Here are the two biggest tomatoes so far this season. The yellow one on the left is 1 lb 11 oz Gold Medal and the red one on the far right is a 1 lb 10 oz Big Zac. I got second place at the State Fair with a little smaller Big Zac tomato but if I had found this Gold Medal I would have had first. It’s ok though as I took 5 first places, 1 second place and 1 third place at the State Fair. Can’t be too greedy.
Yesterday I planted 6 giant tomato seeds as well. The seeds came from tomato plants that produced anywhere from 5.5 lbs-7 lb tomatoes! Hope I get some BIG ones! I’m trying to break 3 lbs this year! Nothing better than a BLT where the juice from one of these tomatoes runs down your chin! One slice of tomato covers the whole slice of bread.
I’ve been busy in the garden! It is ALMOST finished. I have 8 more tomatoes to plant tomorrow that I forgot to get that are some of my standards at the SF Farmer’s Market. OPPS! But they will be ready in time.
Two weekends ago I had 7 friends/family help with planting the majority of the tomatoes. A great big THANK YOU to all that helped-Elodie, Flynn, Ronnie, Lava, Tom, Sharon and myself! I couldn’t have done it without you! I also have a few more flower seeds to plant by the entry. Otherwise it’s done-FINITO! Yea right-there is always something to do in the garden! Here are some of the things happening in the garden:
The fava beans are looking good. Here they are flowering. I like the black and white flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen black and white flowers on a plant before. They had some aphids so I sprayed them with insecticidal soap and they are looking better. They have baby fava beans on them now.
The beets and carrots are coming along quite nicely. They are outside the pole bean tent area and will fill in nicely
Here are some beet greens I harvested while thinning out the beets to give them room to grow. They are yummy in a salad and are so beautiful.
In the shadiest part of the garden I planted some bok choi and lettuce and have had it covered with row cover since planting to help keep them from the heat and bugs. They both are looking great. I’ve never grown bok choi before so I’ll have to research when to harvest as they are getting to be pretty big and won’t like the heat for too long.
The fennel bulbs are getting bigger and are almost ready to harvest. Maybe another 2 weeks. They also won’t do well in the heat. I wonder if they will get as big as the ones in the grocery store..
About half of the tomatoes I previously planted are growing out of the top of the wall of waters and I need to take them off before it gets too difficult.
It’s been fun growing some early stuff. The bok choi, fava beans, fennel and lettuce are more cool season crops and will have to be harvested soon because of the heat. Probably all of them will be harvested BEFORE July.
I also have potatoes that are growing through the roof, strawberries that are being harvested and rhubarb that is ready to pick but will save that for other posts.
Hey! I just got a notice for a giant tomato contest for anyone interested in looking into submitting one of your BIG tomatoes this year. The website-PlantYourOwn.com is running its 1st ever giant tomato competition. Click here for details. The contest is simple……just grow a big tomato!!! Signup ends March 1st, 2012. I might have to join!
I don’t collect hybrid tomato seeds as they may not grow back true.What that means is they may revert back to one parent or the other that they were crossed with. Heirloom tomatoes will grow back true.
The only heirloom tomato seeds I collect are from my giant tomatoes as I’m trying to get some seeds that do well in our high desert and give me some big, really big tomatoes. Last year I got 3 tomato seeds from a giant grower who grew a tomato over 7 lbs in Ohio. This year I got a pretty large tomato from one of those seeds. I kept the tomato which measured 19 inches in diameter and almost weighed 3 lbs and recently got the seeds. I will try some of these seeds next year as well as other big tomato seeds that I got from another grower this week. Here’s how you can collect your favorite heirloom tomato seeds.
