What’s your favorite tomato? All true tomato lovers and growers have a few tomato varieties that they just couldn’t imagine not growing and always recommend to their friends and fellow gardeners. One popular heirloom tomato variety that continues to be a favorite among many and consistently wins taste tests across the country is the Cherokee Purple tomato.
Cherokee Purple tomato is a beefsteak style tomato whose skin is a dusky rose-red color. When sliced its interior is an even darker red. The flavor is described as a “balance of sweet, acid and savory with a hint of smoke.” Cherokee Purple is best eaten fresh on sandwiches or in salads.
With a name like “Cherokee Purple,” there has to be a story there somewhere. Craig LeHoullier, a grower of heirloom tomatoes, connoisseur and author of the book Epic Tomatoes is who we can thank for bringing this delicious tomato to the masses. In 1990, Craig received a package from John D. Green of Sevierville, Tennessee containing seeds of an unnamed purple tomato.
John explained that his neighbor had shared the seeds with him and that her family had been passing along the seeds since the late 1800s when they were originally received from Cherokee Native Americans. Craig grew the seeds in his 1991 garden and gave this beauty the name Cherokee Purple. Next, Craig passed the seeds on to the folks at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. They loved the taste of this tomato and first listed the seed in their catalog in 1993 and its popularity has continued to grow since.
Want to try this delicious variety in your garden this year? Grab some Cherokee Purple seeds today, they might just become your new favorite tomato!
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00Mike Wadehttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngMike Wade2019-04-12 05:00:462021-02-04 12:46:37What is your favorite tomato?
Summer is starting to wind down and perhaps you want to do something with all of those green tomatoes. Here are two interesting and delicious green tomato recipes for you to try. Green tomatoes are high in Vitamins A & C, full of potassium and a good source of fiber.
Green Tomato Chutney
Yields 5 1/2 cups
2 lbs green tomatoes ½ tsp mustard seeds
½ lb cooking apples ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb red onion 1 Tbl finely grated fresh ginger
¼ cup packed brown sugar 1 ¼ cups raisins
2 ½ cups malt vinegar 3 green chiles, deseeded and minced
1 tsp salt
Put tomatoes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep until peels can be easily removed then chop roughly.
Place all ingredients in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the chutney is thick, stirring occasionally.
Can be refrigerated or water bath canned.
Green Tomato Jam
Yields 2 cups
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lb green tomatoes, finely chopped
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 one inch diameter ginger, peeled and finely sliced or chopped
Place the tomatoes, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and let macerate overnight. The next day, pour the mixture into a non-reactive pot along with the zest. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and bring to a rapid boil for one minute. Add ginger, stir well and skim if necessary.
Can be refrigerated or water bath canned.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00Engrid Winslowhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngEngrid Winslow2018-09-21 05:00:342021-02-09 15:09:50Two Sweet And Savory Uses For Green Tomatoes
The ways in which to support tomatoes are as varied as the gardeners who grow them. Staking your tomatoes is important for many reasons. Keeping your plants upright and off the ground helps keep not only insects and critters at bay but can prevent many tomato diseases as well. Click here to check out our comprehensive guide to tomato diseases. Staking maximizes growing space, makes harvesting easier and keeps the garden looking tidy. Here is a little information about three different methods you can use to successfully stake your tomatoes.
Caging tomatoes is an easy and efficient way for the home gardener to support tomatoes. Store bought cages come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The smaller cages are more appropriate for determinate tomato varieties which are more compact in size averaging around 3-4’ tall. The larger cages will best suit the large, sprawling indeterminate varieties which can range in height from 6-12’.
You can make your own tomato cages too. Hardware stores sell rolls of wire fencing or mesh that when cut in 5’x5’sections can be rolled into a circular cage and placed over the plant. This is best done while the plants are still small. Pin the ends together with wire or zip ties and anchor the cage into the ground with stakes. Make sure your grid openings are at least four inches in diameter. This will make pruning and harvesting a breeze. These cages are sturdy and will last for years.
