Tomato Taste Test 2014, Beaverlodge Plum

July 9, 2014 Beaverlodge Plum.

 

First Beverlodge Plum Tomato.

First Beverlodge Plum Tomato for 2014. #3 after #1 Gold Nugget (yellow cherry) and #2 Stupice.

Seduced by the short growing season listed in the catalogue description, we have included Beaverlodge Plum tomatoes at the Toy Box for the last five or so seasons. Even so, I’ve never really eaten one raw before.

Beaverlodge grows on a small plant that seems like a good choice for growing in a pot but this small tomato apparently has big feet. A tight growing area means a skimpy plant with few tomatoes. Give the seedling a larger garden with rich soil and she will overwhelm you

This one is small, they get much larger with rich soil.

This one is small, they get much larger with rich soil.

with fruit (a very rare tomato event in Everett, WA).

During the 2013 season I had one extra plant that I put in the new front garden and forgot about it. She stayed low to the ground but spread nearly 4 feet in diameter. The fruit was bright red and at least twice the size as the fruit in this picture. Ray and I picked baskets and baskets of fruit from that one plant. Most of those tomatoes went right into the freezer. During Christmas break we cooked them into sauce. I would not be stretching the truth to say that nearly 80% of the tomatoes in our Wolf Moon tomato sauce was from Beverlodge tomatoes from that one plant.

The inner butterfly.

The inner butterfly.

This season (2014) I put two beverlodge seedlings in with my vine tomatoes. They tell me that the soil in their box is not as nice as it should be. Even though there are abundant fruit for the size of the plant, the plant itself is not growing like the plant from last season.

One last thing you should know about Beverlodge. When the tag says 55 days, it means 55 warm days. Beaverlodge just limps along if the weather is chill. She really does not benefit from an early planting date.

Catalogue Description 55 days. Beaverlodge Series
We were so impressed by everything about these tomatoes at our trials, that we saved the seed and spent a few seasons building our inventory in order to share it with you. Not only were they two of the earliest maturing varieties, but the plants were so loaded with tomatoes that there seemed to be more fruit than leaves! What’s more, these extremely compact, determinate plants tend to creep rather than grow tall and would be perfect in a hanging basket or patio container. Did we mention how rich and balanced the flavor is, especially for an early type? Truly a great combination of earliness, size, productivity, and quality. Bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada. (2 1/2 inch long, plum shaped fruit)

I. Eye Appeal

  • Color: Generally bright red
  • Size: up to 3 ounces
  • Shape: Oval or egg shaped
  • Inside: Two small seed cavities around a butterfly shaped core.

II Tasting

  • Fresh off the vine: Slightly on the acid side. Quite refreshing on a hot day.
  • Sliced and lightly salted: It was OK salted but not as refreshing.
  • Texture: Nothing stood out. Very much like a typical grocery store salad tomato.

Cooking thoughts

We have used Beaverlodge Plum tomato for pasta sauce, chili and Tomato Soup. The finished dish was always wonderful. It seems wetter then I would expect for a sauce tomato. Maybe because the gel pac runs from end to end? This does not affect the taste, only the cooking time for a thicker sauce.

Will Deb grow this one again?

Being the third ripe tomato in Everett, WA is a big deal. The better tasting tomatoes will come ripe closer to September but Beaverlodge Plum scratches the itch in July….. Yes, I’ll grow this again.

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Broccoli 3-30-14

Broccoli 3-24 (1)

Our baby broccoli has survived for a week in the bone-chilling late March air. Lucky for the broccoli, it does not have bones.

Leading the broccoli pack is Thompsons OP, a full season broccoli that has produced extra large primary heads in our Everett garden. One of them grew to nine and a half inches across. That was the year we made our Mel’s Mix with home-made compost instead of bagged compost. The side-shoots lasted into fall in that rich mix. Trying to repeat the performance in 2013 I tried to enrich MM with composted horse bedding. If it was lush leaves and tiny heads we were after then the horse compost would have been perfect. This season we are back to compost that is mainly chicken bedding. It is too early to tell how these will turn out, but they are looking nice and healthy.

70 days. This delightful variety has a long harvest period, making it a winner in the home garden. The medium to large heads have an excellent flavor, and the great side shoot production provides a high amount of tasty florets after the main head has been harvested. Suitable for both early spring plantings as well as a fall planted crop TSC online

Solstice OP is our newest broccoli. First planted in 2013, it did not get a fair trial. We have new plants in for season 5 that are doing well. Time will tell if this is a broccoli we come to love.

