Tomatoes – Better Late!!!

It has been my experience, tomatoes planted late are far superior to early or standard planted. As the temperatures start to cool down, you get better flower set and consequently better fruit.

I prefer to cage my tomatoes for better foliage cover to reduce the chance of sun-scald. Heirloom tomatoes have superior taste and texture. However, the plants can exceed the size of the cage!! Next year I plan to grow the plants on 5 foot centers to allow for easier harvesting and increased air circulation.

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BTW, the plant to the left of Papa is a variety called Granny Cantrell. This beloved heirloom has quite a following. The plant to the right is Daniel’s, which produces very large pink red fruit and appears to be well suited for our Missouri Ozarks climate.

The above variety has the unusual name of “1884”. The plant was discovered after a flood in West Virginia in 1884. This beauty weighs in at 1 pound 10 ounces. BLT sandwiches are written all over it!!!!

Kellog’s Breakfast is the name of this bright yellow/orange sweet confection. Boasting a good balance of sweetness and acidity with few seeds make Kellog’s Breakfast a highly desirable choice.

The expanded list of tomatoes grown are:

  • 1884 – large pink/red beefsteak
  • Black Prince – small purple/red 2-3 oz
  • Black from Tula – medium red/purple, meaty/few seeds
  • Coyne – red Roma type, large 4-8 oz
  • Daniel’s – large pink/red beefsteak, many over a pound
  • German Johnson – medium pink/red beefsteak, one of the parents of Branywine
  • Granny Cantrell – medium/large pink/red beefsteak, plants are huge!
  • Hannah – medium/large, pink/red oxheart, meaty, few seeds
  • Hazelfield Farm – pink/red, medium beefsteak, well adapted to hot/humid
  • Kellog’s Breakfast – large yellow/orange beefsteak, sweet and meaty
  • Mary Robinson German Bicolor – large, red/yellow, beefsteak
  • Omar’s Lebanese – large pink/red, may exceed 3 pounds
  • Pineapple – large, yellow/red, very sweet and juicy
  • Pink Boar – pink with green streaks, small 3-4 oz
  • Rutgers – small, orange/red old fashioned for canning, juicing
  • San Marzano Lungo #2 – 3-4 0z Roma type for sauce and paste

It never ceases to amaze me, how traditional tomato eaters are about the color of their tomatoes. As one man said to me “If it ain’t red, I ain’t going to eat it”. However, when they try the different colored tomatoes, they often change their mind.

For the Ozarks, start your tomato seeds the second week of May and plant your seedlings the first of July. Your tomatoes will start coming in by late August through October. BTW, for you market gardeners, late tomatoes command a higher price by late September/October due to limited supply.

Plant late, I promise you, you will not be disappointed!

Papa

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Spring has Sprung! A Month Early!

Garden peas and sugar snap peas were planted  a week ago! They should be up in about a week.

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Bachelor Buttons, Shasta Daisy, Pansies, Snap Dragons, Marigolds, Foxglove and other flower seed were planted in cell trays. Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower were started as well.

Tomato and Pepper seed will be planted tomorrow.  Full production has started in earnest!

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Flowers have started to bloom. The Crocus and jonquils are showing their lovely blooms!

Watch for more gardening goodies!!!

Papa

Tomato Cuttings Made Easy!

You desire to grow some late tomatoes, but you didn’t start more seed. What do you do?

Take an old shallow container, drill holes in the bottom and root tomato cuttings in vermiculite and water. It’s actually pretty simple. Tomato plants are actually very tough.

Find a container that will hold coarse vermiculite and water ( a plastic dishpan works great!!). Drill several 3/8 inch holes in the bottom of the container. By the way, you may use a large shallow nursery pot as well. Now place about 3 to 4 inches of coarse vermiculite in the container. Water the vermiculite to supply moisture to the cuttings. Allow excess water to drain prior to taking cuttings.P1040429

Carefully take cuttings from desired tomato plants using garden pruners. I have found, the larger the cutting, the easier to root! Place the cuttings in the moistened vermiculite about 3 inches apart. I place my rooting container in the shade to maintain proper hydration of the new cuttings. Usually it takes 10 to 14 days for proper rooting.