Staking tomatoes is also an effective way to support your tomatoes. This method simply requires driving a stake into the ground near the plant and tying the plant up the stake as it continues to grow. To avoid any root damage, place stakes in the ground before planting or when plants are still young.
For indeterminate tomato varieties, stakes should be at least 7 feet tall and driven a good foot into the ground. This will keep the stake from tumbling over with the weight of the plant. Stakes can be wood, plastic, metal or made from salvaged materials. When tying up your tomatoes, it is best done loosely and with a soft material. I like to use old t-shirts cut into strips.
In the Florida or basket weave technique you are essentially sandwiching your tomato plants between two walls of twine. This technique works best when you are planting in rows. Begin by placing one stake at the end of each row, or space stakes every 3- 4’ apart for longer rows. Drive stakes into the ground at least one foot deep. Next, tie your twine to your end stake about 8-10” from the ground. Pull the twine past one side of your tomatoes to the front of the next stake. Loop the twine around the back of the stake and pull tight. Keeping the string taught continue down the row until you reach your last stake. Tie off at the last stake. Now, loop back the other direction until you are back where you started. Tie the twine to the first stake. As your tomatoes grow you will need to add another layer of twine about every 6-8” to keep the plants upright.
Check out this video demonstrating the Florida or basket weave technique.
Nothing is better in mid to late summer than the taste of a garden-fresh tomato. However, it takes a lot of hard work and care to help your tomatoes survive their perilous journey from seed to fruit. Here are nine common tomato diseases and what you need to do to treat them.
Many common tomato diseases are caused by fungi. These diseases often are caused by specific environmental conditions like high moisture and certain temperature ranges. They are most often spread by contaminated soil or water and are usually manageable with vigilant prevention techniques and various fungicides.
What is it?
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum coccodes) is a fungal disease that primarily attacks the tomato fruits. It will affect both green and ripe tomatoes and will appear as small, sunken water-soaked area on the outside of the tomato.
As the disease progresses, the spot will widen and turn dark and expand. Infected unripe tomatoes will not show symptoms until the fruit ripens and the disease progresses faster the closer the tomato is to maturity.
Septoria Leaf Spot
What is it?
Another fungal disease, Septoria Leaf Spot is caused by Septoria lycopersici. Unlike Anthracnose, Septoria attacks the leaves and stems of the plant but does not affect the fruit. The disease is more likely to appear on leaves closer to the ground and appears as the plant begins to fruit.
The primary symptoms are numerous round and small spots on the leaves that are dark on the outside and lighter in the center where the spore-producing bodies are. Highly infected leaves will yellow and fall off, which can expose the tomato fruit to the sun and cause sunscald.
What is it?
Caused by the fungus Alternaria solani, Early blight affects older leaves and appears as a small brown spot with concentric rings. As it spreads throughout the leaf, it will cause it to yellow and wither. This can weaken the plant and expose the tomato fruit to sunscald and reduce yield.
The fungus can also attack the stem and fruit but is less common than in the leaves. It often progresses upward from the bottom of the plant.
What is it?
Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) is a disease found in tomatoes and potatoes and is most infamous for causing the Irish Potato Famine.
Late blight thrives in humid, cool weather ( >90% humidity and <80°). It appears on all parts of the plant, usually starting on older leaves and then spreading to fruit and stems. It appears as a dark, water-soaked patch that will soon enlarge and grow a white moldy substance.
Late Blight is a slightly different beast than the other fungal diseases. It can move quickly through the garden and is spread by both water and wind. You can do all the prevention in the world, but a nearby garden with infected plants can blow spores over into your yard!
Use the treatment prescribed bellow but be prepared to pull and destroy plants if it spreads too far to save to rest of your garden and your neighbors’ gardens as well.
What is it?
Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) is a warm-weather disease most common in southern regions. It appears as a wilting or drooping of the lower leaves, followed by the wilting and death of the entire plant. Oftentimes, leaves on one side of the plant will turn yellow.
The disease attacks the roots through the infected soil and will clog off the vascular system of the plant. It usually hits younger plants and there is no known treatment. The best way to prevent wilt to ensure that any soil or material you place in your bed is clean, including the soil from starts. There are also some disease-resistant hybrids.
