Black Krim Tomato Plant, from Broken Vine is Fruiting

Last season, my one Black Krim tomato plant grew vigorously in the ground, where it has remained to this day. But during last season, part of the vine broke off. This broken part did not have any tomatoes yet, but I decided to plant it as a stand alone in a 5-gallon container with potting soil.

Happily, this plant is now fruiting. This is an easy way to propagate tomato plants. Simply plant them into potting soil and water enough to keep moist a couple of times per week.

I’ve already eaten several pounds of Black Krim tomatoes from the parent plant and it’s only early June, so I imagine that between the parent plant, this one,  and separate Black Krim plant taken from another piece of broken vine and in its own container, I will be quite awash with just these tomatoes. I’m waiting to see if other varieties will take in my raised row bed garden.

I’ve not decided if I will eventually transplant them into the ground since they seem happy in their containers. Certainly, this season, they will remain in their containers, now that they’re fruiting. This is shaping up to be a bountiful season.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Crop Update: Raised Row Bed Garden

It’s been two weeks since I put in my raised row bed gardens and have seen a little bit of activity. As of today, I have 7 watermelon seedlings and 11 honeydew melon seedlings. I also have 2 Black Krim tomato seedlings. A small victory, but a glorious one! These melon seeds were the last in their packets and I planted more seeds than these numbers reveal. I would be most happy to enjoy 18+ homegrown sweet melons and an unknown number of heirloom tomatoes from my tomato plants!

So far, my other tomato, summer squash, bush beans, and lettuce seeds have not (yet) produced seedlings but I will check daily for any change in status. Likely, if these seeds do not germinate in the next few weeks, I will transplant some of the melon seedlings to these rows, to provide adequate space for their healthy growth.

Sometimes, it’s a bit of a waiting and guessing game to see if seeds will germinate. However, if one or more crops (e.g., melons) appear to be successful, it’s a good idea to adjust your garden to make room for them – you have to go with the flow. In my experience, if seeds do not germinate, in the next season, if left undisturbed in the soil, they may eventually germinate, saving you quite a bit of time!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Tomato Plant in a Cage

I just put in a few wire tomato cages for my Black Krim tomato plants. Started from seed, my tomato plants are not yet fruiting, which is the best time to put in cages. In my zeal and inexperience during my early days as a gardener, I did not care when I put in tomato cages, even if the plants were fruiting.

My hands are steady but are not always patient so I would sometimes put in the cages into the container of an already-fruiting tomato plant and inadvertently pull off immature fruits. Sad!

In the case of this specific plant in the photo, the plant is a little bit short, so I added one skinny wooden stake to encourage the plant to grow straight up (vs. toppling over, which I have experienced in my early days!).

I have wondered if it’s not too late to expect tomatoes this year from my plants. I will give them plenty of TLC and water – the sun and nature will take care of the rest. My climate is mild so it would not surprise me if I had tomatoes well into autumn, but I will report on that potential success story should it materialize! I have had prior success with container-grown tomatoes growing through autumn so there is precedent!

HOW TO: Tomato cages typically have four prongs. Whether growing in a container or directly in the ground, the plant should be in the center of where the four cage prongs are to be gently pushed into the soil.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here: h

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Miniature Greenhouse to Start My Fruits and Vegetables

Years ago, I tried starting my fruit and vegetable garden using a plastic miniature greenhouse, without success (failure of seeds to germinate). Thereafter, I planted my seeds directly into the soil outdoors, with variable success. These days, I am more mindful of not wasting resources (including seeds) and thought that the greenhouse idea might be worth revisiting.

Last month, I purchased a miniature greenhouse and I am happy to report that there has been some success in that seedlings have emerged! The only ones that have not yet shown seedlings are the lettuces, but I am hopeful.

I planted my seeds in columns (12). From left to right, here are the plants in my greenhouse: (1) yellow squash, (2) green squash, (3) golden wax beans, (4) tender green beans, (5) Black Krim tomatoes, (6 + 7) Green Zebra tomatoes, (8) long purple eggplant, (9) Black Beauty eggplant, (10) Bibb buttercrunch lettuce, (11) ruby lettuce, and (1) crimson sweet watermelon.

The golden wax beans are growing quite rapidly and actually lifting up the dome. To allow the seedlings that are developing more slowly a chance to benefit from the warmth of the greenhouse, I decided to transplant the golden wax bean seedlings directly into the soil outside.

I am very excited about the possibility of having a nice bounty of delicious homegrown produce this year!

HOW TO: I purchased a Jiffy greenhouse that came with 72 peat pellets. (about $7 – Jiffy also makes smaller greenhouses). The dried peat pellets (disks) that are activated (expanded and softened) with warm water. I drained off excess water.  After several minutes, I loosened up the soil in each planted 2-3 seeds per pellet. It took a little bit of time, but simple to do.

After I finished planting the seeds in each peat pellet, I covered the pellet tray with a dome (included in the kit). I placed the greenhouse in my living room, behind the glass of the patio door, to allow for indirect sunlight.

