Sunday, April 21, 2013
For the last eight days I have been transplanting tomatoes non-stop.
Some days I take meal breaks, but not all the time. This is a job that needs to get done, so I have been setting unrealistic expectations for myself, which, if I succeed in accomplishing, become the standard goal for everyday.
Wednesday I hope to finish the tomatoes, then it is just odds and ends. Lots of basils, flowers, lettuces, brassicas, ground cherries and more remain to be done.
The numbers pale however in light of the volume of tomatoes.
Most days I work alone. I slip the pots into the tray, scoop the soilless mix into a tub and then dampen it, stirring it like a mad chef until it is throughly moistened. Not too wet, not too dry, just right.
I scoop the mix into the pots, tray after tray of pots until my back is sore and then I know it is time to transplant.
The weather this year has been a challenge. If memory serves me correctly though, it is pretty much the same every year.
The sun shines, so I open the door, blast the fans and sweat. The sun disappears, I turn off the fans as the chill settles in. Friday and Saturday were very cool and windy days so the door was shut, the heaters on and I wore as many clothes as I could reasonably move about in.
At night I draw the plastic over the hoops on my greenhouse tables. You can feel the cold settling in and the baby tomatoes don't like it.
Most days when I am alone I listen to the radio. I marvel at how many times the same commercials are repeated and honestly wonder if people really do listen to the radio all day. How can they stand these inane commercials? MacDonalds burgers crafted? Tim Horton's "can't think of anything but bacon" commercials. These don't make me want to go there. They make me want to run away screaming.
Towards the end of the day I have had it with the radio and off it goes. I like the silence at the end of the day and if I have met my quota, usually 1000 plants per day, then I do my wind down work. I write up plant tags, I seed something that it has occurred to me that I have forgotten or I sit and think.
Over the past few weeks I have had many people say to me that I am living their dream. In my head I think that they really don't know what my life is like. I work very hard at what I do. People see the end result, but not the sweat that goes into it or the limits that living this kind of life places on you.
When I'm tired I think that maybe the time is coming when I won't want to do this anymore.
But most days I realize how lucky I am to do what I do and to be so well supported by the wonderful people who purchase my seed, plants and vegetables.
I know it always has been my dream too.
So tomorrow I'll go out and do it all again.
Bet I will next year too.
Monday, April 8, 2013
|Eggplants-time to pot up!|
Is it considered multi-tasking if you do all kinds of different things in one day?
I guess not, but I feel like I'm doing lots of different things at once. In my head I am, as my mind races to the next task before I have finished the one I am working on.
Today it was transplanting. Peppers for another grower, about 1000 of them, into cellpacks. Fill cell packs with soil, transfer seedlings to cells and repeat.
Next up, the eggplants. All these go into 3 1/2 " pots, but alas, not a job I completed today.
This empty space on my greenhouse tables is soon going to be transformed into a sea of green. Peppers, eggplants and TOMATOES!
I admit I got sidetracked. There is rain in the forecast so out go the turnips I stored all winter, replanted for seed. Below are my very special "Long Blanc d'Espagne"
Mangels back in the ground for a seed crop. I must admit I think this replanting thing is so much fun. Waiting for the seed stalk to shoot up amazes me. Nature knows what she is doing.
Beets, carrots, winter radishes and turnips all are treated the same way.
These are my Valentine radishes, replanted for seed. Still so firm after a winter of being stored. Mollie and I ate some of the excess for supper tonight.
The Bleu de Solaise leeks survived the winter and will produce tons of seed.
Out went the fig trees today in a sheltered spot. If it dips too low, back into the garage they go.
Also with the promise of rain, I seeded arugula, more salad mix, radishes and onions into my outside garden. They'll all grow when the time is right.
Mother Nature knows what she's doing.
Friday, April 5, 2013
My dear Baby, pictured above, lived a life of gratitude.
We found her in a garbage can in the conservation area down the road 13 1/2 years ago. Teeny tiny, starving and shivering, left to die.
We brought her home, loved her and she became the sweetest and most loving soul you can imagine.
Unlike my other testy females, she liked everyone. Boy cats were fine, new arrivals accepted and maybe even expected.
She had a gentle non- demanding way about her. Unlike some of my others, she accepted your caresses with pleasure, but was happy to take them at your will, never foisting herself on you when you were say, writing a blog post or planting seeds.