The yellowing is a telltale sign, also check the soil. If the soil is dry, the wilt is most likely from lack of water. Water the plant to see if the wilting persists. If you are sure it is fungal wilt, the best thing to do is destroy the plant
Fungi thrive in warm wet environments. The spores are transmitted primarily from splashing water, either from rain or irrigation. Poorly drained soil, overwatering, and lack of air circulation around the plant can all create conditions for the spread.
To prevent most fungal diseases, only purchase certified disease-free seeds and don’t replant seeds from afflicted plants. Make sure your bed or container is well drained, do not overwater, plant the tomatoes in full sun. Space and stake or support the plant with cages to make sure that the plant can air out properly after watering. Also, avoid overhead watering to limit water splash, which would spread the spores
If you do see Anthracnose in your tomatoes, make sure to harvest the fruits as soon as they are ripe. Copper-based fungicides and a few organic fungicides can be effective for treatment of infective plants.
If you see infected leaves, feel free to remove them to help slow the spread of the disease. Make sure to wash your hands and tools after handling infected plant material.
After seeing any fungal diseases in your garden (besides Late Blight, which does not overwinter), make sure rotate your planting sites on a three-year cycle with plants that are not from the Solanaceae family (i.e. tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), which are closely related to tomatoes. Make sure to remove all plant material at the end of the season and do your best to keep the site weed free. If you do not have another planting site to rotate with, switch to containers instead.
The best prevention possible is to keep the plants as healthy and vigorous as possible. Like us, unhealthy or weak plants are more likely to get sick
Unlike funguses, which are multicellular organisms with complex cells (eukaryotes), bacteria are simple, single-celled organisms (prokaryotes). Bacteria are the most common form of life on earth and are, for the most part, harmless.
However, there are some bacteria that specialize in infecting and living in other species. These can be harmless, like the natural bacteria in your gut that helps you digest things like cellulose, but are sometimes dangerous, or pathogenic. Just like you can get strep throat from bacteria, your tomatoes are susceptible to them as well.
Tomato Pith Necrosis
What is it?
While mostly seen in greenhouse conditions, Tomato Pith Necrosis can occur during the early growing season in periods with cool temperatures and high humidity. Plants are especially susceptible in areas with high nitrogen levels, when the tomato starts are growing rapidly.
The first noticeable symptoms of this disease are usually wilted leaves followed by black lesions on the stems. As the disease progresses and the bacteria become more established in the stems, splits, cracks, shrinking, and other deformations are common.
If there are green fruit, the disease can cause a greasy, water-soaked spot on the blossom end of the fruit.
What do I do?
The best prevention of Tomato Pith Necrosis is to have control over your soil conditions. The main factor in pith necrosis is excess nitrogen in the soil. Don’t over fertilize early in the season and keep tabs on your soil quality.
Also, like with the fungal diseases, make sure your plants are properly spaced so they have room to breathe and dry out and avoid overhead watering.
If your plants do become infected, you can wait until warmer, dryer weather to see if they recover. If not, remove and dispose of them.
Make sure that you are rotating your plots on a three-year cycle and do not plant in plots that have had closely related plants like peppers. Do not put them in your compost because the bacteria can live on the diseased plant material for years.
What is it?
Bacterial spot attacks the leaves and fruit of the tomato plant. It occurs during wet and warm conditions and can cause leave wilting, leaf and fruit spots, and defoliation. The leaves will show small and irregular spots as well as yellowing and browning as the disease persists. The fruit will have multiple dark specs that are dry and rough to the touch.
Fruit inflicted with Bacterial Spot, as with any diseased fruit, should not be consumed. While the disease itself isn’t dangerous to humans, it provides openings for dangerous pathogens to enter the fruit.
What do I do?
Spot often appears after heavy summer rainstorms. Make sure your plants are well spaced and pruned so they can air out effectively. Do not use overhead watering. If you are in an area where Spot has been seen, make sure you are cleaning your tools and rotating your plants. Preventative applications of copper-based fungicide can be effective in controlling spot.
