Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Going Heirloom

This year, Cam and I are trying to grow more heirloom varieties of plants, so that we can save the seeds for next season. Almost all of our tomato varieties are heirlooms.

Last year, we planted the majority of our tomatoes in box # 1, but this year, they are growing in box # 3. I think they can succumb to certain diseases if in the same spot year after year. We'll see how this box does.

We are growing about ten Tula tomatoes and five cherry/grape tomatoes in one box. They're planted on opposite side of the box with herbs and mints in between.

So far, they seem to be weathering OK, considering the chilly weather and many, many rainy days we've had.

You can see the old owl in the background. He did little to ward off the birds last year... but I think he's a cute decoration so he'll get to stay in the garden. I'm probably overusing bird netting this year, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.

As you can see, the tomatoes are still very little. We planted the seeds in one of those seed-starter kits you buy at Lowe's or Home Depot. When the seedlings were ready, we planted them in the box. We lost several to cutworms, and the straw method seems to work... We haven't seen any cutworms since.

For those interested, Black from Tula Tomatoes are a dark reddish black tomato with a rich flavor from Russia. Apparently, they are very delicious. Heirloom and organic. Cam is very excited about them. I'm more excited about the cherry/grape tomatoes, since those tend to produce faster and I don't have to wait as long to harvest them. (I am very impatient person!)

I bought our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange: http://www.seedsavers.org/Details.aspx?itemNo=251


Roses and Lilacs said...

I've been growing heirloom tomatoes for several years but nothing else. I know that with a little searching you can find almost any vegetable in an heirloom variety.

What will happen when the tomato vines gets larger. Will the straw restrict growth?

tina said...

It will be right around the corner and you'll be eating those tomatoes!

Susie said...

I'm growing a purple heirloom tomato and Brandywine heirloom tomatoes. I hope they turn out well. Glad to hear the straw method is working.

Toni said...

This year I'm planting Romas which are going to take tons and tons of space in my SFG... next year I want to do heirlooms. Looking forward to reading about your experience with heirloom tomatoes!

Dan said...

I am growing many heirlooms this year as well. You can find such interesting varieties in the older plants.

Daphne said...

I'm impatient about tomatoes too. I love cherry tomatoes. They produce so much and so quickly.

Mick said...

Glad to see your going th "heirloom way" dp. I'm starting to get a nice little seed stock going and plan to expand it each year. I must be doing something right because I've had GREAT gremination rates from the ones I've used.
You asked me about the onions I'm growing, well I have large and small at the moment. Large are good for use in cooked dishes (the stems of the Egyptians are great in soups and stews) and smaller ones which have formed from the bulbils planted last fall. I like these in fresh green salads. Mighty tasty too.

Dawn said...

I think I'll try those tomatoes from russia, sounds yummy!

Matt said...

Hey DP - good luck with the heirlooms. I've been growing them for the last several years and when things come together they are awesome. I don't favor them over hybrids, I just like the variety. Good luck with the square foot garden. I've been strictly square foot for maybe 15 years now and I think it's a great way to garden. Keeps things in a manageable area and requires less work. Can't beat that...

Skeeter said...

I picked up a Heirloom tomato slip just a few minutes ago while in town! I hope to get it into the ground tomorrow. With all the rain this winter, we are behind schedule again...

lola said...

It's looking good DP. Before you know it you will be eating those delicious tomatoes.
My Sweet 100 has small fruit on it. some of the other kind has too.

Robj98168 said...

Your tomatoes look good! LOL I like the straws! Out here they use old cans withthe bottoms cut off to protect tomatoes, (or at least they did when I was a kid!)Hard to find 3lb coffee cans anymore

DP Nguyen said...

Hi Marnie, I think once the tomato vines get to a certain size, the cutworms leave them alone and I will remove the straws around the bases. But for now, while they are small, I can't take any chances!

Hi Tina-I can't wait. It's summer and I want some yummy tomatoes!

Hi Susie, a purple heirloom sounds wonderful and so yummy. Definitely blog on how it turns out!

Hi Toni, Thanks for visiting my blog! Romas are delicious and do very well in the SFG. But it does take a lot of space. That's why I can't wait to build some more soon!

Hi Dan- I completely agree. Some of the heirloom tomatoes might not be the prettiest (like the hybrids normally are), but I hope they taste better! I figure if they've survived this long, they must be excellent!

Hi Daphne, Cherry tomatoes are the best. I love how bountiful they are.

Hi Mick, We're growing heirlooms to save seeds and hopefully money next year. That's great you've had such success with germination. Thanks for your helpful comments on the onions, I am so clueless about that!

Hi Dawn, I can't wait to try those tomatoes!

Hi Matt- Thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed square foot gardening, but I'm trying to expand to raised beds as well. So hopefully it will all work out!

Hi Skeeter, good luck with your tomatoes. I know the rain, while needed, can also be a curse when there is too much of it!

Hi Lola, I hope you enjoy your sweet 100 soon. That sounds yummy. I wish I had some tomatoes already!

Hi Rob, the can idea sounds fascinating! :-)

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your Heirloom Tomatoes. They really have the best taste! :)