Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Images From My Working Day

Lots of growing baby tomatoes

New life in the greenhouse-baby spiders

Time to grow

Lettuce to transplant

Purple stemmed Osu Blue tomato


Pretty chard

Gorgeous pepper, great name


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

Seeding, Transplanting and Replanting for Seed

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

Good-bye Dear Friend

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

My April To-Do and Done List

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

Orange/Yellow Tomato Varieties 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
Amy's Apricot
Aladdin's Lamp
Amana Orange
Amber Colored
Aunt Gertie's Gold
Branscombe's Orange
Branscomb Orange
Brandywine Yellow-Platfoot Strain
Banana Legs
Broad Ripple Currant
Banana Cream
Big Yellow, Simpson
Banana Leggs
Big Orange
Big Yellow
Cuban Yellow Grape
Chuck's Yellow
Caro Rich
Ciuj Yellow Cherry
Candy's Old yellow
Canadian Sunset
Cherry Gele
Cerise Orange
Citron Compact
Casey's Pure Yellow
Djena Lee's Golden Girl
Delice D'or
Dr Caroline
Dakota Gold
Dr Carolyn's
Dr Carolyn
Dr Wyche's Yello
Dixie Golden Giant
Dagma's Perfection
Dawson's Russian Oxheart
Earl of Edgecomb
Egg Yold Cherry
Floragold Basket
Faribo Goldheart
Fargo Yellow Pear
Garden Peach
Gold Roma
Golden Egg
Golden Queen
Golden Grape
Gold Rush Currant
Gold Currant
Gold Nugget
Golden Grape
Golden Bison
Goldene Konigin
Golden Jubilee
Golden Dwarf Champion
Gold Ball
German Orange Strawberry
Gourmet Yellow Stuffer
Golden Queen-Stokes
Golden Queen
Glory of moldova
Galina's Yellow
Hazel Gold
Huge Lemon Oxheart
Hartman's Yellow Gooseberry
Hawaiian Currant
Ida Gold
Italian Gold
Iles Yellow Latvian
Indian Moon
Jaune Coeur de Pigeon
Jaune Negib
Jumbo Jim Orange
Jaune Plissee
Jaune Flamme
Kellogg's Breakfast
Kellogg's Breakfast Potato Leaf
Lo Fisher
Lemon Bush
La Caroltina
Mollie's Awesome Yellow Pear
Marizol Gold
Mahlor Roth's Orange Brandywine
Mandarin Cross
Mennonite orange
Mountain Gold
Mini Orange
Nebraska Wedding
Nicholayev Yellow Cherry
Native Sun
Orange Beefsteak
Orange Tree
Orange Strawberry
Orange Icicle
Orange Banana
Orange Plum
Orange Minsk
Olga's Yellow Round Chicken
Orange Santa
Orange Heirloom
Orlov Yellow
Orange Bourgois
Orange Polonaise
Orange Blosson F1 hybrid
Pink Lemon
Plum Lemon
Power's Heirloom
Pike County Yellow
Pinetree Golden Queen
Pilcer Vesey
Perfect Storm
Roman Candle
Regina's Yellow
Rosalie's Early orange
SunSugar F1 Hybrid
Sun Gold Select 11
Sun Belle
Serdtse Dezdemony
Schellenberg's Favourite
Sun Gold Hybrid
Tess's Landrace Currant
Tom's Yellow Wonder
Tendence Tutti Frutti
Verna orange
Wapsipicon Peach
Woodle Orange
Yellow Bell
Yellow Ping Pong
Lillian's Yellow
Yellow Perfection
Yellow Pear
Yellow Currant
Yellow Garden Peach
Yellow Vermissage
Yellow Reisentraube
Yellow Icicle
Yellow Furry Hog
Yellow Pear Shaped
Yellow Centiflor
Yellow Brimmer
Yellow Ruffled
Yellow Gooseberry
Yellow Mortgage Lifter

Red Tomato Varieties 2013

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.
(Warning...long post!)

