Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homegrown Tomatoes are worth waiting for...

I have said it many a time.....but I don't eat fresh fruit out of season......especially tomatoes.
Those mushy wet cold ice cubes restaurants serve and are at grocery stores from October thru April are gak.

I know they can be shipped up from Chile or where ev' but no.
I grew only 2 varieties this year from seed.

Frst up, is an heirloom cherry tomato, called Cherry tomato.
And I planted Russian Krim, both from seed. 

Typical little round marble shape cherry tomato. This will start to ripen in about 65 days after planting.
Oh, I waited until June 10th to plant them out and I planted them deep, so they would grow roots along the stems. Yup, that's what they do!
Last April, I was out side spreading a lot of compost and manure, then covered that with cardboard, then tossed my grass clippings on that.....
here's the set up....
...be sure to notice how tiny they were!
And the big husky branch  teepees I set up to tie the tomato plants to as they grow....and boy have they grown!

This variety of Cherry tomato is indeterminate.

yeah, the broccolis, and the spinach is doing well too, and we are eating it now.

Look at that fluted tomato baby! That's Russian Krim, from the area of Russia (the former Soviet Union) around the Black Sea.
They've been grown in the area in the Crimea since the 19th century.


They grow to a big fist size 4" - 6" flat ball, with those great flutes that look so charming when sliced. The tomato is a dark red, rather black, and the inside is also a deep reddish-black.
It is a fairly short season variety, about 75 days, and it does love long warm days. I hope it does well this summer.....it looks like a hot one, with many many days over 80 degrees! Weeeeee!

It's a beefsteak type, and indeterminate, so I do prune out some of the "suckers" from the main branches and keep strong side branches. I want all the tomato energy to go to tomatoes.....rather than to leaves leaves leaves. Tho....the leaves are quite handsome!  They look like their cousins, the potato. Broad, and deep, they look like a small shrub, and not like some ol' rangy scrubby plant.

I've grown this one time and time again because I love the weirdness of it...and the flavor is so rich, so sweet, with just a bit of sparky tangness. It's deep and rich. If you didn't grow it this year, I hope you can find it at a Farmer's Market near you.
Along with Brandywine, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter, Lemon, Cherokee Purple (another fave of mine), and several others, Black Krim, were the first heirloom tomatoes I grew at the farm for Gig Harbor's Farmers Market in 1993 and 1994.

Even the tomato blossoms of Krim are large and lush..

Russian Krim....tomato seeds, and Hungarian Wax peppers, which were eaten to nubbins as tiny seedlings by nasty mean slugs.
Beer was poured on them and they died (the slugs).......I am mean!


And here, in late July, just six weeks from planting in the ground, are the tomato plants now! Wow!

it always a pleasure to hear Guy Clark.....here's his tribute about the rare special thing........Homegrown Tomatoes.......