Seedlings started to emerge after 1 week, but many more at the end of the second week. The ones that are developing the fastest, the golden wax beans, were transplanted outdoors today, directly into the soil.

When the other seedlings are more mature, I will transplant them directly into the soil outside as well (after thinning out the seedlings that appear weak by pulling them out of the peat pellet).

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Tomato Seedlings in Different Stages of Development

My Black Krim tomato seedlings are plugging along nicely in their containers. IMG_1851Started from seed, these are the tomatoes that have been most successful in my garden in growing into seedlings, compared to other seed varieties.

In each container, I’d sprinkled multiple seeds, in hopes that at least one seedling would emerge. As shown in the photo (click on it for a better view), this is what you sometimes get: one seedling that is clearly robust and a bit more mature, followed several weeks later by the emergence of new seedlings.

When these new seedlings are sufficiently mature, I will carefully remove them one by one with a garden trowel and transplant them into their own unique containers. The fact that some containers in my garden have seedlings emerging weeks apart saves me the additional time from having to plant “replacement plants” when the older ones stop fruiting and die.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Tomato Seedling Transplantation

I transplanted several tomato seedlings today. I had 21 5-gallon containers to begin with. Although all were sprinkled with various heirloom tomato seeds, not all of the containers had seedlings. Some had multiple seedlings in their containers, others with only one, still others with none at all.

With a trowel, I carefully removed several seedlings and transplanted them so that there was one seedling per container. In the end, I had tomato seedlings in 18 containers, primarily Black Krim tomato seedlings. Happily, this is my favorite tomato! I’m not even going to guess how many tomatoes I will consume by summer’s end!

It is also instructive for me to know which types of seeds have the best chance of becoming seedlings (and thus, productive plants) in my garden so that I don’t waste future time and money on seed varieties that will ultimately be unsuccessful here. My tomato seed purchases for the next planting season will certainly be much more targeted.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Tomato Container Garden: Seeds Planted!

I bought three 2-cubic foot bags of potting soil this afternoon. In the past, I filled six 5-gallon containers per bag, with each contaiimg_1518ner filled near the rim. Today, I decided to take a chance, driven by my fondness for thriftiness. Filling the containers about 2/3 full, I was able to fill seven 5-gallon containers per bag. As you can see in the photo, I filled up an astounding twenty-one 5-gallon containers! Wow! And, I decided that they all be filled with tomato seeds! I will have a tomato-packed summer, nature willing.

I labelled each container with the tomato variety planted: Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Black Krim, Green Zebra, and Rainbow Blend Cherry Tomatoes.  The containers are movable, so as the plants become more lush, I can move them around to accommodate. Pictured also are my apple and pear tree saplings.

I planted bush bean, green bell pepper, and snow pea seeds in the containers next to my kitchen. It was a great spring afternoon!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. The seeds from apples and pears are highly toxic if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Tomato Seed Shopping Spree!

I know it’s probably quite early, but I threw caution to the wind and purchased several packets of tomato seeds today, for next year’s tomato container garden.  Inspired by the miraculous emergence of tomatoes in my container garden in the winter (see the previous post), I purchased the following varieties of seeds: (1) Black Krim, organic, heirloom – five packets, (2) Green Zebra, heirloom – five packets, (3) Aunt Ruby’s German Green – organic, heirloom – three packets, and (4) Rainbow Blend cherry tomatoes – two packets.

I am a very big fan of Black Krim tomatoes – incredibly flavorful and the plants produce  a generous crop. Green Zebra tomatoes are delicious and are less acidic – their gorgeous green striations, contrasted with the mostly yellow-green, make this a truly beautiful and tasty variety! Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes will be new for me so I’ll report on them when they fruit. The Rainbow Blend cherry tomatoes – wow, it really just takes no more than one or two plants to supply you with all of the cherry tomatoes you can handle, and share with others! So incredibly juicy and a reliable producer – I love them!

Today’s seeds will more than meet my tomato needs when Spring rolls around – a summer of oh-so- juicy tomato goodness!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Black Krim Tomatoes

These are definitely my favorite of all of the tomatoes that I’m growing. This indeterminate has been very prolific – I think I’ve picked every ripe fruit off of each plant. I waiting for the next round of tomatoes to ripen. They’re that good! A native of the former Soviet Union, this dark red (“black”), heirloom tomato has an intense flavor that puts others at a very distant second. It is so juicy!

I’m finding that the superior taste of of the Black Krim has spoiled me from really enjoying another tomato in my container garden, the beefsteak tomato. It’s large and delicious, but the taste of a beefsteak tomato, based on several personal taste tests, does not at all prepare me for the very vibrant taste of the Black Krim. There’s a world of difference! Black Krims are outstanding by themselves and in salads.

As with most of my fruit and vegetable plants, all of my tomatoes were started from seeds purchased in packets, and a few were propagated from tomato side shoots (or tomato suckers) from these seed-borne plants. For me, this is definitely the Summer of the Tomato!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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