Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Best Type of Seed


You know what the best type of seed is?  One that has been shared by gardening friends.  These seedy treasures warm my heart, every time I see them in the garden.

Earlier this year, Dave from Our Happy Acres generously shared a number of different seeds and all of these varieties are now growing in my garden.

First up is a hot pepper - Aji Golden.  This year, the peppers were really set back early on when I went away shortly after transplanting them.  I didn't set the irrigation timer correctly and, of course, there was a heat wave at the same time with zero rain.  I've been taking good care of them since then but most of the plants are still runty.  Even with the setback, however, Aji Golden is performing admirably well, being one of the largest plants in the pepper bed (on the left in the photo below).

Aji Golden (on the left) is one of the few pepper plants
that is recovering incredibly well from the early setback

Not only was it one of the largest plants in the bed, but it had already set a good number of peppers.  I was so excited about harvesting them that I goofed and harvested a bunch of them while they were still yellow, completely forgetting that they ripened to a bright orange.  Oops.

Their fragrance was wonderful - very citrussy - and they were wonderfully fruity and not too spicy, at this stage anyhow.  This is what I had hoped "Lemon Drop" (aka Aji Limon) would be like - it too is gorgeous and fruity but the searing heat completely overshadows any flavour it may have.  I can't wait to harvest the next batch of Aji Golden when they are properly ripe.  Hopefully it won't be too much longer as there are, once again, numerous fruits on the plant:

Aji Golden

Dave also shared some tomato seeds including one of the first varieties to ripen this year, Mexico Midget:

Mexico Midget

This year, I decided to skip Sungold in favour of trying a few new cherry tomato varieties.  The goal was to find a cherry tomato that tastes great, but wouldn't split on me, which Sungold is very prone to.  So what do I think of Mexico Midget?  I love it!  The taste was amazing...in fact, I would describe it as a tangy Sungold.  And while the tomatoes themselves are small (which I quite like 'cause that's what a cherry tomato is supposed to be!), the plant is one of the most vigorous of all those ones I'm growing.

Another cherry shared by Dave was Champagne Cherry, but these are not ripe yet so I haven't had a taste.  One of the things I'm experimenting with this year is growing tomatoes in pots.  I placed one Champagne Cherry seedling in a Smart Pot and another in a smaller plastic pot.  The potted plants are not doing nearly as well as those in the beds and I'm fairly certain I know why.

This year, I'm growing 5 tomato plants in pots,
including two Champagne Cherries

One of the issues when it comes to growing in pots is that plants don't have access to the nutrients found deep down in the soil, especially when that soil has been amended for several years.  In fact, tomatoes are such heavy feeders that, even in the beds, I should be fertilizing them throughout the season.  I'm so busy, however, that I only end up fertilizing them a couple of times over the summer but it's not something I fret about since I usually end up harvesting more than enough tomatoes (I'm still working on the freezer stores from last year, even as the new crop is coming in!).

When the leaves on the potted plants started to yellow a bit, indicative of nutrient deficiencies, I realized my mistake and gave them a good dose of fish emulsion.  I'll continue to feed them for the rest of the summer (when I remember!) & I'm sure this will make a big difference.

Regardless, potted plants will never get as large or produce as much as those grown in a bed but I'm ok with that especially as I always seem to end up inundated with cherry tomatoes each year.  We really only need a couple of plants to keep us supplied but it's so much fun trying new varieties - I just can't help myself!  This year I planted 6 - four more than I need - and that's why I don't mind in the least if the potted plants don't produce as much as those in the beds 😁

The last of Dave's tomatoes that I'm growing is his Stripey Marzano Rogue.  Since these were seeds from a "rogue" plant (Marzano Fire), I decided to grow 4 of them to see what kind of variation I would get.

Stripey Marzano Rogue

Three of them, including those pictured above, are producing round, stripey tomatoes similar to what Dave's plants produced this year.  One is starting to ripen up so it won't be long until we can see how meaty the interior is.

Three of the Stripey Marzano Rogue plants
are producing round fruits

One of the plants, however, is producing elongated, paste-type tomatoes, although the stripes do not appear nearly as pronounced as in the round ones:

Can't wait for these to start to ripen so we can check out the insides!