To collect tomato seeds, cut the tomato open, squeeze and scrape out all the seeds and put them in a little jar with some water. Then put the lid on. Try to not get too much pulp in with them. The seed/water mixture will start to ferment in a couple of days and it might bubble a little which is good. The fermentation will remove the slime on the seeds and the seeds will fall to the bottom of the mixture. When almost all the seeds are on the bottom, pour out the liquid, seeds and pulp through a fine sieve, removing the pulp. Keep rinsing until only the seeds are left. Spread them out on a paper towel to drain the excess water and then put them on another paper towel to finish drying. Before the seeds dry completely I move them around so the paper doesn’t stick to them. After they are thoroughly dry, put them in a ziplock baggie, label and store. You can keep any heirloom tomato seeds this way.
My only concern with collecting tomato seeds is if you plant cherry tomatoes too close to the heirloom tomato you want to keep, they may cross-pollinate so think about where they will be in your garden next spring and don’t plant them right next to each other. Tomatoes aren’t pollinated by bees but by the breeze or are self pollinating. Tomatoes originally came from South America and honeybees came from Europe or Africa so tomatoes aren’t native plants to the honeybee hence they aren’t interested which actually makes pollination easier to control.
It is a good year for me at the State Fair for my giant veggies! I got 5 blue ribbons and first places for all my entries-giant zucchini, giant pear gourd, giant long gourd, giant tomato and giant greenie) and 2 I entered for Elodie ( a second giant zucchini and a tomato) took second places and got red ribbons. We still have bigger veggies waiting for the national contest in Colorado in October…
Today I dropped off my entries for the giant vegetable categories at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds which opens this weekend. I didn’t submit a giant pumpkin this year as I only have 2 going. MAX and BABY HUEY (who I’ve been watching put on 9 lbs a day now for a while). Lava went down to Albuquerque with me to help unload. Here are the candidates I did submit:
This tomato is from a Big Zac variety and is 19.25 inches in circumference and 2 lbs, 14.4 oz in weight. It is still turning red but has completed it’s growth. I didn’t see anything bigger down at the fair. We will see..
This giant ‘greenie’ squash is ‘The Hulk’ and estimated weight is 157 lbs and has put on 7 lbs a day in the last 5 days. Here it is in the back of the Prius. It barely fit in! I still have 2 bigger greenies growing in the garden for the big weigh-off.
Here is the giant Long Gourd, ‘Digi’, which is measured by length-it is 59.5 inches long-basically the length of the back of the Prius with the seats down. It had stopped growing. I still have some longer ones still on the vine that I’m saving for the big contest. In the foreground is the whitish pear gourd.
Here is the third biggest giant marrow (zucchini), ‘Little Boy’, which is 47 inches long and 27 inches wide! It ended up weighing 43.5 lbs which was bigger than the one I took last year to the fair.That one was 34 lbs. I have bigger ones in the garden yet to come for the big contest.
And lastly here is the giant Pear Gourd, ‘Gourdo’, which is 31 inches wide and 41 inches in length. You can’t see it too well here but it is huge. It weighed 102 lbs on the scale at the fair! I debated whether to take it today or leave it for the big contest and decided to take it as it will be for exhibition only up at the big contest as they have no category for it. At least at the state fair I will get a ribbon…
The tomato plants are now getting BIG. I’ve gotten a few ripe tomatoes-fighting off the birds for them! Most are starting to really produce green tomatoes now. I hope to get to the SF FARMERS MARKET by MID-AUGUST or sooner, tomatoes willing..
Here are my earliest tomatoes on the right that may allow me to go to the market sooner than later. On the left is my strawberry patch.
I have a variety of black tomatoes coming on-Paul Robeson, Giant Black Pear shaped tomatoes, Cherokee Chocolate, Black Krim and Black Cherry. None of which are shown yet.
I should have a plethora of cherry tomatoes this year-Sungold, Black Cherry and Green Grape and a mystery red that was suppose to be a San Marzano! Here is a closeup of Sungold. Hope the birds don’t get it! All the cherry tomatoes should start producing soon!
I also love the bi-color tomatoes-my favorites. I’m growing Gold Medal and Striped Germans shown above. Both varieties can get between 1-2 lbs and are SWEET, SWEET, SWEET. They only have flowers right now.
My Big Zacs take longest to ripen 90+ days so you won’t be seeing these until late in the season but what a treat.1-2 lb giants with that old fashion tomato flavor perfect for a BLT..
