Hi I returned last Saturday to the Santa Fe Farmers Market with a few boxes. Starting tomorrow (Sat Sept 9), I will be there from 7 am-1 pm throughout the rest of the tomato season. The tomatoes are starting to come in now after a long wait. Don’t wait too long to come to my booth as I will run out before the end of the market. I am located INSIDE THE BUILDING. Just look UP for my ‘Tomato Lady’ sign above my booth. The market people may be moving me around a little inside the building so be sure to look around to see the sign. I have many new great varieties and of course my favorites I bring like Paul Robeson, Purple Cherokee, Sun Gold, Costuluto Genevese, Pink Berkley Tie Dye and more. Over 20 varieties grown this season from all over the world. And of course I will have some Shishito peppers, and small eggplants as well. This is my last season at the market so be sure to come by and say hi and pick up a few.
When the temperature outside is 92°F or hotter, the tomatoes will drop their flowers (blossoms) and will not set any fruit. This is called Tomato Blossom Drop and is normal for a tomato to do. Basically they self-abort their blossoms. Why? Because they want to survive. They will continue to produce new blossoms and once the temperatures is BELOW 92°F, they will start to set fruit from the blossoms.
What can we do to prevent blossom drop? Nothing. We really are at the hands of mother nature. The funny thing is once they do pollinate (tomatoes are self-pollinating and wind-pollinated and don’t need pollinators) and they produce baby fruit, they do fine when it’s hot-it’s just while they are trying to set fruit that the temperature is critical. There is also a low temperature where they will drop the blossoms, but we don’t have to worry about that here.
Last year we had 3 months of intense heat with everyday being 92°F or warmer and the blossom just couldn’t set fruit. Finally when the monsoons came mid-August (which is one month later than normal), and it cooled down, they were able to set their fruit. Luckily for us we had a long fall and were able to harvest before we got a freeze. So don’t despair, they will set fruit from their blossoms when the time is right. Hopefully the monsoons will come in July. So for now, just surrender and chill out (if you can).
It has begun!
I’m going back to the Santa Fe Farmers Market this summer with my tomatoes! I have a lot of new unusual tomatoes started as well as my stable of wonderful favorites for the public.
Pictured above, the baby tomato seeds are inside the house under lights and keep warm on a germination heat mat set at 85°F. They will be transplanted this week into 2 inch pots and later this month they will be transplanted again into 4 inch pots and then finally transplanted outside in the garden in May. Plus I will take some of the plants to the Farmers Market at end of April/May to sell.
Here are my favorite vegetables going into the 2017 growing season. I may not have room for all these in the gardening but these are my favorites as of right now
VEGETABLES FOR THE TABLE-TOMATO LADY’S FAVORITES
Goldman’s Italian American-85D
Any cherry tomato
Artisan Blush Tiger
EARLY TOMATOES-52-65 days
Bella Rosa*-very firm even when ripe
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Black and Brown Boar
LATE-SEASON-80 days +
Purple Cherokee-purple tomato
Paul Robeson-dark tomato
Indigo Apple or Indigo Rose
*denotes hybrid tomato
Romano-Italian pole or bush
Tarbais-dry pole bean for French cassoulet
Chiogga-beautiful red with white stripes inside
Scarlet Nantes-orange sweet
Chantenay Red-orange very sweet
Ruby Red-gorgeous red/good flavor
Argentata-white stem-favorite in Italy-very cold hardy
Poona Kheera-best tasting ever
Lemon cucumber-never bitter
Boothsby Blonde-Bread and Butter pickles
Russian Pickling-Dill pickles
Mini Whites-sweet pickles
Rosa Bianca-big eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan
Fairytale-small, sauté or BBQ
Jimmy Nardello-red thin skin pepper for sautéing-SWEET
Shishito-Japanese small green pepper-saute-serve for tapas-NOT HOT
Poblano-use for chile relleno/MILDLY HOT
Butternut-will not attract squash bugs
Galeux D’ Eyesines
Costata Romanesco-zucchini-Favorite of Deborah Madison also
Bennings Green Tint-patty pan
Ok folks, the Tomato Lady (that’s me) has decided to teach a comprehensive course for all the tomato lovers who want to be successful at growing their own tomatoes here in the greater Santa Fe area. Interested? Read on.
