01 June 2011

Tomato Crazy

On Saturday, I took the kids to the local farmer's market.  It looked like rain, but I was surprised at the number of people there.  Even though it's fun to just get out of the house and see some new things, I really wanted to find a few plants.  I've been very pleased with the variety of seedlings available at the market.  I usually have to start my own plants since Wyoming is a tricky climate and not everything offered at the big store will actually grow, but I have been able to find many of the plants I would have liked to grow.  Plus some.  It's fun to be able to try many different varieties in one year.  I usually limit myself to one new variety of plant per year, since I have left over seeds from previous years, but as I tallied in my mind today, I realized I have seven varieties of tomatoes! 

Flowers on the Silvery Fir Tree!
Of course, I spent as much on one or two plants as a seed packet would have cost me, but this way I'm not stuck with 50 seeds of something I don't really like.  I got to pick only the varieties that interest me and if I like them, they are heirloom plants so I'll learn how to save seeds.  Then I can try seven more varieties next year!  Too bad my husband doesn't like tomatoes.  He may not have a choice this year.

I decided I had better make a little journal of all the varieties and how they perform, so I sat right down and scribbled out the names, when I transplanted, where they came from and how big they were when I transplanted.  I figured it wasn't totally fair to compare dates of ripe tomatoes if one plant was 10" and the other only 3" when they were stuck into the ground. 

I like how the camera focused on the little stem hairs instead of the flower.
Even though I'm now in a warmer climate, I'm trying out varieties that are supposed to do well in colder environments or that mature quickly.  Mostly.  I do have two brandy wine plants and I'm excited to see how they turn out.  I picked the cold- tolerant plants because I want to try them to see if they are worth the effort.  I have grown some tomatoes in Wyoming, but they weren't very good to eat.  I'm hoping to figure out which plant is the absolute best tasting/ highest producing/ toughest and then I'll plant one for my mom in Wyo and see how it does.  In any case, we'll hopefully end up with a wide variety of seeds to try out when I move back home.

And speaking of tomatoes, have you seen this website?  Tomatofest.com has 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes!  I just went through several pages of tomatoes that they suggest for colder areas.  Where have these people been all my life?

My list of tomatoes is as follows:
Early Girl - not heirloom, but they were cheap.  They looked pretty rough at first, but are coming along nicely.
Brandywine - free from IFA and also doing wonderfully.
Tigerella - this one was little, but is coming along.  This is supposed to be very productive and vigorous, plus it has stripes.
Silvery Fir Tree - this one is fast and only grows 2' tall.  I put it in a pot by the driveway.
Bison -   This was a find at the market.  It is supposed to do well in cold, wet climates.  It was very small also, but I have high hopes for this one.
Stupice - My last tomato for the year.  Really.  I picked this one up at the market Saturday.  The lady swears it produces like crazy.
and some cherry tomato that I had old seeds for.  I've never had success with it, but since I had the seeds, I planted them.  It's still teensy tiny. 

Lest you think I am completely obsessed with tomatoes, I'll have you know that I also bought two lemon cucumber starts.  I heard about them from Backyard Farming and hoped to find them at the market.  Saturday was my lucky day.

Next week: sweet peppers!


  1. I love, love, love tomatoes! I have my eagle eye on the one that is thinking about getting ripe out back! It's mine! You never can have enough tomatoes! I like the Early Girl and Better Boy, about the best for my gardening expertise (NOT). I had a friend that just put them into the freezer and once frozen, would vacuum pack them. Great for soups and stews!

  2. Oh, Sharon I'm so jealous! The grocery store has some tomato plants in big containers that already have tomatoes on them, but it's pretty pricey. Sure is tempting.

  3. oh fun. I love the farmers market up there! We planted our tomatoes too early this year, and they killed when it snowed on monday. Hubby bought me a new plant yesterday, and it's sitting in our sink, until I decide it's warm enough outside.

  4. Good luck on the journal plan. I tried it,but it didn't work out for me. One or two kept dying, and we replaced them with other kinds.Several labels got lost in the tilling and such. We finally gave up on labeling. Hope you have better luck.Will we get to see pictures of your garden?

  5. Sue, there's not much to look at right now, since most things are still covered up. Our weather can't decide if it's going to be warm or cold and today the wind would have flattened everything. Hopefully this weekend I'll get things uncovered and I'll post pictures.