container garden, growing veggies, indigo rose tomato

Setting Sights on Spring

It’s 44 degrees out right now. A group of preschoolers are playing in the park across the way. Sophie the Cat spent time on the deck earlier, stalking unsuspecting overweight squirrels in the trees. Then she laid down and basked in the warm sun. It’s mid-February still, right? I know that we’ve been spoiled with a pleasantly warm and, mostly, snow free winter thus far and I can’t help but have thoughts of what to grow on the deck this year in my army of bright orange Home Depot buckets.

Not all has survived the Pleasant Street deck. The fennel proved to be all frond and no bulb. Garlic rotted off in the spring. Those bastard squirrels attacked my cucumbers, leaving giant bite marks in ones large enough to harvest. Peas and peppers seemed to die off just beyond the seedling stage and what the Aphids didn’t decimate in my lettuces, the natural pesticide did. There has been one constant success in the garden, though: Tomatoes.

So, this year, outside of the usual herbs like thyme, basil, oregano and lemon grass (which does surprisingly well in our Maine climate), I think I’ll be putting out a few buckets of tomatoes. One variety, a new one on the organic seed scene, is the ‘Indigo Rose Tomato,’ developed at Oregon State University.

(photo from OSU)

It’s being dubbed the first ‘true’ purple tomato and my logic is, if it can grow and thrive in Oregon, than it’ll hopefully survive on my deck. Obviously the color is the first thing that struck me, but I am curious as to how it actually tastes. If I can coax it through the seedling stage and we have a warm spring and summer, I’ll be letting you know some time around August.

The flavor profile is said to have “a good balance of sugars and acids,” according to one of the people at OSU. High Mowing Seeds, where I purchased my packet from, describes it as “great, strongly acidic,” and that it looks like a plum when it’s cut into. But, again, time will tell. Hopefully the warm, drier winter doesn’t make for a wet and damp summer like we had a few years ago. I would hate to see another round of blight hit regional tomato crops as I’m sure everyone would.

As the growing season starts up, and I try to get these seeds from germination to transplantation, I’ll update their progress here and we’ll see if this new tomato lives up to the hype.

container garden, growing veggies, happiness is an aphid free garden, spring, starting seedlings

Springing Sprouts

I was chomping at the bit to start this years garden. With a long snowy winter, the house fell into a depressive state. It wasn’t until the snow, it seems, finally stopped and the sunlight jumped later into the day that everyone started waking up from our hibernation mode. It was, just as daylight savings time and the official first day of spring came upon us, time to start this years garden. For the first time, in the past two years that I’ve been experimenting with vegetable growing, that I would start everything from seed–though there will probably be transplants bought from local farms of other tomatoes and herbs. Some will be moved onto the deck in containers, others will make their way over to a friends community garden plot for some liberated growing.

It’s refreshing to see such life starting in our south facing windows. Luckily, Sophie–our overweight, sprout eating cat–hasn’t caught on to the fact that there are green things growing within her reach. Hopefully, she never does.

This years crop will be:

Red Cored Chantenay Carrots
Purly Chives
Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes
Cylindra Beets

Sugar Snap Peas

Lemon Cucumbers