Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Planning Next Year's Garden

My mind is spinning with plans for growing two gardens next year - one at home and one at my parent's property again, for the larger, rambling viney plants like squashes and pumpkins.

My goal for 2012 is to start all of my plants from seeds, which adds quite a bit more complexity than I have previously dealt with when growing a garden. Now I must take into account frost, germination rates, soil temperature, and making sure the seedlings get enough light and heat so they don't become "leggy" and weak.

So far, I am planning on growing nearly 40 different varieties of plants next year. Some I will order online from various companies, and later this month I will pay a visit to Baker's Seed Company in Petaluma, CA.

One of the seeds I am most excited to grow is the Yellow Taxi Tomato. When we went to the Ferry Pier Farmer's Market in San Francisco this summer, I couldn't resist this array of heirloom tomatoes:

I bought a sampling of several types of tomatoes, and when I got home, laid them out for a taste test. My favorite, hands down, was a yellow tomato called Taxi (second tomato up from the bottom left in the picture). It's not one that is commonly carried by seed companies, so I had to do a bit of hunting on the internet, but today I ordered my seeds from Reimer Seeds. This vibrant yellow tomato is sweet and almost acid-free, and produces tomatoes early, after just 65 days! I can almost taste them now.

Here are the other tomatoes I've got a hankering to try my hand at:

Seeds I Saved From 2011:

Black Krim Tomato: My absolute favorite tomato I have grown this year, this was the first to start producing and gave me wonderful rich, slightly salty fruit all summer long. This one is prone to cracking at first, but it was such a good producer that I didn’t care.

San Marzano tomato: This Italian heirloom paste tomato is supposed to be the best for making tomato sauces, and also great to dice and use in a salad or salsa. Yields were good last year, so I saved some seeds for this year.

Seeds I Got for Free:

Riesentraube tomato: I got this cherry type from Baker’s Seeds for free with my last order. Description: “The sweet red 1-oz fruit grow in large clusters and the name means "Giant Bunch of Grapes" in German. It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today's cherry types. Large plants produce massive yields.” Massive yields are good, free is even better!

Seeds to Buy from Baker’s:

Green Zebra Tomato: I sampled this one at Farmer Dan’s table at the West Sac Farmer’s Market and it was sublime; I knew I had to try growing it at home. “Beautiful chartreuse
with deep lime-green stripes, very attractive. Flesh is bright green and very rich tasting, sweet with a sharp bite to it (just too good to describe!). A favorite tomato of many high class chefs, specialty markets, and home gardeners. Yield is excellent. The most striking tomato in our catalog, a real beauty.”

Cour di Bue Tomato: Of course, gotta have your standard red slicing tomato, and I chose this heart-shaped beauty. “This Oxheart type Italian heirloom has been a favorite in Italy for many years. Beautiful 12-oz. fruit have a delicious sweet taste; similar to the shape of a heart; great for fresh eating or cooking. Large vigorous vines. Hard to find.”

Black Krim and San Marzano Tomatoes from 2011 garden


  1. oh i am quite excited to have found your blog space. I am an amateur grower too. I am hoping to move into a bigger place next year, when my growing ventures will continue. Would be great to compare notes.

  2. Have you heard of Kitazawa Seed Co.? Pretty cool story and really interesting selection of seeds. It turns out I will have a little patch of soil for gardening this year, June-August. My Kitazawa catalog is on the way. I think you might enjoy a look around their website.


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