Yup, I'm getting older, and it has been a busy year.
I'm sure my whole life I'll garden and I don't plan on giving up my farming career just yet. At least not as long as there is still university tuition to pay.
But it got me thinking. If I could only manage a small garden, what would I grow?
What are the best tasting crops, the workhorses and the performers?
This year has been ideal really for growing, but what has done well, year in year out, in good weather and bad?
If it had to be one tomato, one pepper, one bean....what would they be?
Tomatoes is a good place to start.
I have grown lots of varieties of tomatoes over the years. Lots.
If it came down to one, it would have to be Stupice (stoo-peach-ka)-that brave little Czech heirloom, that troops on through good and bad. My first to produce and my last to kick out fruit, it is a tasty workhorse. It is a simple small red tomato, but when I sent a number of tomatoes to Harrowsmith magazine a few years back so they could conduct a taste test, it came out on top.
It is just always pop- in- your- mouth good, with an appealing sweet taste.
I have had it produce fruit in as little as 50 days from transplant. I always seed some indoors in Februrary, and then plant them out in the hoophouse, with added ag fabric for protection, in early to mid-April.. And by June, yes-we're eating tomatoes.
And those first fruit of the year are the best.
I have many customers who would likely agree with this assessment too. I always sell out of both seeds and transplants in the spring.
If you are growing this tomato, just be aware when it comes to saving seeds from it that it is a potato-leaf type, which makes it more likely to cross with other tomato varieties. Of course if it is the only one you grow there is no issue.
If you do have other varieties it is best to keep it separated or create a barrier to keep your seed pure.