Saturday, July 25, 2009

seed-saving part two

tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to save seed from. they are perfect and usually pollinate themselves. there is no need to do any complex bloom protection like necessary in squash, peppers and many other plants.

we just pick the biggest fruit from the best and strongest plants. this year was a true test since there were so many rampant diseases out there. all the fruit we chose this year were unusually large. we grow our garden organically but don't have or need any certification. the term organic has become another term for corporate farms to squeeze out the little guy anyway.

just know, we don't use any pesticide or herbicide and even shy away from the natural indiscriminate alternatives like neem. our plants produce fruit because of tabitha's gardening prowess and lots of cow manure compost.

next years players

amish paste
this tomato produces large meaty fruit. it is good fresh but really shines when cooked. other tomatoes when cooked usually pale in comparison to their fresh counterparts. these amish paste were bred to be pantried-up. they are so meaty that it takes two or three times the amount of tomatoes to supply a given amount of seed. they are smooth skinned which means that they simply pop out of their skin when blanched. this is a huge time saver when canning large quantities of fruit. no need to dig out that woody stem either. simply slice off the top and pop out the fruit. the examples that we saved seed from this year were grapefruit sized.

cherokee purple
these tomatoes are considered kinda ugly. usually greenish on top passing red and graduating to a deep purple on the bottom. i find them beautiful. they, far and away, have the richest tomato flavor of any tomato i have ever tasted. these are perfect slicers, thick round slabs hiding your burger. they are well adapted to our area and given proper nutrients will fight against disease better than most. eating one of these is the best example of why store bought tomatoes shouldn't be called tomatoes. the flavor is so rich and complex that a good comparison would be the difference between a giant box of "rose" wine and a bottle of opus one. the tomatoes that we saved were large almost softball sized and true to cherokee purple type.

german yellow stripe
these tomatoes are beautiful in every way. they have a mild but complex flavor. they are stunning to look at. they are huge, we had several that were closing on two pounds. we had only one plant this year and i wished we had a whole row of them--next year. cut open is where these tomatoes really show their stuff. there is a burst of red in the center bleeding to iridescent yellow. they are so beautiful that it is almost a shame to eat them--almost. their mildness is not wimpy and bland like the waxy stuff in the store. a subtle burst of flavor explodes in your mouth from them. they are more like fish where cherokee purples would be like beef. yellow stripe tomatoes are excellent in salsa. the cilantro, onion and pepper flavors dance with these beauties to make some of the best salsa ever.

after the huge response for seed i collected extra seeds from the amish paste and cherokee purples. there are no more german stripes that are worthy of saving seed from. christmas seed packages will have fewer german stripes than the others. we had only three seeds this spring while one plant survived.

this is my second german stripe seed jar fermenting. allegedly letting the seeds ferment in this fashion kills any seed borne diseases. although, we believe that we don't have any tomato diseases that are transmitted from the seed. you can never be too careful.

these are from several large amish paste tomatoes.

toly really loves to swing. it is allegedly really great for his sensory processing issues.

sometimes you can see him grasp the rope extra tight. almost as if the spin of the earth is enough for him to handle let alone an increased g-force swing.

the kids love the trampoline. it is near impossible to get a decent photo of them with all the crazy jumping.

rome will be one year old very soon

he already is attempting the most dangerous things for his age.

he is such a happy baby

but he loves attention.
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