Friday, March 29, 2013

Green and White Tomato Varieties 2013

Two of the most misunderstood tomato colours in my opinion are the sweet and mild whites and the spicy and sassy greens.

I like the whites to make a surprising white salsa and spaghetti sauce, gorgeous with bright red peppers added.

And the greens? Well, once you try the greens you are hooked. One of the best tasting tomatoes I have is green, the Thompson Classic Seedless. I can't tell you how many people have said to me, "I don't even LIKE tomatoes, but I like this one." It's true!

I wouldn't lie about tomatoes.

So maybe this year is the year to try some whites and greens. I have some exceptional ones.

Here's the list for this year, most available at my "Tomato Days" sale May18, 19, 20 here on my small farm.

Aunt Ruby's German Green
Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry
Cherokee Green
Cherokee Green pear
Cherokee Green grape
Chile Verde
Dwarf Beryl Beauty
Dwarf Green Cherry
Dorothy's Green
Emerald Apple
Emerald Cherry
Green Sausage
Green Bombs
Grandma Oliver's Green
Green Belle
Green Envy
Green Pear
Green Skin Longkeeper
Golden Green
Green Bell
Green Doctor's Frosted
Green Doctors
Grub's Mystery green
Green pineapple
Green Giant
Gruene Helarios
Green Velvet
Garden Lime
Granny Smith
Izumrudnoe Yabloko
Lime Green Salad
Malachite Box (Malakhitovaya Shkatulka)
Moldovan Green
Marz Round Green
Marz Green
Spears Tennessee Green
Summertime Green
Thompson Classic Seedless
Verde Rallado
Walthrup Green

Blonde Boar
Cream Sausage
Dwarf Mr Snow
David's Ivory Pineapple
Don's White
Douce De Picardie
Duggin White
Etoile Blanche D'Anvers
Fantom du Laos
Ghost Cherry
Great White
Halfmoon China
Ivory Pear
Ivory Egg
Micado Blanc
Old Ivory Egg
Potato Leaf White
Peche Blanche
Super Snow White
Snow White
Sutton White
Tomesol White
White Beauty
White Wonder
White Brandywine
White Cherry
White Oxheart
White Currant
White Bush

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Black/Brown/Blue Tomato Varieties 2013

Are you thinking about tomatoes the same way I am right now?
The last two weeks has been a flurry of tomato seeding, and I am not done yet.
In fact back to it in just a minute.
But first I want to let you know which black, brown and blue tomatoes you may find for sale at my farm over the long weekend in May (and beyond that date too!)
There are some fabulous tomatoes on this list. It's nice to stick with the tried and true, but also great to add some new ones that could become favourites. With me, they all become favourites.
That's why, when people ask me "what's good?" when they come to purchase their plants, my reply is pretty standard. "They all are!"
It's true!

Amazon Chocolate
Blue Match
Brad's Black Heart
Black from Tula
Black pear
Black Brandywine (Reg leaf)
Brazilian Beauty
Black Early
Black Prince
Blue Angel
Black Magic
Black Emperor
Black Russian
Black Cuban
Black Cherry
Blue Fruit
Brown Berry
Brown Flesh
Black Cherry Plum
Black Moor
Black Oxheart
Black Yum Yum
Black Tom
Black Brown Boar
Black Ethiopian
Black Plum
Black Icicle
Black Roma
Black Sea Man
Black Star
Black Bell
Black Krim
Carol Chyko's Big Paste Black
Cherokee Chocolate
Cuban Black
Chernyi Krim
JD's Special C-Tex
Cafe Bule
Chocolate pear
Cherry Brownies
Chocolate Cherry
Dwarf Wild Fred
Debarao Black
Dark Italian
Dark Brandy
Fioletovy1 Kruglyi
Gary O'Sena
Heart's Delite Black
Indigo Rose
Japanese Black Trifele
Kiss The Sky
Mr Brown
Mikado Chernyi
Noire Charbonneuse
Noire De Coseboeuf
Noire de Crimee
Osu Blue
Perth Pride
Pink Boar
Plum Black
Paul Robeson
Robeson Angolan
Russian Chocolate
Sara Black
Sleeping Lady
Sandy's Chocolate Cherry
Turk's Muts
Tendence Marron
True Black Brandywine
Tasmanian Chocolate

