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Let's Not Make This Sound Like An Excuse

Posted 5/18/2017 10:47am by David Zemelsky.


Think of what follows as an explanation, not an excuse. Here's what I'm talking about- variety of things that are available right now.  As mentioned in earlier letters, we're clearing the houses of spinach and other greens to make way for tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers.  Already, several weeks ago, we cleared out patches of spinach to get in a quick crop of salad and arugula-which has worked very well.  Around the beginning of April, the soil outside became dry enough to do bed preparation and then seeding.  I choose to plant some of the non lettuce varieties first because they are faster to maturity by over a week.  Now, over a month later, many of the outside crops are dismally slow and too little to harvest.  I was hoping to be able to harvest outside crops by now.  However, the huge fluctuations in temperature (two weeks ago, we had a frost!) and a lot of rain (something we clearly needed, but still got in the way of plant growth) has made for very small plants outside.  In other words-we don't have as much ready to harvest as I'd like. Not by a long shot.  But like all things with growing-there's patience.  In this case, lots of it is required.

We are not just sitting waiting.  Three hoop houses are almost completely cleaned out of winter greens.  Two of them are planted 50% with tomatoes.  Additionally, there are now two rows of katrina/corinto cucumbers planted.  For those of you who were around last year-these cucumbers are epic, superstars in the world of vegetables.  If any of our readers would be willing, please write back some kind of testimonial and we'll print in next time.  Still waiting to get planted are peppers, eggplants, potatoes, onions, ginger and turmeric.  This is a long list and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.  However, we just take one crop at a time.  Fortunately for us, we've got Joel. He's a steady hand, focusing on the task at hand, but always thinking towards the future.

On to the store:

New things this week:

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot SPECIAL : Buy one and I'll give you another one for FREE.

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Breed to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

There's a few new tomato plants to add to the list.

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

I'm going to reprint the other tomatoe choices here

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

 Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Braising Greens- $6/bag

Kale- $4 bunch

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each

Spinach- $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Mizuna- a light Asian green for braising $4/bag

Please send me your request by 9AM. Yes, 9AM Friday, May 19th Yes, even earlier.  I have been finding that it gives all of you a better chance of getting what you want, if I know sooner.  Order will be in shed after 2pm.  I've been a tad late on the 2pm thing, but if you show up, you can be sure that I'll be close behind!