Sunday, September 7, 2014

The case of the confused tomato (or is it the gardener?)

While there is something humbly satisfying and nourishing about growing winter veg I always feel a stir in my soul when it comes to sowing my seeds for summer crops. Tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, beans...tall and sprawling.

At the end of last summer I decided I would not grow more than two tomato varieties - one for salads and the other for sauces. But I am afraid to say I did not stick to agreement...who can when you read names like:

Ailsa Craig

Green zebra striped tomato

Amish salad tomato

Aunt Ginny's purple tomato

Beefsteak tomato

Roma tomato

Amish paste tomato

Black cherry

Yellow pear

How is a girl to choose?

This gardening girl has to choose as my garden is not big enough to host all these wonderful names. I have chose 5 varieties and will be staggering their planting so that they do not have flowers at the same time to prevent cross pollination.

As I also needed a system to stop me confusing all the seedlings I turned to the boxes we have collected because of buying juicing vegetables for our daily juices.

Each tomato variety is started as per usual in a newspaper pot and the filled pots are placed into a beer box.

When they have their first leaves, I transplant them into bigger pots and then place them in a labelled fruit box.

In a few weeks they will be transplanted once more, slightly deeper, into bigger pots and then labelled with a marker cut from an old milk container.

I have started two varieties already - Roma and Beefsteak - which will be the first in the ground. About 2 weeks later I will do the next batch and so on.

I am hoping that I will be able to see all 5 varieties to the table. Last year we lost most of our tomatoes to blight which was quite disheartening.

One way to avoid it again is to plant in a different area than that year. It was also seed that I had brought in from the USA which would have been acclimatised to that climate, not ours.

This year I am using South African seed and won't import again, now that I am a bit wiser.

Talking about seed varieties, I picked up my seed potatoes and other seed packs from Living Seeds and I was delighted to see their new print catalogue.  Take a look at this fantastic gardening help, so much more than a seed catalogue!

You can buy a catalogue here for R20 or you can get one for free when you place your order of a certain value with Living Seeds.

1 comment:

rosemaryspantry said...

This is interesting - I will also be planting my Heirloom tomatoes soon. I plan only to grow one type of tomato at a time to prevent cross pollination.

My deconstructed garden is not ready for vegetables yet as it needs to be tilled again and the problem is a reliable gardener !

My friends laugh at my gardening efforts but I chuckle when I pick greens for my salads.

The Lord has given us the ability to garden and also garden vegetables and I intend to use this gift to the best of my ability.

We never buy wood for braais and fires in winter as our trees grow at an rapid rate and constantly need trimming - how nice is that ?

Next into the ground are lettuce as well as radish and perhaps potatoes - now I am feeling ambitious.

I have also planted some fennel seedlings but what I wanted was the Florentine Fennel with the bulb which is super for salads !

I have the phone number of a grower in Stellenbosch who sells individual seedlings and you are charged per plant which works out a lot cheaper !

My you and your family have a wonder Spring weekend !