Posted by wendiwendy
When we planned for this year’s garden, we decided to try heirloom seeds instead of just perusing the rack of seeds at our local garden center. I ordered a catalog and we spent an afternoon flipping through the pages, marking off the varieties that sounded interesting. We ordered a few types of peppers, butternut squash, lemon basil, and two types of tomatoes: Amish Paste and San Marzano Lungo No. 2. The rest of the garden was filled out with seeds we already had: zucchini, sweet basil, chives and thyme.
I’ve mentioned before that the garden is Dave’s domain. He just gets plants; he talks to them and knows what they need (or don’t need). He’s confident in his abilities – watering, transplanting, starting them from seed. He understands soil and how to deal with pests. I like to cook with the results of the garden, but I have no instincts where gardening is concerned. I would need to sit down with a book and keep consulting it as I went along, checking on the internet and taking way too long to do things that Dave would accomplish in a matter of minutes.
I asked Dave to show me how he starts his seeds, figuring that gardening is a good skill to have. He patiently showed me all the steps and I tried to remember it all (and not get too bored). Towards the end he just did what he needed to do and I wasn’t involved; it’s just easier to get in there and do it instead of slowing down and explaining every step to your wife as she tries to stifle a yawn.
Under Dave’s attentive care, the plants thrived. I always have little faith in the early stages of the garden, when our neighbors have planted their huge store-bought plants and our started-from-seed guys look so minute in comparison. There’s a bunch of little bitty plants surrounded and divided by a huge expanse of dirt, and it just looks kind of pitiful. I always think, “Oh, there’s no way these plants will ever catch up. I better plan on buying tomatoes and zucchini at the store this year.”
Of course, a month later I’m amazed at how much our tiny plants have grown, and by now, late August, I can’t even remember when they were little babies shivering in their huge dirt playground. Instead I’m thinking, Huh…how long do zucchini plants produce, anyway? Is there any chance it’s almost over?
Our heirloom pepper plants have done better than any store-bought pepper plants we’ve ever bought; the one bell pepper we got at the store this year started out way bigger than our seedlings and now it looks like a dwarf plant. I was starting to give up on it but Dave just told me it’s got a couple of small peppers growing (finally). Usually we don’t have great luck with peppers, but this year we have a nice variety that are producing like crazy: Anaheim, Albino Bullnose, Friariello Di Napoli (Italian frying peppers)…and the lone bell pepper plant. We also planted a variety called Grandpa’s Home but none of those survived the transplanting.
We bought just two types of heirloom tomato seeds: Amish Paste and San Marzano Lungo. Mainly we wanted lots of tomatoes for making gravy and for canning; my stomach can only handle fresh (uncooked) tomatoes in small doses, and we just never make salads or put tomatoes on sandwiches. In the confusion of seed-starting, going from little cups to bigger vessels and then out to the garden, we lost track of which tomato plant was which. Both varieties kind of look the same, like Roma/plum tomatoes, with the Amish Paste being more uniform in shape. We figured once the plants started producing it would be easy to tell which was which.
Except most of the plants produced tomatoes that look absolutely nothing like Amish Paste or San Marzano. Some of them are round; some have deep ridges and look almost like pumpkins. As the green tomatoes started popping up on the plants, we walked the whole garden and found only two that look like Amish Paste and one that looks like San Marzano. Out of twelve tomato plants! Dave guesses that we have two unknown varieties out there, in addition to the two we purchased.
The catalog has pages of tomato offerings, many without pictures. The website does have pictures (or drawings, in some cases) so we scrolled through those, trying to guess what we might be growing. It’s hard to tell when the fruit is still green, since this company offers seeds for tomatoes in a variety of colors: pink, red, green, striped, orange, purple, white and yellow. They are just starting to ripen and so far they’ve all been red…and delicious! We’re actually really excited to have such an unexpected variety of heirloom tomatoes to sample. And who doesn’t like a little mystery in their garden, amirite?!
Now the zucchini is another matter. We’ll walk the garden, harvest four or five zucchini and spy maybe one or two teeny-tiny zukes that aren’t ready to be picked. The day after next, Dave will go back out and come back with six zucchini, two of which are massive caveman clubs. Where did they come from?! I have a theory that our neighbors are sneaking into the garden and placing their own zucchini overflow amongst the huge leaves of our plants. What other explanation is there?!
About wendiwendyI'm a real-life bionic woman.
Posted on August 29, 2013, in Not Related to Hearing Loss and tagged Amish Paste tomatoes, garden harvest, gardening, heirloom seeds, planting a garden, San Marzano Lungo tomatoes, tomato plants, unknown plants in garden, zucchini. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.