Produce for sale from the Tomato Lady-Friday August 21

Jannine's bean tee pee

Hi folks.  I know many of you locals follow my blog. I have 125 tomato plants and 3o heirloom varieties this year.  For some unknown reason my tomatoes are taking their time turning red (or orange or striped or black or purple). This is weird as I would have thought that they would all be kicking ass by now and I would be at the Farmers Market. The weather has been nice and warm, the rain wonderful and the tomatoes look great-just still green. Ah mother nature! Whata ya going do? I’ve learned years ago to just surrender to her. So…

Since I don’t have enough tomatoes ready (I need boxes and boxes of them) for the Farmer’s Market this Saturday, I do have some heirloom tomatoes to sell plus I have LOTS of other heirloom veggies—Shishito peppers, wonderful varieties of french and Italian green beans—Rattlesnake beans, Italian Romano beans, Trionfo Violetto beans, Royal Burgundy beans and some french filets, tasty sweet cucumbers and fantastic huge ruby red chard that melts in your mouth when steamed and drizzled with a fine balsamic vinaigrette.

I will be selling them from 2 -4 pm this Friday August 21 at our studio:

Liquid Light Glass
926 Baca Street #3
Santa Fe, NM
Call me if you have questions. 660-4986

I will be starting at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market Saturday August 29th from 7 am-1 pm. But don’t be late as I will sell out probably by 11 am. You can find me inside the building-just look for my ‘TOMATO LADY’ SIGN above my booth.

So come catch up with me and get some fantastic veggies for yourself this Friday without the parking hassles! Hope to see you here at the studio!

2014 garden-then and now

long shot of garden

2014 Tomato Season in Santa Fe

closeup of virginia sweet

My all time favorite-an heirloom-a ‘Virginia Sweet’ tomato-a super sweet tomato worth the wait and weight.

Every year I try to get to the Farmers Market EARLY to sell tomatoes. Early to me would be end of July. Actually I would be delighted to even get to the market the first week of August. But no. Never. It’s not me I swear-I do my job. I get the tomato plants in the ground early enough. It’s THE WEATHER! Every year someone will ask me at the market how come they:

1. Don’t have any tomatoes or

2. Only have lots of green ones.

This year it’s the later because of THE WEATHER. So let me explain-No. 1 and No. 2 above and how both relate to THE WEATHER. This year we didn’t have a super hot June which was great because our tomato blossoms were able to set fruit in June. (If it’s really hot in June, then we experience blossom drop. Tomato blossoms won’t set fruit in temperatures 92°F and hotter.  They would have all dropped off all their little blossoms in our stinking hot Junes – hence no fruit and they grow more blossoms and set fruit up in July when it’s cooler but that puts us behind-see no. 1.)  But that’s not the case this year.

So on to no.2-we got LOTS of fruit now but they are mostly still green so we are still behind. Why? THE WEATHER! Now I don’t mean to pass the buck here as they say, but it’s true. July and now August this year has been delightfully cool and rainy. Daytime temperatures are cooler and nighttime temperatures are definitely cooler. Just like the old days with a real monsoon season. Now those of you new to the area (meaning you have moved here sometime in the last 12 years) have not really experienced the monsoon season, so enjoy it. Who knows when we will get another since we’ve been in drought like conditions the last 12 years.

Ok, back to why it’s THE WEATHER’S FAULT! So what’s happen is we have lots of green fruit but now we need some WARM SUNNY days to ripen the fruit. Even though the fruit can’t tolerate too hot of weather when trying to set fruit, after it’s set, they need warm sunny days to ripen up. All we’ve been mostly experiencing is very cool weather. Ah, what are we gonna do? It’s either too hot when they set blossoms or too cool to ripen.  Both scenarios make for a very late tomato season. Ah crumba!  I hope we get the warm days soon before fall comes as I have a ton of tomatoes on the vines! I sometimes wonder why I even bother and then I remember! I love tomatoes! I love trying new varieties! I’m a tomato addict!

