Tomatoes – Part 2 (2017)

I feel like I am sooooooo late in getting my next round of Tomatoes sown… But realistically, I’m well within the 6 week starting period… And if we have a cold spring, I’m well within the 8-10 weeks before the last frost… Its just with the beautiful Spring weather we have been having the last week or so, I feel behind. I feel like the grass should be mowed (its not even growing or green or even de-dog-pooped yet). It feels like real Spring, but realistically, this is Alberta, and we could still get snow anytime in the the next two months.

But before I go on and on and on about my weird feelings about Spring sowing… Let me tell you about the next round of Tomatoes…

So Today (April 4), I’m sowing (in peat pellets, as per usual):

  • Sub-Arctic Plenty
    • Sowed: 4 peat pellets
    • “Developed in Alberta for Prairie climates, this cultivar is an early, upright tomato. It will set fruit, even under cold conditions! Bountiful yields of 56-70g (2-2 1/2 oz.) tomatoes. Keep well fed and watered. Determinate. No staking required. Heirloom.” McKenzie Seeds (2016)
  • Tiny Tim
    • Sowed: 3 peat pellets
    • “Extremely early scarlet red, miniature cherry tomato. Deep, well-drained soil is best. Perfect for decorating salads and vegetable trays. Determinate. No staking required. Heirloom.” McKenzie Seeds (2015)
  • Tumbler F1
    • Sowed: 1 peat pellet (because I only had 3 seeds left… better stock up for next year)
    • “Excellently suited for hanging baskets and containers, cascades of wonderfully sweet, 2.5cm (1″) cherry tomatoes tumble down over the edge. Also a great producer in the garden, this early ripening bush variety can product up to 2kg (4.4lbs) of fruit per plant. An exceptional and tasty tomato! Determinate. No staking required.” McKenzie Seeds (2015)
  • Black Russian
    • Sowed: 1 peat pellet
    • These seeds were from a trade, so I don’t have a seed packet to quote here for this one.
  • Principe Borghese
    • Sowed: 1 peat pellet
    • “This Italian variety is the traditional variety used for sun dried tomatoes. Plants stand up to high heat and produce plenty of tomatoes for drying, fresh eating and sauce making. Determinate – no staking required” McKenzie Seeds (2015)
  • Manitoba
    • Sowed: 2 peat pellets
    • “Very Dependable early variety, excellent for the Prairies. Bright red, juicy fruit. Deep well-drained soil is best. Eliminate blossom end rot problems by deep watering the plants so that the root system will be less affected by fluctuations in soil moisture. Determinate. No staking required. Heirloom.” McKenzie Seeds (2014)

Okay, so I really wanted to sow more of the Tumbler, but I’ll make up for it next year. They always produce a crazy amount of cherry tomatoes, throughout the entire summer. They are also usually the very first to set fruit and ripen, and sometimes the very last to give up to frost.

The Sub Arctic Plenty produced fantastic last year, so I sowed 4 of them again. Since it was developed here, that is probably why it grows well. If you also live in Alberta, or another cold area… Or want some tomatoes earlier than you would otherwise, give this one a try.

Tiny Tim’s are just awesome. Grow them. Trust me. They are so cute and also delicious. Since they are tiny little plants, you can keep them in some smaller containers. So if you only have a tiny area to grow things in (like a sunny front stoop, or a balcony), they are a great choice.

I threw the Principe Borghese into the mix. Hopefully I can keep the squirrel’s greedy little paws of them this year. I really want to try and make my own sun dried tomatoes… and by sun dried, I mean dehydrator-dried.

And, I threw the Manitoba in just because.

I was also keeping an eye out for “Green Envy” which was a Hybrid I found a few years ago by Burpee. They were so sweet and delicious and some of the best cherry tomatoes I have ever had. They were a little hard to tell when exactly they were ripe, since they are green. If I see them again, I will pick up a pack for next year.

