Kale on ice--January 2013

Kale on ice–January 2013

Sleet and ice in my Apex garden this weekend–which made it a great time to stay inside and dream of summer tomatoes. 

End of Summer tomatoes 2012

End of Summer tomatoes 2012

For almost 30 summers now, I have grown my tomato plants from seed.   There are 3 reasons for doing this–

1) It’s really fun to grow and nurture baby plants. My little sister and I spend many  phone calls talking about what sprouted that day.   

2) Seeds make lots of plants so I can share tomatoes with my family,  friends, and their children.   Giving away tomato plants is sort of my thing–

3) Garden centers have 3, 5, maybe 7 tomato varieties.  Seed companies have dozens and dozens including some tomatoes I can’t live without.

I always try to get my seed order in early, before the end of January.  Catalogs are very seductive, so it helps to have a few rules.

Look at “Days to maturity”.  Some tomatoes ripen early, others take up to 80 days.  I order at least one early, two mid-season, and one late maturing tomato variety so all my tomatoes won’t come in at one time. catalog

Look for lots of letters behind the name.  VFN (etc, etc)  indicates lots of disease resistance–a must at my house where full sun is at a  premium. Yes, I would love to grow old-fashioned heirlooms but  even my sister who has wonderful soil  and sun for tomato growing doesn’t have much luck with these older plants.   

Finally, Cherry Tomatoes are super easy.   My favorite is Sweet Chelsea.  What about you?