Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Seed Problem


This was the scene on Wednesday: a bone-chilling 10 degrees outside, a layer of ice and snow covering the ground, and my thoughts turned to...seeds! In the middle of a cold, windy Oklahoma winter I love to wrap up in my blanket and read seed catalogs, enticed by visions of rainbow hued tomatoes ripening in the July heat.

My problem, of course, is that I buy way too many seeds. My eyes are bigger than my garden.


When we lived near the Texas Gulf coast, I became enamored with old, open-pollinated varieties of tomatoes called heirloom tomatoes. Not only is the idea of heirloom seeds attractive to me, but their designations are so evocative and enticing that I buy some just for their names--Rose De Berne, Aunt Ginny's Purple, Black from Tula, Jaune Flamme, Yellow Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Caro Rich.

In one of my favorite gardening books, Dr. Carolyn Male's 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden, each page contains a photo of an heirloom tomato with taste descriptions rivaling that of a wine review. One of my fantasies is to have the space, the time, and the resources to grow every variety of tomato in that book!

My favorite cherry tomato is Sungold, the only hybrid tomato I grow, and it is most aromatic tomato ever, both in foliage and fruit. And thanks to organic gardening practices, I can pop those beauties right into my mouth straight from the vine. I not only ordered Sungold seeds this year but also heirlooms Beefsteak, Japanese Black Trifele, Moonglow, Yellow Plum, Babywine, Black, Black Pear, Ananas Noire, Ruby Pearl, and Chianti Rose.

In order to get a headstart on the Oklahoma heat, tomato plants should be in the ground by mid-March, and this means the seeds must be started this month. Where to plant all those tomatoes will be a real challenge with my small, raised beds.

These are some of the tomatoes produced by my attempt at organic gardening (a monumental challenge battling stinkbugs) in Texas in 2005:


And here is a mix of Farmer's Market and my own garden tomatoes in Oklahoma in 2007:


I hope my greed for seed pays off in bushels of juicy tomatoes this summer. Then I can blog about my salt problem.

4 comments:

  1. My mother and I tried to grow tomatoes last summer but my sister's black lab ate them before they even started to bud. It was sad, we were looking forward to fresh tomatoes.

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  2. Just talked to the gal who does my CSA and she sounds like your twin! I love the sungolds, also. :) Kathye

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  3. I love tomatoes! I hope that I can get a garden planted this year, because there is nothing like a good ol' homegrown tomato sandwich!

    BTW - I tagged you on my blog! :)

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  4. Mmmmm, tomato sandwich, with mayonnaise of course. ;)

    I'm not sure what a "tag" is, but thank you. (I guess!)

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