The (justifiably) much maligned public opinion of open pollinated broccoli among commercial growers is about to be turned on its head by a couple of new releases in the category. “Solstice” comes out of a gene pool started at OSU and later selected by Jonathan Spero of Lupine Knoll Farm in Southern Oregon. A very refined variety, solstice features tight, dark, uniform heads and excellent side shoot production. Maturity is much more uniform than most OPs while still giving about a week+ harvest window, a feature we find to be positive attribute. For growers used to the hybrid “look” and performance, this is the best OP entrant we’ve seen and we encourage you to trial it. Bravo!  Uprising on line

Nutri Bud OP surprised me with how well it fed us in season 2 and 3. Somehow I spilled all the seed from Nutri Bud and a baby boc choi into the bottom of the zipper bag they were stored in for the winter. I knew these seeds were similar, but until I decided to try and replant Nutri Bud for season 5, I did not realize how identical they are. Ray and I will be eating a nice crop of boc-choi this spring. Only one set of leaves is broccoli like. But at least there is one set out there! We got our seed from Greenheart Garden (Farm?) on Lopez Island…. they do not seem to have an internet address.

Early maturing variety, high in free glutamine, a building block of protein and an important healing nutrient. Large 6-8″ central heads with medium-sized shoots on vigorous 16-20″ plants. 55 – 70 days to harvest.

Umpqua heirloom Grown only in season 3 when it was impossible to compete with the giant Thompsons and the productive Nutri bud, Umpqua will have one more trial in season 5. I don’t need to be impressed, just fed… and if my freezer is full of bright green broccoli for the winter, I will be satisfied.

Open pollinated broccoli has been long neglected in the realm of seed breeding. Our extensive 2008 trials of all the OP varieties currently available proved to be fairly discouraging, with one exception. Umpqua was simply heads and shoulders above the pack in growth and flavor. We have often seen Umpqua described in catalogues with the kiss-of-death descriptor, “best suited for home gardens”. Really? We’ve been happily growing Umpqua for fresh market and CSA for years and have been impressed with its color, taste, vigor, and head size. Growing quite large when given good fertility, it matures over a period of about 2 weeks with side shoots for a couple weeks more. We’ll leave the “farm suited” weirdly dense, month-long shelf life, tastes-like-cardboard, 10-acres-ready-to-cut-at- 7:42 AM-sharp-on-Tuesday-July-6th-just-in-time-to-meet-the-truck, modern hybrids to those whose businesses require such qualities. Great for fresh market but not a shipper. Uprising online

Purple Peacock F1 Not really a broccoli but a broccoli-kale hybrid, we start Purple Peacock with our broccoli and grow them side by side. We value it for the baby leaves in our spring salads. It does make small broccoli-like heads that are a dusty lavender color but it is the beautiful leaves that we love. The seed is expensive, being a hybrid, so we try to be careful, not wasting any. Sweet in spring salads, beautiful in a bowl of mixed greens.

70 days. We were spellbound by this flamboyant broccoli-kale cross. It has all the best qualities of both a kale and broccoli with the glamour and splendor of a peacock’s display. Loose heads of purple florets are encircled by the deeply serrated, fuchsia veined leaves. The greens are extra tender when young, and sweet as the tastiest kale as they mature. An impressive production of side shoots provides a continuous harvest of delicious florets. TSC online

From "Skagit Breaking" FB

From “Skagit Breaking” FB

 Cold constant rain makes today a day to bake instead of plant. I will pray while I bake for the men and women out in this weather, doing recovery at the Oso 530 mudslide. The area had been declared a bio-hazard due to the propane, gas and other fuels household chemicals and septic tanks failures. All of these have been spread over the area by the massive mud slide. Rescue workers and dogs must be decontaminated at days end.  New Pink Moon, 52/36 20% chance of drizzle. Sunrise at 6:51, setting at 7:36 for 12 hours and 45 minutes of daylight.

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Progress 3-23-14 Pea Planting Time.

Season 5 Peas, Maestro and Green Arrow

Season 5 Peas, Maestro and Green Arrow

Spring is like magic. One day the skies clear, the sun warms the soil and the birds call my name. You know the lawn needs cutting but it will happily wait for you. There are peas that need planting.

I think this tool is meant to be used for pulling weeds but I use it to plant onions and for working with soil blocks. It moves gently between blocks and scoots them to an easy-to-pick-up spot.

