March 8, 2013

Notes from Papa's Garden Journal - Growing Tomatoes

My dad grew the most awesome veggies. He kept a gardening journal and I inherited it when he died several years ago. I ran across the journal the other day and I had forgotten how many good tips were in there. In the next few weeks, I want to share some of them with you.  

This week we will talk about Tomatoes. Papa, as the grandchildren called him, tried all sorts of Tomatoes and here are some of his notes about his favorite varieties:
His all time favorite was Early Girl. Dad planted it every year and as it's name implies, he always got the first tomatoes on this plant. this was also the one he took suckers from for late fall crop.
Celebrity- Here's what he said about it, "set 6 plants next to Early Girl on 4-27. Both were from plants started from seed indoors on 3-10. Plenty of fruit on both varieties on 7-6. 7-18 giving away tomatoes to anyone who needs them!"
Parks Whopper: (I wonder if this one is still available) He planted it in 2000 and got "bunches" of tomatoes according to his journal.

One way he kept us in fresh tomatoes from early summer to late fall (sometimes as late as Christmas) was by rooting some of the sucker branches from the ones planted in the spring, planting them in the garden in mid-summer and these would produce fruit until frost. The tomatoes that still had green fruit on them when the first hard frost was predicted would be pulled up by the roots and the whole vine hung upside down in the barn. We would pick ripe tomatoes off them until Christmas!

Another way to save those green tomatoes is to wrap each one in newspaper, store them in a box in a dark closet and check them weekly for ripe ones. I’ve done this myself and had fresh tomatoes way into winter.

Next week I'll share his notes on growing carrots. We always had carrots way into January from the seeds he planted the pervious year.



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