One of the best things that happens in January is that I get to pick out the seeds for next year’s garden.
I order my seeds from the Fedco catalog, because they’re not genetically modified or irradiated. I am far from a total crazy hippie, but I think a company irradiating seeds so you can’t save the seeds that come out of the fruit or the vegetable that you grew and use them again is shenanigans.
I’m going to grow okra and green beans and some squash and stuff. However I only really care about the tomatoes.
Last year I started most of my tomatoes from seed. After they went into the ground I freaked out that I didn’t have enough fun varieties and I went and bought seven plants from a local nursery, and every single one of them developed powdery mildew and spread it all my other plants. This year I am starting all my plants from scratch.
I usually have a lot of extra tomato starters. I am a good person to know in March.
The tomatoes I picked out for this year are as follows:
Glacier. This is my fast growing tomato. Some tomatoes have a shorter time from seed to tomato, but in general the early ones are not as good tasting. You trade time for taste. Last year I was not impressed by my Early Girls, so I am trying this one instead.
Pruden’s Purple. People claim this is comparable in taste to the Brandywine. We shall see.
Black Prince. Last year I read over on Sacramento Vegetable Gardening that if you don’t have a black tomato you’re not playing in the big leagues, so I am planting a black tomato this year. Obviously.
Also, last year I discovered one of the best recipes I’ve ever made, and it looks cooler if you make it with many different colored tomatoes. Yes, this recipe is so great that I am planting tomatoes just so I can make it.
Cosmonaut Volkov How can you not want to plant a tomato named after a famous Russian cosmonaut?
Cherokee Purple. This was my favorite new discovery from last year. I never thought anything would challenge my love for my beloved Brandywines, but these were utterly amazing.
Paul Robeson. The seed catalog described this as a “great tomato named for a great man” and that was pretty much all it took for me to add it to the list.
German Johnson. This is in case my brandywines don’t do much, which is what happened last year. So far though I think we’re looking at a hot spring, which is good news for tomato growers.
Brandywine. My tomato true love. Growing heirloom tomatoes from seeds is where it starts to really make sense. They can’t be transported well, they’re not good when you buy them in the store, and they are often $4 a pound at the farmer’s market, and they’re still not as good as if you’d grown them yourself. You’ll never taste anything better than a brandywine you picked straight out of your garden.
Aunt Ruby’s Green. I have a secret theory that green tomatoes don’t taste that great, but they look cool in a salad. Maybe this one will surprise me? The green zebras from last year were uninspiring, imho.
Goldie. This looks like a promising orange/yellow tomato.
I think I need one more orange or yellow tomato, actually. I like the sounds of the Azoychka. Prolific is my kind of tomato. I feel tense if I am not surrounded by so many tomatoes that I have to start leaving them in strangers cars.
I am also planting two cherry tomatoes. I’m not a huge fan, actually, but my kids love them. Last year little Dubsie spent the whole summer with her cheeks stuffed full of all the cherry tomatoes she’d pluck of the vines whenever we weren’t looking. I think it’s kind of cool to have something the kids can pick and eat growing right in our backyard.
So I’ll probably start these some time mid February and then plant them sometime in April. Which means it’s still a long long time until I will be standing in my garden picking tomatoes, but somehow ordering the seeds makes it seem like it’s just around the corner somehow. We haven’t had a bad winter at all this year and still, summer can’t come too soon for me.
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