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bicolour Tomatoes 2013

I'm in high planting mode right now.
It's tomato time.
It still is plenty early I think as I gaze out the window at the...snow.
Yes, it's spring and it's snowy and cold. A reminder, I think, that you can't jump the gun getting your plants in. It really will be 9 more weeks until they can safely go in the ground in our neck of the woods, Southern Ontario, Canada.
I begin seeding mine now simply because I have so many to do. If I didn't, I wouldn't worry about it until April.
Today was the bicolours. Fabulous stripes, contrasting colours and amazing tastes.
Here's what I planted today...most of which you will find here at my Tomato Days sale, May 18th, 19th and 20th, from 8-4 pm. There are some really great tomatoes here and I can't wait to eat them.
What are your favourite bicolours?

Abraca Zebra
Angora potato leaf
Arkansas Marvel
Ananas Noire
AAA Sweet Solano
Big Orange Stripe
Big Rainbow
Big White Pink Stripe
Black Zebra
Bunte Pflaume
Big Zebra
Big Orange Bicolor
Burracker's Favourite
Blue Streak
Black Zebra Cherry
Brown Flesh Jumbo
Beauty Queen
Blonde Boar
Black Striped Cherry
Bicolor Cherry
Black and Brown Boar
Big Yellow Zebra
Boar's Hoof
Berkley's Tie Dye
Berkley Tie Dye Oval
Berkeley Tie Dye Pink
Candy Stripe
Chocolate Stripes
Cassady's Folly
Dad's Sunset
Dino Eggs
Darby Striped Pink Yellow
Darby Striped Yellow Green
Darby striped Red Green
Exotic Cherry
Early Yellow Stripe
Everett's Rusty Oxheart
Elberta Peach
Guernsey Island
Green Zebra Cherry
Golden Gates
German Striped Stuffer
Gogoshari Striped
Green Zebra
Georgia Streak
Gold Medal
Green Bell Pepper
Gajo De Melon
Hazel Mae
Hippie Zebra
Hillbilly Potato Leaf
Indian Stripe
Isis Candy Cherry
King Pineapple
Little Lucky Heart 
Lange Amer
Lycopersicon Melanocarpa
Lenny and Gracie's Kentucky Heirloom
Little Lucky
Mammoth German Gold
Marizol Magic
Mr Stripey
Michael Pollan
Marz Yellow Red stripe
Marvel Striped Zapotec
Marvel Striped
Northern Lights
Nature's Riddle
Oaxacan Jewel
Orange ET Zebra Striped
Orange Flesh Purple Smudge
Old Flame
Orange Russian
Old German
Piedmont Pear
Plum Tigress
Pixie Striped
Pink Fuzzy Boar
Polish Pastel
Pineapple Pig
Pink Boar
Primary Colors
Red Belly
Red Furry Hog
Red Zebra
Roughwood Golden Tiger
Ruby Gold
Rhoades Heirloom
Rainbow Cherry
Speckled Roman
Speckled Roma
Sweet Carneros Pink
Siberian Speckled
Sink's Striped
Striped Turkish
Speckled peach
Spot Yellow
Serendipity Striped
Striped Black Cherry 
Striped cavern
Striped Red Furry Hog
Striped Roman Yellow
Tiger Paw
Tiger Tom
Turkish Monastery
Trenton's Tiger
Topaz Or Huan O
Vintage Wine
Velve Striee
Val's Green Striped
Virginia Sweets
Violet Jasper
Val's Black Striped
White Zebra
Yellow Tiger Stripe
Zebra Rita

