Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greenhouse Planted

We started our Solanaceae plants a little later this year (I think around mid-March), hoping to catch just the right size for transplanting into the greenhouse. Seems like it worked really well; the timing, together with under-heat trays and grow lights with timers (thanks to the legacy of our friend Bob), the germination rate and success was magnificent this year, the best we've ever had. The peppers, when transplanted, this year have been the absolute best yet.

Heirloom Tomatoes

We purchased most of the seeds originally from Two Wings Farms in Victoria, I think the Black Cherry plants originally came from Dinter Nursery in Duncan. The text and images regarding these tomatoes are from Two Wings Farms website, except for the Black Cherry, which is from Trade Winds Fruit.

Canada Long"I have grown Canada Long for many years, but never listed it until this year. It always produces well and they were so amazing this year I thought why not list them. A 4to5 inch long "pepper" shaped tomato that could be called a paste type, but it tastes wonderful fresh too. As with all elongated varieties, watch out for blossom end rot."
Black from Tula"Large purple colour, Beautiful globe shape, mid/late season. Delicious, flavour. productive Indeterminate. Rare. Top 10."
Aurega"A deep apricot orange sweet tomato, with a rosy interior. About 2" in size. Ripens fairly early. Very productive and reliable. Said to originate in Switzerland, I've seen it spelled "Auriga" too. I love this one. Indeterminate, Endangered. Top 10"
Apple of Novi Sad"Another great Tomato from Serbia. These plants were started late, but still produced a wonderful large crop of beautiful Red Tomatoes. After growing in a different part of the field, they are quite a larger plant than I previously thought! and Once again, a very nice crop in a poor season!"
Green Grape Cherry"Productive, very sweet, green/yellow cherry. Absolutely delicious, fruity tomato flavour. You'll be a fan after your first bite! Small sprawling plant works well in containers too. Determinate. Heirloom."
Black Cherry"Round, true cherry tomato, one of the only having black skin. Color is a deep red, with blackish hues. Flavor is sweet, much like other cherry tomatoes, and very full-flavored. This variety is fairly rare."


Last year we tried a cultivar that is suited for our wet coast climate: Dusky. It grew really well in the greenhouse, and we ended up with plenty of lovely 3-5" long eggplants that had a very mild, wonderful flavour. So this year, I thought I'd try them from seed. Another variety that I got "just 'cause" was Listada de Gandia, as they're open pollinated and I could save the seeds for next year (if we like them). I found this variety through the Seeds of Diversity site. Descriptions and images as indicated.

Dusky"Big, deep-purple, 20cm (8-9") oval fruits mature early on 60cm (24-30") disease-resistant bushes. Dusky will yield even in a poor summer and heavily in a hot summer." - West Coast Seeds
Listada de Gandia"An old Italian heirloom that is decorative as well as tasty. The bushy plants produce beautiful 6-8” purple eggplants with many white stripes. Mild white flesh without bitterness. This variety is beautiful on the patio as well as the garden. Start early indoors. (85-90 days maturity)" - Heritage Harvest Seeds


Back to Two Wings Farms again for our seeds (and the descriptions & photos). We've enjoyed growing jalapeño peppers, although not hot according to our Mexican friends, certainly hot enough for us. This year we thought we'd try a sweet one, too.

Jalapeño"Traditional flavourful hot chiles for fresh use. I still love to add this one to fresh salsa for that great clean crisp spicy flavour. Lots of folks like to pickle these too, or dry and smoke them to make Chipotle a real treat."
Red Ruffle"Red Ruffle also was a heroic producer out in the field with no protection. We were amazed by how strong and productive it was. Beautiful dark red pleated heirloom. Wonderful, complex, sweet flavour. A sweet paprika type with thick walls. My very favourite pepper. Absolutely delicious!"


If you've never had a tomatillo or a ground cherry/cape gooseberry, you're definitely missing out. Tomatillos are spectacular producers in our climate, and do not need to be put under any cover. They are a magnificent staple for salsas (fresh and canned), and I use them in any recipe that calls for green tomatoes (check out some of these recipes for ideas). Tomatillos can be eaten green or fully ripe, and have very different flavours depending on the ripeness. This year, along with our staple greens, we figured we'd try a new purple variety, because it intrigued me.

The ground cherries, while they don't have to go under cover, definitely produce better in the warmer climate of the greenhouse. They're a sweet fruit with a tang, and are beautiful to eat just as is; however, I do know people use them in preserves, or as pie filling. I couldn't hold off eating them long enough to turn them into anything other than fresh-into-the-mouth-poppers! Both of these fruit have a great shelf life, especially if their papery husks are intact and not dirty.

I originally got our cape gooseberry seeds from Stellar Seeds, but have since been saving our own for a few years. I don't remember now where the original green tomatillos came from, but they've been starting themselves in our garden and I've been saving seeds from year to year. Descriptions and images as indicated.

Toma Verde Tomatillo"An earlier maturing green tomatillo that is indispensable for Mexican cooking. The large green fruit have good quality flesh and excellent keeping qualities. Highly recommended. Start indoors 4-5 weeks before transplanting out. (65 days from transplant)" - Heritage Harvest Seeds
Purple Tomatillo"A rare tomatillo that turns purple when ripe. The purple types are sweeter than green tomatillos. The small tomato like fruit are enclosed in a papery husk that is easy to remove prior to cooking. The purple fruit store very well after harvest. Used in traditional Mexican salsas. Delicious. Start indoors 4-5 weeks before transplanting out. (70 days from transplant) EXTREMELY RARE." - Heritage Harvest Seeds
Ground Cherry"These upright, branching plants grow 80cm tall and 50cm around. Hanging from the branches are small husked fruits with an incredibly sweet yet tangy flavour that is much sought after in food circles. Fruits grow 2-3cm in diameter and are ready when husks have dried down and fruits turn bright orange in colour. (~3000 seeds). Certified Organic." - Stellar Seeds

Now we just have to look after everyone 'til harvest time, and "bumble" the flowers (hand pollinate) so we actually get something!!

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