Well, I moved my tomato seedlings outside for the first time yesterday afternoon to begin the process of hardening them off in preparation for planting next month. They’ve been in my makeshift greenhouse under lights indoors until now and they’re rapidly outgrowing their abode. I realized that I need to make some adjustments to the shelves to give them more room so it was the perfect time to begin acclimatizing them to the out-of-doors. They spent a couple of hours outside in a relatively sheltered spot and, day by day, I’ll increase the time they spend outdoors until they’re ready to be planted.
A few years ago I chronicled my foray into attempting to grow tomatoes from seed. It hasn’t been a simple journey. I’ve learned about the benefits of heat mats, what to do after the seeds sprout, the importance of giving adequate light, the benefit of letting a light breeze blow over the plants for a time during each day, and how to plant them in the garden to ensure the strongest plants. I’ve learned a lot; I’m still learning; and I’m having a great time in the process.
Today I’m going to fill you in on the varieties of tomatoes I’m growing this year. The opportunity to grow heirloom varieties that you won’t find at your local plant store is one of the great advantages of growing tomatoes from seed. Last year I started saving seeds from my plants too, ensuring that I’ll be able to grow the varieties we love and pass them along to fellow tomato connoisseurs in the years to come.
All of the plants I’m growing this year are of the indeterminate variety which means they set fruit throughout the season on tall vine-like plants (as opposed to determinate plants that set fruit once on short plants) and require strong cages or stakes as you can see from this photo from the July 6 garden last year.
Here’s the lineup for the 2015 garden:
I grew these for the first time last year and was delighted with them! They’re sweet and delicious, unlike any other tomato I’ve tasted. You may recall the Sungold Tomato Jam recipe I wrote about last summer. We’re still enjoying that jam and growing these again this year is a must so we can make more of it. These tomatoes may be small (like cherry tomatoes) but the plants are not. They grow on vines that are reported to reach 6-8 feet in length. I didn’t realize that last year and ended up with a tangled mess of tomato vines. Definitely plan on a better support structure this year! Here more information about the Sungolds.
These large, dark, and delicious tomatoes were also a big hit last year in sandwiches, salads, and simply eaten au natural. I do believe that it was a Black Krim that was the first tomato to ripen last year. More information about the Black Krims here.
Brandywines are the classic heirloom tomato and the first variety I attempted to grow from seed a few years ago. The fruit is large and beautiful; the plants prolific. Read more about the classic Brandywine here.
This is my first year to grow Federle tomatoes. They’re reported to be a productive plant yielding a paste tomato that’s about 7 inches long. I’m planning on using these for sauce and salsa. More information here.
I saw these for the first time last year in someones plot at the community garden and was intrigued enough to want to give them a go this year. More information here.
I have many more plants than I will have room for in my garden and will be gifting family and friends with plants in a few weeks. Part of the reason for this post is to let local folks know what I’ll have available so if you live near me and want a plant (or two or three) please contact me via the contact form here on this blog, Facebook messenger, or email and let me know.
Also, wanted to let you know about a new page I created on Facebook where I’ll be talking about essential oils–what I’m learning, how I’m using them–and creating a dialog with others who are interested in the topic. If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils c’mon over and “like” my new page at https://www.facebook.com/LindaHoyeYoungLivingEssentialOils. Would love to see you there!