Monday, March 18, 2013

What To Do With Those Little Seedlings

I guess I like to talk about growing seeds and gardening.
Yes, I know at this point my two daughters are rolling their eyes and thinking "yes mom, we know that."
At my seeding and gardening workshop on Saturday I set aside two hours to talk about starting seeds and growing specific vegetable crops in the garden. I figured it would be plenty of time to get a whole bunch of seeds planted too.
Before people started arriving I wondered if I had enough to talk about. Would there be extended periods of silence as I floundered for words?
Well, no. We ran a bit over too.
So, in case I didn't drive the points home sufficiently, I'd like to revisit what to do with those little tomato, pepper, eggplant and brassica seeds and seedlings that we started.

The tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are all warm weather crops and will remain inside with you until risk of frost has passed.
3 week old tomato seedlings

The seeds should start to push through the soil within a week of planting and in a very warm environment will pop even sooner. Immediately pull off your plastic humidity cover when you see the shoots (or sooner if there is any sign of a fungus developing) and ensure the plants are getting as much light as possible. Florescent lights a few inches above the plants are ideal, but failing that, place them in a warm sunny south facing window. Expect they will get a bit leggy and lanky in the window. But they should still be fine.
At this point they would benefit from a little nourishment. I feed mine with a kelp fertilizer diluted with water.
In about three weeks the plants should have their first true set of leaves, which is not the first leaves you see, but the next to appear. At this point they are ready to transplant into a bigger pot. 
Tomatoes like to be transplanted, and when you do them, snip off the lowest leaves on the stem and bury the stems into the soil, right up to the top set of leaves. You can repeat this over and over again if your tomatoes are too leggy. They will just keep growing new roots up the stem. Water with your fertilizer each time you transplant and do not let the soil completely dry out between waterings.
Peppers and eggplants should be transplanted into bigger pots when they have their first true set of leaves too. Set them into the larger pot so the roots are at the same level in the soil as they were in the initial cell pack...don't bury the stem. They are not as keen on the whole transplanting thing, so put them into their final containers until you get them into the garden. Care for them as you do the tomatoes, fertilizing and watering every few weeks.
As the weather warms toward the beginning of May, you can begin the hardening off process with these plants. Only when you know there is no risk of frost, begin placing the plants out in a sheltered and sunny spot. Begin with an hour a day, bringing in at night. Work your way up to the entire day, then overnight as well when risk of frost has passed. Plant into a compost filled planting hour in your garden after the soil has warmed. In our area this is the last week of May to the beginning of June. Sink the tomatoes in as deep as possible.

The rest of the seeds we planted need to be treated in a different manner. Kales, cauliflower and collards are all cold weather crops. Again, the seed should shoot up quickly, so remove the humidity cover when this happens. Water and fertilize as you do the tomatoes, until the seedlings again have developed their true set of leaves. There is a good chance they will be lanky and fragile, especially if you are growing them in a window. 
Carefully lift the seedlings out of their initial container by slipping a fork under the entire clump of soil in the cell pack, and gently tease the roots apart. 
When I transplant mine I bury a good portion of that fragile stem, and it makes for a much stronger transplant. But if the stem snaps, that's it. Eating the little seedling is about all you can do. I haven't had much luck healing broken brassica seedlings.
Let these seedlings grow on in their larger pots until they are about 5 or 6 weeks old. Begin the process of hardening them off, but realize they can handle the cold and you should be able to get them in your garden towards the end of April. If it appears we are in for a very chilly night, I would still offer them a bit of protection...even placing a newspaper over them gently. These plants are also heavy feeders, so as you plant add a big scoop of compost to the planting hole, water them in well and you are on your way.
Remember to watch for pests, particularly cabbage loopers (worms). Cover your plants with agricultural fabric securely to prevent them from getting on your plants.
Any questions? I'm glad to help so let me know.



