Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tomato Time

The tomato harvest has begun in my garden. I planted a small slicing variety called Northern Delight Ultra Early, and they've lived up to their name...I started harvesting my first tomatoes about two weeks ago, which is early for tomatoes around here. I wasn't sure what to expect from this variety; I thought they might be bland, but they've turned out to be sweet, tasty little tomatoes.

They're good little producers too, each plant is putting forth dozens of tomatoes. And they bloomed out in intervals, so the tomatoes are coming on in succession, which is convenient. They're a nice size for canning too. I fertilized them with kelp extract when I transplanted them and again when they started to set fruit. I also sprayed them with a kelp extract tea, which they seem to have liked. Despite being overcrowded, they've come out robust and disease-free. Here's my messy little "tomato orchard," you can see that they are all in containers and are more crowded than is ideal for tomatoes:

We've been having a warm and sunny summer, which also helped bring on the tomatoes in a timely fashion. The squash and cucumbers are loving the heat too. I'm a little worried about my peppers though; I planted a miniature red bell variety. There are lots of little peppers, but they don't seem to be getting any bigger. Like the tomatoes, the pepper plants are bit overcrowded as well, and I suspect that's the culprit. I'm waiting to see what happens...I have a feeling that we're going to be eating lots of little green peppers.

The summer is going by quickly; I can't believe July is nearly out. :)


  1. Nice pics. They have a dreamy/hazy quality.

  2. Rose,

    Your garden is very impressive to those of us with a black thumb of death. I would love to be a good gardener, but it doesn't come naturally to me. Kelp extract and kelp tea are your secrets? You may have inspired me to expand my garden next year beyond herbs.


  3. Hi Alicia,

    You shouldn't think of yourself as a "black thumb," even long-time gardeners have their defeats and failures, and there's always more to learn.

    Using sea kelp as an organic treatment for crops is a very old tradition, used along the coasts of northern Europe for centuries. It is pretty amazing stuff actually, and can improve yields, storage life, seed germination, and disease resistence in plants.

    I recently started some seeds for my autumn crops, and before putting them in the ground, I soaked them in a solution of kelp extract and water for about an hour...all the seeds germinated within 2 days. Albeit, the soil temperature played an important role, but I've never seen seeds germinate that quickly.

    The kelp extract that I buy has only traces of the "big three" fertilizer elelments Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. But it is rich in minerals and plant chemicals that apparently help plants use and absorb minerals from the soil.

    When I first started using it,I was surprised. It doesn't seem like spraying plants with a mixture of kelp extract and water would do much, but I guess the plants have their own world of chemicals and interactions, and it works some pretty cool plant magic. Sorry about the long response... just got excited about kelp.

  4. Oh, and hi Shenandoah Vegan, thanks for commenting...and putting up with my pics...the dreamy quality is unintentional and has more to do with being out of focus...but hey, it's not a perfect world.

    I enjoy your blog...your photos are great and nicely presented, you're obviously a dab hand with the old camera.

  5. Rose,

    Thanks so much for the long response. I think you have me now..... I am going to give gardening another go. I will look for the kelp this weekend. Thanks for the gardening lesson, I needed it. ;)

  6. Thank you, Rose. Those were seriously kind words :)

    Tomatoes, behind mushrooms, are my favorite ingredient. I spend more money on heirloom tomatoes in the summer time than I'm willing to publicly admit!


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