tomato trivia

Tomato trivia – you might recall I mentioned that I was keeping track of maturity times on the tomatoes. The plan is that they don’t all mature at one time so you have continuous tomatoes over the summer. When I plant the seeds indoors I have a starter system with a clear plastic dome cover so I can see what’s going on with the germination process. Here’s something interesting – the seeds germinate in the same sequence as their maturity date would indicate – ie the seeds from the earliest variety germinates first; the latest maturing version, last. If you had to guess, you might suspect that but it’s absolutely the way it happens. The other interesting thing is that the germination in any one variety takes place almost at the same time. I checked a few nights back and none had germinated; 8 hours later all of the earliest variety were up with leaves. A few hours later, all of the next shortest variety were up. The 90 day variety was dead last. And the pepper seeds I put in at the same time have yet to pop out after two weeks.

Good news, the potato plants all made it to the surface and are looking good. The garden had been covered for a week so I wasn’t getting my once a day garden update. Upon closer inspection, everything that was covered survived. Lot’s of stuff to pick, lots of stuff to thin.

And it looks like I’ve solved the spinach problems – at least so far. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve bent my pick trying to grown spinach here for the past 2 years. I tried a few different things this time and decided to use up all my old seed – a no no with spinach. I planted two varieties, Spargo and Melody. I had good luck with Melody in Utah but have zero’d out in Florida. I significantly overplanted both varieties expecting/hoping to get something at least worth picking. This season it’s all popping out like crazy and putting on beautiful growth. Should be ready to start clipping mid March or perhaps a bit earlier. Maybe the stars have aligned this season or maybe all the soil work is paying off. Most likely it’s the weird weather patterns and nothing to do with the farmer.

The other crop that came off really good for the first time is celery. It took quite a bit longer than I had estimated but did finally mature and taste just like the real stuff. Nice, big stalks. I’ve grown celery every winter but it was a puny representative of the species and I had decided that this would be my last shot at it. In the case of celery I read up on it and believe all the wet weather we’ve had is the key ingredient I’ve missed in past seasons. According to the experts, celery needs lots of fertilizer and lots of water. Now I’m rejuvenated. Celery is one of those crops that really dress up a garden and I get lots of ooh’s and aah’s from visitors.

Picking broccoli more or less continuously now. I tried a variety called Packman which is advertised to put out lots of side shoots after the main head is harvested. Does it ever! I planted a dozen or so and we could literally eat broccoli several times a week and have been doing that for a month with no signs of it letting up. I have another variety, Belstar, which I planted later than Packman that should be maturing by mid March. Haven’t grown that variety before but I read where it was especially good in Florida so we’ll see.

Last but not least, two varieties of peas, snow peas and snap peas. Both have been putting out loads of blossoms and I spotted the first actual peas yesterday so we should be picking and eating lots of peas throughout March.

You might have noticed that all the stuff I mentioned, except tomatoes, will be finishing up in March. That’s by design and all the garden space will be filled with warm weather stuff as the winter crops hit an end. That’s assuming that this winter ever ends. That’s where the aforementioned tomatoes and peppers come into play.

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