NEW GE FREE ZONE IN BC: On March 8, Cherryville became the 13th BC municipality to pass a resolution to ban GMO crops! Three weeks ago local volunteer group Bee SAFE, held a public meeting at the Cherryville hall to discuss how GMO crops affect other crops. “There is no co-existence possible between GMO crops and other crops – by not deciding to ban them, we're deciding to ban every other type of agriculture and to put the future of our food and our farms in the hands of corporations like Monsanto, who own patents on GMO seeds” said Huguette Allen. Congratulations Cherryville!

PETITION AGAINST GM APPLE PRESENTED IN BC LEGISLATURE: The petition against the GM apple was presented in the BC Legislature on March 12 by BC NDP Agriculture Critic Lana Popham! 5536 signatures were collected on a hardcopy petition from at least 19 communities across BC! Congratulations to BC grassroots activists and community groups on a great action! This action was part of an ongoing campaign in BC - to get updates on how you can take action in BC subscribe at 

PEI FIGHTS TO STOP THE GM FISH: PEI action group ask Premier to ban GM fish. “A coalition of PEI organizations has lobbied both Liberal and Tory governments over the years for a GM-free province,” said Leo Broderick, Islanders Say No to GM Salmon representative. “Now because of the urgency of the situation we’ve come together to focus on a GM salmon ban." You can also follow Islanders Say No to Frankenfish on facebook:



Companies want to introduce GM alfalfa into Eastern Canada this Spring!  "With a growing season approaching, the agricultural industry fears final approval of this unwanted technology could be requested any day now," said the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick and the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) in a March 14 press release "GM Alfalfa Threatens Livelihoods"

New tools posted to support the Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa April 9:
  1. You can include our one-page Call to Action in your online or printed newsletters:
  2. Send out the original email about the call to action:
  3. Find CBAN on facebook and spread the word to your friends:
  4. Put up posters in your community. We have posters for communities with actions and posters you can use even if there is no action in your area:
  5. Put out flyers at local events or in local shops:
  6. Materials in French:
Interested in organizing an action in your community? Check out the tips for an action to see what is involved. We have lots of support we can provide:

Start collecting signatures today! Print up this petition against GM alfalfa for your federal Member of Parliament! Bring it to the rally on April 9! If you are already collecting signatures, think about delivering it on April 9. Every signature is another voter!

GM Alfalfa and "Low Level Presence" Interview with CBAN's Coordinator Lucy Sharratt on Mud and Water CKUW Radio Manitoba. 15 mins

Watch and share the video: BC rancher Harold Steves explains the impact of GM alfalfa on livestock production. Grassfed beef cattle eat alfalfa and other grasses: "We sell grassfed beef and we couldn't look people in the eye and tell them we have healthy beef if we are feeding them GM crops." Support Grassfed Beef? Stop GM alfalfa!



MAJOR GROCER TO LABEL GM PRODUCTS: Grocery chain Whole Foods has announced that it will label all products in its North American stores that contain genetically modified ingredients by 2018. The company is the first national grocery chain to set such a deadline for labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms. Although Whole Foods is known as an organic grocer (organic farming prohibits the use of GMOs), it also sells a wide array of non-organic products that have possible GM ingredients. The decision from Whole Foods is a huge step that could pressure many food manufacturers to weed-out GM ingredients and others to label GM ingredients.

REPORT ON CORPORATE CONCENTRATION: New report from ETC Group warns that 6 multinational Gene Giants control the future direction of agriculture research worldwide. Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto and DuPont control 59.8 % of commercial seeds and 76.1 % of agrochemicals. They also account for at least 76 % of all private sector R&D in these two sectors.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Contact us to collaborate: You can organize a rally in your community to stand with farmers on the Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa! April 9, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hot Peppers 2013

Here are the varieties of hot peppers I have seeded for this year. Most...but not quite all, will be available here at my small farm as seedlings for your garden. I have only limited quantities of the really, really hot ones.
You know. The stupid hots!

