If you’re wanting to start seeds, for planting at the beginning of April, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to do so. I’m not likely to do so this year, as I’d like to concentrate on my boonie peppers.

It’s not actually Japanese, it’s a Russian cultivar, a member of the purple tomato family . It has a pinched top, and  thus looks like a kind of pear. Don’t let the looks fool you, this thing has incredible flavor.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a coworker that grows these things. He  tells me they don’t refrigerate well, you need to store them at room  temp and eat them quickly. They don’t need much more than a little cracked pepper to deliver delicious flavors.

Notes: Interesting links to the  trifele can be found on the Tomato Gardener, This Garden is Illegal, and Moonglow Gardens. Things from Scratch has a beautiful picture of growing plants. The blog Tomato Lover has more than one article on the trifele, of which this the article, “The Move Into Red”, has the best photograph. Austin Urban Gardens has a short blurb on how the trifeles taste.

Modest I know, but this haul includes the first large tomato of the season – the yellow one.

It’s a blessed mess of green back there. I’ve been moving some of the twistier tomatoes to beside the chain link fence, to see if they’ll grow into it. 11 tomatoes still sit on the deck. Some of them even have fruits.

I had four boonies sprout, of which one died, one was cut off by some worm before it could get anywhere (still alive though), and the other two look pretty healthy. This photo is of the best of the new year’s boonie peppers. I don’t expect any crop until late fall.

I knew I was going to have to do it this Sunday, so I got out all my stuff, my old bags of potting soil and my new ones, and set up to do this job. Somewhere after transplanting a few I thought of pictures. If I have pictures, then I’d have a potential blog post.

You start with a pot and a plant. Turn the plant upside down, holding the plant with a spread hand. Tap the pot sharply and then the plant gets loose and you can pull the pot off.

Note the root bundle? That will hold the clump of soil together as you put it into the pot. One  thing I didn’t do last year is get big enough pots. Big pots (12″ minimum for tomatoes) are expensive, but they’re a one time purchase, with any luck.

You try to position that plant so only the last set of leaves are exposed. Then bury the thing.

To note, Mike Stock’s suggestion that I let the tomatoes acclimate in the shade went so well I didn’t feel any hesitation transplanting these things. Next weekend we can put them out in the direct sun.

Some notes: every plant that went straight from a Jiffy  7 pellet to a 6 inch pot had a  great root system. Some of the plants that went from pellets to the peat pots to 6 inch pots to the big ones had really  undeveloped root systems. I took those and tore off the peat pots when I could, threw the peat away. These plants don’t have much time to grow before the night time temperature is going to hit 55 degrees fahrenheit and that’s when tomatoes will flower.

I have maybe 14 tomato plants under lights, in 6″ pots, and inside. I want them outside, if at all possible, before the weekend is over. Best path? Toss them immediately outside and into 12″ pots? Harden them a couple days? I don’t have all the time in the world to harden those plants; they’re going to have to suffer some regardless.

Back when the tomatoes were a little smaller.

It’s a  great little article in the New York Times, a comparison of heirlooms versus hybrids, and why it’s not that 19th century special that some  little old lady used to grow in the Poconos that’s good for you, but perhaps more the Atkinson tomato that was grown by Auburn professors just a few years ago in a climate very similar to that of Georgia. Heirlooms are best, this article suggests, when adapted to the microclimate in which you garden.

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