stuff and things

24 August 2010

Get a Load of Those Tomatoes!

Finally, our tomato harvest begins. From upper right, clockwise: Yellow Pear, Black Cherry, Yellow Oxheart, Costoluto Genovese, Saxon's Black, Yellow Trifele, and my absolute fave: Pink Boar (the greenish black ones next to the yellow pears).
One of Sue's lavish gifts to us this Christmas was a collection of heirloom tomato seeds. Apart from Mortgage Lifter, a gangbuster variety we grew last year, I'd never heard of any of them. The names alone take you back to the rosy past when most people had a "Victory" garden: Pink Boar, Saxon's Black, Yellow Oxheart ... and so on.

Anyone who lives in San Diego can affirm that this year's weather has been just plain bizarro. In fact, our summer was the coldest on record in 70 years. This spring, as our poor tomato seedlings shivered in the damp chill, we despaired of seeing an actual harvest. It didn't help that I started way too many seeds, too early, under growlights in my studio. Last year's starts were way more vigorous, so much so that I ended up transplanting them into newspaper pots before putting them in the ground (photo below).

Seedlings in pots made from old newspapers
Observant readers will note that those are not tomato seedlings but pepper plants in the newspaper pots: specifically, Andy's beloved Padrón peppers. He sautés them in a dash of olive oil and a whiff of garlic, and after a pass with the salt and pepper grinders, they are divine. Luckily, we didn't attempt them this year. It's just too cold.