I think this tool is meant to be used for pulling weeds but I use it to plant onions and for working with soil blocks. It moves gently between blocks and scoots them to an easy-to-pick-up spot.

Season 5 (2014) seems wetter then other seasons in Everett, Washington. I put most of my peas into soil blocks this year. They sprouted in the greenhouse and have patiently waited for me to take them to their garden home. Even though pea greens do not look very large, the roots surprise me with their length. I started out making holes in the patch just large enough for the soil block, my normal soil block planting method, but worried about what was happening to those wild roots. The better method was to dig a shallow trench, lay the roots I the direction they grew in the tray, then back-fill the trench. Much quicker, less stress.

Garlic, planting it on Halloween is as close as I get to celebrating. Boo!

Garlic, planting it on Halloween is as close as I get to celebrating. Boo!

The shallots and garlic are not nearly as thick looking as I anticipated. I expect to harvest shallots for a short season but I want the garlic to get me through to next spring. Normally I plant my garlic under a thick layer of maple leaves for insulation through winter. This year I just put the kitty cover on the bed (a cold frame that fits my 4×4 SFG’s–square foot gardens). This may have been a mistake. For the last week the cover has been off of the garlic-shallot bed, it is time to move it to the broccoli bed.

Broccoli started under the Snow Moon (February)

Broccoli started under the Snow Moon (February)

The SFG the spring broccoli will go into has been worked with home-grown compost, a small layer of that awesome horse manure compost from the neighbors boarding stable, alfalfa meal (worm candy) and a bit of lime. The best broccoli I ever grew was in season 3. The largest head was nine and a half inches across (Thompsons OP)!  That broccoli bed was strictly MM (mel’s mix, the “soil” in SFG) made with Toy Box compost (dominated by our chicken bedding). I tried to duplicate that in season 4 with the horse compost and got lush growth but really small heads. So for Season 5 I just lightly amended my compost with a bit of horse compost. You know that if I have something to brag about I sure will! The kitty cover will have the poly rain-coat repaired (winter winds) and be moved to the broccoli bed in time for the pink moon when I plant it out (about a week from today) However, if the evenings after school are too beautiful to ignore, I’ll be out early to plant.

Season 5 Broccoli, in the green house and about ready to plant out (all are OP open pollinated)

  • Thompsons (longer season, produced the 9.5 inch broccoli)
  • Solstice
  • Nutri-bud (early with summer long production of side shoots)
  • Umpqua (the only heirloom, mixed feelings about the low production I’ve had in the past)
Tarragon makes a come-back

Tarragon makes a come-back

Meanwhile…… Both of the parsleys and spinach have been planted out. In fact my parsley has taken off. After not planting parsley last season, I am very tempted to start harvesting the immature sprigs. Green omelets are sounding good. I am forcing myself to wait. The lettuce under the cold frame in the front garden is growing slowly. No salads yet. I look with envy at “First salad” posts on facebook. None of those posts are from the PNW but it doesn’t change my longing. Still no sign of the new rhubarb. I thought there was, but it turned out to be a leaf that fell off of the root at planting time. No sign of fava bean sprouts either. The first potatoes should have been planted. Saint Patrick’s day came and went and I still do not have my early yellow seed potatoes. Ray has promised me a ride to Mount Vernon for my birthday (last week in case you wonder, it was happy) to find a new source of organic yellow seed potatoes. I guess it is time for two things. 1. Time to start saving yellow seed potatoes. Currently I only save fingerlings and buy the reds, yellows and russets I want every spring. 2. Time for a Sunday drive. Finally, Those tomatoes I was impatient for are up and growing and will soon need to be up-potted. Most are getting their true leaves already.

Pots of old lavender set out, testing the sun from this spot.

Pots of old lavender set out, testing the sun from this spot.

In the Back To Eden – food forest, Ray has planted our blueberries. After five years of not being certain we could afford to stay in Everett, we have finally moved those berries from big pots to the ground. We are still amazed that the bills get paid month after month. YHVH is kind. Next in is our old lavender plants. It might be better to just buy new lavender starts (or try making my own… humm) and I saw that Lavender Wind Farm on Whidbey Island is selling lavender at their Coupeville market. But I think we will take a chance with these old faithful plants. The BTE bed is narrow, I am trying to leave room for my artichokes which are doing well, thank you very much!

