Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tomatoes And Transplants

I love tomatoes.  Love them.  There is no experience as divine as biting into a freshly picked, vine ripened tomato still warm from the summer sun.  I wait all year for that experience.  So enamored of that experience am I, that I never buy tomatoes from the store.  It's just not the same, and just not worth it.  The only tomatoes I eat are the ones that come from my backyard!

So, naturally, I was very excited to sow my tomatoes this week.  I started four varieties this year: Rutgers, Super Sweet 100, Fresh Salsa and Cherry Red.

"Rutgers" is my absolute favorite tomato.  I have tried many varieties of slicing tomato over the years, and I just can't find one to outperform "Rutgers".  Although, I will admit I may be biased.  Rutgers University is my Alma Mater and I worked for them for many years.  They're also still holding my pension.  Nepotism aside, "Rutgers" is still a great variety.  It's hardy, disease resistant, prolific and flavorful.  It always has a place in my garden.

"Super Sweet 100" is another variety that has earned its place in my garden with it's hardiness and fecundity.   "100" is actually an understatement, they should really add another zero.  It produces steadily throughout the season, right up 'til frost. And the green tomatoes are perfect for pickling.

"Fresh Salsa" is a variety I just started planting last year.  It's a plum tomato that promises "all meat", and they aren't lying!  The first time I cut into one, I didn't know what to think.  There was no juice, few seeds and the texture was oddly crisp for a tomato.  The raw flavor was good, but I was really put off by the texture.  I didn't care for the pico de gallo I made with it, either.  The texture was just too weird!  I wasn't sure about planting it again.  Then I made a red sauce out of it.  Wow!  Cooking is this tomato's true calling.  I was so impressed, I'm planting more this year.  The only down side, it got blossom end rot mid season.  I'll be adding lime this year, so hopefully we won't have that problem again.

I've never planted "Red Cherry" before and don't know anything about it.  In purchasing it, I was the victim of a shameless marketing ploy.  Ferry Morse has cleverly emblazoned the seed packet with Sesame Street's Elmo.  As soon as my 2 year old daughter saw it, we had to have it.  I don't know what it is about that little red Muppet, but he's like toddler crack.  They can't live without him and will beg for any product emblazoned with his bug-eyed mug.  And so I'm planting "Red Cherry" tomato.  I tip my hat to you, Ferry Morse.

Along with my sowing, I realized it was time to transplant my celery.  They were starting to escape their container.  It was like a celery jungle.

Yum, celery jungle.......

I was originally going to put each little seedling in it's own container.  Then I realized that was way too much work.  So, I put them into some big nursery pots where they'll have room to spread.  It won't be long until they go out to the garden, anyway.

Which reminds me: We'll be having warmer weather this week.  It's time for the cool season veggies to start hanging out on the porch to harden off.  Here in zone 6, their transplant time is early March and that's right around the corner.  My babies are growing up!

For more seed starting fun, join Dave at the The Home Garden for Seed Sowing Saturday!


  1. Super sweet 100's, can eat them like candy. Yum.

  2. I found your blog through Blotanical; hello from a fellow Garden Stater! Your header photo is gorgeous!

  3. I can't agree enough with your opinion on the tomato! I've grown the Supersweet 100 before too and haven't had to plant it since - it seems to self sow everywhere! Not a problem since we love eating the cherry toms!

  4. gardenwalkgardentalk- They're my favorite candy, for sure! Most don't even make it into the house, my daughter and I stand out in the garden and eat them right off the vine.

    Jo- Thanks! I'm always excited to meet more NJ gardeners!

    Dave- I've noticed I get loads of "volunteers", too. Unfortunately, our growing season is a little too short for direct sowing, I don't get much fruit from my little self sowers.

  5. 'Sweet 100's' were my favorite... until I discovered 'Sun Gold' last Summer, a tangerine colored cherry tomato. It truly is amazing. In our zone 5 garden we have to wait until May to put our tomatoes in the garden. We can try sooner, but it's always a gamble. So envious that you are even thinking about tomatoes. We're still waiting for any sign of Spring. (sigh.)

  6. I love my own tomatoes too. Unfortunately they have the same requirements as roses (lots of sun), so I don't have too many. Cherry tomatoes are my favorite.

  7. I have never had a super sweet 100. I'll have to look for some seedlings this spring.


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