Tomatoes in the Basement

Tomatoes in the Basement

pb190024 This weekend I started seeds — tomatoes and leeks right now. I’ve blogged before about my seed starting setup, and nothing’s changed since last spring, so I’ll simply send you to this older post if you want to know the mechanics of how I get things rolling every year.

This year I’m going to give leeks a shot. I love leeks, and they’re so expensive in the store. I tried them once by direct sowing and they didn’t take, so I thought I’d give it one more shot. For the leeks, I simply filled one tray with seed starting mix, then made several trenches in it with a ruler, and sowed the leeks. I bought one of those fancy onion/leek seed starting trays at the garden store the other day, the kind that instead of having cells has long narrow slots, but the slots weren’t very deep, and it looked like I was going to have to transplant them earlier than I’d like to, so I went with direct sowing in a tray. I think I’m going to start the lettuces this way as well. (And next time I’m in Bozeman, I’ll just return the unused tray.)

I started many tomatoes this year, in part because I’m planning to sell seedlings at the Farmer’s Market. Here’s hoping that people will want Siberian and Heirloom varieties instead of boring old Early Girl. I planted 12 cells each of the folowing:

  • Mountain Princess from High Mowing Seeds
    This is a new variety for me. I picked up the seed packet at the local food co-op last summer.
  • Marmande from Seeds of Italy I love this tomato. It’s a slightly flat, delicious French heirloom.
  • Grushovka Siberian from High Altitude Gardens I’ve had good luck with the Siberian tomatoes in the past — they come in at 3-4 ounces, nice red, round fruits and are adapted for short seasons.
  • Olga’s Yellow Chicken from High Altitude Gardens (which they no longer carry so I’d better save seed this year.) This is a nice yellow tomato that I grow as much for the name as for anything else.
  • Galina Siberian from High Altitude Gardens A fabulous yellow cherry tomato. Huge indeterminate vines that will grow up and over anything (they’d be terrific in an arbor) and delicious fruit.
  • Black Cherry from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden SeedsThis was a nicely-flavored black cherry tomato that I grew for the first time last year. I wish it had come in a little earlier than it did, but once it started producing it was prolific.
  • Marglobe from Seeds of Italy Another Italian heirloom — great flavor in a compact round fruit.
  • Principe Borghese from Seeds of Italy The perfect canning or drying tomato. Ripens in clusters like grapes.
  • Jaune Flamee from Shepherd’s Garden Seeds  (originally, this year I started seeds I saved myself, which is good because they don’t seem to be carrying them anymore.) This is a delicious orange tomato that also grows in clusters. I had great luck with this one last year and I’m so glad I saved seed!
  • Perestroika Siberian from High Altitude Gardens My goal this year is to take better notes on the Siberian tomatoes — I can never remember which ones were better than the others.
  • Prairie Fire from High Altitude Gardens This was my earliest tomato last year — produced a good three weeks before any of the other non-cherry varieties. A Montana native with compact and delicious fruits.

It’ll be about a week or so before anything much happens downstairs on that bench. I’m hoping that things will thaw out enough that I can get the rest of my beds turned over (and cleared of the wheat growing from last summer’s straw mulch). I’d like to start some spinach and onions — I’m growing weary of eating last year’s frozen greens and would love something new and fresh …

One thought on “Tomatoes in the Basement

  1. Oh me too! Tomatoes, aubergines, bell peppers and a great many different types of chillis, I have the dormant makings of a ratatouille on my sunny windowsill.
    PS Spare bonck! These coded messages are rude at times!

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