Monday, April 28, 2014

Bicolour Tomatoes at Tomato Days 2014

Over the next while, I'll let you know on this blog what tomato varieties you can expect to find at my sale on the 17th, 18th and 19th of May. These are in addition to the list of tomatoes on my website that people could preorder from up until the 15th of April.
First up are the bicolours. These are tomatoes that have, yes, two colours in one tomato. Sometimes you may see more.
These are tomatoes that all taste wonderful, and are all very different, are super sensational in appearance and all worthy of a spot in your garden. Pick out a few, or more from this list to try this year. Like the name? Google the descriptions..most you'll find, but not quite all!
I can fill you in on the rest when you come out to the sale.

 Here we go:
Abraca Zebra
Angora Potato Leaf
AAA Sweet Solano
Ananas Noire
Arkansas marvel
Berkely Tie Dye
Berkeley Tie Dye Oval
Big Orange Bicolor
Boar's Hoof
Big Orange Stripe
Big White Pink Stripe
Big Yellow Zebra
Bicolor Cherry
Big Rainbow
Big Zebra
Black and Brown Boar
Black Striped Cherry
Blonde Boar
Brown Flesh Jumbo
Beauty Queen
Black Zebra
Burracker's Favorite
Bunte Pflaume
Chocolate Stripes
Candy Stripe
Dad's Sunset
Dino Eggs
Darby Striped Pink Yellow
Darby Striped Yellow Green
Darby Striped Red Green
Early Yellow Stripe
Everett's Rusty Oxheart
Elberta Peach
Green Zebra
Green Bell Pepper
Gogoshari Striped
German Striped Stuffer
Golden gates
Hillbilly Potato Leaf
Hazel Mae
Georgia Streak
Joie de Vivre
Lange AEmer
Mary Robinson
Michael Pollan
Northern Lights
Nature's Riddle
Oaxacan Jewel
Old German
Ozark Sunset
Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge
Orange ET Green Zebra Striped
Old Flame
Orange Russian 117
Primary Colors
Pixie Striped
Pink Boar
Polish Pastel
Plum Tigress
Piedmont Pear
Pink Furry Boar
Red Furry Hog
Red Gold
Red Belly
Red Zebra
Roughwood Golden Tiger
Striped Stuffer
Sweet Carneros Pink
Striped Tonnelet
Striped Roman Yellow
Serendipity Striped
Speckled Peach
Speckled Roman
Sinks Striped
Mr Stripey
Mammoth German Gold
Tiger Paw
Trenton's Tiger
Turkish Monastery
Virginia Sweets
Violet Jasper
Val's Black Striped
Val's Green Striped
Velve Striee
Vintage Wine
White Zebra
Yellow Tiger Stripe
Wagon Wheel
Zebra Rita

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pepper Varieties 2014

If you plan on coming to my "Tomato Days" sale, you may like knowing what pepper varieties will be waiting for you.
Last year I sold out of hot peppers nearly immediately.
The good news is there are lots more of them this year. There is no bad news.
Unless of course I sell out.
So to get the best selection come early. Especially if you want the "stupid hots".

The selection this year is as follows:

Marconi Purple
Pinot Noir (hyb)
Keystone Resistant Giant
Sweet Cayenne
Sweet Hungarian
Jimmy Nardello
Orange Bell
Tolli's Sweet italian
Round Tomato Shaped Pimento
Sweet Chocolate
Feher Ozon
Golden Treasure
Chervena Chuska
King of the North

Bhut Jolokia (Ghost)
Carolina Reaper (hottest pepper in the world)
Trinidad Scorpion Yellow
Trinidad Scorpion
Explosive Ember
Filus Blue
Aji Cristal
Mustard Habanero
Joe's Long Cayenne
Purple Jalapeno
Bulgarian Carrot
Rooster Spur
Czech Black
Thai Hot
Alma Paprika
Joe's Round
Hot Portugal
Wild Brazil
Wenk's Yellow Hots
Texas Bird
Orange Thai

Tomato Days 2014-Heiroom Tomato and Heirloom Veg Seedling Sale

Despite the ups and downs of the weather, I'm right on schedule for my big plant sale coming up in a mere 3 weeks, May 17, 18 and 19 from 8 am-3 pm.
Over the last month I've seeded and transplanted thousands of plants and have been a very busy "Tree and Twig" indeed.
Let me confess. My name is Linda. I am Tree and Twig. I'm small-that's all. I always smile when people assume I have legions of people working for me or that I do more than I actually do. Usually my friends, it is only me.
I have a small CSA, a small seed business and sell to small stores and restaurants.
But I try to do heirloom veggie seedlings in a very big way indeed.

I have a huge selection of heirloom tomato seedlings by any standards. Hundreds and hundreds of varieties of tomatoes. Red, orange, yellow, blue, black, brown, green, white and multi-coloured. I have stripes and spots, peach skinned and pear shaped. I have huge and tiny. I have long keepers and pastes, canners, fresh eating marvels and stuffers.  I have tomatoes with scalloped edges, ripples and ruffles. I have tomatoes from many countries and on my lawn, the Russian and Ukrainian tomatoes sit in their pots side by side neither threatened by the other.
More than anything though, I have tomatoes that taste good. That's what it is all about.
I know my tomatoes too. I have been growing and selling heirloom tomato seedlings for more than 15 years and it is no exaggeration to say that I have grown more than a thousand varieties myself over the years.

