Sunday, February 04, 2007

Gardening Urge

The gardening urge is slowly awakening. Somehow when the weather was so mild I didn't think much about the garden. But now that it's snowy and freezing my mind has shifted to thoughts of spring.

I got my second copy of the Tomato Growers catalog. I'm not sure, but I think there may be such a thing as "too much of a good thing." The catalog pictures and describes 400 varieties of tomatoes with intriguing names like Opalka, Mule Team and Sweet Quartz. And if that's not enough, the index lists an additional 112 varieties whose descriptions are available only on the website.

So, I started out by folding down the corner of each page that included a variety I was interested in. The obvious result was that every page was turned down. I moved on to highlighting details of varieties I was interested in 'til I realized the neon yellow was dominating each page. Now I don't know how to proceed.

It's not enough that the varieties are divided into early, mid-season and late. There's also Oxhearts, Beefsteaks, paste and small fruited. And if that hasn't steered you to exactly the right variety yet, there's bi-color, yellow, green, orange, white and black. And there I'm hooked. Black? They're really more like dark purple but they'll make a nice visual touch in the mix of cherry tomatoes. And the descriptions all refer to the flavor: excellent, rich, complex, sweet, hint of saltiness.

I know we'll grow Sun Gold orange cherry tomatoes again. They've been favorites for years. And Snow White, a nearly white cherry tomato I got as a free sample last year and loved. But I still need a paste tomato, a beefsteak and a red cherry. And I still want to grow Green Zebra, recommended by the Barefoot Contessa and described by Tomato Growers as:
"A unique and delicious salad tomato. 3 oz green fruits ripen to amber-green with darker green stripes. The light green flesh is very flavorful, sweet yet zingy. This one is a real taste treat."
And there are many, many more I want to try. But I have to leave room in the garden for onions and beans and lettuce and squash and... Oh, dear.


Maggy said...

Tomato addict.

LauraHinNJ said...

Try one of each! Besides, most tomatoes do well in pots so you can reserve the garden space for other stuff.

phempton said...

Hi Mary Ann,

Very nice COLD blog. I tried Green Zebras last year in Seattle in my greenhouse. The only problem was that the plants from the nursery must have been mislabelled or I wasn't paying attention. We only got nice red tomatoes not the long awaited striped beauties. I'm not sure what I'll plant this year but I like the idea of putting them in a container instead of in a bed.

Best of luck,

Patrick - I Heart Gardening