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Archive for February, 2009

Amazing thing happened last night! I got a letter, opened it and found that T.Z. from Helpful Gardner sent not only Carbon seeds, but seeds for 9 other varieties as well!

Thanks, T.Z. You're the best!

Now I’m going to go crazy trying to find room for them all—after I research each kind of course! But 4 were on my wishlist for future gardens, so I’ll start with those. Gardeners are so generous!

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Spring is coming

I’ve been noticing the changes in the sun lately. It’s rising earlier and setting later. Ahh! That means Spring is right around the corner. Hopefully it’ll also help me get up earlier, too. And have more energy so I can work for Scott and still get out in the garden. Hopefully it’ll be smoother this year with no hard tilling to do.
Also, I posted on the Helpful Gardener forum about the Paul Robesons, and someone pm’ed me and will be sending me some Carbon seeds. Yes, really! How great is that?

We also decided to grow some cilantro cause that might affect the flavor of the salsa. Seeds at Home Depot should only be $1.07, like the other seeds. I’ll add it to the list.

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Ordered my Burpees! Total was around $160, and I paid with my own personal account. Everything was in stock except the zucchini, so I substituted another similar kind. Hooray, I’ll be getting live plants! I hope everything works out with the shipment and timing, etc. Cross my fingers!

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I got my tomato and pepper seeds today! Only thing is, they were out of Carbon and substituted Paul Robeson, another black type at 75 days. Sigh! They also included free seeds with purchase, which I feel guilty about because how dare I not plant seeds that contain life, etc etc. But I didn’t ask for them and don’t want a sweet tomato at 90 days, that’s often used to make sweet tomato wine! Even if they get to over 2 lbs! Made me think of how many Carbon seeds they gave away free to people who didn’t want them, only so I wouldn’t get any. Boo hoo!

I just checked Hanna’s tomato tastings (she’s a blogger in Cleveland), and her Carbon tomatoes were beautiful round globes, even in color. Only thing negative was the long time to maturity. Her paul robeson tomatoes were half burgundy with solid green shoulders. And they looked mushy when sliced. She said they were just okay, and the yield wasn’t that great. Ah, well. Maybe I’ll have better luck. I should check Tomato files.

Definitely need to order burpees very soon, or they’ll not have plants left!

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I went to the Home Depot today to see if the seeds were out. They were! They were about the only thing set up in the gardening area, and two men were working on organizing it while I stood and took my notes.
I can buy 7 seed packets in person and save $14 from ordering online. No joke! Online packets are about $3.50 or so but only $1.07 in person! What’s up with that! I was surprised they didn’t have more of what I was looking for, mainly the bush beans and the carrots. But almost all of the common vegetables were hybrids. I will be buying a hybrid corn, but that’s the only one (I think). If I just wanted average orange carrots, I could save $4—but I want to see pretty purple, red, and yellow carrots too!
Now I can finalize my order and get that over with before they sell out of the live plants I want!

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100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Carolyn J. Male

After all that I’d heard of about this book, and how I understand Dr. Male is simply revered in the tomato-grower’s world, I had high expectations for this book. I was disappointed.

The growing information is fine, but the variety information leaves a lot to be desired. There isn’t any history of the varieties at all. If you come across a tomato named “Stump of the World” wouldn’t you be curious as to how it came to be called that? Who developed it? And why? You won’t find tidbits like that here. Quite frankly, it’s like reading a seed catalog. In that respect, 100 varieties isn’t enough. Seed catalogs have tons more seeds available than that. I think there are over 1000 kinds of heirloom tomatoes now.

And the photographs! If Dr. Male was truly working on this book for years, then why did they only photograph the tomatoes during a year with late rains that caused almost all of the fruits to crack? And then not take new pictures the next year? But instead allow them to be published even when they aren’t representative of the normal fruit specimens?

Makes me wonder…

P.S. The size of this book is very odd too. It is quite narrow.

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The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook by Mimi Luebbermann

This is another tomato book with great photos. It has lovely recipes with lots of uses for tomatoes in all courses. The growing and variety information is pretty straightfoward, and is geared much more towards the beginning gardener.

Great info on seed saving but not much on keeping seed pure when growing multiple varieties in close range. Also, the paragraph about fermenting seeds isn’t clear about the process after mold has formed in the seed cup. It seems to imply you need to ferment the seeds over and over, which is not true. Once is fine.

I don’t think I’ll make any of these recipes, but they are great for inspiration.

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