Tomato Lady will return to SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday!

first tomatoes

Here are some of my tomatoes of the 2014 season. I’ll be back at the SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday, August 16th from 7-12 noon inside the building. Just look up high (above my booth) for my Tomato Lady sign to find me. I don’t have a ton of tomatoes yet and so they should go pretty quick and then I’ll be out but have many other items to sell like rhubarb, green and purple beans, Shishito peppers, various eggplants including the infamous fairytale eggplant and maybe some Kale. Hopefully next week I will have more!

But if you want tomatoes-come early!

Here they come-FIRST TOMATOES!



Ok, I have something to confess – I’M TOMATO ADDICT!! I need my fix! Here are the first organic tomatoes of  2014 season. I got 5 Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes during the last week of June. That is the earliest I have ever gotten tomatoes ready to eat. Sungolds are one of the few hybrid tomatoes I grow because they are soo sweet and Black Cherry tomatoes are an heirloom tomato that is fantastic as well with it’s sweet earthy flavor. I have gotten more little tomatoes since then that are eagerly eaten-sometimes right off the vine – if I can’t wait. I HAVEN’T HAD A TOMATO SINCE LAST OCTOBER! I never eat the ones in the restaurants or buy any from a grocery store-I just patiently wait until my tomatoes get ripe during the tomato season. It’s been about 9 months since I ate a real tomato!


Here is a mini Caprese without the basil. Of course I had to go get some fresh mozzarella to go with those first tomatoes! I don’t have any big Italian basil yet to add to my Caprese but gobbled them up with the mozarella and 18 yr old balsamic vinegar and olive oil over them.  The sweetness was divine!

jc baby pic2_FB


And to think I HATED tomatoes as a kid – couldn’t stand those slimy seeds! My how things change through the years! Of course all I ever got were those store-bought tasteless tomatoes. It wasn’t until I had a REAL tomato ripened on the vine that I became a tomato addict!

Why else have a vegetable garden in the summer if not for the tomatoes!

Tomato Lady of Santa Fe returns to the Farmers Market this Saturday August 25, 2012

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 25, I am returning to the Santa Fe Farmers Market as ‘The Tomato Lady’. At this time I have over 15 varieties of organically grown heirloom tomatoes from luscious black tomatoes like Purple Cherokee, supersweet yellow Virginia Sweets to Italian Red Costoluto Genevese and many, many more . I have over 50 plants and 25 varieties that will ripen as we go through the season. They are beautiful. They are gorgeous! And they taste wonderful! Magnifico!

I also have Shishito peppers, Costata Romanesco zucchini and Fairy eggplants that I will sell as well. Next week I will add some sunflowers out of my sunflower forest and Emerite French filet beans. I’ll be inside the building-look for ‘The Tomato Lady’ sign above my booth. Hours are 7am-noon. Hope to see you there!

When Will I Plant Tomatoes?

I think I’m going to start planting tomatoes by the weekend.  I won’t get all of them in but this will be the EARLIEST I have ever planted here in Santa Fe. I checked the weather for the next 10 days and no freezing weather is projected. Of course it’s always a crap shoot here in NM but I think the odds might be in our favor this year. I will still put them in wall of waters (WOWs) because they grow so much faster in them than without them and if we get a freeze, they offer lots of protection.  But I will hold off on the eggplants and peppers for a little while longer cause they want HEAT. I checked the weather for the next 10 days and no freezing weather is projected. I’m not recommending anyone plant before our last freeze date of May 15th, just letting you know what I’m thinking. Unbelievably beautiful weather-so different then last year’s-no wind, no freezing weather-just fabulous! Time to spend lots of time in the vegetable garden!

