Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Tomato Test Trials

In Gardening on October 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

My daughter and I evaluated our tomatoes this last week. It was definitely not scientific. We picked the best two or more tomatoes off of  multiple plants. If we tasted a poor quality tomato we give it a second chance by tasting an additional tomato of the same kind. We are at the end of the season, and the tomatoes flavors have noticeably changed over the season.

I developed a seed list from “100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden” By Carolyn J Male, past family favorites, and my seed catalogs. My seeds came from Sandhill Preservation, and Baker Seed.

Our Favorites -Three Stars ***

Better Boy was definitely the Garden Star this season. It produced an amazing amount of fruit, uniform size, an excellent flavor. I don’t know where I picked up Sungold, but it produced early sweet cherries. A salad favorite. Large Cherry has the classic sweet cherry tomato flavor not found in any other tomato I grew. Red September was a gift packet Sandhill Preservation sent me to try. Red September was a pleasant surprise, beautiful, medium size fruit, that have outstanding acidy flavor. Golden Rave was another surprise find. A small plum tomato, firm, and very tasty for a yellow tomato. I like the meaty textures of plum/Roma types. This was the star of Kerri’s Summer Garden Salads. Colorful, tasty, immensely productive, Golden Rave is a must grow again. One tomato that is not here, and that I could not find was Pineapple. I hope to find the seed for it next year.

Acidy, Juicy, Good Texture, Productive, Tasty
Excellent Flavor, Sweet/Tart
Sweet, Excellent Flavor
Beautiful, Excellent Flavor/Tasty, Acidy
Sweet, Juicy, Tasty

Good Tomatoes Worth Growing -Two Stars ** 

I do like variety, and most of these tomatoes have a quality that is worth adding to the garden. Hughes is one of the best tasting yellow tomatoes with a classic garden fresh tomato flavor. Taxi is productive, but a little bit mild in flavor. The bright yellow color, and firm texture are extremely lovely in salads. Celebrity and Super Sioux are excellent, but do not rank with Better Boy in size and productivity. Box Car Willie is a beautiful heirloom. Its texture and flavor do not quite match its beauty, but it is worth giving another shot. The Striped Roma  is colorful and can be variable in flavor. It is best when firm and not overripe.

Old Fashion Rich Flavor, Silky, Sweet, Tasty
Beautiful, Firm, Mild Flavor
Delicious, Classic Flavor, Beautiful
Soft, Good Taste, Beautiful
Classic Mata Flavor, Tasty
Sweet, Good Flavor, Beautiful, Tough Skin

 OK Tomatoes with some good qualities – One Star *

These tomatoes I found to be acceptable, not necessarily disappointing, but without at least one great quality to require me to want to keep them in the garden. They are all good, but not great.

Acidy, Sour, Good Flavor
Sweet, Silky, Pretty
Mellow, Good Tomato Flavor
Beautiful, Tart, Acidy, Mellow/Flat Flavor
Sweet/Tart, Acidy, Juicy
Good Flavor, Acidy, Large, Soft Texture

 Poor Performers

Disappointingly Poor

Flat Flavor, Acidy, Sour
Mushy Texture, Poor Taste, Spit-Out Yukky
Flat, Poor Flavor, Bad-Blah

Onion Crop

In Gardening on October 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I grew three kinds of onions, Ailsa Craig, Red Zeppelin, and Candy. I bought my onion seed from Burrell’sShumway’s and Jung’s seed catalogs. I start my onions in early February in a south facing window in the house. I plant about 25 seeds to a 4″ pot. I set  my onion plants out the second week of April. I don’t like to get ahead of the weather. I will wait a week or two, before I plant early. I do lightly fertilize with triple ten, and then I fertilize throughout the early part of the growing season. Onions are heavy feeders.

I was very pleased with my onion crop. This was my first year at our new place. My garden is in the Okanogan Delta silt/clay ground. Beautiful garden soil. The Candy and Red Zeppelins are much firmer/harder bulbs than the onions I grew in Oklahoma. I’ve been pulling them since June for cooking and canning use. I’ve sent several bags to family and friends.  I’m a little lazy with the weeds after the summer sun hits. The weeds shaded the onions, the tops dried out and fell over, and they cured nicely. I got them in the garden shed before the rains came, so they have dried out nicely.