Here is a brandywine. Notice the potato leaves. I haven’t had good luck in NM with Brandywine tomatoes due to the disease factor but these are looking good so far, I have red, pink and yellow brandywines going.
I’ve planted 6 Big Zac tomato plants and several of my own from last year that came from the the N. Harp 7+ lber tomato seed. I haven’t seen as many megablossoms this year as I would like to see. A megablossom is a blossom that has 2 or more blossoms that fuse together to create a tomato that has several sections creating two or more fruit joined together which give a rather gnarley appearance but produce some really big fruit usually over 2 lbs.
Big Zac is NOT the only tomato that produces megablossoms but it does produce more than the average tomato. Other tomatoes can produce megablossoms as well just not as many as the Big Zac variety. Here is one of the Big Zac tomatoes I grew last year that was close to 3 lbs. Notice the 4 sections.
I’ve been a little preoccupied with the tomato scare but now am on the hunt to see if any of my Zacs have some of these blossoms.
So someone asked me, ‘Hey Jannine, how come we haven’t heard about your giant vegetables yet?” Well, I’ve sort of been preoccupied with getting the tomatoes in the ground lately but all the giant vegetables are still in the house all cozy under my gro lights just waiting to go out. We still have some cold nights ahead in the next few nights so I want to wait a little more. Also all my peppers and eggplants are still inside as well as they HATE being cold more than tomatoes do. One cold night can stunt a pepper plant all season so I suggest you protect them with something the next few nights if yours are already out.
But back to the giants-I have 2 giant pumpkins, one giant ‘greenie’ squash, 2 giant marrows (think supersized zucchini), 1 giant pear gourd, 2 long gourds and 6 giant tomatoes. I’m shooting for next week to get them out. Don’t worry, I’ll be talking alot about giant vegetable how-to’s once they get going. Here is what I still have to do for the GIANTS:
I still have to do a final mixing of my soil and add some amendments in the giant vegetable patch I have.
I still have to get out my low tunnels for the giant pumpkins and greenie to go under to protect them from our intense sun and cold nights.
I still have to build a super tall arbor for the long gourds which can get as tall as 109+ inches. But I can still get them in the ground and build the arbor around them. If you build it, they will come!
I still have to create the drip system for a new giant tomato bed.
I still have to do a drip system for the GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH
I don’t know where the giant pear gourd is going yet! I think Bri’s GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH (named after my beautiful horse Bri who is no longer with us) is going to be really full this season!
Here we go-Cold weather AT NIGHT again. Today the weather is cold high 56°F and low 25°F, already snowing a little bit. It’s ok , we desperately need the moisture. Unfortunately we are also going to get high winds-up to 70 mph! Above is the forecast for the next 5 days.
All 60 tomatoes and giant pumpkins, giant squash and marrows are inside and waiting to go out but I’m hanging tight and will wait till the nights are a little warmer and above freezing. I will still plant them in wall of waters for extra protection when they go out but why throw them out when I know what’s coming…I try to sneak them out early every year but I just have to wait and see. Our first frost freeze date is May 15th and it looks like we might go to then..
Someone just wrote me if I knew a source for Mycorrhizal (also called Mycorrhizae) products here in Santa Fe. So I thought I’d respond in a post in more detail as well as reply to him in the comment sections.
Mycorrhizal is a fungi that help protects plants from many diseases and drought like conditions. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots, making water and soil mineral nutrients more available to the roots of a plant while the plant feeds the mycorrhizae sugars it produces. It is found in nature in most UNDISTURBED soils. Gardens do not have undisturbed soil- we work the soil to various degrees adding amendments and tilling soil.
There are two main types of Mycorrhizal.
ECTOMycorrhizal works on more woody crops like trees. I don’t use it myself on my trees.