Rudy Valentine

Rudy Valentine trying to stay warm by the chicken tractor while I plant pea blocks. It must be getting warmer for Rudy to stay out with me.

Faithful Rudy The Underground predicts sun today. They are telling me that a light NW breeze will bring in afternoon clouds but boldly promise 0% chance of rain! 52/39 Sunup at 7:05 AM and apparently shining until 7:26 PM for 12 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. Now that is a sure sign of spring!

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Food soverginty in the burbs

Corn grown in a SFG at the Toy Box Sub-Urban Farm

Corn grown in a SFG at the Toy Box Sub-Urban Farm

So you want to take control of what your family eats but you do not have the land for it? You can start where you are at. Even apartment dwellers with widows can do a few things.

Knowledge is your base. Read. Books, blogs, dedicated facebook pages, Seriously, read. I got my start at the library. Even before I bought my first shovel, I bought books. My dream started with the book Two Acer Eden. Back in the 70′s the title of this book made me realize that I could feed my family on a lot less land then I originally believed. Before there was a web, there was Organic Gardening from Rodale Press. Back when the magazine was the size of Readers Digest, before it took on the look of Glamour it was full of solid information instead of fluff. Find a newsy blog or forum and learn. Most of us know that knowing about a subject and experience with a subject have to marry to be of use.

Get out of the grocery store and get to know a farmer. Pull into the driveway when you see those signs telling you there is corn for sale. Raw milk, tomatoes, eggs, strawberries. You are going to get a deal in most places. The headline food is often just the tip of the ice burg. But the real investment comes from chatting it up with the farmer or his wife (or her husband). Most of us want you to be successful with your beans and broccoli. We want to pass on what we know.

Go to the Farmers Market. Most of the time you will not find a “deal” at big markets but you will find mostly local food and crafts. Be aware that farmers have to pay a fee for space to sell their goods. They also have to get up early, invest in items that keep food fresh and pay outrageous prices for gas, real-estate tax and permits of all kinds. The price you pay at the market is probably closer to what it really costs to buy food (think about that next time you complain about high taxes). I have noticed that Snohomish County farmers markets seem to have set prices for different food items. Even if there are six booths from six different farms selling strawberries, they are all going to charge the exact same price for a box or half-flat of fruit. No deals here. Even so, that bag of sugar snap peas is going to be miles and days fresher then the cello-bag of snap peas you pick up at your favorite organic grocery store. One bite and you will remember what it is you love about fresh food, be it snap beans, apricots or the humble radish. Don’t know what to do with boc-choi, ask the people selling it.

Plant a pot of herbs. One of the best ways for a busy working mom to start taking control of her kitchen is to plant a basket of herbs. Oregano puts up with all kinds of abuse. Sage is another herb that is very forgiving. Even pretty rosemary puts up with a lot of rookie mistakes. If all you have is parsley, use it! Beloved basil may be the most difficult to grow in the PNW, so if you have it, use it. Clip it up, toss it in. Basil is an annual so it only lives for one season anyway. Plant lavender in your flower bed, use it! Thyme will give and give. How do you use fresh herbs? Remember to read. Use your nose, rub some fresh herb between your palms while you cook. If the scents of your stove and the herb in your hand makes your mouth water, you may have a winner. Some say, be careful, a little goes a long way. Me? I like to go a little crazy.

Plant a tomato in the flower Garden. This spring, when you are buying snapdragons, pick up a tomato start. If you can grow a petunia, you can grow a tomato.

Build a Square Foot Garden on your lawn. Square Foot Gardening may be the easiest and safest way to turn your lawn into food. You can start small and add as you feel more competent. SFG does not use your native soil. You make a growing medium from peat, vermiculite and bagged compost that you pick up at the place you buy your beauty bark. You do not need to commit to tearing out your whole lawn to SFG. If you have any doubts about the history of your yard (Many yards in my home-town of Everett, Washington are toxic from our history as a mill town) then Mel’s Mix (the growing medium named after Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening) is a safe way to get started.

Get Really Radical, compost your bio-garbage instead of sending it to a land fill (your garden will love it!). Every city has different regulations, but you can raise chickens, bunnies or mini goats in the burbs. Did you know you can raise fish in a barrel? It is called aqua-ponics. Collect rain water, plant fruit trees, build a mason bee house. As long as you keep your neighbors happy and check with the city before starting a project you can do just about anything. Learn which flowers in your garden you can eat. Just get started.

