I’ve had a flurry of e-mails this week from impatient, cabin fevered, stir-crazy gardeners (I love your enthusiasm!)! The one that took the cake was one DEMANDING that I blog NOW! You guys crack me up! This winter has been BRUTAL to say the least and I know we’re all chomping at the bit to get our hands in the soil, but now is not the time unfortunately.
Trust me on this advice…DO NOT WORK IN THE GARDEN SOIL YET! The ground is very soggy and there is a layer of frozen Earth under the top muddy layer. If you walk in the garden, till the garden, or try to work the soil in this condition you can do damage that may take years to repair. Working in muddy and/or frozen soil will cause it to compact and then it will solidify into concrete-like clumps that are almost impossible to break up.
If you’re absolutely set on getting some garden work done this week, you might consider making a container garden for a future salad. Any container 2 gallons or larger will work for planting some lettuce seeds. I recommend Black Seeded Simpson and Buttercrunch, but there are a lot of other great leaf lettuces out there that will do well in containers and make for a great, fresh salad by he first of April. If we do get another cold spell (which is almost inevitable) , you can easily bring the containers inside for a night or two until warmer weather arrives. Most lettuces can handle temps down to the low 30’s and can handle even lower temps if you cover them with Remay or some other similar row cover…don’t use plastic though unless you can keep it from touching the leaves.
The best thing you can do now is to plan. Make plans for rotating your crops from location to location. Avoid planting the same crops in the same space year after year. Crop rotation results in fewer plant diseases and higher yielding harvests. Keep a garden journal and sketches with labels of your plant varieties so that you can plan each year’s garden layout.
Once you’ve got that plan ready, then start scouring the seed catalogs or online web sites for varieties that will make your garden a bit more interesting each year. I order from a few reputable sites that have had great customer service and excellent selection.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds has a tremendous selection and great prices for the most part. Use the code 11-1005 for free shipping on your order.
Tomato Grower’s Supply has a huge selection of tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds for those of you that start your own seedlings.
Tatiana’s Tomato Base has the best reference site online for information on tomato varieties. She also has a lot of seeds for sale and is a great asset to the tomato growing community.
There are a lot more out there, but these three get the bulk of my business year after year.
I have my list of tomato plants ready, but I do not have everything linked yet. I’ll post it up now and will begin to taking orders. Just e-mail me your list of wanted varieties and quantity of each. Plants will be ready for pickup around the end of April through the middle of May…I’ll let you know when it gets closer to time.
Worley’s Selections for 2011
Tomato, Pepper, Basil, Tomatillo, and Eggplant
Thanks to Tatiana’s Tomato Base, The Sample Seed Shop, Tomato Grower’s Supply, and Tomatoville.com
for all of the help in compiling this list and descriptions!
- Ace 55: 75 days, determinate, 6- to 12-oz. tart flavor, sweet undertone, productive, resists V and FW.
- · Aunt Ruby’s German Green: Large green beefsteaks ripen to pale green with a tint of yellow and have a pink blush underneath that extends inside the flesh. The flavor is sweet, yet spicy and quite delicious. Fruit weighs from 12- to 16-oz. and has the smoothest shape of any large green tomato. Heirloom variety.
- Aussie: A favorite heirloom tomato variety from Australia. And a favorite of mine for the past ten years as a dependable red heirloom tomato for the market, home, and as a show tomato. Our organic tomato seeds produce indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that dependably yield picture-perfect, copious amounts of 1- to 2-lb., glossy-red, meaty, fluted, beefsteak tomatoes that are LOADED with delicious, bold, rich, and complex flavor. Great disease resistance. Good show tomato. One to impress your friends with . . . a winner!
- Berkeley Tie Dye: This rare and exotic fruit with big, bold, luscious flavor looks just like its name implies with spectacular showy streaks and swirls of green and yellow, red and orange, with green and red patterning inside and out. From 8- to 12-oz., chefs nationwide are ordering these plants for their restaurant gardens—tomato lovers are clamoring for this fabulous variety. Berkeley Tie Dye is another fabulous variety from talented tomato breeder, Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms in California.
