Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tomato Madness

I did a terrible thing. From Annie's Granny I found out I could get some free tomato seeds of all sorts of interesting varieties. So I sent in my SESA to and followed their directions. I had to send in a request for 6 varieties of tomatoes and an alternate list of four more. As soon as I sent the list in I immediately forgot which ones I picked. Typical.

I then promptly forgot about it altogether. Yesterday the seeds arrived. Now I'm in trouble. I have no room to put them. I'll have to find space as right now my tomato area is destined to be taken up by my experiment. I'm thinking I'll have to dig up something, or find some 5 gallon containers from some restaurant to reuse. I know I said previously that tomato seeds were the exception to my seed rule. You can NEVER have too many tomato varieties. I think I have too many. Gulp. Now that I have them, I feel obligated to plant at least a few of them. The seeds must LIVE!

So what kind of tomatoes made me get into tomato madness? Well I saw Black Cherry on the list. I LOVE this tomato. I've been getting my fix of these over the summer from the near by farm. Then I saw a variety on the list that was called Chocolate Cherry. Hmm I wonder if that is better than Black Cherry. Can't know until you try I guess. Then I saw Black Moor, yet another black cherry type, but more oblong. Onto the list it went. Yes I obviously have a fetish for black cherry tomatoes. Don't judge me.

The next two on the list were early tomatoes. It's always good to get early tomatoes here because if they stick around too long our plentiful tomato diseases will get them. It is better that I get some tomatoes before the diseases eat them all. Besides, who doesn't want early tomatoes? The best ones are always the first ones you eat before you become complacent about yummy vine ripened tomatoes. Ok I never really get complacent about such things. I live for them, but there is always something about those first tomatoes.

All of my early tomatoes hail from Siberia, a wonderful heritage for an early tomato. The first is Gregory's Altai, which is a large pink beefsteak type at 67 days. Hmm big and quick. This I had to see. The next selection was Miracle of the Market, which are small about 2-4 oz and produce in 60-70 days.

The next set were the colorful ones from China. Early Ssubakus Aliana is a golden-yellow plum tomato, 75 days supposedly very prolific. Wouldn't it be fun to have yellow tomato sauce? Huang Se Chieh "Moon Yellow" is a pale yellow tomato only 2-3" across. It takes the longest of all the tomatoes to set at 80+ days. Ack. All of the above tomatoes are indeterminate. I've never been a fan of getting a ton of tomatoes at one time off of a plant. I like variety.

The last one is Tumbling Tom, which a lot of people are probably familiar with. It is a nice basket tomato and is the only determinate tomato I asked for. I'm thinking it would be a good one to try indoors.

They said they were going to send me six, but they sent me eight different tomatoes. In addition they sent me parsley (which I already have too much seed of since I collected it last summer) and Armenian Yardlong Cucumber. I'm not growing the cucumber this year. I'm growing a parthenocarpic one (sets fruit without fertilization), and I don't want any male blossoms to make nasty seeds in my cucumber, so I'll hold on to it. Cucumber seeds last a long time if you keep them cool and dry. Someday it will get planted. A seed is a terrible thing to waste.


  1. Oh, dear. I'm in the same boat, Daphne...not enough space for all these tomato seeds. Of course, I don't expect all of them to germinate, but the only ones I'll have room for multiples will be the determinate Marglobe for along my fence line and the Tumbling Toms which will go into containers. I'm going to try a couple of those in upside down hanging buckets, the rest in pots on the patio. I have abandoned my plan for a 4'x8' corn bed and will put 8 different indeterminates there and try to keep them corralled using the Florida Weave method. If I end up with too many plants, I have a neighbor with a big yard, and I can loan her my seldom used rototiller!

  2. Oh, I love tomatoes! I only wish I made your mistake in having too many seeds! Can't wait to see yours! Don't you just want to take one of your tomatoes into the grocery store, slice it, and hand it to the grocer and say...that is a tomato :)!

  3. Hi Daphne, you crack me up! All those black cherry toms sound delicious. I so agree that the first one, no matter the variety is the best tasting of them all. By the end of the season they are just dropping to the ground, most have been poked by birds or have split from uneven rainfall. I will be watching about the seedless cukes too, having gotten into the pickle canning for the first time last year. The cukes quickly got too big and were attacked by wormies later in the season. A lesson learned to harvest frequently and not let them get big.

  4. It seems most veggie gardeners order too many tomato varieties as I did the same thing. I was just looking at the Chocolate Cherry on Park Seed's page before I came to your blog. It looks interesting, maybe I could find room for just one more.

    The American Yardlong Cucumber, is it the pale green one that is in the melon family? I have been reading an heirloom vegetable books that had a write up about that cucumber. I think I might give it a try this year as well.

  5. Oh no! Ha! Well, why don't you get some 5 gallon buckets ready, and build some self watering planters with them. I'll be posting the construction of some tomorrow, if you'd like to build some.


  6. Annie's Granny, now you've reminded me I don't have enough cages for all the tomatoes either. Hmm I'll have to think about support.

    DirtDigger, LOL I've never had that inclination. I don't eat tomatoes in the winter. I just can't take the idea of cardboard tomatoes. If I'm desperate Wilson's Farm imports a variety of tomato (whose name escapes me at the moment) that isn't cardboard at least. It costs a fortune, but hey if I really need a fix it works. The hardest time for me is really the spring when I'm getting all this wonderful lettuce and no tomatoes for months.

    Frances, I want to can my pickles this year. I made tons of refrigerator pickles, but would love to have some for the rest of the year. I check my cukes almost everyday. When I leave for vacation I get a friend to pick them for me. I love pickles.

    Dan, Well there is an interesting question. Is it a cucumber or a melon. Some sites say Cucumis melo (or a melon), some say Cucumis satvius (or a cucumber). If it is C. melo I can grow it with my other cukes. I suppose the way to find out is just grow it and see if I get seeds in my other cucumbers. If I do rip it out.

    EG, I've been reading up on SWCs for a while now thinking they would give me more space. I'll look forward to your instructions. I have to say I'm not a fan of white containers in the garden. I find them fairly ugly, but I figure if I do it and don't get supremely lazy I can make little outfits for them. I have lots of scrap cloth in my basement.

  7. Daphne, check out Florida Weave

    I might go SWC for four to eight extra plants but, like you, don't care for the look of the plastic. I have tons of fencing left from the one that blew down last year, so I was thinking of making a short cedar fence around the containers to hide them, and planting lots of marigolds around the bottom.

  8. Well if it is an Armenian Cucumber then it is Cucumis melo var. flexuosus so it should not produce seed in your cukes. They are supposed to have a mild taste, thin skin and very crunchy like melon rind.

    It certainly peaked my interested so I will be giving it a try this season.

  9. Annie's Granny, well I certainly have the T-posts needed for that, but the problem is that my cages are too big to fit on the 5 gallon containers (not sure if I will use them yet we will see) and the containers would be too tall if I put my T posts into the ground. I might just put them into each pot and have staked tomatoes. Decisions, decisions. BTW I like your idea of fencing to make the pots look prettier. Sadly I have none. All I know is if I have white 5 gallon containers, they will be covered somehow. I like pretty gardens.

    Dan, The funny thing is that many of the seed catalogs I checked say it is C. satvius. The wikis (including the Armenian wiki) says it is C. melo. I'm guessing a lot of seed catalogs aren't doing their homework.

  10. I noticed many call it Cucumis sativus as well, I even e-mailed one about it. Seeds of Change lists it as Cucumis melo, that is where I originally found it.