Debs….. who started with a tiny pot of oregano in her bedroom window, then learned to make pizza sauce. Everyone begins somewhere.

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Progress 3-15-14

Oroma Paste Tomato from season 4 at the Toy Box

Oroma Paste Tomato from season 4 at the Toy Box

I don’t think my heat mat is working at 100% capacity. It seems like the tomatoes are slow to sprout. I feel anxious for spring to hurry up in the last days of winter. Suddenly the first pale green sprout stands upright. It was our old faithful, Black Plum Paste. Ray, who actually had his glasses on, pointed out five or six others that had sprouted. There were representatives from the rows of Siltz, Striped Roma, Black Prince and Super Lakota. This morning, when I walked the tray out to the green house, there were sprouts from nearly every tomato seed I pressed into the soil. Whoo-hoo to the Creator! In the green house, the broccoli and cauliflower I up-potted look so much better after a night and a day to recover. One butter head lettuce (also up-potted) got eaten, but the theiven slug that did the deed was napping on the side of the pot. I took it to the chickens and let them decide sluggies fate. It feels good to be in the green house when everything is starting to grow strong and green.

March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014

Meanwhile, Ray made significant progress in the Back to Eden project. It looks beautiful. There is still a ton of work to do and a quarter ton of wood chips to take care of  but we (that would be he) are getting there.  The grassy area in the picture is the slope that we do not want to mow any more. Every bit of sandy soil we dig up from the front fruit garden gets dumped back here to terrace the Raspberries. It is funny how it seems like so much more when you dig it up. We still have four or five medium-large pots of blueberries to move to that garden. A little more soil will be gleaned that way. If you are in the Everett area and know of clean fill we can have, please leave me a note.

First Daffodils of Season 5

First Daffodils of Season 5

Hello Gorgeous! Waves of blue sky are followed by a wash of gray. Tonight the Worm Moon will be full, but we will not get to see the glory of it. The cloud cover keeps the night time low from dipping too far down in these last days of winter but it also prevents any star-gazing. The Underground is saying that there is only a 20% chance of rain. I feel a soft mist caressing my face and hair. 54/47 (that is warmer than it will get for the rest of the week). I will be running the tomatoes in at sunset, which by the way, will be at 7:14 PM, just 11 hours and 53 minutes after the 7:21 sunrise.

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The first trees into the BTE Garden

March 11, 2014; The first fruit trees planted in the Back to Eden garden.

March 11, 2014; The first fruit trees planted in the Back to Eden garden.

The clouds of the PNW (Pacific North West) seem undecided on what the weather will be. Cold and thick with moisture or light and ready to roll back revealing  stunning blue sky.

All day at school the rain was a constant. Every glance out the window, every dash between buildings, there was rain. But after school the clouds rolled back and blue sky made the remainder of the day feel spring like. Ray and I dashed our old bones out the door to plant our three potted fruit trees in the new Back to Eden garden. Opportunity’s like this must be taken advantage of when they come. They disappear as quickly as they come. The work was pleasant, digging holes, working in compost, setting the trees, more compost, a bit of the sand and a blanket of chips. They are pretty to look at. I would not be unhappy if this is as far a we go but there are still blueberries ready to go in if our backs stay strong.

The piles of sandy soil that Ray removed from the holes for the trees was carted to the back garden to begin the terracing of a slope on the edge of the yard for the raspberry canes that have been confined too long in a pot. Everett is an expensive place to live, we never thought we would stay, yet here we are. We have lived with an exit plane for as long as we have been here. Fruit trees, bushes and canes have been kept in big pots, ready to move back to the country, to the mountains we love, for as long as we have been here. But we have been here coming on five years now. It is time to let their roots grow into the soil. We continue to live by faith. Ready to go if we can but living as if we will stay, we have decided to stop living as if nothing is sure. God has been so good to us. I have no reason to doubt his goodness in the days to come. So we plant. There is always blue beyond the cover of clouds.

Acts 2:17

Acts 2:17

March 12, 2014: After moving all those chips into the “food forest” (That phrase cracks me up when I see the size of my strip-mall forest) we have hardly made a dent in that pile of wood chips. This is going to be more work then I anticipated. I miss the days of “all sons and nephews  on deck when there is work to do. I really miss the cheep labor. Shovel full by wheelbarrow full, we’ll get-er-done.