- Berkeley Tie Dye Heart: Strong assertive flavor of Berkeley Tie Dye with super dense meaty flesh. Mid season, 75-85 days. Indeterminate. Wispy, droopy leaf. Good to outstanding production. Wispy, droopy leaves look like they need water when they sometimes don’t. Wilt leaf gene is common in heart tomatoes. Several shapes of same plant, ranging from blocky-round to long slender hearts. Outstanding assertive tomato flavor. Very meaty with almost no juice. Mutation from Berkeley Tie Dye.
- Black and Brown Boar: Discovered in Green Zebra patch about ten years ago. This looks like a Black Zebra, slightly larger with some lobes. Mid-early to early. 65 to 75 days. Indeterminate, regular leaf. Pumps out 3- to 4-in. fruit like crazy. Aggressive grower and producer. Great flavor, dark earthy tones of rich tomato. Origin: Green Zebra.
- Black Cherry: The only truly black cherry tomato. Organic tomato seeds produce large, sprawling, indeterminate, regular-leaf, vigorous tomato plants that yield abundant crops in huge clusters of 1-in., round, deep purple, mahogany-brown cherry tomatoes. Fruits are irresistibly delicious with sweet, rich, complex, full tomato flavors that burst in your mouth, characteristic of the best flavorful black tomatoes. Beautiful to mix with other colored cherry tomatoes. Unique tomato variety. Disease resistant.
- Black from Tula: 80 days, indeterminate, regular leaf, good yield of 8- to12-oz. purple-black fruits with irregular shape, green shoulders, very good flavor.
- Black Krim: Originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union. This rare, and outstanding tomato yields 3- to 4-in. slightly flattened dark-red (mahogany-colored) somewhat maroon, beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Green gel around seeds. Fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste (which is great for those not wanting to add salt to their tomatoes).
- Bradley: A disease resistant variety released in 1961 by Dr. Joe McFerran of the University of Arkansas. Produces compact, bushy, semi-determinate, regular-leaf, tomato plants with heavy foliage that yields copious amounts of 7- to10-oz., dark-pink tomatoes with a wonderfully, delicious sweetness that is well balanced with just enough acidity to give you that old-fashioned big tomato flavor you love so much. Tomatoes ripen at the same time making it a great variety for canning and freezing. Suitable for Southern regions. An excellent fresh market tomato. Fusarium wilt resistant.
- Brandywine (Sudduth’s Strain): Probably the first heirloom to achieve “cult status” within the growing popularity of heirloom tomatoes. A pink, potato-leaf, Amish variety from the 1880s. Years ago, seed saving was done by individuals who understood that the greatest thing they could pass on to the next generation was some of the treasured food plants that had sustained life and had proven their value. One such pioneer was a man named Ben Quinsenbury, who lived in Vermont. He died at the age of 95, passing on his legacy. The Brandywine was Ben’s favorite tomato. Fruits are reddish-pink, with light, creamy flesh that average 12-oz. but can grow to 2-lbs.
- Burgess Stuffing Tomato: A novelty on the dinner table, this tomato has the appearance of a hollow bell pepper but with the delicious taste of a real tomato. Stuff with cold salads or bake like stuffed peppers. Very tall vigorous plants produce an incredible number of large, bright red fruit having only a few, easily removable seeds up around the core. Indeterminate. 78 days.
- Burracker’s Favorite: The fruits from this bi-color were reliably large, hefty looking. They were sweet tasting as many old fashioned bi-colors seem to be. The name of this tomato comes from Burracker’s Hollow in the Blue Ridge Mountains area of Virginia.
- Bush Beefsteak: Compact, bushy plants yield an early abundance of big clusters of 6- to 8-oz. rich red, beefsteak-shaped fruit. Popular in the North because of its earliness, productivity, and large fruit size. Determinate. 62 days.