You may notice raised bumps or even small roots starting on the stem. These cuttings are the easiest to root.

Look at the results after just 10 days.

Now it is time to pot up your rooted cuttings in large containers to use for transplant in 10 days.

Water the newly potted cuttings and place in a lightly shaded area. Gradually move the pots into more sun light. Plant the potted plants as you would any transplant.

This an easy, effective way to start large, quick growing tomato plants.

Enjoy!

Papa

 

See you Sunday!

Sunday, June 5, I will have a vendor space during the Baker Creek* monthly Heritage Days festival.

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I will be selling tomato and hot/ sweet pepper transplants. In addition I will have potted June bearing strawberry plants, Hollyhocks, Annual Phlox and Lettuce bowls for sale.

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I will be featuring my Sweet Peas as cut flowers. They are colorful and fragrant.These may be purchased by the stem or in a bouquet.

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Come on out and say “Hey”.

Papa

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*Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., 2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO 65704

Festival hours: 10AM to 7PM

 

Of Cabbage and Calendula

Recently I harvested two varieties of heirloom cabbage.

Red Express cabbage is a compact red cabbage which harvests in 60 – 65 days. The compact nature allow for closer planting which is a plus. Red Express has great resistance to aphids and cabbage worms. The flavor is mildly sweet eaten raw and it is wonderful pickled.

Aubervilliers savoy cabbage produces mature cabbage in 80 days. This beautiful crinkled cabbage has a mild sweet cabbage flavor. The savoy leaves make this variety a good fit for garnishes, stuffed cabbage and coleslaw.

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Red Express cabbage and Aubervilliers cabbage.

 

 

Calendula Kablouna: Heirloom known for mildew resistance.

Originally, Calendula was called Pot Marigold and used as a cool season flowering plant. However, the Indian Prince series is known for flowering  June through October. It can be used as a bedding and potted plant. I enjoy them as cut flowers in smaller arrangements and bouquets.

Direct seeding to flower is 70 days. Grow with your cole crops [Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage and Greens] . They make a beautiful border and look equally beautiful interplanted in the garden.

Orange petaled varieties are used as a saffron substitute, a “poor man’s saffron”. Please remember, do not use chemical sprays (insecticide) on the plants or flowers, as this will render them inedible.

Yes, Calendula is an edible flower.  Salads, soups and garnishes take on more interest and color when they are incorporated. The greens are edible as well but use sparingly as they can be bitter.

Calendula can been used as a beautiful yellow dye. When the blooms are dried the petals can also be added to potpourris.

Calendula has long been known to sooth the skin and can be used in lotions and oils. Calendula tinctures, ointments, and washes are often applied to the skin to help burns, bruises and cuts heal faster.

This versatile flower is deserving of your garden, don’t you think?

Papa

 

 

 

 

 

Need a Garden Planner?

A friend of mine has created an easy to use Garden Planner.

Why would I recommend this helpful tool?

If you are like me, it is good to use a planting schedule to keep on course.

Clyde has created a tool helping you visualize your planting dates for Spring and Fall planting.

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Visit his website Clyde’s Garden Planner

Watch the video on the website as Clyde explains this valuable tool.

This planner is well worth the investment.

Papa

For Fast Cabbage Try Greyhound!!

For a sprint to the finish line try Greyhound (Ersterling) cabbage. Just 63 days for this heirloom variety from transplant and you will have lovely pointed head cabbages.

Eaten raw or cooked, this cabbage has a light sweet taste. Cold or hot weather will not stop this cabbage from performing its’ best. Greyhound did well grown in my hoop house. Plant it spring or fall. This one is a winner!

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Aren’t they pretty!

Papa