High pressure pushes even maritime clouds away. Everett gets another sunny day. Underground is saying 58/40 with clear skies. Get your vitamin D while you can….. there are wood chips to move! Sun up at 7:27, eleven brilliant hours and 43 minutes later the sun sets at 7:10.

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Toy Box Tomatoes

Actually, these are from season 4, but you get the idea.

Actually, these are from season 4, but you get the idea.

Now is the time, Everett gardeners, to let me know if you want to buy a tomato start from The Toy Box. I charge $1.00 for a soil block tomato (easily slips right into a pot until spring planting time) or $2.50 for a 4-inch potted plant. All but two (Grandma’s Pic and Momotaro) are either heirlooms or open pollenated. (I=indeterminant (needs to be supported and suckers pinched, can get as tall as 6 feet), D=determinant (bush, most productive if they have room to sprawl) I have seed for the following:

New for season 5 at The Toy  Box

Up-potted (from soil blocks) and in the green house, April 2, 2013

Up-potted (from soil blocks) and in the green house, April 2, 2013

  • Jaune Flammee: I, Earlier, orangish, small tomato, new this year at The Toy Box
  • Gold Medal: I, Salad Size, gold skin with golden flesh that has a red blush, also new for me, about 80 days
  • Ruth’s Perfect: I Ever get something and you don’t remember why? I was surprised when I saw this in my stash.

Paste Types:

Beaverlodge Plum: D, Short season (really short, 55 days in Oregon, a little later in Everett). Last year a single plant was so abundant that we just started bagging them up and throwing them whole into the freezer. We’ve never done that with tomatoes in Everett. Most of the wolf moon tomato sauce we made in January was from Beaverlodge Plums. NOTE in wet years, they were poor producers. Beverlodge will survive in cold wet weather but she more then thrives with a little heat like the 2013 season in Everett. Territorial Seed Company

Black Plum, Sheboygan and Oroma.

Black Plum, Sheboygan and Oroma.

Black Plum Paste: I, early to mid season (about 65 days in a good year) This small plum is another sure producer in normal Everett summers. She can fool you, turning pinkish red with green shoulders just before ripening with chocolate streaks. Some say the flesh is mealy (I think they just waited too long to pick it), some say the flavor is spicy (as in a little different from other tomatoes). In all the years I have grown and used black plum, I have never done a formal taste test. I will say that I was afraid to just eat one the first season (2010) we grew them in Everett because of those poor reviews but I like them right off the vine. I like them even better in soup! Cool, wet, we still get tomatoes. Our seed was originally from Greenheart Gardens on Lopez Island.
Sheboygan: I, Mid-season Deep red makes a fantastic sauce. Uprising Seeds
Oroma: I, Mid-season Just like Sheboygan except for pointed ends and slightly larger size. Territorial Seed Company
Cuore Di Bue: I, Full season, An ox-heart type (I am told the name is either Italian or French for ox-heart, I speak neither French or Italian so I cannot confirm nor deny). I sometimes see these referred to a purse type tomatoes because of their shape. The vine is aggressive and will quickly get out of control (as in going and doing what it wants). I used this to my advantage and made it into a double stem plant in the SFG. However, the potted plant I grew in the green house was a tangled mess. I could not tell what was main stem and what was wild child. While on the subject of green house, this tomato produced far more fruit outside then it did inside… which might have something to do with all the energy going to vine production in the green house (this is only my 3rd season for Cuore Di Bue). Lush production of green tomatoes that ripen nicely on the side board in the house in a normal Everett summer. Loads of Red fruit in the garden last season (2013). Territorial Seed Company
Striped Roman: I, late season. First trialed at The Toy Box in 2013, it was a favorite. We ordered seed, forgetting that 2013 was a fluke. Very pretty, even green, earlier then advertised. Territorial Seed Company