- Carbon: This is among the darkest of the ‘black’ tomatoes that we’ve seen and one of the very best tasting tomatoes of any kind that we’ve sampled. Its flavor is exceptionally rich yet sweet and the essence of delicious summer tomato flavor. Medium to large, 8- to 12-oz. tomatoes are flattened round and smooth, without the cracking or blemishing that seems to plague some black tomatoes. They are dark purplish-brown on the outside with a deep brick-red interior. Indeterminate.
- Cherokee Chocolate: Vigorous regular leaf indeterminate vines, high yields of oblate fruit that average 10-oz., but can run as large as 1.5-lbs., meaty deep red interiors with evenly distributed small seed locules, seeds have green gel when ripe, exterior color deep brick orange red at the blossom end shading to quite a dark brownish hue at the shoulder – essentially a yellow skinned variant of Cherokee Purple.
- Cherokee Purple: Heirloom from Tennessee cultivated by Native American Cherokee tribe. Very productive plants producing loads of dusky rose to purple colored, 12-oz. to 1-lb. beefsteak tomatoes with deep red colors to the interior flesh and dark shoulders. A very popular market variety because of its rich, complex, and sweet flavors. One of the best tasting heirloom tomatoes.
- Dora: Plants are regular leafed and indeterminate. 8- to 12-oz. fruits are pink -red, green shouldered. 80 to 85 days. Green shoulder combined with the partial yellow skin carry-over from the Cherokee Purple parent will at times make these appear to be “black.” This seems to be an environmentally induced factor.
- Druzba: a.k.a. Drushba or Druzhba. Large vines, need caging or staking. First maturity about 80 days. Fruits are typically about 6-oz. smooth red globes, a nicely balanced flavor. Druzba is a good producer throughout later summer and well into the fall. The fruits exhibit a little longitudinal cracking in wet weather.
- Early Girl: Comes in first as an early slicing tomato and our customers’ favorite early variety. Dependable large harvests of flavorful, solid 4- to 6-oz. fruit. Disease resistance is good, contributing to its excellent performance in almost any climate. A proven variety for delicious, early tomatoes. Indeterminate. 52 days.
- Eva Purple Ball: Huge yields of sweet, juicy round fruit that is delicious for salads, sandwiches, and a variety of other uses. Dark pink fruit is smooth and usually about 2-in. across. Heirloom variety from Germany.
- Gary’O Sena: Vigorous, indeterminate, potato leafed plants. Plants set well and produce rather early for such large sized fruits (70 to 75 days). First fruits have been recorded as early as 68 days. Fruit has a sweet quality to it.
- Golden Queen USDA: 80 days, indeterminate, regular leaf plant with a good yield of 4- to 8-oz. yellow fruit with pink blush, very good mild sweet flavor.
- Green Zebra: 80 days, indeterminate, regular leaf, 2- to 5-oz., green round fruits with dark green/yellow stripes, green flesh and gel, very productive, very good tangy flavor.
- Grub’s Mystery Green: 55 days (126 days from germination), compact 3- to 4-ft. tall indeterminate plant, potato leaf, loaded with green-when-ripe beefsteak fruit, 7- to 17-oz., the earliest among the green beefsteaks I grew, outstanding flavor.
- Isis Candy: This delightful variety produces yellow-gold cherry tomatoes with red marbling. Marbling varies from just a red blush to extensive streaking inside and out. What is consistent, however, is the sweet taste that is also rich and fruity, and very delicious. Tomatoes are about ¾-in. across and are round to oblate in shape. Very productive plants bear throughout a long season. Indeterminate.
- Japanese Trifele Black: Indeterminate, potato leaf, brick red/brown pear-shaped fruits up to 2- to 6-oz, very prolific.