She loved to wander down by the river, but came running as fast as she could when you called her. A free soul and spirit.
This is a sad day. The loss of this loved gentle soul is ripping me apart. As I picked up her lifeless body this morning, I felt anger. Anger at the people who ignore the speed limits, anger at myself that she snuck outside last night, anger at people I am angry at for other reasons who have nothing to do with this at all. How else do you cope?
Rest in peace my sweet soul. You were loved.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Cold enough for you?
What a Canadian thing to say. Eh?
It is a bit colder than it should be as far as I am concerned. However I am forging ahead as if, yes-the warm weather will come. In fact it is supposed to tomorrow.
In my little bit of paradise here in Wellandport, Canadian gardening zone 6b, there are some things that I want to get done around April the first.
Most of it revolves around planting and transplanting.
It's time for lots of things. I'll seed lots of flowers now, marigolds, zinnias, cockscomb and Mexican Sunflowers. April 1st also means basils, ground cherries, cape gooseberries, tomatillos and more lettuces, brassicas and chards.
Outside I'm thrilled to have the peas in. It's important to me for lots of reasons. My mom always said have your peas in for Easter, and my mom also passed away on Easter. It is just another reason to think of her, which I often will do in the garden.
Lots of ground outside is tilled and waiting for warmer temperatures. There isn't a whole lot of point doing anything out there when the soil is still so cold.
Hopefully in a weeks time that will all change and in will go lettuces, chards, kales, radishes, spinach, assorted greens, scallions, onions and whatever else I can think of that is cold weather hardy.
There are lots of tasty greens in my greenhouse now. Walking into it is an explosion of colour and smells. Perfume from mustard green flowers is incredible.
Now I'm thinking. If Bruce Willis has a perfume (I mean who doesn't ), maybe I should too. Eau de Fleurs de Moutarde.
I digress. It is all going to seed and will disappear completely in a few days. Time to get lots in there as well, like lettuces, radishes and make way for the early Stupice tomatoes that will go in within the next few weeks.
Tomorrow I continue transplanting. Brassicas, lettuces, herbs like sage and orange thyme. Doesn't sound like a big deal when it fits into a nice little concise sentence like that. It is a job though- a pretty big one, but dwarfed significantly at the prospect of tomato transplanting.
That's when I disappear for weeks. Hiding out in my hoophouse, coming out for food from time to time. Seriously. That's when the weight starts dropping off. It's hard to eat enough to make up for all the physical activity.
Interested in "Veggie Boot Camp"? Seriously. Lose weight, feel great. Apply within if you want to volunteer to help out.
I am gearing up for tomato seedling sales and my "Tomato Days" event, May 18,19, 20.
Yes, Tomato Days. Where many things can happen and sometimes they do. Good gardens can start here, and love can be found here too. It's true. Romance has blossomed amongst the Aunt Ruby's and Stupice. A meeting place for kindred spirits.
Don't come too fast May. There's still so much to do!
Monday, April 1, 2013
Thanks for taking a look at my tomato listings.
I finish with a category that includes my favourite colour of tomatoes, the oranges. I didn't say that about any of the other colours, did I? I may have, I realize.
In each colour category of tomato there is, I see so many I have grown for years and I love.
The oranges though. Oh my. Sweet and fruity and amazing. Haven't tried oranges?
You should. People come back and ask for them again and again once they try them.
Thanks for supporting my obsession with tomatoes. I look forward to your visits in May and talking tomatoes with you!
Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry
Amish Yellow Giant
Aunt Gertie's Gold
Brandywine Yellow-Platfoot Strain
Broad Ripple Currant
Big Yellow, Simpson
Cuban Yellow Grape
Ciuj Yellow Cherry
Candy's Old yellow
Casey's Pure Yellow
Djena Lee's Golden Girl
Dr Wyche's Yello
Dixie Golden Giant
Dawson's Russian Oxheart
Earl of Edgecomb
Egg Yold Cherry
Fargo Yellow Pear
Gold Rush Currant
Golden Dwarf Champion
German Orange Strawberry
Gourmet Yellow Stuffer
Glory of moldova
Huge Lemon Oxheart
Hartman's Yellow Gooseberry
Iles Yellow Latvian
Jaune Coeur de Pigeon
Jumbo Jim Orange
Kellogg's Breakfast Potato Leaf
Mollie's Awesome Yellow Pear
Mahlor Roth's Orange Brandywine
Nicholayev Yellow Cherry
Olga's Yellow Round Chicken
Orange Blosson F1 hybrid
Pike County Yellow
Pinetree Golden Queen
Rosalie's Early orange
SunSugar F1 Hybrid
Sun Gold Select 11
Sun Gold Hybrid
Tess's Landrace Currant
Tom's Yellow Wonder
Tendence Tutti Frutti
Yellow Ping Pong
Yellow Garden Peach
Yellow Furry Hog
Yellow Pear Shaped
Yellow Mortgage Lifter
Apparently I grow lots of red tomatoes. It always surprises me exactly how many to tell you the truth.