Small Fruit Tomatoes, most are early in the PNW

Gold Nugget: D, very early Yellow Cherry. Honestly I thought I ordered Sun Gold (the cherry everyone raves about) but received these. They are good, not very fussy, grow happily in a pot on the deck so I keep growing them season after season. Always the first tomato in Everett, which is a big deal to me. Gold Nugget likes support even as a potted plant. Territorial Seed Company (2012 taste tested)
Stupice: I, very early red-orange. We had our first Stupice about 5 days after the first Gold Nugget. Big tomato taste, tiny (apricot size) fruit. First Toy Box trial last season (2013). This year I will probably tell you how they do in a normal season. Said to do well in cold wet weather (normal Everett “summer”). Nearly every serious North West gardener I know grows these. (2013 taste tested)
Silvery Fir Tree: D, fire-engine red. I always grow pots of SFT to give as gifts. Named for the foliage, the ornament like fruit is small and rather squat. A three bite tomato, some even larger depending on the weather and water. They actually seem happier in a pot then in the garden, but maybe I neglected the plant in the garden? Territorial Seed Company (2012 taste tested)
Legend: D, orange, said to be extra early, but seem to be average (mid season) in Everett. I keep growing them because they do well in a large pot (I tend to run out of garden space). Advertised as having large fruit. They are bigger then SFT and Stupice, but I would not call them “large” Might be because I keep growing them in pots. Territorial Seed Company
Ceylon: I, Red, Mid to Late season. Just the cutest little tomato in the garden. Ceylon did much better if I faithfully pinched off the suckers. She never got very tall for an indeterminant. Season 4 (2013) was her trial year. This year I’ll try her in a pot, in and out of the green house. She came to the Toy Box in our best tomato year ever. We had so many tomatoes (never said that before) that all I remember about Ceylon is how cute she is. Uprising Seeds.

Classic, full season Tomatoes:

  • Siltz: D, red. This is a long time Toy Box favorite! The first of the classic tomatoes to ripen, Siltz has always been happy growing in a
    By the end of May the determinant plants can be potted up in a more permanent container. If we have a late freeze we run them into the green house

    By the end of May the determinant plants can be potted up in a more permanent container. If we have a late freeze we run them into the green house

    black plastic pot, with or without support. It is almost like Siltz is a PNW native. She doesn’t seem to notice when it rains or gets cold. In the PNW you cannot stop what you are doing and wait for better weather. In typical Everett “summers” Siltz is a heavy producer. Earlier and better tasting (in my seldom humble opinion) then the famous Early Girl (developed in Oregon). Grown side by side, I have stuck my finger through hidden blossom end rot (YUCK) on early girl, but seldom have that problem with Siltz. (BER happens in Everett when it is too cold for the plant to take up the calcium it needs). Territorial Seed Company (2010 taste tested)
    Black Prince: I, early- sort of, chocolate color. Ray loves these. I think he ate every one that came ripe last year. I know what they look like but did not taste any. This year I will beat him off with a short stick to make sure I get at least a taste! (actually I love that he had a favorite) Territorial Seed Company
    Momotaro F1: I, semi early, Pink?: I will give Momotaro (said to be a favorite in Japan) one more try in the green house. Too hot or too cold and it drops blossoms. The package says 6 to 7 oz fruit. The only outdoor tomato I have ever seen was smaller than a golf ball. Very pretty stems. They remind me of swans necks. Territorial Seed Company

  • Grandma’s Pic F1: Very pretty on the vine, a good bet for fruit in a bad tomato year. (2013 taste tested)
    Chianti Rose: I, mid to late season, Pink. Said to be a beefsteak, I did not get any that big in Everett (in the greenhouse). I accidently gave away all but one Chianti Rose last season so I just had the one plant in the green house. The slugs were very attracted to the fruit. No idea why. This year I will try some outside.

    Ray makes our tomato supports from 2x4's and conduit. It sort of looks like a ladder bolted to the 4x8 SFG. The indeterminant tomatoes are planted in their SFG. Then Ray makes a poly house with plastic sheeting and stick on zippers. (Bubble wrap around the bottom) Works great.

    Ray makes our tomato supports from 2×4′s and conduit. It sort of looks like a ladder bolted to the 4×8 SFG. The indeterminant tomatoes are planted in their SFG. Then Ray makes a poly house with plastic sheeting and stick on zippers. (Bubble wrap around the bottom) Works great.

    Super Lakota: I, orange red. One of many outside but in the green house it out produced every tomato except Grandma’s Pic F1. It tasted much better then Grandma! I’ll try it again outside but I will absolutely grow more in the green house. Yum! Mid size, easy to control vine, lower maintenance then Grandma.
    Persimmon: I, light orange (persimmon color). There is not a better tasting tomato in the Toy Box. I baby this short vine along all summer because the delicious fruit is worth it. Not so much fussy as just really long season. I usually end up letting it grow as long as possible, then picking them green to ripen over fall and winter in the kitchen. One ripe persimmon is worth all the waiting (sometimes a couple of years before a ripe tomato happens) The texture is not as awesome when it ripens in the house but the soup and sauce it is added to will get complements.

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