Saturday, August 29, 2009


Disaster has struck the garden. I'm 99.9% sure I have late blight. Yesterday was the first day all summer that I didn't go out in the garden. I went out this morning and Mystery Tomato #5 (Regular leaf pink beefsteak seed saved from an unkown tomato) had some splotchy water soaked looking leaves towards the top and some stems turning black. I ripped it out immediately and disposed of it. I've clipped a bunch of leaves from other plants that looked suspicious too. I think it's too much to hope for that the rest of my plants will survive. I saved the 3 large tomatoes from MT5 and they are (hopefully) ripening on the counter. I also picked a Dr. Wyche's Yellow that's just starting to turn, a Green Zebra (just turning), a Golden Queen (all 1st of the season) and another Stupice- pretty prolific, tough skins nice flavor. I went to the farm today to pick up my weekly produce (participating in a CSA this year) all their plants were totally wiped out. She said that tomatoes at the farmers market are going for over $20 for 1/2 peck. That's not good. It's a sad sumer for tomtatoes.

I'm hanging onto what I can and praying a lot. So far this year I've had production from Stupice, Silvery Fir Tree (nice flavor,thick-ish skin), Super Sioux, MT2 (saved seed from unknown tomato), Black Krim, Golden Queen, Black Cherry and Garden Peach. MT2 has produced 2 fruit so far (see bottom pic). It's a yellow regular leaf with a pink-ish starburst on the flower end. The pink-ish runs through the center of the tomato. It was a nice mild yellow (not bland but quite mild) with an unobtrusive skin, it weighed in at 5.6oz. Top is a picture of my first Black Krim -or Heaven on a Plate-as I like to call it. I have no idea why the picture is sideways I can't figure out how to fix it. This weighed in at 5oz. even, best tomato I've ever eaten. I accidentally started double the amout of BK's I wanted this year so I gave a TON away. My mom got her first (cat faced) BK this week. It was love at first taste. I gave one to a co-worker who raised hers in containers. She lost the labels but said she had a dark one that was really sour (by process of elimination it's probably BK). I don't think her palate is very refined -for reasons I won't go into here- so I'll take that review with a grain of salt. Also, she uses Miracle Gro (ugh!). Needless to say she probably won't be getting plants from me next year...

I ate a Garden Peach yesterday. It has a nice flavor but the skin is way too thick. I don't think I'll be growing that one again, I grew it last year and was on the fence about growing it again this year. It is a heavy producer but with limited space....

I transplanted Silvery Fir Tree from a hanging container where it wasn't happy to a really really large pot. I think I freaked it out because it totally stopped producing and the leaves are changing colors like it's fall. The black cherry (the only plant I didn't start from seed) has early blight pretty bad and is spreading it to Jaune Flamme. I have had really bad luck at the nursery where I got it -disease wise-I got dahlias from them last year that totally succumbed to powdery mildew within days of bringing them home. Their plants always look heat stressed I don't know why I go there. I won't be buying from them again but I did save the seed from BC so I can try it again next year.

Oh yeah, I decided to make mozarella cheese for the first time today just to see if I could. I can. It wasn't that hard and it's really cheap. Insalata Caprese here I come!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Dance!!!!!!

Someone on one of my tomato forums is downsizing his gardens and generously offered to send out his extra tomato seeds for the dirt cheap price of a self addressed stamped envelope (!) How excited was I? Well, they arrived today and this is what he sent me:
William's Striped- a red and yellow variety with the distinction of being striped both inside and out. Seeds to this variety had been saved in a pill bottle by an elderly neighbor of Georgia and Rene Edmonds (Glensdale, KY). The neighbor couldn't recollect why or when the seeds had been saved. However, the Emonds started some seedlings, grew and plants and passed along some seeds to Merlyn Niedens. Niedens entered 'William Striped' into the 2005 Heirloom Garden show, where it was named favorite of tomatoes that year. 85 days
Black Mountain says: Pink beefsteak. Indeterminate. Regular leaf foliage. An antique tomato now quite rare, it produces huge pink fruits with dense flesh and wonderful full-tomato flavor. The seeds were taken from a tomato plant found growing on an abandoned homestead in Harlan County, Kentucky. Exceptional flavor. 85 days.
Earl's describes as: Pink beefsteak. Indeterminate. Potato leaf foliage. 80 days. Prize winning flavor from our friend Earl Cadenhead. Delicious rich flavor and smooth meaty texture combine to make this one of our favorite varieties. Earl grew it thinking it was Brandywine but it bears many more fruits than Brandywine and the tomatoes are bigger and less oblate.
Black from describes Black from Tula as a Russian variety of black tomato that hails from the city of Tula in Western Russia. Black From Tula gives a good yield of 12 to 14 ounce beefsteak tomatoes of a dusky brown to a rich black that possess a unique, rich smoky taste. Black Tula was once a widely offered tomato variety, but is now becoming rare. Indeterminate. Matures in 75 days
Reif Red says: From J. Reif in PA, who got the seeds from an elderly Italian man. Big vines with wispy leaves producing lots of beautiful red, 10-12 oz., heart-shaped fruits. Meaty & very flavorful. 75 days
Cowlicks Brandywine- not comercially available. Potato leaf. From Mike Henry (Camochef) in Gettysburgh, PA who bought a plant from a local Nursery named Cowlicks, a few years back. It was labeled simply Brandywine or Pink Brandywine. He had others from maybe a half dozen nursuries that year. This one outperformed them all. It produced more tomatoes, ripened earlier, produced much longer, tasted much better, and on a whole they were larger and prettier. (the whole story is here:

Thank you Larry!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Yay! The tomatoes are here!!! Stupice and Silvery Fir were neck and neck coming in earlier this week (around the 12th). I think Silvery Fir (pictured) won by a nose. It's not raining tomatoes yet but they are starting to trickle in. So far I have harvested 3 SF and 2 Stupice as well as 1 Black Cherry. My SIL came up from MD last weekend and brought me some Jaune Flamme from plants I had started and given to her. They tasted great-starting sweet with a tomato finish- but the skins were very thick. I'll cut them some slack since she probably picked them Wed night/thurs a.m. and I didn't eat them until Monday. I didn't take notes on the SF and Stupice, I just ate them right up! As you can see from the photo, I almost cut int SF before I took the picture! The black cherry from today was excellent. I'm not big on cherry tomatoes but this one tasted like a mini full sized tomato. The JF's weighed in at 1,1.2 and 2.1 oz. pretty small. Forgot to write down the weight of SF and Stupice and didn't weigh or take a picture of BC. I've got a good number of green tomatoes in the garden some are a very respectable size but nothing is turning yet. I suspect Green Zebra, Dr. Wyche and Super Sioux will be coming soon as well as MT2 and MT5 based on their current sizes. Fingers are still crossed against the late blight.