- JD’s Special C-TEX: Indeterminate, regular leaf plants, pale purple-black flattened beefsteaks with excellent rich flavor, similar to Cherokee Purple. Interior is solid and meaty, rich dark red/brown color. 8- to 14-oz.
- Juanne Flamme: 55 days, indeterminate, regular leaf, 2-oz. bright orange fruit, borne in clusters of 6 to 8, two seed cavities, reddish interior when fully ripe, excellent sharp taste.
- Kellogg’s Breakfast: 1-lb., pale to deep orange beefsteak tomatoes originally from West Virginia, that are thin-skinned, meaty, have few seeds. Fantastic sweet, tangy flavor. Juice and inside flesh have the same bright orange color as orange juice
- Large Barred Boar: Early to mid-early. Like most dark tomatoes, this is one of my first ripe tomatoes each season. 65 to 75 days. Indeterminate, regular leaf, grows fairly stocky and not as tall as most indeterminate, 8- to 12-oz. flattened medium beefsteak fruit. Very meaty. Good to very good production. Good choice for marginal tomato climates. Pink brown with metallic green stripes. Very meaty pink flesh that is very flavorful. Originated from F-2 Black and Brown Boar.
- Lescana: 75 to 80 days, indeterminate, regular leaf plant, good yield of large red beefsteaks, 8- to 17-oz., good old-fashioned flavor. Do not let it get overripe as it can become mushy; it has the best flavor when yellow shoulders still show and the fruit is firm.
- Liz Birt: Indeterminate, potato leaf plants, medium yield of pink beefsteaks with green shoulders, most fruits are in the 8- to 11-oz. range, but a few were only 4-oz. The flavor is both smoky and sweet, but different from both Cherokee Purple and Brandywine, the texture is firm and juicy, with few small seed cavities and not many seeds. Excellent in salads and sandwiches. Named by Keith Mueller for an autism advocate who helped bring evidence of research manipulation by the CDC and pharmaceutical companies to the attention of Congress.
- Lucky Cross: Indeterminate, potato leaf, tall plant, late to bloom and set fruit, fruit shape is exactly like Brandywine‘s, late to set fruit and late to ripen, but it is well worth it. Fruits are yellow with pink streaks inside, and turn darker as they continue ripening on the counter to almost solid red-pink at the blossom end. Outstanding flavor.
- KBX: Late maturing, indeterminate, potato leaf, bright orange fruits, medium-large beefsteak type, some ribbing, 8- to16-oz., outstanding flavor, medium to low yield.
- Kellogg’s Breakfast: 85 to 90 days, indeterminate, regular leaf, very large (1-lb. plus) orange fruits, excellent flavor.
- Kosovo: This wonderful variety came from a former U.N. worker in Kosovo, who passed it down to Carolyn Male. Huge, deep pink heart-shaped fruit has a sweet rich flavor and is very meaty while still being juicy. Production is excellent and the tomatoes are simply beautiful, but it is the delectable and intense tomato flavor that really makes this one special. Tomatoes can grow up to 1-lb., with ranges from 10- to 18-oz.
- Micro-Tom: ‘World’s smallest tomato variety,’ developed by Drs. J.W. Scott and B.K. Harbaugh at the University of Florida. Grows 5- to 8-in. tall in a 4-in. pot bearing flavorful miniature tomatoes about the size of salad croutons. Plants are truly diminutive and wonderful for patios, windowsills, or garden borders. Determinate.
- Mr. Stripey: Late season, indeterminate, regular leaf, very large yellow beefsteaks with pink/red blush on blossom end, 12- to 30-oz., very good sweet flavor, medium yields.
- Mortgage Lifter Radiator Charlie’s: Developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930s, this tomato remains very much in demand in the Mid-Atlantic states. Mr. Byles, affectionately known as “Radiator Charlie,” earned his nickname from the radiator repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie, who had no formal education or plant breeding experience, created this legendary tomato by crossbreeding four of the largest tomatoes he was able to find and developed a stable variety after six years of pollination and selection. He then sold his tomato plants for $1 each (in the 1940s) and paid off the $6,000 dollar mortgage on his house in six years. It is said that each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie’s seedling tomatoes. The large, slightly flattened, pink-red fruits that range from 1-lb. to more than 3-lbs., are meaty, very flavorful, and have few seeds.
