Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tomatoes on Sale

I put some tomatoes up for sale this past Sunday. They seemed to go pretty quick. I think I'm going to be selling them on Sundays and Thursdays for the time being.

So, if you're looking for something good to eat, stop by the backyard and put your money in the toolbox!

$1 a pound.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paul Robeson

All I can say is yummy! Picked a couple Paul Robesons today. The first got quartered and eaten with salt and pepper. The other became Angelas' first tomato sandwich of the year. Things are looking up. Still crossing my fingers that I have a good selection come the middle of this month. With only a couple ripening we'll just have to see.
Hopefully everyone gets a chance to eat one of this variety this summer. Awesome taste, rich and just different. 'Better' even... when fully ripe the inside is almost a beet red color.

Also ordered a scale to put on the stand. As I said in my last post I'd hate to 'package' the tomatoes up already and with so many different sizes it just makes sense to sell them by the pound.

It's funny how great that thing tasted today. I guess I haven't really eaten a tomato like that since last year. Maybe that's why. The hothouse tomatoes you buy in the store with the dry pink interior just don't make the grade.

Monday, July 6, 2009


3 Paul Robeson Tomatoes look to be ripening. They should be ripe in a couple days. Alas the public will not see them ha... I'm still hoping that the others begin to ripen shortly. Hopefully in 2 weeks (more or less) I'll have a decent enough selection to go around. I don't know how many Early Girls I'll even have as they seem to not be producing very well. The shade I think is a big factor for them. The Brandywines look awesome but are still not showing any color. Lets cross our fingers and hope that it all comes together soon.
I still need to figure out how to sell them. It's going to be a 'Do it yourself' stand as I won't be around during the day, but I'm leaning on finding a cheap scale to screw down to the table back there. Weight would be the fair way to do this. Especially since some of the tomatoes will barely fit in a quart container. Plus I don't want to set them up so that people HAVE to take what I choose to put in the baskets/containers. Should be mix and match.

I will also say that when they start ripening, the heirlooms will probably go real quick. When it all goes down I'll post more about them. The red and yellow striped varieties look to be well on their way and if they're as pretty as I think they're going to be, they'll be the first ones to go. People also need to understand too that the Heirloom plants don't produce as many tomatoes as the others so when they go out there, first come first serve. I'll most likely be putting them out around 6am to 6:30am so the early bird gets the worm.

Again, just a note to say it's the beginning but that no tomatoes are out yet. I'll post pics of the first ripe ones in the next couple days :) They'll be getting eaten by me! Hopefully this is the start of something good.

Monday, June 29, 2009

C'mon and Ripen Already!

One of these days I'll remember to force the camera into not posting the date and time on the pictures...

Anyways, I thought I'd take some shots of the garden to show what a couple weeks can do for you. The garden has changed quite a bit. The dreaded watermelon zucchini cross in the compost has gone from 'scary tendrils' to 'it's taking over'. Great looking 'watchamacalits' growing from it. Some are dark green, some are near black. Some are all yellow, some are a little bit of everything. Here's some pics!

Don't know what to say about that. They taste fine. I've been meaning to slice some up and grill them but always forget.

The cucumbers and I have been fighting a fierce battle. They keep trying to climb up on my tomatoes and I keep pulling them off onto the ground. Neither of us is winning. There is a winner though... The dog.
She loves cucumbers and while I was tying up the tomatoes on Sunday morning I heard her crunching and munching on them. She just goes out and picks her own. You can see where she's been wading through them in search of something big enough to snack on. I wondered why she always has 'dirt nose'. Now I'm positive that's why I have only got one cucumber so far this year.

The tomatoes are doing fine. Just not ripening up fast enough for me. We'll see what the next few weeks brings. Here are a couple pictures including one of a Brandywine Tomato plant with a 6 ft Hoe next to it to help gauge size.
I'm still crossing my fingers for the middle of July!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Land STAKES Alive!

So, finally I got my butt in gear and searched high and low for stakes for the tomato plants. I found some good old metal fence posts in the shed that I've used in previous years to hold my cages up. The next door neighbor had some that she wasn't going to use anymore. Then I made a trip to Lowes and bought a few cheap wooden stakes. I have a few plants that still need to be staked but I've put in some calls and have some Tobacco sticks coming soon so all is well.

I used green flagging tape to tie the tomatoes up and hope it will do alright. It's got some stretch to it, and much like using strips of sheets/pillow cases like I've done in previous years it shouldn't cut into the plants like twine or string would. Oh yeah, the best part is it's cheap!

The Brandywine, Mountain Fresh and Paul Robeson all have grown pretty tall very quickly. The Copia and Gold Medal is also doing well with lots of blooms which I'm excited about because they didn't do well at all last year. By far, the Brandywine seems to be outgrowing everything else and has tons of blooms too.

One issue I need to resolve is the pruning of a Red Birch planted next to the garden. It needs to be limbed up so that the tomatoes that are planted under it get more sun. They are the smallest in the garden. I man-handled the dill problem I had last year and have left only a few patches here and there. I also have some cucumbers that started from seed from last year but I just go out every couple days and make sure they aren't climbing up the cages or trying to grab hold of the tomatoes themselves.

