Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gardening Buddies and Tomatoes for 2011

I am a lucky girl.. One of the best things an avid (ok, obsessive) gardener can have is a friend to share in the seed ordering and starting, as well as the eventual swapping of seedlings. And I don't just have a seed buddy, I have a group! This pack of neighbours and friends allows us all to order a wider variety of seeds and share in the costs of both seeds and shipping. For example, I usually grow about 15 to 20 types of tomatoes per year (crazy, I know).. I'll buy seed for 7 or 8 different types, but my seed buddies will also buy different packets and then we'll swap seeds (or the transplants just before planting time). Sharing gives us the opportunity to grow a lot of variety without breaking the bank!

It can be hard to find a good seed buddy, but if you don't have one, I'd recommend checking out your local garden club, or scouting your neighbourhood for other veggie gardens.. Gardeners love to talk and share stories of their successes (and failures), so you have an automatic icebreaker.

I'm really looking forward to this tomato season - even though we're still enjoying our heirloom tomatoes from last summer! I froze about a dozen large freezer bags of just-picked tomatoes and I use them for sauce, salsa and on our homemade pizzas.. they are a bit more watery than unfrozen tomatoes, but they still taste like summer. My list of tomatoes for 2011 includes the following, but I'd love some more ideas - please let me know your own favourites!
  • Sungold - our favourite hybrid!
  • Black Cherry
  • Mexico Midget
  • I need to find a good red cherry - we grew 'Ladybug' last summer and they split VERY easily and were only so-so.. any recommendations?
  • Costoluto Genovese
  • Big Rainbow
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Persimmon
  • Black Krim - it has been a bit disappointing in recent summers.. tends to rot on the vines.
  • Brandywine
  • Cole - a new one for us from Annapolis Seeds
  • Omar's Lebanese
Well, I'm off to help 55 grade 3 students plant up individual terrariums - wish me luck!

Happy Gardening!


  1. How fun to be part of a gardening group like that and you have quite a nice selection of tomatoes there. I have always liked the Black Cherry and we grew Cherokee purple for the first time last year...liked it a lot. One of my favorite tomatoes is the Black Krim, the fruits split easily and don't hold up off the vine very well at all but the flavor sure makes up for all this in my definitely is a tempermental tomato though. Sounds like you are going to be very busy today.:)

  2. Well as you asked about favorites...(oh by the way, hope you had a fun day with the children))))...

    Outstanding tomato in our garden last year was grown from seed at least five yearss old simply labeled from another grower as "German Gold". Part of the reason why I believe it preformed so well was the great growing season we had but am definitely going to try it again this year. Spectacular flavor and size. Like you, have grown rainbow but found it too hollow.

    New this year: Black Plum, OSU Blue (for looks), Mortgage Lifter and Wentzell Tomato all from Annapolis Seeds. Will also try Sun Gold, Black Cherry and I also still have a package of Prudence Purple but unknown if the seed is viable.

    Now picture all those on a big platter, layers of color tasting of sunshine...yummmm

  3. thanks guys for the ideas.. another garden friend is sending me seed for a unique heirloom tomato called 'Mexico Midget' - tiny tiny red tomatoes with apparently an amazing flavour.. exciting!!

    Brenda - your German Gold tomatoes were so beautiful! I'll never forget your HUGE basket of mixed heirloom tomatoes sitting by your back door.. You'll never regret growing sungold (i promise!).. i am also thinking of Mortgage Lifter - to support the efforts of Radiator Charlie over 80 years ago!

    Mr. H - i agree about Black Krim - a bit persnickity, but incredible flavour..

    The 55 grade 3 kids were a blast - great questions, great enthusiasm and greatly exhausting! :)


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)