You Say “Tomayto”, I Say “Tomahto”

Music – “Homegrown Tomatoes” from The John Denver Collection, Vol. 1: Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver. Released: 1997

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Since moving to my new residence a little over a year ago, I have wanted a vegetable garden, much like I had at my previous home. Finally, this spring, I managed to find a sunny spot between fruit trees and decided to grow just tomatoes and peppers.

As many gardeners know, the tomato and pepper plants available in most garden centres and nurseries are pretty standard: Big Boy, Early Girl, Tom Thumb, etc. and the same is true of peppers. Here in the southwest, in addition to the plain old sweet green pepper, there are several varieties of chiles: Big Jim, Sandia, and the like. However, this year, I wanted to go a different route, so I began sending for seed catalogues while the water in our fish pond was still in its hard form.

I had never grown tomatoes or peppers from seed before, so this was a new experience. I even outfitted myself with a small portable greenhouse, which I have placed in front of a nearly floor to ceiling south window, so plenty of light is available.

Tomato and pepper seedlings "in progress"

Tomato and pepper seedlings “in progress”

TOM 1

I was fascinated by the plethora of seeds available now: heirloom, untreated, organic, non-hybrid, non-GMO, etc. I was like a kid in a candy store looking through the catalogues. In the end, I chose a variety of ones, based mostly on whim and the desire to taste something a little different, and in some cases, possibly, “offbeat”.

From “Seed Savers Exchange”, I picked “Fatalii Pepper”, apparently the hottest pepper they offer, from the Central African Republic.

Fatalii Pepper (very hot) (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.org)

Fatalii Pepper (very hot) (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.org)

My tomato selection from them included “Silvery Fir Tomato”, “Tasty Evergreen”, “Nebraska Wedding” and “Crnkovic Yugoslavian”.

Silvery Fir Tomato (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.org)

Silvery Fir Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.org)

Tasty Evergreen Tomato (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.org)

Tasty Evergreen Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.org)

Nebraska Wedding Tomato (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.org)

Nebraska Wedding Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.org)

Crnkovic Yugoslavian Tomato (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.org)

Crnkovic Yugoslavian Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.org)

The “Territorial Seed Company” offered a variety of tomatoes, from which I opted for “Red Robin”, “Golden Treasure”, and “Koralik Organic”.

Red Robin Tomato (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

Red Robin Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorialseed.com)

Golden Treasure Tomato (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

Golden Treasure Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorialseed.com)

Koralik Organic Tomato (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

Koralik Organic Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorial seed.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, I am anxiously awaiting their shipment of a plant called “Ketchup n’ Fries”, a truly unique plant with “Potatoes and Tomatoes harvested off the same blimey plant!”, first introduced in the UK. Who would have thought!

The unique "Ketchup n' Fries" tomato/potato plant (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

The unique “Ketchup n’ Fries” tomato/potato plant (Photo Credit: http://www.territorial seed.com)

 

 

 

 

Lastly, from “The Good Seed Catalogue” from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I selected “Chinese 5 Color Pepper”, and several varieties of tomatoes: “Litchi”,
Green Giant”, “Mushroom Basket”, “Pineapple”, and “White Currant”.

Chinese 5 Color Peppers (Photo Credit: www.rareseeds.com)

Chinese 5 Color Peppers (Photo Credit: http://www.rareseeds.com)

Mushroom Basket Tomato (Photo Credit: www.rareseeds.com)

Mushroom Basket Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.rareseeds.com)

White Currant Tomato (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

White Currant Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

 

 

All sound intriguing and promising.

 

 

So, currently (or “currantly”), I am tending to my tiny charges, nurturing and fussing over them and following all of the advice from the seed companies and garden sites. Of course, I planted far more than I have room for, but allowing for damping off (I’ve already lost a few to this), weaklings, etc. I should have a pretty good selection to go into the garden, when the time is ripe (pardon the pun).

Perusing through all of these wonderful seed catalogues, I was astounded by the incredible variety of seeds available to the home gardener today. When I was growing up, the only seed company I had ever heard of was “Burpee”, and my Dad used to take me with him on the trek to visit their store, which was located about an hour from where we lived. It seemed to me that the stock was fairly limited: you purchased “tomato” seeds, “zucchini” seeds, “cucumber” seeds, and that was pretty much it. Among the catalogues, from which I made my selections this spring were some pretty exotic names for tomatoes: “Emerald Apple”, “Woodle Orange”, “German Lunchbox”, “Umberto Pear”, and “Purple Russian”, not to mention “Orange Zinger”, “Mountain Magic”, and “Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye”. Next year, I might be more adventuresome and try “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”, “Hillbilly Potato Leaf”, “Chocolate Sprinkles“, “Mexican Midget” or “Red Zebra”. And that’s just tomatoes, however you pronounce it!

Chocolate Sprinkles Tomato (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

Chocolate Sprinkles Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorial seed.com)

Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye Tomato (Photo Credit: www.territorialseed.com)

Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorial seed.com)

Green Zebra Organic Tomato (Photo Credit: www.rareseeds.com)

Green Zebra Organic Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.rareseeds.com)

Aunt Ruby's German Green Tomato (Photo Credit: www.seedsavers.com)

Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.seedsavers.com)

Orange Woodle Tomato (Photo Credit: www.rareseeds.com)

Orange Woodle Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.rareseeds.com)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,202. What next? More shelves!
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