TOMATO GROWING 101-Season Long Course
Do you want to learn how to grow great heirloom tomatoes organically from start to finish? Think of the money you can save by learning to grow your own heirloom tomatoes from seed. Plus you can try new varieties that are not sold in the nurseries.
These hands-on classes will emphasis learning how to grow tomatoes successfully throughout the whole season. Participants will learn how to grow tomatoes from their seeds, what starting mix to use, what soil to transplant in, how to handle the delicate seedlings when transplanting up, how to produce sturdy plants. Lighting systems will be discussed and your seedlings will stay under lights at my farm under my care until time to plant outside when you will take your plants home to plant outside in your garden.
All planting materials, seeds, soil, amendments and pots supplied while growing them at the farm. Class participants will get a workbook with printed material added at each class to help them be successful throughout the growing season. Students will get experience with actual planting to gain confidence and will come back to learn how to prune them, how to identify diseases and pests and how to control them.
Participants must sign up for all classes at once. Course payable at signup for a total of $150. Class size is limited-10 students max. This takes a commitment. No partial classes.
To register for the class is an easy two-step process:
1. Fill out the CONTACT FORM below and hit the submit button. Then to pay:
2. TO PAY: click the PAY PAL button (below the contact form). You don’t need to have a paypal account. They will process credit cards too.
Step 1: Fill out this CONTACT FORM:
Step 2: TO PAY: Purchase all 7 classes for $150 here
HERE IS A PDF OF THE SCHEDULE BELOW. PUT THIS SCHEDULE IN YOUR CALENDAR AND PRINT IT SO YOUR DON’T FORGET!
REVIEW CLASS SCHEDULE
HANDS-ON LEARNING OF HOW TO START TOMATO SEEDS/CARING OF THE YOUNG SEEDLINGS AND TRANSPLANTING UP/PREPARING SOIL IN GARDEN
Wednesday, March 22nd—10am to 12 noon
Learn how and why to plant tomato seeds/how to pick your varieties, what soil medium to use, learn about germination troubles and how to avoid them/plant your seeds
Wednesday, April 5th—10 am to 12 noon
Transplanting up to 2” pots/changing the type of soil, adding amendments for great growth and how to deal with transplant shock and learning how to maintain your plants.
Wednesday, April 19th—10 am to 12 noon
Learn about transplanting up to the next stage of growth-up to 4” pots, how to transplant to get the best sturdiest stems, additional amendments you can use and how to maintain your plants.
LEARN HOW TO TRANSPLANT THE TOMATO PLANTS OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN /LEARNING ABOUT SOIL AMENDMENTS/TAKING YOUR PLANTS HOME
Wednesday, May 10th—10 am to 12 noon
Participants will learn how to transplant their tomato plants out in the garden, how to prepare planting hole and what amendments to add when planting for better growth of tomatoes. Discussion and demo of how to use wall-of-waters and how to set them up properly. After learning how to do all this, students will take home their plants to be planted in their own gardens.
THEY’RE IN THE GROUND, NOW WHAT?
THE NEXT STEPS FOR TOMATO GROWING SUCCESS
Wednesday, June 7th—10 am to 12 noon
Participants will learn how and when to remove wall of waters, how to control leafhoppers, learn about tomato cages-what works and doesn’t work, saving water by mulching, using organic fertilizers, using row cover as protection.
Wednesday, July 12— 10 am to 12 noon
Trimming and pruning your tomato plants, the pros and cons of sucker control and how to remove them. Learn to make compost tea. Identifying beginning problems, which organic fungicides and insecticides to use as the season goes on if needed.
MAINTAINING YOUR PLANTS-PRUNING TECHNIQUES, IDENTIFYING AND CONTROLLING DISEASES AND PESTS AND HARVESTING
Wednesday, August 9th—10 am to 12 noon
Participants will learn how to maintain their plants, pruning techniques, harvest techniques, identify tomato diseases and pests and how to control them organically.
I’ll be on the Santa Fe Master Gardener’s Gardening Journal radio show with host Christine Salem twice a month now. My original show gives tips and advice about what to do in a vegetable garden each month as the gardening season progresses. This assumes you have an existing vegetable garden.
