Vegetables I’m trying in 2018

Here is a list of the vegetables AND tomatoes (underneath) I want to grow this year. Some I’ve grown before and really like and some are new.

Also this year I will try 11 new varieties of Dwarf Tomatoes that have been released to the public that are not on this list.

I will also be involved in the Dwarf Tomato Project,  growing 3 new varieties of cherry tomatoes (that are not released yet to the public but are in trials). I will write about the Dwarf Tomato Project in another post coming soon.


Vegetables I’m Growing in 2018

Borlotti Lamon-vining-dry multi color pods
Emerite-vining-green French haricot
NEW! Rossa di Lucca-bush beans-dry-get at Farmers Market at Zulu’s Petals Organic Farm booth
NEW! Di Casalbuono Panzariedd-vining-get at Farmers Market at Zulu’s Petals Organic Farm booth

Costata Romanesco-wonderful italian zucchini
Zuchetta Rugosa Friulana-These produce an abundance of light yellow, “warty” fruit. They aren’t beautiful, but they’re suppose to taste great. This is the most common zucchini in the markets of Venice in summer.

NEW! Tahiti Butternut-Sweeter than most other squashes, and suppose to get better with age! Large fruits shaped like butternuts with elongated necks and light golden orange skin.
Waltham Butternut

NEW! Bradford-90 days-heirloom that was almost extinct until the Bradford family brought it back

Rossa di Bianca

Jimmy Nardello

Poona Kheera-from India, wonderful flavor-yellow

Parisian-used for cornichon pickles
Bothsby Blonde-used for bread and butter pickles
National OR Russian-used for dill pickles

Dwarf Grey
Sugar Snap

Marvel of Four Seasons
Rouge d’ Hiver
Marshall Red Romaine
Mesclun mix

Wasabi-spicy- tastes like wasabi used in Japanese sushi

Pac Choi

French Breakfast
Cherry Belle


Rainbow or 5 color beetroot
Argentata-white stems-most cold hardy

Vates Scotch Curley Leaf

Florence bulb

Cosmic Purple
Atomic Red

Detroit Red
Yellow or Touchstone




Tomatoes I’m Growing in 2018 (partial list)

Virginia Sweet– 80 days-outstanding large yellow with red blush inside-super sweet

Brandywine (Sudduth)-90 days-(aka Pink Brandywine) This strain was obtained by tomato collector Ben Quisenberry of Big Tomato Gardens from Dorris Sudduth Hill whose family grew it for over 100 years. Large pink beefsteak fruits to 2 pounds. Incredibly rich, delightfully intense tomato flavor.

Ananas Noire-80 days

Lover’s Lunch-MID-SEASON-A very beautiful and tasty yellow with red stripes with bi-colored flesh.  This large, meaty, fruity and sweet tomato has stand-out flavor.

NEW!-Summer of Love-MID-SEASON-16 oz. fruit, Mid-season indeterminate. This improved Berkeley Tye-Die produces a larger yield and ripens earlier. It has all the great colors and flavor of the original BTD. A good improvement to an excellent tomato.

Afternoon Delight-MID-LATE SEASON-8-16 oz. fruit-Large and very meaty yellow /red blush bi-color beefsteak with purple anthocyanin splashes on the shoulder. This was an accidental cross between Big Rainbow and an unknown anthocyanin line. Large, beautiful, solid and meaty. Good ability to hang on the vine ripe and maintains flavor and texture. Stores well post harvest.

Pink Berkley Tie Dye-65-75 days-Early to mid-early, 8-12 oz. fruit, Beautiful, early, and very sweet rich flavor. 10 out of 10 people liked it better then Cherokee Purple in a farmers market taste off. Regular leaf. Port wine colored beefsteak with metallic green stripes. Excellent sweet, rich dark tomato flavor.

Purple Cherokee-80 days-dusty rose-brown fruits-12 ounces. Delicious sweet

Paul Robeson-80 days-Brick red, 8 to 12 ounce fruits have dark green shoulders and red flesh. Flavor is exceptional with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity.

NEW!-Shasha’s Altai-59 days-hearty tomato plant that produces very good yields of 4-6 oz., thinned-skinned, bright-red, slightly flattened, round tomatoes with an award-winning complex flavor. Fruit sets well in cooler coastal climates and high altitudes.

