Archive for February, 2012

Special Tomato Varieties

I went a bit nuts and started a bunch more varieties of plants.  I am not offering these for sale er se, but will grow several of them myself and put the rest in the gardens of folks that pre-order or will
PROMISE to grow them and bring  fruit or two to the tomato tasting on August 4th.

I started only a half-dozen seeds of many of these, so I may only have a few plants available, but I think all of these have the potential to be your new favorite tomato.

When you pick up your plants this spring, let me know if you’d like some of these special varieties to try in your garden.

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If the IRS had a garden, this is what they’d spend their tax refund on

I know Uncle Sam takes a lot of our hard earned paychecks, but he gives us some of us gardeners a chunk of it back at the perfect time of year.  If you’re one of the lucky ones that is getting a refund, I’d like to give you some advice on how to put that windfall to good use to improve your gardens this year and for years to come.

Don’t spend it all on these goodies, save a few bucks for your order of tomato, pepper, eggplant, and herb plants from me (you have sent in your pre-order to me right???)  Check out my tomato and pepper selections in the posts before this one.  I’ve got some great varieties again this year that you won’t find anywhere else in town.  I’ll also have Silver Reflective Mulch film and 5 gallon grow bags for sale as well.

Now, look at your budget, whip out those credit cards, and get set to improve your gardening experience thanks to the IRS!

  • Build more raised beds!  Growing in raised beds has so many benefits over growing in the ground, that it’s a whole other blog post to explain why.  I started my garden with 3 raised beds and now have 14 with plans to add a couple of more each year.  Building one or two raised beds each year is a great way to ensure you can rotate crops from year to year and will increase your yield and variety of plants you can grow.  The lumber to build a raised bed will cost around $50.  It will cost an additional $50 to fill it with good compost, perlite, and vermiculite which leads directly to my next item…compost!
  • Compost!  If you have a small garden, you should be able to make enough compost each year to top off your beds.  Building a compost cage is pretty simple and the materials can be free or cost around $20-$50 depending on how fancy you want it to be.  Add kitchen scraps, lawn trimmings, and leaves to the pile, turn it regularly and you’ll have black gold for your gardens for a little bit of effort.  If you’re not a good composter (I’m the worst!), or you need a lot of compost or need it in a hurry, buy it by the yard from either Suburban Lawn and Garden or Missouri Organic.  Both sell good quality compost, but in my opinion Suburban’s is a better product, but more expensive.  Missouri Organic has an excellent price, but their quality isn’t quite as good.  Both sell compost by the yard that they’ll load in the back of your truck or trailer or they will deliver for a fee.  I am buying 10 yards this year and it’s cheaper to have it delivered than it is to make 10 trips to get it myself.  No matter what you do, amend your gardens with good compost!
  • Trim those trees!  Shade is a vegetable garden’s worst enemy.  I don’t recommend climbing a tree and sawing off limbs…too dangerous.  A good pole saw will reach a lot of limbs and costs from $50-$150, but a rope saw will get those branches way up there and cost about $40-$50.  I used both this weekend and really opened up the canopy of my hackberry tree.  If these don’t work, hiring a professional tree trimming service will set you back several hundred dollars, but they’ll do a great job and all of the work.
  • Buy some new toys!  I’ve bought a lot of garden tools over the years…many were junk, but several are well worth the money and I couldn’t imagine gardening without them.  My gooseneck hoe is my absolute favorite tool because it has so many uses.  Weeding, planting, picking up garden staples, and many other things are a breeze and at $28 it’s a bargain!  I’ve gone through a lot of trowels, but this one will probably last a lifetime.  I used to own a Mantis Tiller, but I had so many problems with it not starting that I sought out a better solution.  The Troy Bilt Electric tiller is an amazing tool for about $160!  It looks like a toy, but I’ve used it for three seasons now and have never had it fail to till my gardens to a fine consistency in a short amount of time.  You need to have electric access within a couple hundred feet of your garden and a heavy extension cord, but other than that, this is the way to till a garden.
  • Irrigate!  Investing in a drip irrigation system will set you back about $100, but it can be used for many years with a little maintenance.  Dripworks has the best products I’ve tried, excellent service and super prices.  Buy the heart of the garden kit and an add-on kit and you’re all set to water your garden the best way possible.  I started drip irrigation a few years ago and have added on a bit each year as my gardens grew.  I hook the system up to my rain barrels and my plants love the warm, chlorine free water.  They thank me for the effort by having fewer disease problems and higher yields of produce.
  • Add some whimsy!  There are so many great artists out there that make beautiful outdoor pieces to add some flair to your garden area.  Buy a gnome or ten, maybe a gazing ball, or a small fountain, or perhaps a nice bench to make your garden an inviting place for all to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Well, I hope this post gave you some ideas for increasing your enjoyment and benefits from your backyard gardens by spending a few bucks.  Any money spent on gardening is money well spent!