Alice's Egypt
Anmore Dewdrop
Amish Paste
Auntie Madge's
Anna's Multiflora
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
Applause (Hybrid)
African Queen
Bonny Best
Brin de Muguet
Bloody Butcher
Basket Vee
Bella Rosa (Hybrid)
Big Daddy (Hybrid)
Brandywine, Red Landis Strain
Britain's Breakfast
Big Beef
Baselbieter Roeteli
Burbank Slicing
Bloody Butcher
Burraker's Favorite
Big Ben
Big Red Peach
Berkshire Polish Beefsteak
Bulgarian Tozala Egpu
Break o' Day
Bulgarian Triumph
Believe It or Not
Bloody Butcher
Bush Beefsteak
Baylor Paste
Berwick German
Baby Gazzi
Budai Torpe
Cuor Di Bue
Columbianum Tomato
Chadwick Cherry
Csikos Botermo
Chalk's Early Jewel
Crnkovic Yugoslavian
Costoluto Fiorentino
Climbing Trip
Cosmonaut Volkov
Coeur de boeuf de Nice
Costoluto Genovese
Christmas grapes
Cup of Moldova
Crimson Sprinter
Costoluto Fiorentino "Canestrino Di Lucca"
Chadwick Cherry
Cherry Roma
Czech's Bush
Chinese Paste
Chateau Rose
Cuneo Giant pear
Carol Chyko's 
Cherokee Brick Red
Dinner Plate Beefsteak
Defiant (hybrid)
Dix Doights de Naples
506 Dwarf Bush Early
Dwarf Wax
Early Glee
Ernie's Plump
Ethiopia Roi Humbort
Early Wonder
Early Annie
Egyptian Tomb
Elberta Girl
Enourmous Plum
Florida Basket
Fruity Cherry
Fat Cherry
First Light (F1 hybrid)
Frazier's Gem
Fence Row Cherry
Franchi Red Pear
Ferris Wheel
Fox Cherry
Gildo Pietroboni
Gail's Sweet plum
Geranium Kiss
Giant Belguim
Goji Faranji
Gramma Climenhagen
Grandpa's Minnesota
Grandma Mary
Goldman's italian American
Greenbush Italian
127)Grightmire's Pride
Galapagos Island, Pear shaped
Gruntovyi Gribovskiy 1180
Goose Creek
Germaid Red
God Love 
Gardener's Delight Red
Howard German
Heinz H9129
Henderson's Winsall
Hungarian Heart
Henderson's Crimson Cushion
Islandaise 11
Italian Heirloom
Joe Pesch
Jersey Devil
Jersey Giant
Jujube Cherry
Justine heart
John Baer
Koralik Cherry
Korney's jelly Bean
Kenoshe Paste
Legenda Tarasenko
Lumpy Red
Lizzano hybrid
Landino Di Panocchi
Large Red Cherry
Large Red Slicer
Little Julia
Mrs Kennedy
Mountain Magic hybrid
Mayo's Delight
Mariana F1 Hybrid
Mr Fumo Paste
Mortgage Lifter-Radiator Charlie's
Martino's Roma
Matt's Wild Cherry
Mystery keeper
Miel de Mexique
Monkey Ass
Moskovskiy Delikates
Maria Amaziliteis Giant Red
Mule Team
Montreal Tasty
Milka's Red Bulgarian
Mortgage Lifter Pesta Strain
Mark Twain
Mexican Cocktail
Mexico Midget
Mortgage lifter (Halladays)
Magnum Beefsteak
Missouri Love Apple
Mountain Princess
New Yorker
Nichols Cherry
New Round Paste
Northern Delight
Nepal Red
Old Brooks
Old Virginia
Ottawa 39
Olive Hill
Oregon Spring
Peche Rouge
Pop In
Polish Dwarf
Ponderosa Red
Peacevine Cherry
Punta Banda
Principe Borghese
Peron Sprayless
Polish Linguisa
Polbig hybrid
Phil's Fantastic
Quebec 2473
Red Stuffer
Red Garden Peach
Red Pear
Red Fig
Raspberry Miracle
Rowdy Red
Red Pisa Date
Rio Grande
Red Peach
Red Butter Heart
Red Centiflor
Reverend Morrow's LongKeeper
Red Georgia
Roi Humbert
Red Supreme
Red Barn
Reine De Ste Marthe
Red Robin
Red Pearl
Red Currant
Reif Red Heart
Rose Quartz
Royal Hillbilly
Russo Sicilian Toggeta
Redfield Beauty
Red Star
Rosso Sicilian
Red Pear-large
Russian 117
Red Grape
Remy Rouge
Red Ruffled
Santa Clara Canner
Sugar Cherry
Siberische Appeltomaat
San Marzano Bush
Strawberry Wedge
Sweet Pea Currant
SubArctic Plenty
Salt Spring Sunrise
Sierra Leone
Svetlana Red
San Marzano
Salisaw Cafe
Silvery Fir Tree
Stump of the World
Sweet Israeli
Small Grape
St Pierre
Sweet Tumbler
Teton de Venus
Turkey Chomp
Top Sirloin
Tomatoberry F1 hybrid
Tommy Toe
Tappy's Heritage
Terenzo hybrid
Tondino di Manduria
Ukranian pear
Velvet Red
Victorian Dwarf
Washington Cherry
Weisnicht's potato Leaf
Watermelon Beefsteak
Wickline Cherry
Wisconsin 55
Wheatley Frost Resistant
Yates Beefsteak