ENDOmycorrhizal works for most (90%) but not all vegetable crops (some crops do not respond to any Mycorrhizal like Brassica crops, spinach and beet crops). I used myco products for both my giant pumpkins and tomatoes in previous years but will also try it on all my curcubit crops this year as well as they seem to get the most diseases and the prices seem to be coming down on mycorrhizal products as it starts to become mainstream.
I just saw that Santa Fe Greenhouse has some Mycorizzial products. I bought ‘BUSHDOCTOR MICROBE BREW’ (by Foxfarm products) from SFGH and will try it this year. It is a liquid. It says on the directions to use 2 tsp/gal of water every 2 weeks as a drench. I think a bottle would last the whole gardening season for most people. I can’t remember what it cost (I bought it a month ago), but didn’t seem like it was exorbitant. I use to have to order myco on the internet so I’m anxious to see how it works. The Microbe Brew also has a bunch of soil bacteria and microbes in it besides the Mycorrhizal that will be good for the soil and plants as well. All these things help the plants either protect or fight off diseases-all organically.
FINAL 2011 SEED LISTS (updated)
I’ve researched and updated the seed list I posted earlier about a month ago and thought some of you might like to know where I buy either the seeds or in some cases, the plants ready to transplant here in Santa Fe. So first I created a legend with abbreviations for each seed/nursery and then put them at the end of each seed listed. Hope this makes it easier for you so you don’t have to figure it out. I also show which tomatoes Amy Goldman’s ‘The Heirloom Tomato’ book recommends which I use as my ‘tomato bible’! I’ve put this in my page section called ‘Seed Lists’ at the top of the blog for later reference.
Here is the legend:
AFN-Agua Fria Nursery (plants)-1409 Agua Fria Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-983-4831
SFGH–Santa Fe Greenhouse (plants)-2904 Rufina Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-473-2700
BH– Baker Heirloom (seeds)
SSE– Seed Saver Exchange (seeds)
JSKG–John Scheepers Kitchen Garden
KS–Kitazawa Seed (seeds)
WCS–West Coast Seeds (seeds)
CG–Cooks Garden (seeds)
TF–Tomato Fest (seeds)
TG–Tomato Growers (seeds)
TT–Totally Tomatoes (seeds)
*AG/San Marzano-red plum/80 days/AFN (plants) or BH, SSE, (seeds)
Striped German-bicolor-SFGH (plants)
*AG/Gold Medal-bicolor-75-80 days-BH (seeds)
*AG/Ananas Noir-recommended by friend-BH, SSE (seeds)
BLACK OR PURPLE
Paul Robeson-black/75-85 days-AFN (plants)
Cherokee Purple/80 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Pantano Romanesco-red/70-80 days-BH,TF(seeds)
*AG/Costoluto Genovese-red/78 days-TG(seeds)
*AG/Goldsman Italian American-red-BH (seeds)
*AG/Black Cherry-black/75 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Green Grape-green/AFN (plants) or SSE (seeds)
HYBRIDS-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon Boy–AFN (plants)
Park’s Beefy Boy-red-70 days-AFN (plants)
Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-62 days-TT (seeds)
* AG-recommended by Amy Goldsman’s book, ‘The Heirloom Tomato’
2011 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS–Rattlesnake bean snap OG (remarkably flavored pole bean)-SSE (seeds)
PEPPER–Shishito (Japanese non hot pepper)-AFN (plants) or KS(seeds)
SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI–Costata Romanesco (best tasting zuke around)-BH (seeds)
WINTER SQUASH- Galeux d’ Eyesines and Red Warty Thing (that’s what it’s called!)-BH (seeds)
EGGPLANT-Fairy Tale (best sweet, no bitter taste and soft skin eggplant I’ve tasted)-AFN (plants) or TS (seeds)
CUCUMBERS–Parisian Pickling, De Bourbonne, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kheera, Armenian and Parade– I grow cukes for either taste or which variety is best for different types of pickles-all BH (seeds) except Parade-SSE (seeds)
CORN-not this year (I’ll get it from our Farmers Market)
LETTUCES–Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-CG (seeds)
CARROTS-Purple Haze CG (seeds) and Scarlet Nantes-SSE (seeds)
BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-BH (seeds)
CHARD-5 Color Silverbeet-SSE (seeds) and Argentata Swiss Chard-JSKG (seeds)
PEAS-Dwarf Sugar Gray-SSE, Oregon Spring II-BH (seeds)
