Tomato plants getting BIG

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.

‘Big Zac’ Giant Tomato Megablossoms

Single flower on left and 2 blossoms joined to create the megablossom on the right

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.

2 lbs. 11.4 oz

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.

Giant Vegetables Coming SOON!

Me with a giant marrow growing in 2010

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!

Don’t Plant Tomatoes Outside Yet-Cold Weather Forecasted AGAIN

Weather forecast April 27-May 1

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..

Mycorrhizal products here in Santa Fe

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

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
SFGHSanta Fe Greenhouse (plants)-2904 Rufina Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-473-2700
BHBaker Heirloom (seeds)
SSESeed Saver Exchange (seeds)
TSTerritorial Seeds
JSKGJohn Scheepers Kitchen Garden
KSKitazawa Seed (seeds)
WCSWest Coast Seeds (seeds)
CGCooks Garden (seeds)
TFTomato Fest (seeds)
TGTomato Growers (seeds)
TTTotally Tomatoes (seeds)

2011 TOMATOES

HEIRLOOMS

PLUM STYLE
*AG/San Marzano-red plum/80 days/AFN (plants) or BH, SSE, (seeds)

BI-COLOR
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)

RED
*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/Brandywine/AFN (plants)

CHERRY TOMATOES
*AG/Black Cherry-black/75 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Green Grape-green/AFN (plants) or SSE (seeds)

HYBRIDS-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon BoyAFN (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

BEANSRattlesnake bean snap OG (remarkably flavored pole bean)-SSE (seeds)

PEPPERShishito (Japanese non hot pepper)-AFN (plants) or KS(seeds)

SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINICostata 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)

CUCUMBERSParisian 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)

SPINACH–Bloomsdale-CG (seeds)

CARROTS-Purple Haze CG (seeds) and Scarlet Nantes-SSE (seeds)

ARUGULA-Apollo-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 PUMPKINSall 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 SQUASHall 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

GIANT TOMATOES
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 GOURDprivate grower
89 Scherber 10

LONG GOURDprivate grower
96″ Scherber 10

GIANT SUNFLOWERS
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:

Borage

Calendula-Orange King-BH (seeds)

Chives-AFN (plants)

Cilantro-AFN (plants)

Dill-AFN (plants)

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)
Oregano-exists
Thyme-exists
Lemon Thyme-exists
Chives-exists
Dill-usually self seeds
Marjoram-new-SFGH (plants)
Mint-exists
Sage-exists
Lavender-exists

New GIANT VEGETABLES To Grow in 2011

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

GIANT TOMATOES
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

LONG GOURD
96″ Scherber 10

GIANT SUNFLOWERS
Titan