Pink/Purple Tomato Varieties 2013

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.

Amerikanskiy Vytyanutyi
Aunt Ginny's Purple
Anna Russian
Buffalo Heart Giant
Big Purple Brandywine
Bear Creek
Bushy Chabarovsky
Brandywine Sudduth Strain
Brandywine Glick's Strain
Brandysweet Plum
Big Raspberry
Bread and Salt
Bashkirskiy Krasavets
Canary Rose
Clear Pink
Caspian Pink
Cherokee Purple
Crimean Rose
Clear Pink Early
Chinese Purple
Dr Lyle
Dr Carolyn's Pink
Dingo Eye
Depp's Pink Firefly
Dolore's Romanian
Dwarf Champion Improved
Dark Rose
Eagle's Beak
Ella's Pink Plum
Evan's Purple Pear
Earl's Faux
Enormous Plum
Eva Purple Ball
Ferris Wheel
Fruit Punch
Grace Lahman's Pink
Gezhante Buhrurkeel
Grimpante X Brandywine
German Johnson
German Pink
German Lunchbox
Gregori's Altai
Grightmire's Pride
Hungarian Heart
Japanese Oxheart
Jeff Davis
June Pink
Japanese Plum
Kalman's Hungarian Pink
Kentucky Plate
Large Pink
Lincoln Adams
Lithuanian Pink
Marianna's Peace
Mrs Houseworth
Mike's Italian
Marizol Purple Cross
Marlowe Charleston
Ozark Pink
Pink Petticoat
Potato Leaf
Purple Smudge
Pruden's Purple
Porter's Dark Cherry
Pink Ice
1884 Purple
Purple Dog Creek
Purple Brandy
Purple Hillbilly
Purple Calabash
Pamyati Kobneeva
Pearly Pink
Purple Pear
Purple Cherry
Pink Monserrat
Pink Ruffled
Purple Smudge
Purple Russian
Rose de Berne
Russian Rose
Rosovyi Flamingo
Ramillete de Mallorca
Snog's pride
Shaker Village
Shirley S
Sweet Carneros Pink
Trucker's Favorite
Thai Pink Egg
Tsungshigo Chinese
Tlacolula Pink
Ukranian Purple
Una Hartsock
VB Russia
Vinson Watts
Wolford Wonder