I think this will be it for the tomatoes this year… unless I have a sad tale of germination to tell you. As it is, this is more than enough tomatoes… But I do hope to be able to make (and can) some fresh Bruchetta from my own tomatoes.

Do you have any tomatoes I should try? Want to make a seed trade? Add a message in the comments with any tips, tricks or encouragement.

(Just a note, the featured photo is from 2014 I think. I had an amazing tomato crop that year, because I had an amazing greenhouse to grow in… Too bad it was owned by legitimate crazy people)

Tomatoes- Part 1 (2017)

I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm any longer, and started some Tomatoes. There will be more started a little later, which is why this post is labelled Part 1.

As usual, I started these in peat pellets. To add a little more info into this first post, I’ll add in the description of the seed packets here as well. All the seeds in this post are from McKenzie Seeds. I have also included the year I purchased the packs as a note to the germination rate, particularly the older packages. They should all germinate fine, but if they don’t, I would like the notes of which ones did not work out well.

  • Jubilee
    • “These glowing, golden-orange, mild flavoured fruits have been prized by gardeners for years. Plants produce bountiful harvests of 223g (8oz) fruits throughout the season. Indeterminate. Staking may be required.”
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 80 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2016
  • Black Cherry
    • “Early Russian variety. Tall 60cm (2′) plants, with oval/round shaped 2.5cm (1″) fruit. Deep mahogany to brown color. Black color develops best when hot and sunny. Indeterminate. Requires staking.”
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 80 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2016
  • Cherokee Purple
    • “Russian tomato names for the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea. Slightly flattened 8-10com (3/4″) globes with dark greenish black shoulder have excellent full flavor. Indeterminate. Requires staking. Heirloom.”
    • NOTE- Pretty sure someone at the seed company messed up… Because that sounds like the description for the Black Krim tomato not Cherokee Purple… Also 8-10cm is not three quarters of an inch…
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 80 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2015
  • San Marzano
    • “Italian tomato perfection! 10-12 ounce plus tomatoes grow on large and vigorous plants. Has excellent tomato flavor and is great to eat fresh, make sauces or for canning and drying. Indeterminate – staking required”
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 76 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2016
  • Beefsteak
    • Large, meaty, solid fruit. slightly flattened and globe-shaped. Deep, well-drained, moisture retaining soil is best. Mild and flavorful for salads and table use. Keep tomatoes away from all members of the Brassica family: cabbage, cauliflower, etc. No staking required. Determinate. Heirloom.”
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 80 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2016
  • Rainbow Blend
    • “A sensational blend of assorted Heirloom tomatoes. Varieties such as Black, Pink, Red and Yellow Brandywine tomatoes. Well known for its size and rich sweet flavor. Indeterminate. Staking may be required.”
    • Days to Maturity (after transplanting out): 70-75 days
    • Sowed 2 peat pellets on March 18
    • Seed pack is from 2014

 

So I took a gamble with the Rainbow Blend. I’ve avoided planting it the last few years, for the specific reason of I like to know what varieties I am growing. I also know that there are more than just Brandywine varieties in that pack despite what the package says. When I grew it in 2014, We had a green variety, and a few other not potato-leaf types. But I figured it was a good year to experiment a little.

The goal is to keep any squirrels and possibly birds away so I can actually enjoy my own tomatoes this year. I will also for-sure be sowing Sub Arctic Plenty and Tiny Tim… and more 😉

 

A Note if anyone from McKenzie seeds is reading this… It would be a nice addition in the information on all the tomato/pepper seed packets, if they said that the variety was distinctly Heirloom/Open Pollinated, or Hybrid.

Community Garden Plot – Update 3

On Canada Day (July 1st if you didn’t know) I had all the gardening ambition finally and after getting the backyard all sorted, I headed to my community garden plot! I also went ahead and got super sunburnt too.

I only had a little weeding to do. That was nice, because I expected to have a ton of weeding with all the sun and rain we have had.

