Friday, March 10, 2006

Rebirth of the Tomato Monster

One of the things I was busy doing in February (and not blogging about) was taking a couple of classes. Nothing hugely academic, but enlightening and light hearted Saturday lectures. I did take the Tomato class offered by Cynthia at Love Apple Farms. That was worth the time and money. And I'm afraid the Tomato Monster 2006 has already raised its fiendish head and laughed.

The class was better than my expectations. I have even more information and Cynthia had great advice and suggestions, especially regarding coastal varieties. The picture above is the flat that I seeded, taken from her extensive collection of 300 different varieties of tomato. Her enthusiasm was infectious. Now I have about 150 little sprouts that need potting up. As I may have mentioned already the tomato gods are making me their monkey. When I took the class, I was about 2 weeks from taking a short vacation in Canada (Toronto/Niagra area). I erroneously believed that if I didn't water the mostly dry mix, the seeds wouldn't sprout. And I wasn't too worried that they would mold as it was rather warm in February, as I may have mentioned. I figured I'd water them in just before leaving and I'd see cute little sprouts when I returned, and I wouldn't have to bug anyone to babysit the seedlings. Anyway, just two days before Mr. C. and I were to leave, I noticed the tray in the floor was turning quite green. About 45 little seedlings were staring me in the face. I cursed mildly, watered the flat, and started looking for a plant sitter. The next morning, I went to look and 35 more had popped up. By the time I delivered them to Dad (who had offered to look after them) there were nearly 100 little sprouts. Dad did a great job and they have been slowly putting out their first true leaves. I'm thinking the slowing is mostly due to the decrease in temperature as lately the weather has been a bit of a bear. (Tonight it was predicted that snow level may get as low as 500 ft and as I write this, there's a terrific thunder and lightening storm about 12 miles to the north of us.) I'm picking out the varieties I most want to try and I will put many into the Watsonville garden. But there will be many to give away and I'm quite happy at the prospect of another tomato filled fall.

Lastly, I have a singular picture of the Tomato Monster 2005. It was taken in December and half of the bed has been cleared. The space was about 15x15 ft. and you might see a few tomatos left on the vines.

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