How exciting!  At this point, I'm not sure if these will be closer to the original paste tomato (Marzano Fire) or Dave's rogue which was larger/blockier.  We'll have to wait and see once they start to ripen up, but I'm thinking some seed saving may be in order!

There is always something exciting happening in the garden, but it's doubly exciting when plants have a special meaning.  Thank you Dave for adding more "happy" to my garden this year 😊

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

11 comments:

  1. I agree, one of the most exciting things about gardening is trying new varieties and even more so when the seeds have been supplied by a friend. Some seeds can be quite expensive and you might only need a few in the packet so it's good to share. I'm quite envious of all the tomatoes I'm seeing being harvested at the moment as I haven't grown any this year, the first year I've been without home grown for a long time.

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    1. Trying new varieties is such a thrill - it's hard to scale back, even though you know you should. And in the spring it's so easy to overdo it, especially when plants are tiny and you think things like...6 cucumber plants may not be enough ;) Thank goodness for freezers!

      Yes, tomatoes are among the veg that never, ever taste as good unless they are homegrown (in yours or someone else's garden!). I'm thinking that next year, a tomato plant may just find it's way into your garden.

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  2. Love the shared plants! It's such fun to know that someone else's garden has graced your own garden. My Stripey Rogues are the stars of the garden! I've got everything from red to red/green, orange stripes, yellows with and without stripes...and everything in between. They rock the garden! ;-)

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    1. So true - growing "rogue" plants is so exciting as you just never know what you will get. Now I'm anxious to cut them open and see how they are inside, as well as for that first taste!

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  3. It warms my heart to see the seeds I sent are doing well for you! And to get a look at the 'rogue' Marzanos. The ones I grew wound up being more juicy than the ones last year, as well as smaller. It will be interesting to see how yours compare when they ripen.

    Aji Golden is a fairly mild pepper here, and it does make a big plant. As does Mexico Midget! The tomatoes might be small but the vines are quite long.Champagne Cherry usually makes a big plant too.

    I have received quite a few seeds over the years, and some of them have truly become my favorite things. Michelle (From Seed To Table) sent me seeds for the Aji Angelo pepper, and it is such a lovely and rare pepper. And Norma (Garden to Wok) mailed me a Purple sweet potato tuber a few years back, and I will always think of it as "Norma's Purple". I suspect gardeners have been saving and sharing seeds for as long as humans have been gardening. It is a fun way to try new things, and who doesn't need a little more fun in the garden!

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    1. Sharing seeds truly is a wonderful way of connecting, both with others and with the past, especially for a sentimental person like myself. Thank you again for sending some happy my way :)

      I was quite surprised by how large the Mexico Midget got (esp. with a name like that!) - it was completely unexpected as is the awesome productivity of the Aji Golden. I shouldn't be surprised at how mild it is here since I think we have similar summers when it comes to heat (and how that affects the spicy factor of peppers) - I recall you having the same blistering experience as I did with Padron peppers.

      It won't be long until one of the round Stripey Marzano rogues is ripe and it looks like one from the "paste" plant is just starting to change colour too. The anticipation is building!

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  4. I agree: Those are the best seeds (and plants)--the ones shared by friends. For some reason the striped tomatoes look very tasty to me--why would stripes elicit this salivating reflex? Your harvest is looking impressive already!

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    1. I know what you mean - I LOVE striped tomatoes. Can't wait to see what they look like once they ripen up (and to taste them, of course!)

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  5. You got some beautiful tomatoes growing there, I like the stripy ones. Seed sharing is such an essential tradition among gardeners.

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  6. Your tomatoes look so good …
    Nothing beats the taste of home grown tomatoes.

    All the best Jan

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  7. I got quite excited about Mexico Midget until I read how big it gets - what an ironic name! I agree that tomatoes seem to do better planted in the ground but that makes them more prone to blight over here, I think due to our (usually) damp weather. I know the temptation to try different varieties - I always end up with too many seeds. This year I'm growing Speckled Roman and Ukraine Purple for the first time, one of which looks like being a stripey - if it ever ripens!!

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