- Mule Team: 75 to 85 days, large indeterminate plant, regular leaf, large meaty red beefsteaks, up to 1-lb., productive, great taste.
- Opalka: An heirloom originally from Poland. One of the best tasting paste tomatoes with 5-in. long fruit shaped like a banana pepper with a pronounced tip on the bottom. Fruit has very few seeds, is extremely meaty, and loaded with rich sweet flavors lending to its sauce appeal.
- Pale Perfect Purple: 65 days, compact indeterminate, potato leaf, good yield of perfect dusky pink round fruits, 4- to 6-oz., excellent sweet flavor.
- Patio F Hybrid: This dwarf variety is one of America’s most popular varieties ever for growing on patios, decks, courtyards, or wherever garden space is limited. Plants have attractive, deep green foliage and only become about 2-ft. tall, but produce large harvests of bright red, 3- to 4-oz. flavorful tomatoes. Outstanding for growing in containers; one that measures at least 12-in. wide works best.
- Pineapple: Midseason, indeterminate, healthy plants with regular leaf foliage, produce medium to large yellow-gold-pink bi-color beefsteaks with very good sweet flavor, 8- to 12-oz. Pink color becomes dominant over golden as fruits mature, and it has the best flavor when golden color still shows.
- Pink Berkely Tie Dye: Beautiful, early, and very sweet rich flavor. 10 out of 10 people liked it better then Cherokee Purple in a farmers market taste off. Early to mid-early, 65 to 75 days. Compact indeterminate, regular leaf. 8- to 12-oz. average. Port wine colored beefsteak with metallic green stripes. Excellent sweet, rich dark tomato flavor. Fabulous.
- Paul Robeson: Seed for this Russian heirloom was made available by Marina Danilenko, a Moscow seeds woman. This favorite tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was admired worldwide, especially in the former Soviet Union. This “black” beefsteak tomato is slightly flattened, round, and grows to 4-in. Its deep, rich colors stand it apart from others; a dusky, dark-red, with dark-green shoulders, and red flesh in its center. Very flavorful fruits with luscious, earthy, exotic flavors and good acid/sweet balance. Paul Robeson (a.k.a. Pol Robeson) won “Best of Show” at Carmel TomatoFest. As this variety originates from Siberia and sets fruits at lower temperatures, it is an excellent choice for cooler growing regions
- Red Alert: RED ALERT (Solanum lycopersicum) is a new offering from across the Pond. This English open-pollinated cluster-style tomato is being included in the CherryGal portfolio for some important reasons. One, it is hard to find a determinate tomato (especially desired by container and glass house growers) that is open-pollinated; and two, it is very hard to find one that is actually delicious! Red Alert fills both those criteria and its early fruiting helps to defeat one of the frustrations of tomato growing—tomato blight. The round fruits are 1-in., deep red, and bear heavily on bushes that require no support. A super early delight for your salads! 50 to 55 days from transplant.
- Reif Red Heart: Indeterminate, regular leaf, red heart shaped fruit, 5- to 13-oz., excellent flavor, few seeds, reliable producer even in the short and cool summer of 2007, highly recommended
- Remy Rouge: This cherry tomato is from France. The small cherries are incredibly sweet. Determinate.
- Riesentraube: The name of this German heirloom variety means ‘giant bunch of grapes,’ and that is what clusters of these cherry tomatoes will remind you of. Bouquet-type blossoms turn into bunches of 20 to 40 small, oval red fruit with pointed ends. Vines are very branched, and become covered with fruit. Flavor is excellent, offering taste found in larger tomatoes. Indeterminate.
