Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Tomato update

I'll be tracking all my tomatoes on Sundays through the summer.

I've grown the following tomatoes from, and have about 70 starts, 22 of which will go into my garden, 15-20 to various friends and community projects, and the remainder to the plant sale at Peterson Garden.

All plants were started March 20 from seed on grow mats. I used plastic shoeboxes with drainage holes drilled in the bottoms, and set with sterilized TP rolls filled with organic seed starting mix. All trays were covered with cellophane wrap until the seeds sprouted, then kept under grow lights until the first ones were set out on May 1. Lights are kept on for 16 hours per day, within 5" of the top of the sprouts, and a fan is kept blowing on them at all times. I used canister clamp lamps with 150 and 200 watt CFLs.

Growing projects:
Seed saving for Populuxe
Ferris Wheel
Unfortunately, of my 70 or so tomato starts, 9 lost their tags, among them the Blondkopfchens. The unknowns are going to the Peterson Garden plant sale to some adventurous gardener willing to buy an untagged tom! The Bramki are the sturdiest starts I've ever grown, and had a 100% germination rate as well. Ferris Wheels had only 30% germination, but are also very good looking starts.

Web community: One Heirloom Chicago
German Pink
This start was much smaller than I'd hoped (still on its cotyledons, no true leaves), so I put it back under grow lights, even though Green Home mentioned it was already hardened. It's now got its first set of leaves, but won't go out until it has at least four sets of leaves (my personal marker for "ready.")

Growing for me and Hipster Supported Agriculture:
San Marzano from saved seeds, original plant from Chicago Botanic Garden, 2010
I have 27 of these, and will plant 5 here. These yielded 70 fruits (you read that right) per plant last year, so this will be the backbone of my winter tomato preserving.

Black Krim from saved seeds, 8th generation, original plant from Gethsemane Garden, 2000. This was the first heirloom I ever planted as well as being the first seed I ever saved. Because I've been saving it from my own yard for nearly a decade, these have more or less adapted to a hyper-local condition and give me amazing yields (up to 12 fruits) from a single plant each season, very high for an heirloom not bred specifically for yield. Again, really nice, sturdy starts.

Goldman's Italian American from saved seeds, original plant from Chicago Botanic Garden, 2010. A fluted paste tomato, large, but small yield. However, I loved the flavor and look.

Unknown gold heirloom, from saved seeds, grown last year at Peterson Garden from a start by The Yarden. A beautiful deep gold, meaty, flavorful tomato. Wish I knew what kind it was!

Pictures of all of these on flickr.

This should probably be a tomato recipe, but I'm too tired to come up with one.

Chicken Salad
1/2 chicken, roasted (in other words, leftovers)
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
pickles, to taste (sweet, kosher or dill)
2-3 small roasted potatoes (again, I used the leftovers from our chicken dinner)

1/2-2/3 cup seasoned mayo (depending on how goopy you like your chicken salad)

2 T ground rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
1-2T crushed or ground sea salt

Cut up and mix the chicken, eggs, potatoes and pickles. Mix the seasonings into the mayo, and then mix it all together. Serve on lettuce or in a sandwich. If it hadn't been so damned cold for the last 6 weeks, I'd have some lettuce in the garden right now.

I used my own homemade crushed rosemary, mayo and pickles, but I'll relent and let you use store-bought as long as it's local and organic.

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