We live in the city which can be very convenient. Who wouldn’t want to be 5 minutes from downtown dining, professional sports, museums and theatre? Not to mention our proximity to Lake Michigan… I can walk there in ten minutes! But what city dwelling lacks is gardening space, and for a gardener that can be kind of annoying.
I am learning to work with my space. And I’m learning restraint. It’s time to order tomato seeds, and while I am drooling over the gorgeous photos in the seed catalogs, I’m reminding myself that my garden can only handle 4-6 tomato plants. So don’t go ordering all those tomato seeds! It’s hard to resist the countless varieties that all hold their own promises of flavor, texture and beauty. I want them all.
Here’s the plan for 2011, which is (as always when it comes to gardening) subject to change at any time. I will put four plants into my raised vegetable bed as I did last year. It’s easy to access the plants on the corners of the raised bed. I will put two additional plants in nearby pots, and hope for the best. I’ve planted in pots before with mixed results. The key is consistent watering. Same thing with the Topsy Turvy, but I’m not going there this year.
These descriptions are straight off the websites from which I’ve purchased the seeds.
Italian Heirloom (Seed Savers Exchange)
Outstanding heirloom from Italy. Plants are loaded with red fruits weighing over a pound. One of the most productive varieties we have grown at Heritage Farm. Excellent full tomato flavor. Ideal for slicing and canning—very little waste and easy to peel. Indeterminate, 70-80 days from transplant.
Nebraska Wedding (Seed Savers Exchange)
The “ultimate love apple” according to Amy Goldman’s colorful story in The Heirloom Tomato. Nebraskan brides reportedly still receive these seeds as a wedding gift. Listed in the 1983 SSE Yearbook by Dorothy Beiswenger of Crookston, Minnesota. Reliable producer of stunning 4″ round fruits with glowing orange skin. Well-balanced flavor. Plants typically grow less than 36″ tall, but benefit from staking. Determinate, 85-90 days from transplant.
Tommy Toe (Seed Savers Exchange)
Exceptionally vigorous plants yield hundreds of large red cherry tomatoes throughout the season. The superb flavor won it top billing over 100 other varieties in an Australian taste test. Indeterminate, 70 days from transplant.
Wisconsin 55 OG (Seed Savers Exchange)
Bred by JC Walker at the University of Wisconsin in the 1940s. Excellent all-purpose tomato, great for canning. Does best on rich soils. Remembered as one of the best home and market tomatoes in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant.
Green Zebra (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
One of my favorite tomatoes. Beautiful chartreuse with deep lime-green stripes, very attractive. Flesh is bright green and very rich tasting, sweet with a sharp bite to it, (just too good to describe!). A favorite tomato of many high class chefs, specialty markets and home gardeners. Yield is excellent. The most striking tomato in our catalog, a real beauty. Around 3 ounces each.
Chocolate Stripes (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
NEW! One of the most amazing tomatoes we have ever grown. For both color and taste this variety excels. Fruit is deep reddish-brown inside,
the outside is covered with beautiful orange and lime colored
stripes. One of the most unique looking tomatoes we have ever tried. It is very sweet and yet has a full-rich flavor, and this is the reason this tomato places very high in taste tests. A favorite here with the staff at Baker Creek. Fruit is medium to large and are of a slightly flattened globe shape.
Wow! Sounds like a delicious summer is ahead. These tomato descriptions make my mouth water. I simply can’t wait for that first taste of a garden tomato.