I grew up with some of these varieties. My mom grew them some 40 odd years ago, and the taste of a truly good tomato stayed with me.
My Tomato Days sale though is always more than tomatoes. I have a great selection of sweet and hot peppers, including the "stupid hots", eggplants, kales, herbs, broccolis, cabbages, brussels sprouts and all other members of that family,lettuces, cukes and zukes, melons and a touch of the unusual like mouse melons, ground cherries, cape gooseberries and tomatillos. I'll also have seeds for sale and I hope we'll have your veggie garden covered for 2014, and you'll be eating some truly tasty produce.

When you buy from me (and even if you don't) I'm happy to help you through the season with your gardening questions. Got problems with your tomatoes, or just want to send me pictures of your tomatoes when they've ripened? I love it all, and I'm glad to help if I can.
This year I've invited others to join in and am happy, happy to welcome my friends from Niagara Vegfest , Garden City Essentials , Della Terra and  Global Hearts . It's a wee festival of sorts. More may join in and if you are interested, let me know. There's no cost to set up your table.
I know that others are now selling heirloom tomato plants. I'm happy about this, because it means that those varieties are out there and surviving. I won't lie though. I'm happiest when you buy from me and I truly appreciate your business, whether you are a first time customer or a long term customer. Seedlings have become the biggest part of my business, and farming is all I do to support my family.
So thank-you.
It will be great to see everyone, and as always we go rain or shine. I'll have family and friends helping out and if it is me you wish to speak with, be patient because I want to speak with you too.
We all know that I love talking tomatoes!
(Find me at this address . I am just outside the village of Wellandport, in the Township of Wainfleet. If you have a GPS directing you, the address is 74038 Creek Road Wainfleet)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Transplanting tomatoes

Now that we have hit the month of April on the calendar, things have to happen for the garden.
Did you note I didn't say"in" the garden?
I'm not sure how your garden is drying up, but mine is a ways from being workable. It's wet and a few inches down, still frozen.
Is yours dry enough?
Grab a handful or soil in your hand, and if it crumbles when you try to ball it up, it's ready to go.
Or it could be, if the temperatures were even a wee bit warmer.
If my soil was dry enough, I would try to get peas in. But it's not, and I won't be.

I'm still aiming for Easter weekend with the peas, as my mom always told me I should.
I suspect though most things will go in a bit later this year, because of the harshness of the winter.
You can't hurry the season, and if you try to get things out in the garden in these cool and wet conditions nothing at all is gained.

It doesn't mean however that there is nothing to do.
Lately I've been seeding indoors like a mad woman.
The priority for early April has been getting the basils and other annual herbs seeded, brassicas (kales, broccoli, cabbage etc), ground cherries, tomatillos and the like before the time comes for the marathon that is transplanting or potting up.

I'll start some of the transplanting next week. The stupid hot peppers like the assorted Ghosts and Carolina Reapers have some nice leaves and are ready to go, as are most of the other peppers and eggplants.

They will all go into 3-4" pots, filled with my soilless mix. I'll put them into the new pots at the same soil level they were at in the smaller cells, and then I will water them in with a nice kelp solution that has been diluted into warm water. They will go under the lights again in my cooler basement, until I can safely transfer them into my unheated hoophouse where they will finish the process of hardening off.

After that it is all about the tomatoes for me.
Tomatoes are super easy to transplant. I'll know they are ready to transplant when they have their first set of true leaves, which is actually the second set of leaves you will see. But if you see that second set of leaves, don't panic. They can sit and grow a bit longer with no harm being done at all. You don't have to drop everything and begin your transplanting. Finish that romantic moment, waxing your floor or whatever else it is you are engaged in. Then transplant.

My experience is that tomatoes like to be transplanted, and I think this is because you can sink that growing stem deeper into the soil every time you transplant.
Mine go into 3 1/2" pots. I nip off the bottom set of leaves that appeared first, and sink my tomato plants into my nice warm soilless mix, covering most of the stem, just the top set of leaves showing.
I water them with my diluted kelp fertilizer, and grow them on at a cooler temperature than I germinated them at. Plants that grow on at cooler temperatures tend to be huskier, stalkier plants.
I'll get them out into my hoophouse in a few weeks time and start to harden them off, which means I will very gradually expose them to the sun's rays through my greenhouse plastic.

Everyday I brush my hands over my tomato plants which is thought to stimulate a growth hormone in them. This too produces a husky tomato plant. And who doesn't just love the smell of tomato leaves? Apparently you can even purchase a perfume that smells like tomato leaves, although for my part I'd rather have the real thing.

If your plants are getting leggy, long and lanky before you can get them out into your garden, transplant them again, sinking the stem deep again. You'll strengthen the root system every time you sink the stem down, as roots will develop along the stem.

I like to fertilize my tomato plants with my kelp solution about once a week as they grow on. The beauty of the kelp is that you can't overdo it, and I believe the benefits are quite tangible.

And there you have it.

The next step will be getting them in the garden, a good 7 weeks off.