Monday, February 28, 2011

Heirloom Tomatoes

I'm excited about my tomatoes this year.  Instead of buying the standard hybrids available at the local garden center attached to Lowes or Home Depot, I decided to go to my local neighborhood grower, Enchanted Forest. They debuted their heirlooms this past Saturday.  Here is what I got

Cherokee Purple - medium large dusky rose fruits with full flavor
Black Plum - oval 2" fruits, from deep mahogany to black-brown, nice rich color makes great sauce
Eva Purple Ball - smooth round 4 - 5 oz fruit, blemish free, very good flavor, does well in humid areas

I like the names of these as much as the descriptions - I am especially interested in the Eva Purple ball because it does well in humid areas.

Several weeks earlier I found a second heirloom tomato, that I was told would do well in the heat and humidity of SE Texas.  The farmer lives north of me by 2 hours and he grew the Costoluto Gero last year up until August, then he cut it back and it grew back when temperatures got cooler in the fall.   I have no clue what it will taste like or what it will look like but I'm excited to try it and find out.  I'll keep you posted as the season progresses.

Broccoli is AMAZING!!!

Back in the fall of 2010 I planted broccoli for the first time.  I was curious to see how it would grow.  One of the first things I noticed was that because the weather was too cool for insects to thrive, I had no problem with cabbage moths or cabbage worms.  That was a plus.  We began harvesting 7 - 8 inch wide heads through the month of January.  I didn't pull my plants up after this initial harvest, as I had read that if left alone broccoli would put out shoots which would grow into additional smaller heads.

Here is what my broccoli looks like now!  I have lots of new heads forming.   This picture was taken AFTER I picked quite a number heads for supper tonight.

My cabbage looks to be ready to pick.  It too has been left alone by the cabbage moth and cabbage worm.

I must report that the broccoli and cabbage plants were placed in the garden bed that I experimented with last spring.  Instead of trying to plant in the gumbo that was in this grow box I decided to follow the principles outlined in the book Lasagna Gardening  by Patricia Lanza.  I placed a 3 - 5 sheet layer of newspapers down first (I didn't even bother weeding or double digging the bed), then a layer of cut grass, then a layer of peat moss, then a layer of leaves, layer of peat moss.  I repeated the layering twice  cause by then the squash vines from the other bed were spreading over this bed. The contents of this grow box is friable, loose, nutrient rich (as you can see by the color of the plants), crumbly and holds moisture well.  I'm impressed.  Lazy gardener that I am this method is quite successful.