This was to be the year of little to no garden - too many events, the need to finish book #3, timing just not working out. Yeah, sure. All those who didn't believe me are now vindicated. It won't be a typical garden, or a huge garden - but things are happening, and there will be tomatoes on the table in the summer of 2018!
This will be one of my worst years for record keeping and staying on top of things. Certainly, the busy winter and spring speaking and travel schedule meant squeezing things in. The rather unusual spring weather created its own special kind of havoc.
Yet - seedling sales are done (it's donation time - I am working on it!), the driveway has already been rearranged, and 8 new bales are in preparation, joining the 8 that are now hosting vigorously growing tomato plants. I have time to get things planted each day, and the odd timings mean more staggering - an extended growing season, hopefully.
This is the list of what is planted and growing well:
Indeterminate tomato varieties Dester, Lucky Cross, Brandywine, Ferris Wheel, Cherokee Green, Cherokee Purple, Cherokee Chocolate, Sun Gold (two plants), Egg Yolk, Speckled Roman, Polish, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom, Nepal, OTV Brandywine, and Red Brandywine - 8 bales, 16 plants. Today I hammered in the 8 foot stakes, and also planted one basil seedling in between the plants in each bale.
Why those particular varieties? Flavor and/or long time fondness. 9 of them are on my top 10 of all time list, with Dester, Ferris Wheel, Egg Yolk and Speckled Roman right up there as well. It also felt like time to grow the excellent OTV Brandywine and Red Brandywine, since it's been years since I've grown either.
Today, I planted 18 one gallon pots with some experimental micro dwarves - part of a separate breeding project led by others, using the concept of Red Robin and using crosses to expand the flavor and color and foliage. Some interesting updates will come from this fascinating set of plants.
I also planted the three Gardeners Supply self watering classic tomato planters sent to me last year for evaluation. Rosella Purple, Dwarf Walter's Fancy, Dwarf Blazing Beauty, Dwarf Firebird Sweet, Wherokowhai and Dwarf Sweet Sue are now in place.
The 8 new straw bales won't be ready for a little over a week - I plan to dedicate one to Jade bush beans, one to Zephyr summer squash, one to Diva cucumbers, and one to some potatoes from seed pieces shared by a friend. The other 4 will go to tomatoes from our dwarf tomato project, most likely.
Starting tomorrow, it will be 5 gallon grow bag planting - for sweet peppers (Carolina Amethyst, Fire Opal, Royal Purple, a plant from saved seed from a variegated leaf sweet pepper growing at Raulston Arboretum last year, and Espalette) and eggplants (Skinny Twilight, Midnight Lightning, Twilight Lightning and Mardi Gras) - two new heirloom tomatoes shared with me at events (one from Durham, one from Detroit)....then as many dwarf tomatoes (both released and in development) as I wish to fit into grow bags.
That will keep me out of trouble this summer....it will be more manageable than usual, but will provide some drama, information, progress and good eating.