The Letter of the Day is W: “W” is for the Tomato, Willamette and the Pepper, White Lakes

Willamette

The second picture is of the grand prize I won at the Spokane County Fair 2013. I might also add that these are some of the sweetest early tomatoes I’ve eaten and they grew well in a large pot.

Becoming a Northwest heirloom, Willamette was developed at Oregon State University by the late Dr. Tex Frazier in the 1950’s. This very dependable ripener is one of OSU’s first early determinate tomatoes. It’s medium in size with a mild, low acid flavor. 

Determinate

Early

ImageImage

White Lakes

Very generous producer of dainty, somewhat pointed peppers. The young fruits take on an ivory or cream color very early, eventually ripening to a stunning red-orange. Originally a Russian variety deserving of much wider recognition. Delicious, productive, and beautiful.White peppers are lovely in a mixed salad.

Image

The Letter of the Day is S: “S” is for the Tomato, Super Snow White and the Pepper, Sweet Banana

Super Snow White

A favorite. This was the most prolific tomato I have grown in a long time. The plant was enormous and the tomatoes numerous. Mild and sweet, bearing 2 oz., ivory-colored cherry tomatoes, larger than Snow White, but similar in taste. They ripen to a bit larger than ping pong balls. Indeterminate, md-season

Image

Sweet Banana

SWEET An AAS Bronze Medal winner for 1941 and still extremely popular. Large, pointed fruits measure 6-7” long and 1½” across. The mild yellow peppers ultimately turn brilliant red. Great for pickling. I also like to use this for stuffing with cream cheese. Very, very prolific.

Image

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

Jetsetter
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

jetsetter2-12

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.

 

Today I Planted Sweet Pepper Seed and Transplanted Over 300 Impatiens

Image

Despite my inability to stand without pain in my knees I managed to transplant 6 different varieties of impatiens, including Athena, Mystic, Red Flash and Butterfly Mix. I love handling the little guys, it makes me feel like spring although the forecast is for snow tonight.

Today and yesterday, I seeded 24 varieties of sweet peppers. California Wonder, Albino bullnose and White Lakes (both cream colored), Sweet Pickle, Sweet Banana, Sheepnose  and several colors of mini bells, to name a few. A couple of the hot peppers that were planted last week are coming up. Hot peppers take longer to germinate so I am surprised. 

Whew! Tomato Transplants Are All Done, 6500!

Took me almost four days but they have been relocated to their own little patch of heaven, a 3.5 inch pot! Better yet, I got the website up and updated with all of my 2013 varieties, all 161 of them. My peppers have been updated too, 41 varieties. If you are interested in tomatoes and peppers, check it out. There is a lot of info on how to plant them and grow them to great heights. Plus, you will be amazed how many kinds and colors there are.

the website address is:   http://www.thetomatolady.com

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

Image

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

After an initial watering from the top, we bottom water so as not to encourage damping off. They will wick it up from the bottom getting right to where it needs to go – the roots.

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

Image

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

This is a shelving rack with ordinary fluorescent lights hovering just above flats full of tomato plants. The lights need to be close to provide light and warmth otherwise the plants will get leggy

Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

Image

Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

When growing for your home garden, start seeds 8 weeks prior to the last frost date. Always use sterile seed starting mix and sterile pots. Buy them new every year or sterilize used pots with a 10% bleach solution. Sometimes I run mine through the dishwasher on the top rack and toss a little bleach in before I start the wash cycle (damping off can be a real problem if you don’t.)

Place the seeds on top of the medium; cover with about 1/4” inch of mix and press down with your hands to smooth. Sprinkle with water from a “gentle” watering can to avoid washing the seeds away. I then fill my flats with hot water until they start floating, they will absorb this.

Put them in a warm place. Mine go under ordinary fluorescent lights, about an inch away from the flats, in the dining room. The heat from the lights keep it warm. (You can use bottom heat such as a heating mat or the top of refrigerator if you like.) Bottom water as needed, don’t let them dry out. In about a week you should start to see germination. Grow them under the lights until you see the first true leaves, a pair of true leaves. Transplant into larger pots.

Peppers seem to take forever to germinate, sometimes as much as 3 weeks. Tomatoes can be up as early as 4 days from planting.

Key points for maximum success:
sterile seed starting mix
sterile pots
warm location for germination
water from the bottom
good ventilation

These basic instructions work for just about every seed you want to start in pots to get a jump on the season. I will post more on starting different kinds of seeds and their needs in other posts so stay tuned.

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.