If your plant does have Bacterial Spot, make sure that you immediately remove and dispose of it. Clean any tools you use with a 10% bleach solution or rubbing alcohol. Remove any plant debris.
What is it?
Bacterial Canker is one of the most difficult to identify and control tomato diseases once it takes hold. It can affect plants of all ages and has a variety of symptoms that are easily confused with other diseases.
Early symptoms are spots, browning, and wilting of leaves. Later symptoms include raised spots on the stems and fruit, which often include a white “halo” around a brown spot in the center. On older plants. The stems will show cankers or open “sores”. Once this disease takes hold, the plant is essentially doomed.
What do I do?
Prevention is the best defense against bacterial canker. Buy only certified disease-free seeds. Avoid overhead watering and space plants appropriately. Copper-based fungicides can be effective in prevention.
If you notice this disease on your plant, make sure to remove it, any plant debris and its neighboring plants immediately. Bag the removed plant material and dispose of it. Clean your tools and do not plant tomatoes on the site for a few years as the disease can live in the soil.
Viruses are pathogens that are usually a piece of genetic material surrounded by a protein. Not technically alive, these diseases are usually spread by “vectors” or living things that carry the disease. Think mosquitoes carrying West Nile.
Since each virus is spread differently, each will need its own prevention plan. There is no treatment for viral infections and the best course of action is often to remove and destroy infected plant material.
What is it?
Mosaic Virus is a family of viruses that can affect tomatoes, peppers, and other plants in your garden. The most common one that might impact your tomatoes is the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), the Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV), and the Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV). Despite their names, all of these can seriously infect your plants.
The symptoms of both TMV and ToMV are varied and difficult to tell apart. The most common symptoms include irregular growth, strange leaf shapes, and mottled coloring in the leaves and fruit. You may still get yield from tomato plants infected with Mosaic Virus, but it will likely be stunted and fewer than you would have gotten normally.
CMV is spread by aphids and create a stunted, bushy, sometimes yellow plant with severe leaf malformation and mottling. Tomatoes with CMV produce very few fruits.
What do I do?
TMV and ToMV can be easily spread through touch and soil. Even handling tobacco products like cigarettes can contaminate your garden with TMV. Monitor seedlings closely for signs of the disease and make sure to remove any possibly infected plants.
If you are concerned at all, you can make a solution out of skim milk to spray the plants with. Proteins in the milk bind to the virus and make it unable to attack the plant. If you know you have handled any plants, wash your hands and tools with the same milk solution or soap and water to prevent transmission. The virus can live for over two years on surfaces and in the soil, so do not replant in soil that has been infected and make sure to remove all plant material from the site.
Since CMV is spread through aphids, the best prevention is to control the weeds in your garden to prevent aphids from jumping from plant to plant. Insecticides are not effective because new aphids can easily pick up the virus and spread it seconds from coming in contact with the plant. Surrounding the tomatoes with taller plants that are not attractive to the aphids can create a buffer and using aphid predators, like ladybugs, can keep the general population of aphids in check.
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
What is it?
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) is a highly contagious pathogen that can infect over 1000 different species of weeds, native plants, and ornamentals. It is transmitted through an insect pest known as thrips, which will feed on a variety of different plants.
The symptoms of TSWV vary from one variety of tomato to another, but often result in stunting and dead (or necrotic) spots on the leaves. They can also cause low plant yield, mottled fruit, and wilt.
What do I do?
Unless your garden is contained within a greenhouse, it will be difficult to control the spread of TSWV. The most effective management is to eliminate the weeds in your garden that can harbor thrips throughout the winter. Remove any remaining plant material and weeds, then till and mulch the garden for winter to remove any habitat for the thrips.
If you have plants that are infected with TSWV, you can remove it to prevent it from spreading the disease to nearby plants. Insecticides are relatively ineffective against thrips because applied insecticides are unlikely to come in contact with thrips on the plant and systematic pesticides are not fast enough to stop the thrip from infecting the plant. Insect predators like ladybugs, minute pirate bugs, and lacewings will all feed on thrips.
Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV)
What is it?
Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) is a virus that is spread through seeds and whiteflies that causes yellowing and curling of leaves, stunting, flower drop, and severely reduced yield in tomatoes and peppers.
While TYLCV can be spread between seeds, the primary risk factor for your garden would be the spread of the virus through whitefly pests. Whiteflies are small, white flying insects that feed on the undersides of leaves.
What do I do?
Like TSWV, the best prevention is to keep whiteflies off of your plants. Do your best to keep weeds under control to limit available habitat for the whiteflies, till and mulch during the winter, and introduce natural predators. Products that use canola oil or horticultural oil can act as a whitefly repellent. For how to make your own, check out this article.
Another option you may want to consider is to use reflective mulches. These mulches reflect light back up at the plant and disorient insect pests.
If your plants do become infected with TYLCV you really only have two options. You can wait it out to see if you do get any harvest, and then remove all susceptible plants at the end of the season. The other option is to remove infected plants immediately to try to limit the spread of the virus.
When you do remove your plants, bag them as soon as you can to contain the whiteflies on the plant that are carriers for the virus.
Disease Prevention Checklist
Buy only disease-free seeds
Rotate your tomatoes and like crops on a three-year cycle
Make sure the plants are properly spaced and pruned so they can dry out properly
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00Sam Dollhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngSam Doll2018-07-17 15:51:152021-02-10 14:09:43Guide to Common Tomato Diseases
Ratatouille screams to me of summer and there are dozens of ways to make it. The only real essentials are tomatoes, onion, eggplant and zucchini cooked down into a stew and seasoned with salt and pepper. It is delicious as a vegetarian main dish and can be served hot, room temperature, or even cold. You can also top it with cheese, add chunks of chicken and serve it over rice, or roll it up in a lettuce leaves or a tortilla. It can be cooked in a crockpot, baked or stewed. Here is a “classic” preparation followed by a few variations for you to play with. You can learn more about the history of this dish here.
Serves 5 to 6
3 TBL olive oil 3 medium tomatoes, chopped or 14 oz. canned
2 medium onions, chopped 2 large crushed cloves of garlic
1 medium eggplant, cubed in 1” chunks 1 medium green bell pepper, in 1” chunks
5-6 medium zucchini, sliced 1 medium red bell pepper, in 1” chunks
½ cup chopped fresh parsley ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
½ tsp salt 2 TBL tomato paste
¼ tsp pepper 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese (optional)
In a 4-5 Quart pot, heat olive oil and add garlic, eggplant, peppers and onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until onions are crisp-tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, parsley and basil. Heat to boiling, then reduce to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove cover, season with salt and pepper and stir in tomato paste. Continue cooking, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Serve as is or over hot cooked rice. Top with a sprinkling of cheese.
Make it Middle Eastern by omitting the basil and cheese and stirring in the following spices when you add the zucchini and tomatoes:
½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp turmeric ¼ tsp coriander
Change up the vegetables in the classic recipe or just add more. Some favorites are corn, peas and beans, or other summer squash such as patty pan.
Make it Italian: Melt a couple of anchovies into the oil along with the garlic and tomatoes. This adds a layer of umami flavors that is quite good. Then add a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar just before serving.
Consider serving it with a different grain besides rice. Quinoa, farro, couscous and others are a delicious and very healthy twist.
This quick and easy take on the classic Caprese salad makes excellent use of the fresh tomatoes from your garden. It’s especially pretty when you use a variety of colored, heirloom, beefsteak tomatoes such as Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Yellow Brandywine.
1 TBL extra virgin olive oil 1 TBL honey 1 TBL white Balsamic vinegar (or you can use cider vinegar) 1 tsp Dijon mustard 4 sliced heirloom tomatoes 4 ounces sliced or crumbled Humboldt Fog or Maytag blue cheese 1 cup torn herbs – just basil or a mix of basil, chives, cilantro and parsley Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the honey, vinegar, Dijon and olive oil. Arrange tomatoes on a platter, drizzle with dressing and top with cheese and herbs. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
It was really hot yesterday. I tried to stay working in the shade but by the end of the day, I was dehydrated and light-headed despite drinking water all day. This was my wake-up call to put the ice cream maker freezer bowl into the freezer where it stays the rest of the summer. If summer’s going to be like this, I need instant access to frozen goodies. The freezer bowl has to be hard frozen to work well. I have an extra bowl or two I picked up at the thrift store.
