Too hot for tomatoes? Maybe…

This heat isn’t necessarily a good thing. This is our peak “fruit setting” time and we’re rarely in the mid to upper 90’s at this time of year. I’m a bit worried about the crop…this article explains it a bit more:

https://agdev.anr.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=4489

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Middle Of May Video Blog

The garden is just about finished transitioning from spring plants to summer plants.

 

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Video Blog of the Garden in Early April

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Better Late Than Never…THE LIST!!!

2016PlantListsandCheatSheets

With my career change last year came a huge change in my priorities in life.  My job keeps me super busy, but also super happy.  Gardening and working in the greenhouse used to be my “escape” from the unhealthy stresses of my old job.  I now find myself in a much better state of mind at the end of the workday and do not have the need to decompress for hours on end with plants in my hands.  That being said….I still love to grow and still love to help people have amazing gardens, but things will be scaled back a bit for now.

I have  a great lineup of tomato and pepper plants this year and they are looking very good and ready to be transplanted in the next couple of weeks.  I will not be planting the huge numbers of each variety though. I’ll have a lot of plants for sale, but may run out of some types quickly.  It will be first come, first served again this year, so stop by early to have your best chance at getting the types of plants you really want to grow.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as I transition into my new awesome career.

My plant sale dates will be as follows:

April 16th:  GO NATIVE Event at the Discovery Center (FREE Native plants,  trees, seeds and landscaping advice)

April 23rd:   8-4

April 30th:  8-4

May 1st:    8-noon

May 7th:    8-4

May 8th:    8-noon

I am at 215 East 97th Street, KCMO.

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Fall Prep Work for Better Spring Gardening

If you’re like the vast majority of gardeners, by the end of Summer, you’re getting tired of the garden for the year.  The tomato plants are sad looking or dead, the squash bugs have devoured all of your plants, what the squash bugs didn’t eat the grasshoppers munched down or fungal diseases of every sort have obliterated most of your garden.  Maybe you’ve got a few pepper plants that are finally putting on ripe fruit or you’re eyeing the last of the green tomatoes and wondering when they’ll ripen.  Perhaps your sweet potato vines are covering everything in their path and you can’t wait to find those buried treasures in the next few weeks.  At any rate, most of us are not nearly excited about gardening as we were back in March when we could barely wait to get our hands in the soil.

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Despite all of the hardships of summer, the cooling weather is your signal to get back in there to finish the fight so that next year’s gardening can be that much easier and even more successful.  Hopefully some of you planted fall crops such as beets, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, turnips, and radishes.  If so, you’re one of the few brave souls still eating fresh veggies from your garden beds.  Even if you don’t have anything harvest-able, get out there and remove all of the dead plants and toss them in the compost pile.  Leaving the dead plants in the garden can encourage pests to over-winter in the debris and could contribute to the spread of plant diseases.

Add a healthy layer of compost to each bed and till it into the top few inches of soil.  This allows the nutrients in the compost to be fully available to your plants in the spring.  It also makes it much easier to plant next spring as the soil is ready to accept seeds or seedlings with little extra effort other than a gentle raking.  Many gardeners have delayed planting in the spring because they have to wait for their soil to dry out before working it…tilling in the fall while it is drier can definitely give you the edge next spring.

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It’s not too late to plant a few things now.  You can definitely plant garlic as this is the the peak time to get those cloves in the ground for a harvest next June.  You can also sow the seeds of lettuce and radishes, but be prepared to cover them in a few weeks when that first threat of frost looms.

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Now is a good time to reflect on this past gardening season.  Write a few notes about what worked and what didn’t do so well in your gardens this year.  Make a list of “Must Grows” for next year as those seed catalogs will be coming in the mail in just a couple of months.  Make a sketch of your garden or use one of the many garden planning websites or programs to help you get organized and be able to hit the soil running once winter starts to lose her icy grip on us next year!

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7th Annual Tomato Tasting Results and Pictures!

We pushed the envelope of ripeness this year, but managed to have 48 varieties ripe and ready to taste this morning.  It’s half of what we had last year, but with the crazy weather we’ve had, I was very grateful to have the diversity we had.  About 100 people joined us for our 7th Annual Tomato Tasting…many old friends and a lot of new faces as well!  We were very fortunate with a comfortable breeze which made it very nice to be outside this morning…the heat returned soon after we were finished so having the tasting in the mornings seems to be the best bet!

