Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tomato dreams

On Tuesdaythe same day I blogged about the Tomat-O-Match—I ordered my tomato seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds. This Maine-based family operation offers an amazing selection of hard-to-find heirloom vegetable, herb, and flower seeds at great prices. Their mission is to help preserve old-fashioned plant varieties, and they've been doing it for nearly 40 years. Staffers test every seed before listing it in the catalog, and those catalog descriptions are often written with wry humor. All these qualities make me happy to do business with Pinetree.

After much hemming and hawing, and a consultation or 12 with the Tomat-O-Match, I settled on four old-fashioned tomatoes.
Why these? They're all good for fresh eating or canning, and are indeterminate (they grow and bear all season long instead of stopping in mid-summer). My gardening friends have recommended these varieties or similar ones; these tomatoes hold up pretty well to our punishing summers. They bear heavily all summer long, and sometimes until frost, putting out as many fruits as a gardener can eat. And they produce interesting-looking tomatoes in varying shades of red, maroon, pink, and purple.

My mother bought a pack of seedling pots, but I have the feeling we're going to need more than a dozen. Thank goodness I have a PotMaker and a few months' back issues of the Market Bulletin.

My seeds should arrive by the end of next week. Mom has already set aside an area in her laundry room for our seedlings and a grow light. Last month, she and my stepfather tilled a half-truckload of composted leaves into the dormant garden soil. At least 30 days lie between potting up and setting out; at least 90 lie between now and the first harvest. It will be a while yet—and the wait is worth all the trouble.

In the meantime, I'm dreaming of luscious, home-grown heirloom tomatoes.

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