Now I’ve heard you can use the ice cream maker for ice cream or frozen yogurt. When I’ve gotten overheated, I don’t want dairy…I want frozen water and sweetness and maybe some vitamins and nutrients thrown in. I don’t want “natural flavors” and high fructose corn syrup like the so-called healthy treats at the grocery.
I want concoctions from fruits and or vegetables. So the first task of my ice cream maker is to turning fruit and or vegetables into cold frozen thirst quenchers.
1. Slushies are my favorites: yummy, thirst-quenching slushy drinks when water just isn’t enough. All the aqua fresca drinks of Central America make excellent slushy drinks. The recipes are simple: Blend fruit and/or vegetables, water and sugar to taste. Traditionally people just throw ice cubes into the blender, but I strain the blended juice-water for a less pulpy drink. Then, I want the drink even colder than ice cubes can make it, so I pour it all into the ice cream maker and drink when slushy.
Great aqua fresca combos: Cucumber and lime and sugar Watermelon, Hibiscus Tea Raspberries Tomatoes, Basil
Make double batches of slushies, and put some aside into the freezer to freeze solid. Voila: Sorbet. Sorbets are great for desserts, but I like them as surprise mini-servings between courses, to “clear the palate” for the next course. Cucumber sorbet anyone?
3. Cold Soups On hot days I love cold soups…but summer meals are often last-minute preparations so if I didn’t remember to make and refrigerate the soup ahead of time, it isn’t going to be very cold. But with my VitaMixer or a good blender and my ice cream maker, I’m set for a cold soup in the hot evening air.
The recipes are simple:
Gazpacho: throw tomatoes and other ingredients into Vita-Mix. Blend to a slurry. Pour into ice cream maker until nearly slushy. Top with cilantro. By the time the gazpacho gets to the table, it’s very cold without being frozen.
Cucumber soup. Cucumber, skin optional, into Vita-Mix. Chill to near freezing in the ice cream maker. Fresh dill and a big spoon of sour cream.
Many other vegetables work too like carrots or even beets.
4. Frozen cocktails Need I say more? Pour limeade into ice cream maker. Once it’s freezing, pour tequila in. Done!
5. Frozen Coke Ok, so this is the treat from my childhood. I know, Coke’s terrible for you. Too much sugar and caffeine, the acidity rots your teeth. But when it’s hot outside, nothing hits the spot like partially frozen coke. As kids, we’d put the bottles in the freezer and hope to remember them before they froze and exploded. My mother would pour flat coke or root beer into dixie cups to freeze. So it is a natural progression for me just to pour coke into the ice cream maker and make my own Coke slushie.
And of course, I’ve heard the ice cream maker makes great ice cream.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00Sandy Swegelhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngSandy Swegel2016-06-17 13:28:152021-02-23 12:45:20Five recipes for your ice cream maker that aren’t ice cream.
“So pick your best, most ripe (even to the point of over-ripe) tomato, pepper, etc., and save and dry the seed. Choosing an over-ripe veggie will ensure the seed has fully developed. If you wait for a frost or freeze before you pick the fruit or veggie, most of the seed will not be developed enough to be viable next year. “
That makes perfect sense, but many years it’s not been until the first frost that I remember that summer is over and I’d better save some seed. Although I’m not as bad as my friend who had planted a mixed pack of heirloom seeds and just realized she had served the last of the best tasting of those tomatoes in a sandwich to her daughter. Dear daughter still tells the story of crazy mom running across the room to yank the sandwich out of her hand and claim the tomato for its seeds.
Once you’ve selected an overripe tomato to be next year’s seeds, be sure to taste the tomato to make sure it’s the perfect tomato. A restaurant critic I know calls this the Platonic Tomato….the tomato that in its very form and essence defines what a tomato is.