We are adding a Vegetable Gardening 101 show. It seems we have many people here in Santa Fe that either have never started a garden or haven’t had success here in our challenging garden area. Many want to be successful organically growing their own food and need help on where to start. So I will take us from the beginning through planning and building a garden, creating good soil, raised beds vs in-ground beds, starting seeds, transplanting plants, varieties that grow well for beginners and even harvesting tips. This will be more basic info but even advanced gardeners might benefit from some of the tips I’ll be giving.
Go here to listen to past radio show podcasts and pick up awesome information -https://giantveggiegardener.com/radio-show/
Here’s the rundown:
SHOW #1—my regular radio show-‘Monthly Veggie Garden Tips’
Where: airs on KSFR 101.1 on the Garden Journal
When: on the last Saturday of each month
Time: from 10:00-10:30am
Topics: What to do in our gardens for each month, problems that arise and solutions
SHOW #2—my NEW radio show-‘Veggie Gardening 101′
Where: airs on KSFR 101.1 on the Garden Journal
When: on the 2nd Saturday of each month
Time: from 10:00-10:30am
Topics: Beginning vegetable gardening from start to finish and everywhere in between.
Even though it’s not 2017 yet, many of you are now getting your seed catalogs in for 2017 season. I just updated for 2017 my favorite seed and garden catalogs. I have many favorites besides the two above. Here they are:
GOOD SEED LIST:
THESE SEED CATALOGS/COMPANIES ARE GREAT. THEY DO NOT BUY ANY SEEDS FROM SEMINIS, A SUBSIDIARY OF MONSANTO AND ARE MY FAVORITES.
Seed Saver Exchange—As a SSE member I want to support this non-profit organization who is dedicated to CONSERVING and promoting heirloom varieties of veggies, flowers, fruits and herbs. It’s catalog is wonderful with many varieties of seeds that are hard to find or have been kept in families for generations. http://www.seedsavers.org
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds—It features beautiful pictures of many varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers and fruits, some of which are very unusual and rare. It gives wonderful descriptions and history of where each variety originated. Check them out. www.rareseeds.com
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange– recommended by Baker Heirlooms as another good source for heirlooms. Has many hard to find vegetable seeds. http://www.southernexposure.com/
Wild Boar Farms—specialize in fantastic OP varieties of tomatoes. wildboarfarms.com
No catalog-go online to order.
Baia Nicchia Farm—specialize in more fantastic OP varieties of tomatoes. Created the Artisan Seed Series of tomatoes in Johnny’s Seeds catalog. Support their company for certain select seeds not available anywhere else and go to Johnny’s for the rest of their Artisan tomato seeds. Support their breeding work by buying directly from them. https://store.growartisan.com/
No catalog-go online to order.
Secret Seed Cartel—specialize in unique, unusual or rare seeds of peppers and tomatoes from Europe–secretseedcartel.com
No catalog-go online to order.
Wild Garden Seeds—My new go to catalog for wonderful greens and lettuce www.wildgardenseed.com/ (I use to think they sold in bulk only, but they sell smaller quantities as well. The packet price listed on top of catalog pages)
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds—Sells many wonderful hard to find heirloom seeds like Argentata chard and French gray shallots. http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/
Kitazawa Seed Company—Oldest seed company in America specializing in Asian vegetable seeds. http://www.kitazawaseed.com/
Irish Eyes Garden Seeds—Get your different types of potatoes here. http://irisheyesgardenseeds.com/
Native Seed/SEARCH—fabulous seeds by native people in the southwest. www.nativeseeds.org/
Hudson Valley Seed—The Hudson Valley Seed Library is an amazing source for heirloom and open-pollinated garden seeds and beautiful garden-themed contemporary art. http://hudsonvalleyseed.com/
Peaceful Valley (Grow Organic)—I get all my row cover and most of my growing supplies from here.www.groworganic.com
Johnny’s Selected Seeds—provides hybrid, heirloom and OP seeds, tools, information, and service. A general all-purpose catalog packed with more than just seeds. www.johnnyseeds.com
There are many other good seed companies that do not buy their seed stock from Seminis. To see more good seed companies that may be among your favorites, go here. If your favorite seed company is not listed, call them if you are interested.