- Roma VF: Premium canner, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits of the Roma (VF) Open-Pollinated Tomato are thick and meaty with few seeds. Determinate.
- Rutgers VFA: Gardeners throughout the country are rediscovering this old-fashioned classic for its terrific flavor and productivity. This strain has some disease resistance, which ensures large crops of crack-free, bright red 6- to 8-oz. tomatoes with delicious old-time taste. For many years, this was a favorite for canning because of its abundance, juiciness and deep red color through and through. Developed in the 1920s, but just right for today’s gardeners too.
- Soldacki: 90 days, potato leaf, large indeterminate plant with good yield of large pink beefsteak type fruits, 10- to 18-oz., excellent flavor.
- Stump of the World: Dark pink beefsteak fruit reach about 1-lb. and grow on potato-leaved vines. The variety was part of the Ben Quisinberry Collection, which also contributed the variety Brandywine. Stump of the World is a bit smaller and more productive than Brandywine, but like Brandywine, offers outstandingly rich, complex flavor. Heirloom variety. Indeterminate.
- Stupice: This potato-leaf heirloom from Czechoslovakia is a cold-tolerant tomato that bears an abundance of very sweet, flavorful 2- to 3-in., deep red fruit. A 1988 comparative tasting in the San Francisco area gave it first place for its wonderful sweet/acid, tomatoey flavor and production.
- Sun Gold Hybrid: Very sweet, bright orange cherry tomatoes taste not just sugary but also fruity and delicious. Vigorous growers, these tall plants bear long clusters of fruit. Try these for a real taste treat, you won’t believe you’re eating tomatoes! Indeterminate.
- Snow White: 75 days, indeterminate, large regular leaf plants, pale yellow/ivory cherry fruits about 1-in. in diameter, mild sweet fruity flavor.
- Sweet 100: Huge, multiple-branched clusters of ½-in. very sweet fruit with high vitamin C content. Mouth-watering flavor. Vigorous vines bear abundantly until frost and need staking for best results. Indeterminate. 65 days
- Tigerella: 75 days, indeterminate, regular leaf, 1- to 2-oz. red fruit with golden stripes, very good tangy/acidic flavor, high yields.
- Virginia Sweets: 90 days, indeterminate, regular leaf plant, good yield of 1-lb. yellow and pink bi-color beefsteak fruit with very good flavor.
- Yellow Pear: Large indeterminate plant with regular foliage, very high yield of thin-necked pear shaped yellow cherry tomatoes, 1.5- to 2-in. long. Some cracking in heavy rains. Mild, slightly sweet flavor, firm meaty flesh.
- Yellow Stuffer: A yellow-fruited stuffing tomato that looks just like a yellow bell pepper! Perfect for slicing or stuffing. Tall, vigorous vines bear profusely. Indeterminate. 76 days.
- Zogola: Late season, indeterminate, regular leaf, low to medium yield of large red beefsteaks with some ribbing, 8- to 20-oz., excellent flavor, juicy and silky flesh.
I will also have VERY limited quantities or possibly none of these available for sale this year. Inquire with me when you pick up your plants as to if I have any of these rare types left for sale.
- Heinz 1439 Tomato
- Orange Strawberry Tomato
- Bull’s Heart
- Ananas Noire
- Yellow Brandywine
- Sam Marzano Black Prince
- Cherokee Green
- DeWeese Streaked Tomato Purple Calabash
- Novosadski Jabucar
- Thessaloniki Oxheart
- Berkeley Tie Dye Green
- Beef Steak (Baker Creek)
- Wapsippinicon Peach
- Hillbilly Potato Leaf
- George’s Greek Beefsteak
- Purple Tomato
- Cuor Di Blue
- Sylvan Gaume ’08
- Bush Beefsteak
- Dr. Wyche’s Yellow
- Linnie’s Oxheart
- Golden Jubilee Tom
- Big Rainbow Tomato
- Campbells 1327