I sowed some ‘Gold Rush’ bush beans, which are going to end up being the only beans I have this year. I totally spaced on sowing them in the yard. So disappointed in myself on that front.

I also sowed some ‘Bulls Blood’ and ‘Chioggia’ Beets, AND some of the onions I sowed from seed back in December!  Here is hoping that everything grows well with the limited summer we might end up with.

Sorry for the blurry pic… I was trying to not fall into the freshly watered garden.

On a more positive note! The carrots are doing well and the potatoes are starting to flower! So I should get something from this whole venture.

Also, check out my neighbors garlic! I’m so jealous of it!

Previous Updates: 1 & 2

Quick Tip- Sowing Carrots


I just wanted to share a quick tip for sowing your carrots.

Make a little drill (trench) in the soil, and then water it well before sprinkling the seeds.

This helps in a few ways:

  • The seed will be touching moist soil and will be less likely to fly away during windy conditions.
  • You won’t have to water after sowing and potentially wash away the super light seeds.
  • You are putting the seed in direct contact with moisture, rather than it getting stuck into a pocket of dry under the top covering of soil.

I did this at my community garden plot, during a super windy day and it worked great. No seeds were lost to the wind, and I’ll keep you updated on the germination once it happens.

April 2016 Update

Here is a basic time line of what has been happening in April… Sorry it’s so late this time. Also, I’ve been fighting with my iPhone storage and I just end up not taking any pictures rather than deleting some older ones. I will try and make the May update better and on time!

