Friday, June 27, 2008


Decided to take a break from roses for a while and talk about something else near and dear to my heart.

The photo is from Burpee's website featuring their catalog covers over the years. Their hand painted pictures are beautiful. Makes you want to run out and order a couple packs right now;)

This morning before leaving for work I stopped to check my tomatoes. They are just not doing well this year. Late frosts and heavy rains delayed planting this spring. The entire month of May and the first half of June were unseasonably cool. The tomatoes grew very little. Now, almost the first of July, it's finally getting hot and humid and they are just starting to put on growth.

This year I planted two each of Cherokee Purple (my favorite), Black Krim, Brandywine, and Sweet Million, and one each of Big Boy, Better Boy, Early Girl, and Beefsteak. If you have never tried Cherokee Purple or Black Krim you are missing a great tomato experience:)

I love to have friends over and serve a variety of tomatoes, fresh baked bread, and maybe some cheeses. It's fun to compare the different flavors of the heirloom tomatoes. We have tomato taste tests at work. We try the different heirlooms and hybrids and pick our favorites. I'd love to hear from tomato lovers. What's your favorite tomato? Have you had success or failures with the heirloom varieties?

There are some great stories to go along with some of the old heirlooms. One story goes like this: Radiator repairman Charley Byles (who knew nothing about tomatoes) managed to cross several varieties and create an outstanding plant. Radiator Charlie sold the first seedlings of his new tomato in the 1940's for one dollar each to customers who drove up to 200 miles for his famous plants that bore tasty tomatoes averaging two and a half pounds. With these sales, Charlie managed to pay off his $6,000 mortgage in only six years, and so the tomato was named Mortgage Lifter.

If you garden in a cold zone like mine, you know that the tomato season is very short. This year it looks like it will be a whole lot shorter. Very depressing.

Everybody have a great weekend!

"What is a weed? A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." -- Emerson