Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tomatoes for fog

I overheard a conversation at the Farmer's market last Saturday.
"No, I don't grow tomatoes anymore. Just not worth waiting all summer for a few lousy tomatoes."
Too bad, I thought. But everyone makes those sorts of choices when they garden. And I can honestly say it's not easy growing tomatoes here on the coast; too much cold fog for those jungle weeds. But I like the challenge.

This year, in the spring, I was trying to figure out what to do about growing tomatoes myself. February was quickly disappearing and I knew that I didn't have the time to sprout the varieties that I have learned to love and that do well here. I had resigned myself to looking for something at the garden center or maybe going to Love Apple farms and getting a few plants. I was pretty resolved not to buy an Early Girl. I don't think they have much flavor.

It always amazes me the synchronicity of the universe. Just as I was reviewing my options I received an email from this blog. A neighbor had sprouted more tomatoes than they knew what to do with and would I like some? A neighbor I had never met before. Ah, the power of the internet. Can you believe my luck? I was so excited to pick up those plants, Azoychka, Anna Maria's Heart, Yellow Zebra, Silvery Fir Tree, Nygomous, Berkeley Tie Die, Bloody Butcher, Black Cherry, Lemon Boy, Moscovich, Cosmonaut Volkov, just to name . Then another friend of mine, a true tomato fanatic emailed me to say he also had extras. Double luck!

So although I'm not out in the garden much (thanks to graduate school), it always makes me happy to know that plants grow whether you watch them or not. And the tomatoes are looking great.

I'm happy to wait for them.

Silvery Fir Tree - growing outside the greenhouse. It produced my first tomato of the year on August 20th.


Selina said...

What a beauty! You should be proud.

Jeannette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeannette said...

I have been wondering whether to try tomatoes one more time on the central coast. But it would have to be something special, with real flavor, a vintage or heirloom.
Do you share what you are you studying in graduate school, if I might ask?

CoastalCAGardener said...

Hi Jeannette,
Yes - now is the time to be thinking about that. And finding tomatoes that grow in the fog and have flavor is a real challenge. Think "small is beautiful". Also, some sort of protection/warm spot in the garden is helpful, you might be able to see the small greenhouse that these are growing in. I have had success with Lemon Boy, Silvery Fir Tree, Anna Maria's Heart, Azoychka, Japanese Oxheart, Roma Pompeii, Ukrainian Heart, Jaffe's cherry, Cream Sausage, Cherokee Purple (not prolific, however) Calabash, or Beauty Lottringa. If you can make a protected space, even if it's row covering try German Strawberry and Anais Noir. Go see Cynthia at Love Apple Farms if you are in the Santa Cruz Area. She's a tomatoes-in-the-fog expert.

And because you asked, I'm studying Traditional Chinese Medicine - herbalism and acupuncture. I miss the garden, but I love my studies. Someday, I hope to get back to the garden more regularly. Currently, I'm playing with growing some of the herbs.

Thanks for the note. Happy Gardening!!