The Local  Pig did a great job as our hosts and they broke out big pans of smoked ham, pepperoni, and sausages for all to enjoy.  I saw a lot of our tasters taking home brown paper sacks full of locally produced meats.  I can’t thank Alex, Matt and their whole crew enough for all of the generosity and help during the past three years!

I took a few pictures of the tasting and stole some pics from tasters who posted on FB…thanks to the shutterbugs who captured some great moments!

funforthewholefamily meats tableoftomatoes tomatoesgalore

We also did our totally unscientific voting for the favorite tomato and we had some surprising results.  Sungold was toppled as one of the perennial winners!

Brad’s Blackheart 13
Carbon 12
Kiss the Sky 12
Green Moldova 10
Sungold 10
Cherokee purple 9
Mortgage Lifter 9
indigo Cherry Drop 8
Kosovo 7
Lucky Tiger 6
Purple Bumblebee 5
Purple Dream 5
Aunt Ruby’s German Green 4
Black Cherry 4
Pink Brandywine 4
Cherokee Green 3
German Johnson 3
Sun Lucky +Anna rossen x Sungold 3
Cherokee Gold 2
Juane Flamme 2
Missouir Pink Love Apple 2
Noir de Crimee 2
Sherry Gene 2
Solar Flare 2
Sunrise Bumblebee 2
Hege German Pink 2
Black Brandywine 1
Blush 1
Brandywine Sudduth 1
Carter’s 1
Dester’s Amish 1
Early Girl 1
Plan 9 From Outer Space 1
Stupice 1
Sun Lucky type Beef 1
Sun Lucky Indigo Red 1
Sunlucky x Sungold 1

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7th Annual KCTT Tomato Tasting F.A.Q.

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Last year’s Tomato Tasting was one for the record books with 100 varieties of tomatoes available for tasting!  This year….we’re definitely going to be much lower than that number.  The heavy rains and lack of sunshine in May and June have us a few weeks behind schedule.  Some varieties are ripening though and we’ll have a decent selection of varieties to taste for sure.

The tomato varieties are the star of the show, but the awesome meats The Local Pig breaks out and the scrumptious dishes everyone bring to share are reason alone to spend your Saturday morning in the east bottoms with us!

Please review the F.A.Q.’s below to help make your trip to the 6th KCTTTT a memorable success for all of us!

  • Where and when is the KCTTTT?  The tasting is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 25th at the Local Pig (2618 Guinotte Ave, Kansas City, MO 64120)  Please click the link to get directions as it can be a bit difficult to find if you’re never been there before.
  • How much does it cost?  The KCTTTT has been and always will be a free event.
  • What should I bring?  Please bring labeled varieties of tomatoes if you can for people to enjoy.  We love tomato variety and want to have as many types of tomatoes to taste as possible!  Put your tomatoes in a brown paper lunch sack with the variety labeled on the sack.  Check them in with Jen at the registration table to get your tickets for the prize drawings.  Each variety you bring gets you one ticket for the drawing…bring as many varieties as you can for the best chances to win!

The big hit of every tomato tasting is the creative dishes people bring for others to sample.  Break out your favorite tomato dish  recipes and we look forward to devouring them!

Also,you might want to bring a lawn chair to sit in as seating will be very limited with the large crowd we are expecting.

  • I don’t have any tomatoes to bring this year, what else can I bring?  It’s ok if you don’t have tomatoes to bring, but we would appreciate it if you would bring along something to accompany the spread of food.  Fresh breads, cheeses, sweets, or anything else that you think people would enjoy will definitely be appreciated.
  • What else is there to do at the tomato tasting besides eat and eat and eat?  You will have the opportunity to vote for your 5 favorite tomato varieties, so be sure to bring a pen to write on your voting tickets.  If you’re a gardener, you might also want to bring a pad and paper to write down your favorite varieties so you can grow them in your garden in the future.  You will also be surrounded by like minded foodies and gardeners who are the friendliest people on the planet…I’m sure you’ll have plenty to talk about!  Also, make sure you make a trip inside The Local Pig to buy some of their fantastic sausages, bacon, steaks, and other amazing products!
  • How can I help with this event?  We are always looking for help setting up and taking down the event.  I will arrive around 7:30 in the morning to put down table cloths and start organizing the tables and tomatoes.  Jen will need one person to help with the registration.  Around 8:00 we’ll need a couple of people to help with slicing and labeling tomatoes to put on the tables.  If you would like to help out, please arrive early and we’ll put you to work!

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