, rich but pleasantly sweet with a delicious hint of citrus. Heirloom variety from Russia. Our stock seed is from Craig Le Houllier. Indeterminate. 70 days.

I'll also be planting a grape tomato variety... long story... may explain later.

Who cares if garden space is limited, right? Tomatoes are irresistable. After all, a very wise woman once said, "What's a sandwich without a good slice of..."

Oh, nevermind.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Started More Seeds Today

In the greenhouse...

Mexican sunflower (Tithonia 'Torch')
Nasturtium 'Whirlybird Cherry Rose'
Nasturtium 'Vesuvias'

Yesterday, I started some Cerinthe major 'Purpurescens'

Am soaking seeds of Love-in-a-Puff and still need to start more seeds, time permitting. I'm trying to be good about labeling everything, which isn't my usual haphazard, "adult ADD" approach to gardening... So far, so good... well, except for my 'Roma' and 'Yellow Pear' tomates which got mixed up in the heat of the moment. As soon as they fruit, I'll sneak little labels on them to restore the illusion that I possess both enthusiasm and discipline. ;-)

Just ordered more plant tags from Peaceful Valley. I think I'll go pat myself on the back now...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ordered Tomato Seeds

I've already got Roma and Yellow Pear growing in pots (they were free bonus seeds, so what the heck), and finally reached a decision on the others I'll grow this season. From Tomato Growers Supply, I ordered the following:

(descriptions are from Tomato Growers Supply)

Compact plants bear plenty of wonderfully rich, dark mahogany-brown tomatoes that average about 4 ozs. Fruit is smooth and somewhat elongated with a pointed tip; in fact, this variety is what some gardeners grew as Black Prince years ago. Black tomatoes have a delicious blend of sugar and acid and a distinctive, complex flavor that is to be savored. Some folks say this variety is one of the best-tasting black tomatoes and prefer it also for its nice, medium size. Russian heirloom. Indeterminate. 80-85 days.

Believe It Or Not
What is unbelievable about this plant is an exceptional set of very large, bright red tomatoes that can also claim excellent flavor. Fruit is smooth in shape, which is special for an extra large variety that can easily reach 2 lbs. This makes a wonderful sandwich tomato as well as a good all-around garden variety. Full, sweet tomato flavor and plenty of juice. Indeterminate. 85 days.

Copia New!
These very beautiful tomatoes are a stunning combination of fine-lined golden yellow and red stripes. While visually exciting, the real treat comes when you cut them open. Their gold flesh is streaked with red and is very juicy, flavorful, and sweet. A stabilized cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, these tomatoes weigh about one pound each, They were named in honor of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, in Napa California. Indeterminate. 85 days.

Celebrity VFFNTA Hybrid
A 1984 ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS WINNER. Absolutely incredible set of exceptionally flavorful, firm 8 to 12 oz. fruit on strong vines with good cover and outstanding disease resistance. Large clusters of consistently large, beautiful tomatoes. Determinate. 70 days.

This selection leaves a little room for impulse purchases, dontcha think?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Seed Starting

Here's the thing about seeds. You order something from Select Seeds (LOVE that catalog) and as a bonus for ordering seeds, they send you... more seeds! Nearly every time I order something from Peaceful Valley, they ask me to choose some bonus seeds. Friends send seeds impregnated in greeting cards. Real estate agents leave seed packets at the door in hopes that I'll let them sell my house. Friends are very generous with their extra seeds. The point is, I have enough seeds to start a seed company.

Does that stop me from ordering seeds? Of course not! I am always in search of new and wonderful (or old and wonderful) varieties that area nurseries don't sell. I also promised myself I'd make an effort to find seed sources for Annie's Annuals' tempting plants so I don't have to look my son in the eye six short years from now and explain to him how I frittered away his college education on really cool annuals and perennials in pricey little 4" pots.

In addition to the seed section of the greenhouse, I've also been forced to set up a plant hospital. Until I get some sort of gate set up to keep the puppies out of the main garden area when unattended, there will be plant casualties. The list just keeps getting longer and longer. I don't blame them for digging. It's what dogs do. Heck, they see me doing it! Until I get a chance to "explain" to them which beds are off limits, I have to be prepared for plant triage.

As I write this, the puppies are curled up with each other, sleeping. They're probably dreaming about digging.

Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Super Garden Sunday

What football game? I honestly couldn't tell you who was playing in Sunday's game, but I can tell you that Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to make a pilgrimage to Annie's Annuals! Traffic was a breeze and except for getting way lost in Richmond-- No, I did not remember to bring a map, but I did remember to bring chocolate... It's just that chocolate turns out not to be a very good navigational tool-- we made great time.

We were also blessed with very little nursery traffic, which made plant perusing much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Here's my haul.

Sparaxis grandiflora ssp. grandiflora
Leptosiphon 'French Hybrids'
Romulea atranda
Linaria purpurea
Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs'
Ixia dubia
New Zealand wind grass (Stipa arundinacea)
lavender breadseed poppy

For lunch, we continued up the road to 4th Street in Berkeley. Cafe Rouge. Yum. Stopped at The Gardener, which I think should be re-named The Fancy Table Setter. It's not very gardeney these days... Hopefully that'll change with the season...