‘The Tomato Lady’ returns to Santa Fe Farmers Market this Saturday, Aug 20

Here are some of the tomatoes I’ll be bringing to the Santa Fe Farmers Market

FINALLY, I will arrive at the Farmers market this Saturday, Aug 20 in the SAME LOCATION INSIDE THE BUILDING not outside. (COME INSIDE the BUILDING BY THE 2ND ENTRY WHEN YOU WALK DOWN MAIN OUTSIDE AISLE). I won’t have as many tomatoes YET as I would like so if you want some incredible, organically grown, heirloom tomatoes, you better come EARLY as I anticipate SELLOUT by 9:30am even though the market stays open till 12:30. Of course not all of them ripen at the same time so you will have a variety of tomatoes to pick from each week. Over 25 heirloom tomato varieties on 70 plants this year! This is the beginning-it will only get better as each week more and more tomatoes will ripen. I will also have other heirloom veggies there – Shishito peppers, a few Pepperoncini peppers, incredibly sweet, never bitter Fairy eggplants, fantastic nutty flavored Rattlesnake beans, wonderful thin French filet beans, Emerite, but mostly tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! Hope to see your happy faces soon!


Tomatoes in wall of waters that are ready to take off-2010

Hopefully we can plant tomatoes in the garden in the month of May. The last average frost date is May 15th.  I like to try to get them in early every spring if possible. I don’t think it will happen this year with these cold late spring nights. Here are some of my secrets to growing great tomatoes.

-If growing from seedlings or nursery starts, harden plants off for a couple of days before transplanting them outside in the ground so they don’t go into shock.

-Before planting, amend the soil in each hole before planting. Add lots of compost, yum-yum mix, a small handful of mushroom compost, 1 tablespoon Epsom salt-the bath type (adds magnesium) and 1 tablespoon dry milk (adds calcium and wards off some fungal diseases). Mix up with soil in bottom of hole.

Pinch off lower leaves on the tomatoes and plant tomatoes as deep as possible. Don’t worry about if it leggy, it will grow roots along buried stem and become stronger.

-Don’t rush to plant if still cold at night outside. Tomatoes don’t like to be cold. If you do plant early, put a ‘wall of water’ around the plant IN THE MORNING so it has time to heat up the water and tomatoes by evening. Wall of waters protect down to 28°F. Place a 5-gallon bucket upside down over top of tomato plant and put the wall of water over the bucket. That way is can hold up the wall of waters while you fill each cell with water. Then take off bucket and the wall of water will hold itself up. I use bamboo stakes inside the edge of the wall of water so the walls lean on them to help keep them open as they can blow over when winds are high.

-If leaves turn purple underneath, it means the ground is too cold and the plant can’t take up the available phosphorus in the soil. Sprinkle rock phosphate around base of plant and water in to help them turn green again.

-Make a large well around each tomato so water stays close to root zone. If you have a drip line, put it in well now around base of plant.

-Add water and THRIVE AND SEAWEED FERTILIZER in a bucket and water well when you FIRST plant outside but NOT fertilizer.

Tomato in cage, branches trimmed off the ground, in concrete reinforcement cage with straw in well and supported by green ‘t-post’ that cage is tied up to

-In June AFTER THE SOIL HAS WARMED, add straw around well to keep moisture level even. This will help keep the water from evaporating and will keep the water from splashing soil on them. Splashing soil on tomatoes can allow soil borne viruses to get into plant.

-Use bamboo stakes and tie up plant. Change out to bigger stakes as plants grow. Cage plants as they grow or tie to tall stake. I use 5’ green t-posts for stakes or make cages out of concrete reinforcement wire.

-After plants have been transplanted for about 2 weeks, FERTILIZE with FISH EMULSION and SEAWEED. This should be in early June. Fertilize again in July (2-3 times during the season). Too much fertilizer makes lots of leaves but will not produce as many tomatoes.

-Train tomato plant to one or two stems. Allowing multiple stems promotes more green growth but takes away from fruit production.

-Pinch off suckers. They grow between the main vine and side branches. They take energy away from the fruit. Do not pinch off blossoms.

-Cut off or tie up any branches that touch ground. Tomatoes can get soil borne diseases from touching ground.

-If using one of my wire cages, I use a small 3’ t-post to tie my cage up to it, as plant gets bigger. This really helps to prevent the plants from blowing over when they get top heavy.