Goldman’s Italian American-80 days-Unique, beautiful and large tomatoes have a squat, pear shape, being ribbed and pleated. These have a bloody, intense red color when ripe. Thick, red flesh is perfect for delicious sauces and preserves.

Goliath-65 days. (F1) Early maturing plant produces high yields of 10 to 15 oz bright red tomatoes. This beautiful tomato has a blemish-free exterior. One of the best early varieties on.

Marmande Garnier Rouge-70 days-A medium to large dark-red slightly fluted tomato from France-excellent old-fashion tomato flavor.

Big Zac-80 days-This variety was bred by Minnie Zaccaria, a home gardener who crossed two heirloom tomatoes to create Big Zac. True to its name, it bears enormous 4 to 6 lb. fruit, and is a high quality tomato in every respect—meaty and delicious as well as disease resistant.

Black Cherry-70 days-Beautiful black cherries look like large, dusky purple-brown grapes; they have that rich flavor that makes black tomatoes famous.

Borlotto Beans

Borlotto beans in the garden

Last season I planted a new dry pole bean called Borlotto  (also called Borlotti). They are an Italian heirloom variety. The variety was Lamon which is supposed to be the best for flavor. It got around 6 feet high and I grew it in the garden on one of the 3′ high perimeter fences. As it got taller, I added bamboo stakes to let it continue upwards. They are a very beautiful bean on the vine when growing. I planted around 12 plants, 6 inches apart right at each drip emitter. You can shell the bean fresh but I just left them to dry on the vine.  I got my seeds from Seeds of Italy.

I particularly like dry beans. I picked them after they dried on the vine which is towards the end of the season but before the first freeze. I find dry beans are so easy to grow, needing nothing except water and a vertical support of some kind and then harvesting at the end. They are very different then fresh beans which you must pick daily. There is also a bush variety of these beans but they are not Lamon.

I left them in their shells in a basket until last week when I took the beans out.  I find it fun to shell them on a cold winter night. The beans are very beautiful being cream color with maroon stripes. I got 3 cups of the precious bean. Good for 1 meal.  I will save some to replant too. This year I will definitely plant more.

Tuscan Bean Soup recipe from Ialian Food Forever

I like that I can make a hearty soup or stew from them and eat them in the winter. Here is a recipe from Italian Food Forever for a traditional Tuscan bean soup using Borlotto beans. When cooking the beans before hand, you must cook for a long time here in Santa Fe due to our high altitude at 7000 feet as you want them soft and creamy. I just cooked mine in a crock pot all day and it worked well. You can also leave out the pancetta for a vegetarian style soup. There are many recipes for Borlotto bean soup out there that all sound wonderful! Can’t wait to try them.

Gardening Porn=Seed catalogs

Here are a few of my favorite 2018 seed catalogs


All the 2018 gardening catalogs are arriving in the mailbox and I love going through them. Makes me want to get going in the garden (except when it is windy and cold). I call them gardening porn. It’s fun looking at all the beautiful pictures of veggies and planning for next season’s garden. Makes me want to buy all the seeds!  The problem is I want to grow more stuff than I have room for in the garden so I’m going to have to make a garden layout so I don’t buy too much. Now is a good time to curl up with the catalogs and enjoy them and plan for the next growing season.

Gardening Geeks—What to do in January!

Tomato Lady of Santa Fe with a 3 lb ‘Big Zac’ tomato out of her garden.

1. Unplug your outdoor holiday lights and your ready for next year. (Notice I didn’t say put them away)

2. My uncle turned me onto an alcoholic drink called a Picon Punch-a basque drink. He was Basque/Italian and had one every night. I think that’s why he lived so long plus he had a great garden.

3. Read gardening books and catalogs by the fireplace. Leave them out. Your significant other will love you for this but be careful they don’t use them for starting the fire.

4. Watch weather (say isn’t that a cloud-oooh I think it looks like a tomato up there-do you see it?)

5. Make snow vegetables instead of a snowman-that’s if we ever get any snow…

6. Drool over all the seed catalogs (by the fireplace).

7. Take your dog or goat (I don’t have a dog) for a drag (they don’t like to walk in snow-again assuming we get snow). Don’t have a goat? Get a dog.

