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)

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Greenhouse Garden Update – June 28, 2014

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I have been trying to get this update written for over a week now. There was a huge storm this evening, so I cut my evening of after-work gardening short and ran home to work on this post instead.

I am working on some videos for my YouTube channel, so stay tuned for more updates with that. I’m not 100% sure what they will be, but we’ll see where the creative process takes me.

In addition, I have upgraded my iPhone 4 to and iPhone 5s, so my photos should look a little better. At least until I can get myself an actual camera. But lets cut to the actual garden update:

Starting inside:

Tomatoes
These are all doing so amazing, and I will actually have some tomatoes to show for it probably by the time the next update is posted.

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Peppers
There are tiny little Cayenne and Jalapenos on the plants, and the Hungarian Wax hot pepper has flowers and a lot of buds. I think it will be an excellent crop of those from the greenhouse. The Medusa and other Sweet Bell Peppers are starting to put growth on and hopefully we’ll see flowers on them soon.

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Ground Cherries
These are COVERED in fruit. Every night I check them to see if any have fallen to the ground yet so I can finally taste them.
Tomatillo
This is putting on some decent growth. I am very interested to see how it does. I’ve never tried a tomatillo before that hasn’t already been made into something, so this is another fun little experiment.
Eggplant
The Italian (Violetta di Napoli) is fantastic. It’s spiky and yet has these delicate little flower buds happening.
The Asian (Ping Tung Long) is a little less exciting right now. It has massive leaves but no little flower buds just yet.

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Turnips/Carrots/Kohlrabi/Pickling Onions
These are all plugging along. I massively thinned out both the kohlrabi and the turnips, so they are much less crowded now. The carrots are becoming carrots under the ground, so I will have to thin them out very soon too. The pickling onions are doing well, and I may have to start searching for a pickled onion recipe. If you have a good one, let me know in the comments below.

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Peas
The sugar snap and Wando are nearing 7 feet tall. They have a ton of little baby peas. I’m so happy with this variety that I will definitely be looking to grow it again next year. The Laxtons Progress are putting flowers on, and are doing great. However, there is just something more satisfying about growing really REALLY tall pea plants. But that is just me.

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Pickling Cucumbers
The cucumbers are all putting on their true leaves. Soon it will be time to train them up the trellis.

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Melons
The cantaloupe is doing great! I couldn’t be happier with it right now. It has put on a ton of growth I the last few weeks.
The watermelons seem a little stunted. One is fairing better than the other, but I hope they start being more lively soon.

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Summer Squash

The inside squash area is starting to take off. You can already see the little baby zucchini forming on the few that will be female flowers. In this area is one of each: Dark Green Zucchini, Gold Rush Zucchini (yellow), Sunburst (Patty Pan) Squash, and White Scallop Squash.

The herb garden area
I picked up a couple of new additions for this, but I haven’t found room for them just yet. I have had a few harvests from the parsley, sage, lemon balm, spearmint and catnip. Which are all very satisfying, since nothing else is ready to harvest just yet. My mom uses dried parsley in a couple of recipes that she makes regularly, so I am excited to give her a bottle of my own!

Moving outside now, where there have been sooooooooo many changes since the last update, that it is becoming hard to keep track of everything.

The winter squash
These are all starting to show noticeable daily growth. Although I don’t want to give too much away about the giant pumpkins until I write up their dedicated post. The Small Sugar Pumpkin has recovered and is putting on growth after the wind nearly ripped it out of the ground. Which is why you see that little white tent in the very top photo. It is a wind break for the poor little pumpkin. The Butternut Squash is hanging in there, but I’m not expecting much of it.

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Potatoes
All of these are doing great. I would guess there is a bounty of baby potatoes under the soil in the first row that went in Mid-May. The others have all been hilled up once now, and I will probably aim to do it again in a couple weeks.

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Summer squash, Pinto Bean and Rattlesnake Bean Area
All the squash seeds have finally sprouted. Should be flying along in no-time.
The pinto beans are all starting to show up. And I can see the soil disturbance where the rattlesnake beans are trying to break through.

Leeks/Onions/Garlic/Shallots

All doing very well. As I mentioned before, a few of my shallots have bolted. I decided to just let them flower, and see what happens. I know they wont have much in the way of useable vegetable matter, but bees seemed to love the onion flower I had in my backyard last year, so I’m sure they will like the shallot flowers out at the garden.

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Corn

My corn is doing so fantastic. I am so proud of it. I really hope I get some cobs to show for all of this.

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Beet/Turnip Areas

The seeds in these sections have all sprouted. I will need to thin them all very soon also.

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Carrots

The carrots I sowed in the beginning of June have all started working on true leaves now, and soon they will all need thinning also.

I sowed a second area on June 25, so we should have a somewhat decent carrot crop.

Runner/Pole Beans

The Scarlet Runner beans are doing fantastic and starting to look for something to climb, the Kentucky Wonder Wax Pole beans, should start searching for something to climb very soon too. The other two varieties are a little slower, but i’ll keep my fingers crossed that they will actually make an appearance soon. I really need to weed this area! The radishes and arugula will need thinning soon as well.

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Brussels Sprouts & Purple Cabbage and Cauliflower, Dinosaur Kale & Green Cabbage

I bought these as clearance sale seedlings at the local garden center. Which were ALL on my list of things I really wanted to grow, but that I never got around to sowing OR I couldn’t find the seed for it. Stay tuned, because I am really excited about all of these.

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Parsnips and Bush Beans

These all seem to be slow and having trouble getting going. Some of the beans sprout, but then never get their first leaves. Some are doing just fine. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I’ll try and get to the bottom of it. If you can help me, just leave a comment below.

The parsnips are just slow, they are there, but tiny. I love parsnip in stews and I really hope I get at least a handful of them for winter.

Peas

These are all sprouting and starting to climb. The second sowing will be in next week. I also sowed a row of ‘Alaska’  just over a week ago, and they are starting to show through the dirt. I hope I will have peas coming out the wazoo soon.

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Broad Beans

These are just amazing. I can even see little beans forming where some of the first flowers were. I can’t wait to try them. The ants seem to stand watch over them.

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Wildflowers/Dill/Sunflowers/Fennel

These are all doing their thing in their respective areas. I tried to keep the fennel as far away from other plants as I could, as I have read they are terrible companion plants for almost everything. I just couldn’t resist picking up a pot of them for only $2. Hopefully they grow well.

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As you can see, weeding is very high on my “GET DONE ASAP” list. And I only have one very small area left to dig and fill with plants or seeds. I will try and update more often throughout the summer, and not let so much time go by between the updates. I’ll leave you with a photo of the greenhouse from the door.

 

 

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Beans – What I am growing and Why I am growing it

I was super inspired to write this post earlier today.  So I guess I should get to it.

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Ekki and Ava cuddling
Not Bean-related, but super cute!

Beans are one of my favourite vegetables to grow. Although they don’t often make it into my kitchen -I usually end up eating them straight off the plant.

For the last few years I have almost always grown them in containers. Since we rent, I want to keep them mobile, rather than leave them behind.

Continue reading “Beans – What I am growing and Why I am growing it”