First Tomato of 2012 and Other Vegetable News

One of the happiest days of the year has arrived–the first tomato has ripened in my garden!

It is a Sakharnyi Pudovichok variety that I grew from seed obtained through Tatiana’s Tomatobase this spring. She indicates that it is a “Russian commercial variety introduced in 2006 by Russian commercial vendor ‘Sibirskiy Sad’.”

I probably should have picked it yesterday, as it’s a little soft today, with a few holes where some critters took samples.

At 256 grams, it is a BIG tomato.

Not to be outdone, 2011’s first tomato of the year, a Mortgage Lifter, grown in a pot at the side of the house, is pulling in a close second. I picked it today so it wouldn’t get “sampled” but I probably won’t slice it until tomorrow.

It’s smaller, 149 grams, but still a good size for a container grown plant. And I know from last year that it will have excellent flavour.

This was the first tomato plant I’ve ever grown from seeds that I saved myself (as opposed to buying the seeds from someone else.)

The other 14 tomato plants (yes, I did get carried away) are growing like weeds.

Most of them are at least 6′ tall now, and some I’m trying to train to grow horizontally (just so I can spend less time on a ladder.)

I mostly grow indeterminate heirloom tomatoes. Indeterminate means that they keep growing and producing tomatoes right up until frost. Determinate tomatoes grow, set a big batch of fruit, and then stop. I like indeterminate because a) I get a kick out of growing oversize plants and b) I like to have fresh tomatoes for as long as possible. If I were interested in canning them I would prefer determinate tomatoes so I would be able to do them all up at once.

The heirloom tomatoes tend to grow bigger than the modern hybrids as well, because the modern hybrids have been bred to grow for ease of commercial production–fields full of 8′ tall plants would be unwieldy on a commercial scale.

In other vegetable news, the zucchini are having a rough time. One zucchini plant should be more than enough for all our needs, but I put in three plants because I know I have a problem with striped cucumber beetle (an evil, disease carrying creature.)  Sure enough, two of the plants are on their last legs already, after having produced one mature zucchini each. Hopefully number three will remain resistant long enough for us to have a few nice stirfries…

Zucchini #3 on the left in the top picture and front and centre in the bottom picture. Zucchini #2 on the right, after succumbing to the diseases spread by the evil Striped Cucumber Beetle.

In happier news, the garlic harvest has cured and it’s pretty darn fantastic.

Hopefully this will last us for most of the winter. I’ll use several heads from this as “seed” in October.

And here are a few shots of the front garden (these don’t go with the title of this post, but if I don’t put them up now it will suddenly be next weekend before I get to it, and it will all look different.)

The plantings in containers are really coming into their own now. Coleus ‘wasabi’ (the lime leaves you see in the planter) grows like it’s on steroids. It was a new introduction for this year (I first saw it at the Garden Making magazine booth at Canada Blooms) and it’s certainly a plant that you gives you your money’s worth. I’ve pinched it back several times to keep it from overwhelming the rest of the garden.

Another new plant for me this season was the “potunia” petunia you see in this picture (the peach/orange flower hanging over the left edge of the pot.) The tag said it would produce mounds of blooms on a compact plant, with no need for deadheading–and it’s delivered! I was so impressed with how it started off the season that I purchased 3 more (in purple and red) for the planter on the side of the house. A definite improvement on the old cultivars that would get leggy and require constant deadheading.

The liatris (the purple flower spikes) has been very happy this year. I’ve had to create a set of stick braces to keep it from reaching out and grabbing passing pedestrians. The bees love it.

There’s a lot going on in the front garden…

While the back, home to vegetables in the sunny parts, and more cool foliage plants in the shady parts, is a bit calmer.

1 Comment

  1. Eugene Knapik on July 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Wow, your garden is stunning!! I noticed yesterday that one of my tomatoes is starting to pink up. If I had labeled them as you strongly suggested, I could tell you which kind it was.

    Our zucchini machine continues to spit them out. Last week, I failed to visit it for a couple days and picked one about 16 inches long. Our cucumbers are coming along fine too. Already there are some cucumbers in the 6 inch range and lots of blooms.

    The path up front is partly done and by end of next week, the canoe garden will be rockin and rolling. I took a chunk out of the bottom of the canoe about 7′ long and 8 inches wide with a jigsaw. Not sure what the neighbours think about this canoe that has appeared in the front yard, but once I get it planted, I think they’ll feel the love.

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