-Water consistently throughout season. The main reason tomatoes get cracks is uneven watering. The most efficient method of watering is by a drip system.

-Use ‘Serenade’ as a foliar spray for some soil borne diseases like Early Blight. It is best used as a preventative. Spray every two weeks or at first sign of disease. It is a made from a soil microbe and is organic. Aqua Fria Nursery carries it.

-Use ‘Companion’ as a drench around base of plant to help keep fungal diseases away. It is made from another soil microbe and is organic. You can Google it, as you must buy it online.

-If you do get some diseased branches, cut off branches with clean scissors. Disinfect scissors between plants with alcohol or a 10 % bleach solution. Take out severely diseased plants and throw in trash, not compost pile.

Note: If you are a smoker, wash hands before handling tomatoes-you can pass a virus called tobacco mosaic.

Tomato seeds planted inside-March 21

Bleaching pots before use

drying on an OLD towel

Last evening I planted my tomato seeds-both heirloom and hybrid seeds. I brought out and set up the light boxes and heating mats last week. Before planting my seeds, I always clean the little pots with some bleach water that I use for starting tomato seedlings. It’s important to disinfect the pots because you don’t want your plants to pick up any soil borne diseases. I use about a 10%  bleach to water ratio.  I use the kitchen sink and try to not get dirt everywhere from the used pots. The trick is to convince your partner that it is ok! Just tell them you are disinfecting the sinks out (which is true)! I picked up the seed starting soil-Metro mix 300 from Agua Fria Nursery last week. It comes in a big bag but you will be planting up into larger containers in a few days after the second set of true leaves appear and besides if you have any left over, you can use it for next year. I’ve bought many seed starting soil mixes (usually at the big box stores) and hate the way the water rolls off of the soil when you first go to use it. With this soil mix (Metro Mix 300) I just plant the tomato seeds about 1/4 inch deep and water it all at once. It saves time and anything that saves time I like!

Metro Mix 300

After I water the seeds, I put them under my lights and on top of a heating mat which is great for warming the soil for the seeds to germinate. I’m starting the tomatoes later this year because last year I started the first week of March and they got too big-about 3-4 feet tall because I couldn’t put them out with the cold spring we had.  This year I’m hoping to get them transplanted into the garden around mid April (with protection) weather permitting. Why do I think I might be able to get them in early this year? We are in a La Nina which generally means warmer weather in spring but less rain. By planting them later if I have to, they shouldn’t be as big as last year.

seeds on heat mat

Master Gardener Tomato Disease Sheet

Hey Master Gardener Interns! I want to let you know you all were awesome with some great questions and suggestions. I really enjoyed the classes. I thought I’d put it in my post below so others can read it as well as the pdf here TOMATO DISEASES in case some of you didn’t get one.  (It’s easier to print off the pdf than the post). This is not a complete list of tomato diseases in New Mexico but some of the most common. Also the HERB SHEET is two posts back for you to get.


Most tomatoes are susceptible to Early Blight which usually develops in early summer, after heavy rains or when it is humid and warm.
SYMPTOMS: Leaves at the base of the plant near the ground develop dry looking, irregularly shaped brown patches surrounded by concentric
rings. The best prevention is prune off the affected leaves as soon as you see them. I prune off all branches and leaves within 18 inches of the ground to try to prevent this as it is a soilborne disease. Early Blight overwinters in the soil. Remove affected plants and clean up fall garden debris as it overwinters in plant residue. Wet weather increase likelihood of getting this disease.
CONTROL: Protectant fungicides-Copper or sulpher can prevent further development of it, Green Cure (potassium bicarbonate), and Serenade (QST 713 strain of Bacillus subtilis), a biofungicide helps more to prevent
disease and is not a cure. Also spacing plants farther apart for good air circulation may help. Good sanitation and disposal of plants at end of season are important.