8. Order more seeds-as if we don’t have enough.

9. Guess how high your utility bill will be this month. Sit by the fireplace more and turn the thermostat down.

10. Get lots of firewood inside before that next storm (what storm?). Buy green firewood-lasts longer…

11. Find your growing light boxes or shelves (or make them if you haven’t). Drag them inside this month to set up early and freak out your significant other.

12. Get heat mats for your grow shelves-a must have if you start seeds indoors. Nice to sit on too.

13. Insulate your grow shelves so they don’t loose heat at night inside. I bought a roll of metallic bubble wrap and wrapped it around all 4 sides (one side removable in front so I can get to the plants). Wrap your dog or cat in the leftover metallic wrap-you’ll enjoy it-they won’t.

14. Schedule when each veggie can go out (by the fireplace). I use a garden planner from Johnny’s Seeds. How’s that for obsessive? Hey you gotta do something inside all these months!

15. Toss that plant you didn’t plant outside and didn’t have the heart to get rid of last fall that is now full of aphids. (where do they come from anyways?)

16. Thank your significant other now for putting up with your obsession. They’ll thank you next growing season with all your veggies.

Happy New Year to all my obsessive gardening friends!!!

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays everyone! Some of you have snow this Christmas but not here in Santa Fe. We are bone dry here this year and looking for some moisture. So I thought you could enjoy the snow pattern on the blog. Be sure to water your trees and perennial plants soon before it gets bitter cold again. We tend to forget to water them and not doing so really stresses them.

I’m embarrassed to say I’m not even done with cleaning out my big garden yet. Arrgh! I did pull all the tomato and other veggie plants out of the ground and the cages as well before the ground freezes. They are laying all over the place in the garden. At least they won’t be frozen in the ground. So I’ve started cleaning out the cages of tomato vines, storing the cages and loading up the trailer to go to the dump. I put all tomato plant debris and squash debris in the trailer because they are so prone to diseases and I don’t want to put diseased plants in my composting piles. All healthy plants do however go into the compost pile. Hope to have it done in the next 2 weeks.

Mostly I’ve read some gardening books this winter-nice time to catch up on reading. We should all enjoy our time off in the garden and use it to rejuice us so we are ready to garden by spring. Hope you have a fantastic holiday whatever you celebrate!


Tomato and Vegetable Winners in 2017 garden

Here are my favorite vegetables that I grew for 2017. Mind you I’m super picky and I’m sure there are many other varieties out there waiting to be tried that are great. That’s what keeps it interesting for me. Also I give you where I bought the seeds or transplants. You may be able to buy these elsewhere but this is where I purchased them from.

2017 Tomato Winners

Lucky Cross: MY FAVORITE TOMATO-Bigger tomato. Starts yellow then turns more pinkish yellow on the outside with red marbling inside. Sweet and luscious with few cracks. Ripens later in the season but before the end of the season. Part Brandywine and tastes like them. DELICIOUS!  Not to be confused with Little Lucky tomato. Seeds from Victory Seeds


Goliath: A very abundant and nice size red tomato. No cracks and old-fashioned tomato flavor-excellent. Seeds from Totally Tomato seeds

Costoluto Genevese: Beautiful fluted tomato with old-fashioned tomato flavor from Italy. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Marmande Garnier Rouge: A medium to large dark-red slightly fluted tomato from France-excellent old-fashion tomato flavor. Seeds from Secret Seeds Cartel

Big Zac: Huge, red sweet tomato-takes all season to ripen but still one of my favorites-worth the wait. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe


Goldman’s Italian American: My favorite for a sauce tomato-Unique, beautiful and large tomatoes have a pear shape, being ribbed and pleated. These have an intense red color and fantastic flavor when ripe. Thick, red flesh is perfect for delicious tomato sauces. Ripens towards end of season. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds


NEW! Stump of the World: Big pink tomato with sweet flavor. Good at high altitudes. Seeds from Tomato Growers



Purple Cherokee: Dusky purple with dark shoulders-Always a favorite-sweet, flavor. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Paul Robeson: Dark brown with green shoulders-Always a favorite-sweet, earth flavor. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe


Pink Berkeley Tie Dye: Dark pink with green stripes-great sweet flavor.
Seeds from Wild Boars Farms or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Black and Brown Boar: Brownish-red tomato with green stripes-good, sweet, earthy flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms

NEW! Summer of Love: Large and very meaty red/yellow bi-color beefsteak with purple anthocyanin splashes on the sun-kissed fruit-wonderful flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms

