Sunday, March 13, 2011


Today is the day I pot up the seedlings I started about 3 weeks ago. I have parsley, lemon balm, mixed basils (genovese, purple, lime, cinnamon) and several tomatoes: Brandywine, Livingston's Marvelous, Roma, Sara's Galapagos, and Stupice. The seeds for the Livingston's and the Sara's were gathered at Tomatopalooza 2006, which is a big heirloom tomato tasting held every July in Raleigh, NC. Livingston's is just a rich, red beefsteak tomato with a nice bite and lots of juice. Sara's is a bit unusual...they are tiny yellow cherry tomatoes (almost currant size) that are really really sweet. Sweet like a grape is sweet! A college student named Sara studying in the Galapagos brought  seeds home to her dad, a dedicated tomato hobbyist. He starting growing them out and sharing them. The fruits I tried were scrumptious, so I am excited to finally grow out this variety!

GB loaned me an aquarium light fixture meant to grow saltwater corals, and that is what I have been using to grow my sprouts. It is amazing! My seeds have shot up this year and are really big for mid March. An early start with the tomatoes is important, because they don't do so well in really high heat and humidity. At best, the flowers will fail to self fertilize and will drop off, particularly with some older types of heirlooms. There are hybrids that are bred to withstand heat and humidity, but they are generally not as tasty. Of course, any homegrown tomato is going to be 100 times better than the soulless red cardboard mush offered at the grocery store! But since I grow mainly as a hobby, I go with heirlooms even if I get a lesser yield. I can always buy tasty field grown hybrids in the summertime at the farmers market!

So I'm off to work in the yard on this lovely, mild day. There are flowering crab apples in my neighbor's yard, our blueberry bushes are flowering (small pink flowers) we have a yard full of dandelions and daffodils, and some of the trees are getting pale green leaves. I have a table waiting to set up as a potting station so I can work out in the open air. Days like this are too nice to miss!

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