The other bed of tomatoes is doing pretty well too. There's 15 or 16 planted in a different spot over by the fence and I was worried they might not get enough sun but look to be doing alright. The problem over there is I planted them too close to the lines that we hang our laundry on. I may be digging the first row out so that when we hang our laundry out to dry they won't get tomato pollen/green stuff all over them.

The last thing I'd like to mention is that in my compost, some plants sprouted out this spring. They looked like Zucchini so I let them go, but as they grew I started to wonder what they actually were... They have Zucchini leaves, but they were vining like crazy... I've never seen a zucchini plant take over like that. It's taken up the whole compost area. I thought about where I planted things last year and did some research on the net and it seems as though there's a slim chance that the hill of zucchinis I planted last season could have crosspollinated with the Carolina Cross Watermelon that I planted right next to it. That would explain the crazy vines and tendrils. You see, after eating the watermelon last year I put all the excess waste (rinds and seeds) into the compost. The plant has flowers like a zucchini, but the vegetable growing out of the flower is egg shaped with stripes ha.... we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Varieties and More...

Well, I've run into a bit of a speed bump as I can't find the usb connector that allows me to upload pictures I've taken of the garden to the computer. Never fear, as a trip to Staples or Best Buy should remedy that.

As I stated in the previous post I've planted 79 tomato plants including 16 different varieties. (I know I said I had 17... I must have miscounted, or just exaggerated to make my garden sound better ha!)

Tomatoes I started from seed myself:
  1. Big Boy
  2. Beefsteak
  3. Paul Robeson
  4. Green Zebra
  5. Copia
  6. Gold Medal
  7. Sweet 100 (cherry tomato)
  8. Early Girl
Tomatoes I bought at various Amish stands around the county include:
  1. Better Boy
  2. Pineapple
  3. Mountain Fresh
  4. Lemon Boy
  5. Golden Jubilee
  6. Yellow Pear (cherry tomato)
  7. Hillbilly
  8. Brandywine
I'd have to say that my two favorites have been the Paul Robeson and Lemon Boy.
The Paul Robeson is an Heirloom tomato that's got a distinct purple/blackish color and has a very sweet smokey flavor. The Lemon Boy is a sturdy nice sized yellow tomato which is a good producer and has a lower acidity than some of the red tomatoes.

Here's a picture of the prettiest tomato. I'm not a huge fan but the Green Zebra tomato wins best of show when it comes to looks.

And Paul Robeson here.. These pictures were taken from the net as I don't know that I have any of them from last years garden.

I look forward to the red and yellow stripe varieties as well which are Copia, Gold Medal, Pineapple, and Hillbilly. My Copia and Gold medal didn't do that well last year but I did let that part of the garden get taken over by Dill, which choked and shaded out both of those varieties so I'm hoping that was the problem.

It's been raining cats and dogs every few days with huge downpours from thunderstorms. Normally I don't like to see them but my tomatoes are going to get some great growth from all that deep penetrating water so bring them on!

I'm going to save some info for later but I'm thinking I should post some more pictures of my garden last year... at least until I can get my butt over to Staples for that usb cord.
Hope everyone is well.

Also a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER SJ WHO TURNS 31 IN 6 DAYS. Have a good one maggot! Wish I could be there to celebrate!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spring is in the Air and my Tomatoes are in the Ground

I've been planting this vegetable garden for about 7 years now, but it has been a garden for generations. The man who owned this house before me planted here, his parents planted here and their parents planted here. Over time the size of the garden has changed in size and the crops planted have changed as well.

I've always planted a diverse array of vegetables and/or flowers but this year I decided to do something different and plant almost all of the garden in my favorite varieties of Tomatoes. 17 varieties to be exact... and 79 plants. I had this idea that I would sell them to the neighborhood folks that are always walking by. I doubt I'll have a problem getting rid of them but we will see.

I've used no fertilizer and no pesticides at all. I collect grass clippings and leaves, refuse from the kitchen and it goes into an 8' by 8' compost that's fenced into the center of the garden. All year long this builds up and each spring I spread the rich black compost across the garden to be tilled in for the coming years harvest.

About half of the tomato plants I planted were grown from seed by me. The other half were bought from local Amish farms. They were planted about 3 weeks ago and are well on they're way. Some problems I'm facing now include wire grass invading the bed and the fact that I've never had this many tomato plants before ha! I've only got about 20 cages and I'm trying to do this on the cheap... I've got some posts and may just be staking most of them, as it costs quite a bit of money to make decent cages for them. I priced some concrete wire , which in my opinion is the only way to go, and I found that one roll of wire @ 150' costs roughly $110 dollars. @ 6 feet of wire needed per cage that would leave me with 25 cages at that price. Quite expensive, at least for me... so stakes it is. We'll have to see what I can rustle up.

We'll talk more about the varieties I've planted and I'll post some neat pictures of the garden from 'back in the day' up till now. Happy Planting.