Romanian Hot
Cayenne Golden 
Purple Serrano
Bishop's Hat
Aji Amarillo    
Purple Cayenne
Filus Blue
White Habanero
Beaver Dam
Monk's Hat
7 Pot Long
Most Prolific
Red Douglah Offspring
Giant Mexican Rocoto
Bhut Jolokia Brown
Pi 281429
Chocolate Habanero
Trinidad Perfume
Wild Brazil
CAP 1546
Black Scorpion Tongue
Jalapeno "Cracked"
7 Pod Brain Strain Yellow
Joe's Long
Inca Red Drop
Aji Limon
Large Thick Cayenne
White Bhut Jolokia
Trinidad Scorpion
Mexican Jalapeno
Naga Inferno
Yellow Bhut Jolokia
Naga Morich
Scotch Bonnet
Carolina Reaper
Red Moruga Scorpion
Butch T
Giant Bhut Jolokia
Bhut Jolokia
Lemon Drop
Naga Jolokia Chocolate

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's March-What Are You Planting?

I opened my hoophouse doors at noon today and knew immediately I should have done it a bit earlier in the day.
It has been a gorgeous late winter day. There's still the nip of winter in the air, but the sun has a spring warmth to it.
As I pried open the door, a gush of steam greeted me as the warm air in the hoophouse collided with the cool outside air.
I had to wait a while before I could head in to pick, it was that hot.

The work of the winter and spring are colliding just like that warm and cold air.
I'm still harvesting the nice winter greens to sell, although many of the plants are doing what they need to do to keep their species in existence. The seed stalks are shooting up, some mustards and arugulas have flowers, there are some small (and tasty!) seed heads.

Seed orders are still being filled, advance orders are coming in for the tomato seedlings and it is time to get some things started inside, and in the hoophouse.
What are you seeding now?

Long Red Florence onions

My leeks and onions have been in for a while now, and I have some lovely baby green onion tops to add to my favourite dishes. Onions, when growing from seed, need a regular "haircut" to keep their tops at 1-2". This directs the plants energy back to the root, helping the onions size up nicely.
I'll direct seed my most favourite onions right in the garden as well, so I have them early, from transplants, and late, from seed. And that is the fabulous 'Long Red Florence."

I've also got some herbs growing along nicely. Oregano, parlsey, thyme, sorrel...and some oddities. There's my cultivated apple seed from Germany and an early maturing cotton that I hope produces the most wonderful fluffy cotton balls ever on my Wellandport plantation. One must try these things. Or at least I must.
Sorrel babies

Yesterday I seeded all my eggplants, early brassicas and lettuces for seedling sales in April and garden growing in April.  Lots of kales, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are in, and amazingly enough, a mere 24 hours later, some of the kale varieties are up.
I love having one of my grow light stands in my kitchen, right near my woodstove. Last night with the wood stove kicking out the heat, those little kale seeds decided to pop. Miraculous.

Then there's my favourite early tomato, Stupice. I've got a four inch pot that must have 200 or so little baby Stupice sprouts in it. These will be my June tomatoes I hope. I'll get them planted in my hoophouse in April, then with a bit of luck and some Agribon cloth thrown over them for extra protection, I should have ripe tomatoes 55 or so days later. Those first tomatoes are always the best!

As for the hot peppers and sweet, they will all go in tomorrow...and the next day too. I'll soak the super hots, like the Scorpions and the Carolina Reaper for a better germination rate. I wish I'd had them in a little bit earlier, but I'll get that fire rolling in the kitchen and hopefully they'll jump up quickly. I just hope the weather stays cool so I need and want the fire.
If you come to visit and I'm wearing my bathing suit, you'll know why. Just trying to get those hot peppers going!
It's so wonderful to see all these things sprouting and growing. Great also to feel the warmth of the sun and to dream about what this year's garden can do. I never get tired of it because it is different every year. My blank canvases await!