You’ve probably read lots of online info about saving tomato seeds…you need to let them ferment a bit in a saucer before letting the seed dry and then save it in a cool dry place for next year. Even though this is easy, I have to admit most the time I let the organic farmers who grow for us at BBB Seed just do all that work and I buy the seed in the cute packet in January.
That said, I’m off for my morning breakfast of slices of tomatoes with my morning egg from my backyard chickens with some melted Swiss cheese. It doesn’t get better than this!!!
My happy group of gardening buddies first got to know each other because of our great avarice for more seeds. We had all joined a local gardening email list so we could talk more about plants and gardening, but the more we talked with each other, the more seeds and plants we wanted. Every time someone mentioned a new variety of tomato or annual flower or ground cover, we had to have one of those. The first year, we decided to meet in person and share seed packets. Armed with dozens of recycled envelopes, we doled out tiny seeds to each other, taking home three Cherokee purple tomato seeds or six cosmos seeds. This quickly became confusing and chaotic and required so many tags in our seed trays. So the next year we decided to become more economical. We’d each buy a packet of seeds and grow out all the plants…and then swap plants. We definitely got more plants than we would have grown on our own and we each had unusual varieties you can’t buy in stores.
But the third year of our avarice proved to be the year we figured out that we could get as many seeds as we wanted…and they practically paid for themselves. All we had to do was start our seeds and sell 2-month-old plant starts to each other and to the other greedy gardeners who envied our ever more diverse gardens. We learned that anyone can sell healthy organic heirloom tomato starts, especially if you have pictures of last year’s garden.
You can try your own mini plant exchange and sale. We price our seedlings cheap ($1 or $2 at most). I can afford all the heirloom tomato plants I want if I just sell three seedlings for $1 from each seed packet. Throw in some herbs and flowers and soon the plants barely fit in the car. Our little group now has a giant plant sale every May where everyone brings their plants to sell to each other, but thanks to free advertising on Craigslist and neighborhood electric poles, we also sell our humble little plants to the public. Avarice never ends, of course, and now we have to grow more plants so we can make money so we can afford backyard greenhouses. Last year our small group of about 12 home gardeners sold some $4000 worth of plants that they started in closets and on top of refrigerators just two months before. Not enough to get rich, but enough to buy more seeds, build hoop houses and season extenders, and have a load of precious organic sheep manure delivered to our gardens.
So enjoy your seed shopping and think about swapping some of the plants you start with others. We learned that while there is no end to avarice among gardeners, there is also no end to generosity. It is a great joy to have an abundance of little plants to share with friends and strangers.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00konabirdhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngkonabird2014-02-21 18:14:002021-03-02 12:01:05How to Get all the Seeds you Want and Not go Broke
Some plants are meant to be the star of the garden. Dahlias, for example. You can see them from across the yard and they elicit gasps of delight at their beauty. While stars do make the garden, they only really dazzle when surrounded by a strong supporting cast. And that’s where Dark Opal Basil really shines. Its black shiny leaves provide a color background that makes white and brightly colored flowers in the garden “pop.” But as they say on late night TV, “That’s not all…”
Dark Opal Basil is super cute planted as a border in front of the tomato bed. Brushing along the basil releases its great hot summer aroma. Some say Dark Opal Basil, like all basils, helps repel tomato hornworm.
Its own pink to white flowers on dark purple bracts shine on their own.
Its dense foliage fills all the empty space in containers and display beds. Visually, it pulls together a lot of other plants like zinnias and salvias that can look bare at the bottom.
It is yummy. I like it growing near the cherry tomatoes so on a warm summer afternoon I pick one leaf of basil and wrap it around one cherry tomato for a refreshing flavor burst.
Dark Opal is said to be the favorite purple basil for cooks because of mild flavor and a tender leaf. It looks and smells great in a salad, served with fresh mozzarella or use a sprig of it in a Bloody Mary.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.png00konabirdhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline.pngkonabird2014-02-07 17:35:002021-03-02 14:14:59Best Supporting Actor – Dark Opal Basil
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