People like their red tomatoes and I guess I must too!
Here's the reds I have started this year. Bet you can find something you like.
A Grappoli D'Inverno
Angora Super Sweet
Aunt Lucy's Italian Paste
Aunt Mary's Paste
ABC Potato Leaf
Austin's Red Pear
Amish Farmer Doughnut
Brin de Muguet
Bella Rosa (Hybrid)
Big Daddy (Hybrid)
Brandywine, Red Landis Strain
Big Red Peach
Berkshire Polish Beefsteak
Bulgarian Tozala Egpu
Break o' Day
Believe It or Not
Cuor Di Bue
Chalk's Early Jewel
Coeur de boeuf de Nice
Cup of Moldova
Costoluto Fiorentino "Canestrino Di Lucca"
Cuneo Giant pear
Cherokee Brick Red
Dinner Plate Beefsteak
Dix Doights de Naples
506 Dwarf Bush Early
Ethiopia Roi Humbort
First Light (F1 hybrid)
Fence Row Cherry
Franchi Red Pear
Gail's Sweet plum
Goldman's italian American
Galapagos Island, Pear shaped
Gruntovyi Gribovskiy 1180
Gardener's Delight Red
Henderson's Crimson Cushion
Korney's jelly Bean
Landino Di Panocchi
Large Red Cherry
Large Red Slicer
Mountain Magic hybrid
Mariana F1 Hybrid
Mr Fumo Paste
Mortgage Lifter-Radiator Charlie's
Matt's Wild Cherry
Miel de Mexique
Maria Amaziliteis Giant Red
Milka's Red Bulgarian
Mortgage Lifter Pesta Strain
Mortgage lifter (Halladays)
Missouri Love Apple
New Round Paste
Red Garden Peach
Red Pisa Date
Red Butter Heart
Reverend Morrow's LongKeeper
Reine De Ste Marthe
Reif Red Heart
Russo Sicilian Toggeta
Santa Clara Canner
San Marzano Bush
Sweet Pea Currant
Salt Spring Sunrise
Silvery Fir Tree
Stump of the World
Teton de Venus
Tomatoberry F1 hybrid
Tondino di Manduria
Weisnicht's potato Leaf
Wheatley Frost Resistant
If people have heard of any heirloom tomato varieties at all, they have usually heard of Brandywine.
In fact, along with Yellow Pear, it is the first heirloom tomato variety I ever grew in my garden, some 20 or more years ago.
There was no guessing for me. I already knew how good they were, because my mom was growing them 40 years ago when I was just a kid growing up on the farm.
Brandywine has won many taste tests with it's sweet rich flavour. It is summer in a big irregular tomato-shaped package. Drool.
On this cold and nippy first day of April summer and tomatoes sound amazing. They will be.
My seeds are in, and these are all the pink and purple varieties you'll find here when it comes time to plant your little piece of heaven.
Aunt Ginny's Purple
Buffalo Heart Giant
Big Purple Brandywine
Brandywine Sudduth Strain
Brandywine Glick's Strain
Bread and Salt
Clear Pink Early
Dr Carolyn's Pink
Depp's Pink Firefly
Dwarf Champion Improved
Ella's Pink Plum
Evan's Purple Pear
Eva Purple Ball
Grace Lahman's Pink
Grimpante X Brandywine
Kalman's Hungarian Pink
Marizol Purple Cross
Porter's Dark Cherry
Purple Dog Creek
Rose de Berne
Ramillete de Mallorca
Sweet Carneros Pink
Thai Pink Egg