Septoria leaf spot can occur and any stage of a tomato plant development especially after heavy rains or when it is wet and warm. Spores are spread by windburn rain, insects, splashing rain
SYMPTOMS: It’s usually observed first on the lower leaves. Leaves that are heavily infected have small circular brown spots, turn yellow, dry up and drop off. The fungus is not soil inhabitant but can persist from one season to the next if the debris from the diseased plant is not removed and ends up in the soil.
CONTROL: Copper fungicides, Green Cure (potassium bicarbonate), Serenade (QST 713 strain of Bacillus subtilis), a biofungicide, helps more to prevent disease.

Bacterial Wilt

Soil borne and waterborne pathogens that causes leaves to wilt in day only to recover at night and then complete sudden wilting of plant.
TEST: Cut a four inch long section from low down on the stem and suspend this cutting in a jar of water. If a cloudy, milky ooze comes out, this in an indication of bacterial wilt. Dried leaves may remain green.
CONTROL: Dispose of plants. Plant in different location. 3-4 year rotation
of crops

Transmitted by the beet leafhopper which build up high numbers on tumbleweeds and survive the winters on mustard plants.
SYMPTOMS: upward curling leaves that become thick, stiff and twisted. May stay green or become yellow with purple veins, plants become stunted. Plant next to them may be virus free.
CONTROL: Provide partial shade is beneficial as leafhoppers prefer to eat in the sun. Possibly use row cover/shade cloth to cover plants.

Tomato Spotted Wilt in tomato

Tomato Spotted Wilt


This virus is caused by thrips that transmit the virus from infected tomato plants to other healthy tomato plants.

SYMPTOMS: Two symptoms are dominant- young leaves turn bronze and develop small brown spots. Second, the leaves wilt and tips die-back. Infected plants produce poor quality fruit and less yield. Pull plants and dispose of them.
CONTROL: Elimination difficult. Using reflective mulches may help reduce
infection, physical barriers like covering plant with row cover when it is young.

Hard brown or black leathery patches on the blossom ends of ripening tomatoes indicate blossom-end rot. It is more common in large fruited varieties. This is generally caused by a calcium deficiency at fruit set or uneven watering and is prevented by planting tomatoes in compost enriched soil and mulched with straw to keep moisture levels more constant. I put a tablespoon or two of dry milk in the bottom of each hole when first planting tomatoes. In the fall dig in some gypsum which is a good source of calcium without raising the ph of the soil here in Santa Fe.

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)



*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)

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/Brandywine/AFN (plants)

*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’


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)


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

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

Titan-SSE, BH (seeds)

Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:


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)
Lemon Thyme-exists
Dill-usually self seeds
Marjoram-new-SFGH (plants)

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes From Seeds

The Heirloom Tomato by Amy Goldman

I just read an article online by Mother Earth News,  56 Heirloom Tomatoes Rated Excellent for Flavor‘ that lists tomatoes from Amy Goldman‘s book, ‘The Heirloom Tomato: from Garden to Table’ which I got last year.  The article lists and describes 56 excellent heirloom tomatoes from her book. After reading this excellent article, if you want to know more, her book- The Heirloom Tomato: from Garden to Tableis a must have for those of us who want to grow heirloom tomatoes from seeds and get some idea of what we are growing. It’s a beautiful book with wonderful photos of many heirloom tomatoes that Amy has rated for flavor, texture, color, type, history, where you can get the seeds, etc. I use it to help me decide which heirloom tomatoes to try each year now.

Interior of 'Gold Medal' Tomato

Last year, my favorite tomato from her book that I tried was Gold Medal, a bi-colored (red and yellow interior) tomato that took most of the season to ripen but was worth the wait. Check out the picture on the right to see the beautiful interior of these tomatoes. The plants were loaded and these beefstake type of tomatoes (about 1 lb) are firm, beautiful, and sweet with low acid.  I started these inside under a light box around the first week of March (10 weeks before our first frost free day-May 15) but I try to sneak my tomatoes out early (third week of April inside Wall of Waters) which is why I grow them 10 weeks instead of the customary 8 weeks for tomatoes. I will explain more on growing tomatoes from seeds in future posts as we get closer to planting time. You can buy the seeds at Baker Heirloom Seeds (