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2012 Pepper, Eggplant, Tomatillo, and Herb Plant list

Ok…here we go gardeners.  This is again a “tentative” list as it’s early in the year and depending on germination rates and weather issues, I may not end up with plants of all varieties or I may end up with limited quantities of some.

I have an expansive list of peppers this year as I add to my seed collection whenever I find out about a great new variety.

One thing I’m doing for sure this year is growing all of my pepper and eggplant in 5 gallon grow bags.  I have so much more success growing these plants in containers when compared to the ground or even raised beds that I doubt I’ll ever put one in the ground again. They just benefit so much from having their soil as warm as possible and grow bags are a great, cheap container to grow them in.  I bought a big case of these bags this year and will have them for sale at $1 each or 6 for $5.

Feel free to e-mail me a pre-order and I’ll have those waiting for you in mid to late April through mid- May.

Sweet Peppers

Blushing Beauty

Yummy Orange


Golden Treasure

Pimento L

Sweet Banana


California Wonder

Jimmy Nardello

Red Beauty


Purple Beauty

Fooled You



Hot Peppers


Jalapeno M

Hungarian Yellow Wax



Red Mushroom

Hot Cherry Bomb

Peter Pepper


Thai Bird

Thai Hot

Chile de Arbol

Pallo de Cole


Chiliessa Picanto

Guam Boonies


Yellow Manzano

Big Bomb Hybrid

7 pot jonah

7 pot Yellow

Trinidad Scorpion

White Habanero


Black Beauty

Pattern Green

Orient Express

Fengyuan Purple

Italian Nadia

Rosa Bianca

Turkish Orange

Keeskemeti Lila


Toma Verde




Italian Large Leaf


Sweet Dani

Sweet Basil

Siam Queen

Purple Stem

Holy Basil Green Leaf

Holy Basil Red Leaf

Thai Magic

Misc Herbs




Greek Oregano

Italian Oregano


German Winter Thyme




East Indian Lemon Grass

Curled Chervil

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley


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2012 Tomato Plant List

This is a tentative list.  Depending on seed germination, weather conditions, and other factors, I may or may not have all of these varieties available  If you order a variety and I do not have it available when you pick up your plant, I will try to replace it with a similar variety or other plant at your discretion.

E-mail me at with a list of varieties you’d like and the quantity of each.  I’ll set your order aside and take care of your plants until you’re ready to put them in your garden.  Plants will be available for pick-up starting April 21st..  I recommend planting around the first full week of May.  If you plant earlier than this, you’ll have to watch for possible frosts and cover your plants or move them indoors to avoid damage.  Tomato and pepper plants cannot tolerate any frosts!

I will also have Italian and Asian basil plants available as well as some other herbs this year.

I will also have cucumber plants of several types this year.

Plant prices will be $2.50 each, 5 plants for $10, or 12 plants for $20.  Further discounts for very large quantities.

For those of you interested in growing lettuce, I will have lettuce plants available in early March.  I’ll have a one-day sale for these lettuce plants and will send out an e-mail reminder when I know the date of the lettuce plant sale…it will depend on the weather.

So without further ado, here is this year’s list.  Please click on the hyperlinks for each variety to learn more about them.  As always, you can e-mail me with any questions you might have about gardening and I’ll do my best to help!

2012 Tomatoes

Red or Pink Tomatoes

Brandywine Sudduth’s Strain

Mule Team

Eva Purple Ball

Mortgage Lifter

Brandywine Cowlick’s Strain

Bolseno F1


Early Girl


German Giant


Frank’s Large Red

Abe Lincoln

Aunt Lou’s Underground Railroad

Neves Azorean Red


German Johnson

Fritz Ackerman



Yellow or BiColor Tomatoes

Burraker’s Favorite

Kellogg’s Breakfast



Orange Heart


Green When Ripe Tomatoes

Green Doctors

Aunt Ruby’s German Green


Cherokee Green

Black Tomatoes

JD’s Special C-Tex

Black Krim


Black from Tula

Cherokee Purple

Paul Robeson

Chocolate Stripes


Tomatoes for Sauce or Salsas


San Marzano


Roma VF



Sylvan Guame

Cherry/Grape Tomatoes

Yellow Submarine

Medovaya Kaplya

Yellow Pear

Red Grape F1

Isis Candy

Sweet 100 Hybrid


Black Cherry

Matt’s Wild Cherry


Green Grape

Tomatoes Good for Growing in Containers

New Big Dwarf

Better Bush VFN Hybrid

A special THANK YOU to Tatiana’s Tomatobase for providing the best heirloom tomato resource on the Internet!

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