“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Have A 100 Percent

... germination rate on heirloom tomato seeds saved from last year's garden.  I have a nice collection including a few from Mr. H and Lynn S.  I tend to plant more paste type tomatoes because of their great canning abilities in making ketchup and my all time favorite .. roasted roma and garlic tomatoes, and of course canned tomatoes in their own juice.  Instead of canning salsa, I can Mexican style stewed tomatoes.  These jars of goodness are more versatile as they can be used for making chile .. and my favorite 'semi-fresh' salsa. No more hour upon hour of chopping hot peppers and onions.  This is a much easier way to enjoy salsa year round.

 This year I have planted:  yellow teardrop, orange smudge, orange beef steak, Amish paste, roma, Vincent Watts (a large beefsteak type), turkey grape, brandywine .. and mortgage lifter.  How do you like those names?  If you cook with paste tomatoes .. the Amish variety yields HUGE well flavored fruit.  My romas tend to be of average size .. so I like to plant more of the Amish paste to get more bang for the buck in my square foot tomato plot.  Last year we yielded well over 200 pounds of tomatoes in a space of about 4'x12' .. not bad.  The plants grew on five foot high trellises.  This gave plenty of points to tie up the big heavy branches of the plants.

In our North Idaho short growing season, we have to start our plants from seeds indoors well before the average outdoor planting date usually around Mother's Day for plants that don't tolerate frost.  Even then, keeping a row cover handy is a must for those occasional late spring frosts.

Looking  out my window toward the garden, I can just about see dirt .. in and about the last of the snow.  Gardening on a mountain .. we have even fewer hours of sunlight .. and must wait for what seems FOREVER to get out and garden.  What plans do you have for your 2013 garden?  


Dani said...

Wonderful Mrs Mac - it seems as though you are going to have a busy season :)

My favorite is the tomato too - you can never have enough of them. Pity you can't make sun dried ones...

Kim Gibson said...

As you know, we grew tomotoes last year, and they did really well, but this is the first year I am growing heirloom tomatoes from seeds. I'm planting Azoychka, Yellow Pear, Cosmonaut Volkov, and Golden Jubilee. This will be a year of experimentation for me. I'm also planting peas, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and leeks. I'm going to try to save the seeds too. I ordered everything from Baker Creek, and they're all heirlooms so we'll see. I already started the leeks in our living room's south facing window, but my cat keeps walking through them and drinking the water! Grrrrr! I may have to invest in one of those portable green houses like the one you have. Wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,

Thank you for your wonderful posts, I thoroughly enjoy each of them. I live in the heart of Oregon's growing valley and have never gotten 200 pounds of tomatoes in a space that is 4'x 12'. To me that is amazing. How many plants do you put in within that space? May I ask what you put in your soil, or what do you think are your secrets? I would love any tips you would be willing to share.

On another note, I am anxious to try the salsa recipe you posted, we go through quite a bit each year.

Thank you so much, Sally

Mrs. Mac said...

Hi Dani .. yes .. it would be hard to sun dry tomatoes .. unless we have a year where they ripe a bit earlier .. but we can dehydrate them or oven roast them in olive oil to store away.

Sally, I plant one tomato plant per square foot and just train the tomatoes to grow uP. My soil is is a blend of sand, clay and compost. I fed them with homemade compost tea. I'll try and post about that (smelly) project tomorrow.

Kim .. sounds like you are easing into gardening .. adding a few more things and a little more space each year. We'll have to swap a few tomatoes and I'll show you how to save the seeds

Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac. I envy you your hot summers. We cannot grow tomato outdoors at all. Now the sun is up almost 12 hours a day, but we have minus Celsius degrees, that means fresh water around here is still frozen.
It's a wonder that my snow drops have survived.
I'm looking forwards to reading about your smelly soil.

Mrs. Mac said...

Felisol, We still have cold temps this time of year so must start our tomatoes indoors or a heated greenhouse if needed. I'm using a mini indoor 'greenhouse' with grow lights. The seeds were first germinated in trays of moist seed starting soil on top of my refrigerator covered with plastic lids .. and won't get planted out doors until mid May. Most years only a few ripen before being picked .. so they have to ripen in boxes in the basement. The pictures are of my tomato plants from last summer. What latitude are you on? Do any farms grow greenhouse tomatoes in Norway?

Star said...

Looks like you're way ahead with your weather. We're still in snow and cold winds! My daffodils aren't even flowering yet.
I have plans for a new shed this year.

Mrs. Mac said...

Star .. these photos are from last summer .. we're still just recovering from winter .. may even get some more snow .. although we are currently snow free.