2011 GIANT PUMPKINS & GIANT VEGGIE LIST
2010 GIANT PUMPKINS–all came from private growers
895 Grande 08 (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)
421 Cabossel (895 Grande x self )
1046 Grande 10 (901 Hunt x 1385 Jutras)
GIANT GREEN SQUASH–all came from private grower
903 Noel 07 (848 McKenzie x self)
GIANT MARROW (like giant Zucchini)-all came from private growers
206.5 Wursten 09 or 75.4 Wursten 09
43 Cabossel 10
7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open)-private grower
5.416 N, Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x open)-private grower
Big Zac/TT (seeds)
GIANT PEAR GOURD–private grower
89 Scherber 10
LONG GOURD–private grower
96″ Scherber 10
Titan-SSE, BH (seeds)
2011 EDIBLE FLOWER LIST
Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:
Calendula-Orange King-BH (seeds)
Lavender (in existing different area)
Marigold-Lemon Gem-TS (seeds) this is the only edible marigold
Nasturtiums-Tip Top -CG (seeds)-prettiest nasturiums
Pansies-get them anywhere
Violas-get them anywhere
Roses (in different existing area)
Black Oil Seed sunflower (for the birds!)-WCS (seeds)
2011 HERBS-Following is a list of herbs that will be planted or exist on the property
Basil-new SHGH (plants)
Lime Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Thai Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Dill-usually self seeds
My GIANT (competition) VEGGIES for 2011
I’ve expanded my giant varieties this year, adding to my existing list from last year. It’s a obsession inside an obsession! It’s just that it is so much fun to see how BIG some of these varieties can grow. Last year, Kong, my giant pumpkin grew at it’s peak, 18 lbs a day. That’s incredible and one can actually see the difference from morning to evening in growth. This year I also plan to get one of those time lapse cameras that I will set up in the pumpkin patch to see them growing! The big boys who grow giant pumpkins tell me theirs put on 30-40 lbs a day. Imagine! I’m going to plant the same 895 Grande giant pumpkin seed that gave me the New Mexico State Record in 2010, its offspring (mine)-421 Cabossel, and one more-1046 Grande. I like Grande as a grower and his seed did so well here for me in Santa Fe. I think it’s because he’s a grower out of Colorado and we have similar growing conditions and soil.
New varieties for 2011 include giant green squash (looks like green pumpkin), giant green pear gourd (this one was from an 89 lb gourd that looks like a giant pear) and long gourd (this one came from a 96 inch long skinny gourd-I’m going to have to build a tall trellis)!
Also this year I’m going to get serious about growing the giant marrow (last year I sort of ignored it till it started getting big and it was one of the most fun things to see grow) and of course I’ll be trying to break into the 3-4 lb tomato range and I always love my Titan sunflowers (I call them the guardian angels of the garden) with their 20-24 inch heads. It’s going to be an ambitious year and I can’t wait!! Last year was a tough year with so many personal losses but this year feels different! I can’t wait!
2011 GIANT PUMPKINS
895 Grande 08 (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)
421 Cabossel (895 Grande x self )
1046 Grande 10 (901 Hunt x 1385 Jutras)
2011 GIANT GREEN SQUASH
903 Noel 07 (848 McKenzie x self)
GIANT MARROW (like giant Zucchini)
206.5 Wursten 09 or 75.4 Wursten 09
43 Cabossel 10
7.18 N. Harp 09n (5.58 Timm x open)
5.416 N, Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x open)
Big Zac (fr Totally Tomato)
GIANT PEAR GOURD
89 Scherber 10
96″ Scherber 10
Here is my veggie list from last year. I thought it important to go through it and tell you what I will and won’t grow again and why before I forget. Look at my SEED LIST PAGE next week (as it could always change) to see exactly what I am growing in 2011
San Marzano-red plum tomato-YES-I will try again even though ALL 4 died. I hear too many good things about this tomato
Striped German-bicolor tomato-YES-I WILL grow it again for my third straight year-One of my favorites even though it takes a little longer to develop
Black Cherry–YES– I will grow this for my third straight year-another favorite
Paul Robeson-black tomato-YES-A Farmers Market favorite although I prefer others.