  • April 1: I potted up the Ground Cherries, Big Dipper Green Peppers, Seranno Peppers, Cayenne Peppers and the Hollyhocks, all into Party Cups.
  • April 2: Sowed the 3rd and final round of Tomatoes into the peat pellets.
  • April 8: I planted the Jerusalum Artichokes!
  • April 9: Potted up the Herbs, Carnations and Columbines
  • April 10: Potted up the 1st round of Tomatoes. (One of the Beefsteak’s that I sowed never developed it’s True leaves. I left it for a few days to see if anything would come of it, but there was nothing. So only one Beefsteak plant will be in the garden this year.
  • April 11: I potted up the Sweet Williams and some of the Corbaea into party cups. And I started some small hex cells (same things I started the herbs and flowers in).
    • 2x White Russian Kale
    • 2x Rainbow Kale
    • 2x Dinosaur Kale
    • 3x Marvel of 4 Seasons Lettuce
    • 3x Romaine
    • 3x Salad Bowl Lettuce (even thought it said to direct sow, I am a rebel!)
  • April 12: I sowed in peat pellets:
    • 4x ‘Salad Delight’ Cabbage
  • April 13: Pruned most of the peppers so they develop some strong side shoots. I did it last year on the hot peppers and they produced amazingly. It is a bit scary to do it when your plants are growing so well, but in the end it should work out even better.
  • April 14: Potted up round 2 of the Tomatoes.
  • April 15: I sowed:
    • 4x ‘Early Snowball’ Cauliflower in peat pellets
    • 4x ‘Munchkin’ Broccoli in peat pellets
    • 4x ‘Green Sprouting’ Broccoli in peat pellets
    • 2x ‘Baby Honeynut’ Climbing Butternut Squash in Party Cups
    • 10x small jiffy peat pots of ‘Blauwschokkers Blue Podded‘ Pea (I am super excited about these!)
    • 4x small jiffy peat pots of ‘Sugar Baby’ Watermelon. I thought it was worth a shot trying to grow these. Its looking like we will be having a hot summer, so these should do well.
  • April 16: I sowed planted some potatoes in the ground at my parent’s house. I harvested a bunch of Rhubarb there also. Once back home, I sowed:
    • 9x Calendula ‘Pacific Beauty Mix’ in the Hex Cells (same thing the herbs were sown into)
  • April 17: Potted up the rest of the Corbaea into Party Cups.
    • And I kicked a bunch of the plants outside into double protection in the little greenhouse thing I have. Most of the flowers I sowed earlier in the year, and the older and hardier herbs are out there now. It has been so beautiful out that they don’t necessarially need the double protection, but better safe that its there, than sorry that I forgot they needed more protection from a 40 degree change in temperature.
    • AND I planted some potatoes into 2 Potato Bags. In one I put 2 larger yellow russet type potatoes, and in the other was 2 smaller blue potatoes, and 2 small red skinned potatoes. (I have ‘Purple Caribe’ Seed Potatoes that will be going into my brand new Community Garden plot along with some onions and maybe other low
  • April 18: I sowed some ‘Small Sugar’ Pumpkins (2 party cups of them); thinned out the lettuces and Brassicas.
  • April 19: I gave the potted up tomatoes a little feed with some super diluted Miracle Grow, and made sure everything in windows was rotated to help build stronger plants. (I usually do this every other day)
  • April 20: I got a lot of digging done outside, and will be ready to put some things outside as soon as they are ready. I also started off 24 onion sets. This should give them a little head start before they go out into the ground. Birds and other wild life will be less likely to try and pluck them out of the ground because they will already be plants, and not just look like worms or a free meal.  I also thought I would hedge my squash bets and sowed 2 small jiffy pots of just regular ‘Butternut’ Squash. I should get some kind of squash action this year (hopefully). AND I sowed a few more flowers (in peat pellets):
    • 4x Night Scented Stock
    • 4x ‘Russel Mix’ Lupin
    • 4x Lupin seeds from my Grandma. They have “Coral” written on the jar, so they are probably that colour
    • 6x Moon flower (peat pellet may have been a bad choice for this large seed, but I’ve had bad germination on these in the past, so this is the easiest way for me to see if they will grow.
    • 6x ‘Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory
  • April 21: I bought a few little bedding plants to give the bees that are out already something to tide them over until the apple tree and my perennials start showing off their flowers. Plus some Spring color is always a nice thing. If they get taken out by spring frost, I’ll just replace them later. I also bit the bullet and planted the ‘Flame’ Grape out into its new home, and the little Clematis plants I’ve been nurturing inside the house. The 3 hollyhocks also went out into the sunny bed with the Clematis and Grape. My Corbaea will also go out here once it is warmer out. I have the sheets and blankets at the ready for these (especially the Grape), for any nights that go really chilly.
  • April 22: I moved the volunteer Broad Beans to their new home.
  • April 23: I sowed things outside!!! A row of ‘French Breakfast’ Radish, a row of ‘Black Spanish’ Radish, and a row of ‘Long Standing Bloomsdale’ Spinach! Outside! in the rain! Also, the SugarBaby Pumpkins didn’t germinate, so I potted up the two regular Butternuts into the party cups that the pumpkins were in. No pumpkins again this year, but maybe there is hope for Butternuts!
  • April 24: My birthday, My pony’s birthday, and the start of our 20th year together! I also sowed newspaper pots of Cucumbers. 8x Morden Early and 5x Lemon Cucumbers. They germinated in 2 days!!! I also started 2 newspaper pots of ‘Sweet & Early’ Cantaloupe.
  • April 25: I sowed a second round of lettuces, Romaine, Marvel of 4 Seasons and Grand Rapids.
  • April 30: I potted up the last round of Tomatoes!

 

Somewhere along the way my singular Stevia seedling died. Luckily I found two bedding pants of Stevia at Home Depot, so the dream of my own homemade sweetener is still alive! I may have missed a few tiny things along the way, and again, sorry for the lack of photos.

 

If you are interested, here are the posts from this last month: First Outdoor Sowing, Distance Gardening, Volunteer Broad Beans, Leaf Mold Update, My First Harvest of 2016, Pepper Update, Herb Update, Jerusalem Artichokes, Venus Fly Trap and Round 3 of Tomato Sowing.

Previous Updates this year: January, February, March