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The evolution of the $10 tomato
Old 02-16-2019, 10:16 AM   #1
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The evolution of the $10 tomato

I know Iíve mentioned I love to garden? I really should be more specific I love all things gardening but I am especially addicted to growing and eating tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes mind you, Sun Gold Cherry then Large Red Cherry and finally Early Girls. Oh I love a ripe beefsteak with some bacon, lettuce and mayo on some toasted whole wheat bread but prime tomato space is precious. Please donít be offended if I refer to them as the holy trinity. I could eat a caprese salad every night. In case you havenít had the pleasure of trying one, a Sun Gold tomatoes is an amazingly sweet orange little bit of heaven on earth. When the harvest starts Ive seen the bug phobic Mrs. pluck one right off the vine and pop it into her mouth when she walks the dog. Trust me there are no sprays or anything else on my babbies

I grow most of my cherry tomatoes in pots that I put across the front walk of my house. The garden on the side of the house only gets about 5 hours of sun. Not the best for Pennsylvania full sun tomatoes. My mid to late planted March Potatoes and snap peas do well enough there - another seasonal treat new potatoes with eggs in the morning. I start the tomatoes as seed and grow them under a light in a growing table Ive set up. In fact there are three ĎI canít believe its not butterí tubs with slow growing Coleus growing up there right now. Two are unusual varieties that are from seeds I got from China. Iíve got a little 8 by 12 green house but Springs here have been miserable of late and I want to be eating tomatoes before July 1. So I start them in doors and move them with an eye on the 10 day forecast.

The $10 tomato
There is a nursery that has a whole hoop house of different varieties of tomatoes sold individually in 4Ē pots but man they are pricey. Do you remember when a six pack of tomatoes could be bought inexpensively? Near me those days are gone - at least I have found any. So I grow but, even that has gotten crazy. The beautiful Burpee catalog is on the top of my pile, I see $6.29 for 30 Sun Gold seeds, plus shipping. FEDCO has 20 seeds for $2.30, the sample seed shop has them 10 for $1.75. Finally I find the Holy Trinity in my Pinetree Garden seed catalog inexpensive and 3 bucks shipping, done deal.

Will summer ever come...IMG_0002.jpg

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Old 02-16-2019, 10:48 AM   #2
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I buy my 6 pack of plants for $2.50 at Menard's or Walmart.
You do have to go as soon as they come out if you want any of the slightly special types as they go fast.

When I would grow from seed, I'd buy the totally weird special things not available locally, like Atlantic Giant pumpkin (mine grew to 165 lbs, but that is because I grew on the same vine two more at: 120lbs and 85lbs., and I wasn't trying to get huge ones or I'd never be able to move them.)

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Old 02-16-2019, 11:08 AM   #3
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I have never had luck with red tomato plants. Never. Not once.

However, I have had decent luck with yellow grape tomatoes which look like mini pears. They are quite hardy, and bear fruits throughout the year. I grew them from seeds, and now I have some that are coming up naturally from bird dropping.

The fruits look like this.

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Old 02-16-2019, 11:28 AM   #4
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Without a doubt, Uncle James had THE BEST HOMEGROWN tomatoes anybody knew of. There were all many tasty varieties. When he passed we reminisced about those tomatoes and what his secret might be. Turns out he brought the seeds home from work. Where'd he work? Maybe he worked for the USDA and had access to some superseeds from the research lab. No. He worked at the water treatment plant.....the one downstream. Tomato seeds are practically indigestible, you know. And the ones Uncle James brought home were pre-fertilized.
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:25 PM   #5
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Whenever we travel to wine country in CA, we visit Larry's Produce, a great little produce store with some heirloom tomatoes. DW always saves the seeds from the different varieties and plants them in March in containers, for June transplantation into the garden. Yum. But you can grow CA tomatoes in PA.

Not to steal your thread, but in 2008, DW and I went to Kauai for our 25th. Brought back some lime tree seeds from a lime bought at a farmer's market. Believe it or not, several sprouted and we have two 5' tall trees in half wine barrels now. We just started getting ping pong ball limes off them 2 years ago and the flavor is so intense. Of course, I bring them in the winter.
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