Cherokee Purple-purple tomato-NO-I missed this one last year but it is wonderful. As good as Brandywine.
Cherokee Chocolate–YES-Just as good as Cherokee purple but a little brownish color. I will choose between one of the Cherokees due to space.
Prudens Purple-purple tomato-NO-not as good as the Cherokees nor as prolific but planted it because it was suppose to ripen sooner-not true for me last year.
Black Krim-black tomato-NO I didn’t do this one last year but had it in the lineup because it is only 69 days to ripen. Never had good luck in previous years.
Pantano Romanesco-red classic tomato-YES-wonderful tomato from Italy
Great White–NO– novelty-lost both plants
Costoluto Genovese-red tomato-YES fantastic looking-fluted and great taste
Goldsman Italian American-large red plum-YES even though I lost 3 out of 4, and it took forever to ripen, it makes the BEST tasting tomato sauce I’ve ever made
Aunt Ruby’s German Green–NO-Novelty-lost 2 plants
Gold Medal-bicolor tomato-MAYBE-took longer to ripen than Striped German but great taste
TOMATOES-HYBRID-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon Boy–MAYBE-didn’t get any in last year but it is a sweet terrific tomato
Park’s Beefy Boy-red tomato-70 days-YES-only 70 days and great taste
Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-NO-kinda like a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes but super sweet.Want to try something different.
Original Goliath-red tomato-NO– nice size, early ripener but can’t remember the flavor
Big Zac-red/80 days-YES-takes the longest to ripen but taste is great and chance to grow a huge one.
2010 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS-Rattlesnake-YES-great tasting pole bean over my arbor and Tavera-NO average tasting bush bean
PEPPER-Shishito-YES-I love these-not hot but full of flavor
SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI-Costata Romanesco –YES wonderful taste and Lungo Bianco-NO-it was good and more prolific than Romanesco but not as flavorful. Sticking to one kind this year.
SUMMER SQUASH-SCALLOPED-Yellow Custard and Bennings Green Tint-NO on both. I’m only growing Costata Romanesco
WINTER SQUASH-Marina di Chioggia–NO-powdery mildew problem and not many squashes and Galeux d’Eyesines–YES-prolific-great taste-3rd yr.
EGGPLANT-Little Fairy-YES-prolific tender skin and great taste, third year in a row. Thai Yellow Egg–NO-took all season to develop and then froze at first frost. What a disappointment.
CUCUMBERS-Parisian, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kera, and Parade–YES TO ALL-Third straight season
CORN-not sure if I’m growing. Might just pick it up at Farmers Market
LETTUCES-from COOK’S GARDEN-Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-YES
SPINACH-from COOK’S GARDEN-Indian Summer and Double Choice-NO-will look for bigger leaf variety.Too puny.
CARROTS-from COOK’S GARDEN-Kaleidoscope (mix of red, purple, orange and yellow)-NO want only orange and purple ones this year.
BROCCOLI-Brocolli Romanesco-NO–takes too long to develop.
BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-YES
CHARD-5 Color Silverbeet–YES TO ANY CHARD
PEAS-DWARF SUGAR, OREGON SPRING II–YES
2010 GIANT PUMPKINS
895 Grande (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)-YES-grew the 2010 NM State Record Pumpkin-421 lbs + 3 other new ones
GIANT MARROW (like a giant Zucchini)
206.5 Wursten 09–YES–didn’t grow last year but will this year
75.4 Wursten 09–YES–grew the 2010 NM State Record-43 lbs
7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open) YES–grew a 2 lb 11 oz tomato in 2010
5.416 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x open–YES
Big Zac (from Totally Tomato)-YES