The Letter of the Day is J: “J” is for the Tomato , Jetsetter and the Pepper, Jimmy Nardello,

Short season gardeners especially will be happy for this variety that doesn’t sacrifice size or flavor for early maturity. Tomatoes are at least 8 ozs. and often larger with really good, rich flavor. Yields are plentiful on vigorous plants that have lots of disease resistance. VFFNTA  Indeterminate, 64 days


Jimmy Nardello
I love these peppers, they look fiery hot but they arent.

From the small village of Ruoti in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, this heirloom was brought to the states, and introduced in 1887. jimmy nardello

These are a popular frying pepper.

Growing 20-24″, these plants produce loads of long, thin peppers, up to 10″ long. 

The peppers are delicious and sweet. Cooked in a little olive oil, and grilled or fried, or chopped and used raw in salsas and salads. 

These peppers are perfect for pickling or drying.


End of Season Tips: Row Covers Protect Vegetable Plants from Light Frosts


Floating row covers, shade cloth, tarps, plastic , sheets and blankets are an easy way to protect crops from chilly nights and light frosts. Anchor  to the ground on each side and the ends; use garden staples, rocks, or boards to hold covers in place. Covering your plants will keep plants 2 to 5°F warmer than the air outside temperature—enough to protect plants from a light overnight frosts.

I am most concerned with keeping my tomatoes from freezing. If  light frost is predicted, I will cover with one of our many blue tarps and drag them off in the daytime so they don’t bake. The whole idea is to protect the tomatoes from frostbite. If that happens, instead of ripening, they will usually rot.

It ain’t pretty but it works!


Another Trouble Afoot – Leaf Curl/Roll

We have been having huge shifts in temperature lately. From 80’s to the 50’s and lots and lots of rain. Our tomatoes are reacting to these changes on an individual basis. some of my varieties, actually most of them, are doing well. A couple have leaf spots (I’ll do a separate post of that at a later date), my “Cougar Red” has some curled, rolled leaves (other than that it is healthy). I have done some research on the latter and this is what I’ve found:

“Leaf Roll:

During very wet seasons, tomato plants frequently show an upward rolling of the leaflets of the older leaves. At first this rolling gives the leaflet a cupped appearance. Later, the margins of the leaflets touch or overlap. The rolled leaves are firm and leathery to the touch. One half to three-fourths of the foliage may be affected. Plant growth is not noticeably checked, and a normal crop of fruit is produced. Frequently leaf roll occurs when tomato plants are pruned severely, and it is very common when unusually heavy rains cause the soil to remain moist for long periods of time.

To prevent leaf roll, keep tomato plants on well-drained, well-aerated soil, and protect them from prolonged periods of heavy rainfall if you can.”

Also this: (Univ. of Colo.)

“Leaf roll, or leaf curl, is a physiologic distortion that may develop with periods of cool, rainy weather. It cause the lower leaves to roll upward and become thick and leathery. Leaf roll does not affect plant growth or fruit production and requires no treatment.

Leaf Roll

Herbicides can distort the foliage and fruit of tomatoes. They are especially sensitive to 2,4-D. Damage can bend the leaves down, causing cupping and thickening. New leaves are narrow and twisted and do not fully expand. Fruit may be catfaced and fail to ripen. Exposure can occur when herbicides are applied to lawns for weed control and the spray “drifts”. Resultant fumes can also effect the plants for several days after treatment. Clippings from grass that has been sprayed with a herbicide should not be used as mulch in the vegetable garden. If the exposure is minimal, the plant will outgrow the injury. Be sure to water the affected plants thoroughly and often.”

I guess I will have to wait and see how they turn out. In the meantime, the “Cougar Red” is in it’s own pot and segregated to be on the safe side.

Truly Exhausted but Triumphant

So, yesterday, March 25, I planted around 4000 tomato seeds with the help of two friends, Heidi Eutsler, Kathy Kjelgaard and my lovely husband, Steve. It’s not back breaking (unless you count hunched over for hours) but when you are doing 168 plus varieties, it’s a lot of work. I use a sterile seed germinating mix and sterile containers. This cuts down on the problem of damping off. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I transplanted 2000 babies (tomato plants). Now that’s back breaking! Friday night it got really cold and the two heaters we had in the greenhouse didn’t cut the mustard and when I checked on them the next morning, they looked like canned spinach. Not a good thing. I lost 300 plants. The next night, we put in 4 heaters, (space heaters) and ti worked like a charm. Good thing since I had spent the day transplanting. Today, I am going to transplant pepper plants.