Why Not to Plant to Early in the Spring

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Frost-damaged plants
I have a sad story and a word of caution to share with you. One of my “most favorite” customers misread the weather app and planted the tomatoes in the garden yesterday.Unfortunately, they froze last night. At my house, we didn’t get frost. Everyone has microclimates at their house. My garden area is probably about 5 degrees cooler than up by the house. Keep that in mind when you plant.
I don’t recommend that you plant until mid-May in the Spokane area because our weather is so unpredictable. We are all anxious to get started planting after the long, cold, dreary winter but just because it is warm during the day doesn’t mean it is warmer at night. (That’s where it pays to know your microclimate) If you do have them out, cover them for a few degrees of protection if it’s going to be below 32 degrees. If they’ve only been in the ground for a day or two and you know frost is coming, pull them out and put them back into their pots. They won’t have started spreading their roots yet.
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This is a picture of when we used buckets to cover the plants. It provides a few degrees of protection. They still froze, see the story in next paragraph.
One last thing, if they get touched by frost, they will look dreadful, kinda like canned spinach when the sun hits them. Don’t be in a hurry to rip them out of the earth. One year the same thing happened in the first week June (I mean really???) to our garden. I cried, said some not so nice words and left them in. They recovered and grew as big as before! Unless we have several days of killing frost and the ground freezes, give them a chance.
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Bi-Color and Striped Tomatoes Color My World

As an artist, I am in love with color! Any color. Of course my favorite is purple but I almost equal opportunity when it comes other colors; my clothes, my vegetables, my flowers etc.

Todays post is about colored tomatoes – striped ones to be exact. When I started choosing my own seeds for tomatoes many, many years ago, I thought there were only red, round ones. Boy, was I surprised when I started looking at the seed catalogs. Red, purple, black, yellow, orange, pink, bicolors, green, striped, white, cream, and now “blue”. And the shapes: round, heart-shaped, sausage-shaped, fluted, grape-shaped, blocky oblong, the list goes on.

After 20 years of choosing, I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorites are usually not red. Stripes and bi-colors float my boat. No too come in the same color. Here are a couple that I especially love.

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This is Speckled Roman, a paste tomato. It is reddish orangish with yellowish stripes. Good flavor.

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This one is a cherry tomato called Blush, a real beauty, with bright yellow skin suffused with red streaks. It has a lovely sweet-tart taste when you bite into it.

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Here we have Ananis Noir. It means black pineapple in french and was a sport of Pineapple in someones garden. I am glad they cultivated it. Admittedly, outside isn’t all that attractive to my eyes, but the inside is gorgeous, fruity and juicy. And, they can get pretty big as you can see by the numbers on the scale.

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Orange Russian, on of the first bicolors I’ve tried. they are considered an oxheart, but like all heirlooms, their shapes and size can differ on the same plant. This one is a lovely orangish-yellow with reddish highlights, even on the inside.

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Bunblebee is a cherry and comes in many colors with striping. Sweet and pretty!

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Chocolate Stripes – Brick red with greenish stripes. Juicy and sweet with dark colored interior. Yum!

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Lucky Tiger, cherry, originally a customer request. I’m glad I grew it for her. It is now one of my husband’s favorites along with Sungold. Golden green when ripe with green and reddish-yellow striping. Great taste.

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Roman Candle, a paste. Definitely easy to find, it seems to light up the interior of the plant! Bright yellow, sometimes with green shoulders, more often than not it has faint green stripes. Makes good sauce and brightens up any salad or salsa.

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Gold Medal, a bi-color. Good flavor, yellowish orange with red blushing. Shows up on the inside and is sweet and juicy.

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Isis Candy, another bi-color cherry, this one round, often times with a white starburst on the underside. Very prolific, a favorite of my kids when they were still at home.

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Fred’s Tye Dye, a tomato developed by The Dwarf Tomato Project. There was a desire for a larger tomato on a smaller plant, especially good for a large container or small space gardening. The plant gets to about 4 feet tall with a massive stalk (sometimes they are called tree tomatoes), and dark green leaves. the color is perfect, dark red with metallic green stripes. Love this one!

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Last but least is Pink Berkeley Tye Dye. this is a Wild Boar introduction. A gentleman named Brad Gates, started breeding for striped and bicolor tomatoes. He has an amazing collection of them now. I think this one is an amazing tomato, with dark pink coloring and metallic green stripes.

Anyway you slice them, these beautiful and tasty tomatoes!