NEW! Lover’s Lunch: A very beautiful and tasty striped red/yellow with bi-colored flesh.  This large, meaty, fruity and sweet tomato has stand-out flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms

NEW! Lucid Gem: First they ripen yellow, than more of an orange when very ripe. Very attractive with black purple anthocynin splashes on shoulder that contrast with the yellow skin.  Flavor is very good- Sweet with fruity tones. Very meaty, very few Seeds – One of the best varieties for heat tolerance. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms

NEW! Solar Flare-XL: Bigger than the regular Solar Flare-very sweet red with faint yellow stripes. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms


Artisan Blush Tiger: I love this one-fruity flavor. Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Pink Bumblebee: Great sweet flavor. Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Black Cherry: One of my favorites that I grow EVERY year. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Sungold: One of my few hybrids-Always a favorite-super sweet yellow cherry tomato. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe


2017 vegetable winners

Wasabi arugula: This arugula gives the same nose-tingling sensation as the wasabi condiment used in Japanese dishes. This variety is very quick to bolt but delicious. Grow in early spring before heat. Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

NEW! Borlotti Lamon’ beans: Climbing beautiful cream, red splashed shell on outside with beans being a pale pink with red splotches inside if you let them dry. I like to harvest them when dry. According to the Venetians, Lamon’s are “THE” bean for ‘pasta fagiolo’. Seeds from Seeds of Italy

Émérite Filet Pole Bean: Émérite is a true Filet Bean from France, produced on graceful vines growing to 8′ tall. When picked early and often, the beans are tender and have outstanding flavor. Seeds from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds

Craupadine: I’ve tried this one before-poor germination every year except for one year and the one year it did germinate, it tasted FANTASTIC-sweetish beet I’ve ever eaten. Will try to start seeds inside this year to see if I get better germination. Would really like to get this one again. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Violetta bok choy: A beautiful green with purple tipped leaves and tastes great sautéed. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Kalibos Red cabbage: This Eastern European heirloom cabbage has a pointed shape and intense red/purple leaves. Beautiful and sweet flavor. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange

Argentata chard: Has green leaf with big white stalks that when cooked, melt in your mouth. Plus it is the most cold tolerant variety in my garden outlasting many other varieties of chard. Seeds from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds

Poona Kheera: My all-time favorite eating cucumber. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Fairy Tale: my favorite-never bitter or tough skin. No need to peel this small eggplant. I just cut them in half  and saute or BBQ them. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Florence Fennel: A bulb type fennel from Italy. Wonderful mild anise taste to add to Chippino or Boulabaise. I chop it and freeze it for use later. Seeds from Seeds of Italy or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Jimmy Nardello: Super sweet, red pepper-good for sauteing or cook on BBQ. It is thin-walled. Good cooked or raw. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Carmel: A fabulous early spring spinach with great flavor. The only spinach to survive winter with row cover. Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Waltham Butternut: I grew it because I had heard it doesn’t get squash bugs and that was true for me-good flavor too. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Rogosa Violina “Gioia” Butternut: An Italian version of Butternut. Grew much larger with excellent flavor and no squash bugs-YAY! Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Costata Romanesco zucchini: This is the most flavorful zucchini I’ve ever tasted-sweet nutty flavor. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe

Moon and Stars:
This has a beautiful dark green skin with yellow ‘stars’. Taste is super sweet and it ripened before the end of the season. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe


Veggie ornaments at Baca Street Arts Tour this weekend

This weekend at our Baca Street Arts tour, there are over 20 artists and many studios are open all along Baca Street here in Santa Fe. It is our annual holiday tour and sales weekend. I am one of the glassblowers at Liquid Light Glass that will have our work on displayed and many sale items. Above is our veggie ornaments created from glass from many of the veggies I grow in my garden: Jimmy Nardello peppers, White globe turnips, Atomic Red carrots, Scarlet Nantes carrots, cucumbers, Jack be Little pumpkins and Moneymaker Tomatoes pictured above. Great gifts for your gardening friends! I figured why not mix my gardening life with my glass blowing life. There are also many other fine art glass handblown objects in our studio. Come down and visit, watch glass blowing all weekend and shop. We are located at 926 Baca Street but the whole street will be open as well.

Start at our studio: Liquid Light Glass-926 Baca Street-Santa Fe, NM. Here is the schedule: