SF Flower & Garden show – seedling workshop

The SF garden & flower show is happening next week at the San Mateo event center. Tickets are $20. I wanted to point out that there is a seedling workshop (scroll to the bottom of the ticket list) It’s $75, which is a bit pricey but you get to go home with some seedlings.

Also note the opening night ceremony on Tuesday. You can get the ticket for 50% off with this discount code: chamber.

 

At The Farmer’s Market: March

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Rhubarb is in season now throughout summer. Look for bright colored stalks. To store them, wrap in a damp paper tower and put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator (lasts up to 3 weeks)

Strawberries won’t be in season for another month, but when they are, a strawberry-rhubarb crisp or pie with a granola crust would be delightful.  Or expand your rhubarb horizons and make a rhubarb-mustard sauce for fish or chicken.

 

Asparagus is in full swing! The season lasts from February through May. The smaller spears will taste better. If the ends are moist they’ve been recently picked. To store, wrap in a damp paper tower and put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator (lasts 4 days to 1 week). Roasted asparagus with olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese is always a favorite. Or think outside the box and make a bowl of roasted asparagus soup.

 

Last of the season: brussel sprouts, blood oranges, and mandarins will be out of season in a few weeks. Pears will be in season through April and then they are done too.

Rare & Heirloom seedlings for you this year!

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Get rare heirloom plants!

The community garden needs a bit of love! Many of the plots are falling apart, the tools are bare-bones, and hose nozzles keep breaking. The city isn’t able to provide us with many extras since they are on a budget too (they aren’t able to provide us with compost or extra wood to fix the plots). We don’t have a source of revenue or funds at our disposal, so I’d like to start an annual seedling fundraiser.

Instead of getting plants from Home Depot, or even a local nursery this year, consider buying the extra seedlings I’m growing. The varieties I have aren’t even found at nurseries! I’ve separated the plants into 2 sections: vegetables that I’ve grown in the past and did well, and new varieties that I am trying this year.

I will use the money that I raise to put it back into the garden. From tools to repair materials and more. The plants will cost $5 each. I’ll accept payment when I deliver the plants sometime in April.

Leave a comment with the plants you’re interested in so I make sure to set aside the varieties you want.  I plan to open this seedling sale to the public as well, but I want to give first pick to my fellow gardeners.

 

Tomatoes that I’ve grown in the past and would recommend!

Each year I grow a few favorites and try all sorts of new ones. And each year I pick the best ones and add them to my ‘grow it again’ list. Below are 4 tomato varieties that I grow each year, these are my tried and true keepers.

Hawaiian pineapple tomato from Tomatofest#1 Favorite! Hawaiian Pineapple

These tomatoes have the best flavor of all the ones I’ve grown so far. Last year, they averaged 1 lb each and I got 25-35 tomatoes on each plant. They take a bit more time to ripen, but are well worth the weight.

 

 

Sasha Altai#2 Favorite! Sasha Altai

These tomatoes always produce well throughout the season, last year I got 115 tomatoes off one plant (3 oz each on average). Organic gardening magazine listed it as one of the top 10 best early producing tomatoes in the world! I would tend to agree, they have a great flavor with a meaty flesh. Another outstanding Russian variety from the mountains (which do very well in our climate).

Sweet Pea CurrantSweet Pea Currant

These tiny tomatoes are adorable. They are literally the size of peas, so they are really fun for salads (especially when guests come over).

 

 

Nicholayev yellow cherryNicholayev Yellow Cherry

Another Russian variety that performs well. These sweet, tasty tomatoes ripen early and produce all season long.

 

 

 New tomatoes to try this year:

I always try new tomatoes, and a lot of them! It’s the only way to find new varieties to add to the ‘grow it again’ list. Below are the ones I am trying this year.

principe borghesePrincipe Borghese – best variety for sun-dried tomatoes

70-75 days. The seeds are authentic, imported from Italy and are famous for sun drying. Small 1-2 oz. grape-shaped fruit are very dry and have few seeds. They have a rich tomato taste that is wonderful for sauces.

 

Blue Berries tomatoNEW & RARE! Blue Berries

Here’s a new, small cherry variety from Brad Gates, Wild Boar Farms. Brad Gates is known as “the tomato guy” in the bay area, having grown over a thousand varieties. “These tomatoes are very dark purple color, which means it’s super-rich in anthocyanins. Unripe, the fruits are a glowing amethyst purple. At maturity they turn deep red where the fruit was shaded; the areas that received intense sunshine are a purple so deep it’s almost black! The flavor is intensely fruity, and sugar-sweet!” Plants are very productive, yielding all season.

Large barred boar tomatoLarge Barred Boar

Another tomato from Brad Gates. This tomato grows fairly stocky and not as tall as most indeterminate varieties. Flattened beefsteak fruit are pink-brown with metallic green stripes and weigh 8-12 ounces. Very meaty pink flesh is very flavorful. One reviewer described the taste as sweet with an acidic finish.

Cour di bue Cour di Bue – Original Italian sauce tomato

These heart-shaped beefsteak type tomatoes are very meaty with few seeds. That makes them a great tomato for sauces, soups, salsas and more. One reviewer says she grows these in the Pacific Northwest and said she got her first tomato on July 8, when most of her tomatoes aren’t ready until August.

 Anana's NoireAnanas Noire

This unusual variety was developerd by a Belgium horticulturist.The multi-colored fruit (green, yellow and purple) weight about 1 – 1.5 lbs each with a heavy yield. The flavor is said to be smoky with a hint of citrus (however, reviewers were split on the flavor, some said it was amazing, other’s didn’t pick up on the smokiness and citrus).

King of SiberiaKing of Siberia

Russian varieties do very well in our cooler-summer climate. This is one of the best varieties according to Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed company. It has a sweet, balanced, creamy flesh with few seeds.

 

Orange strawberryOrange Strawberry

Their flavor is “robust, complex and surprisingly tart for an orange variety.” They are meaty with few seeds and have one of the most perfect heart shapes of any tomato variety. The meaty flesh makes it a great sauce variety.

 

RiesentraubeTomato Riesentraube

The name means “giant bunch of grapes” in German. Massive yields of 1oz fruits. It’s said to be the most popular small tomato among seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full flavor most cherry varieties are missing.

 

San Marzano Heirloom Variety

A great sauce tomato with meaty flesh and few seeds. Heavy yields. A common heirloom tomato.

 

Tender Gem ZucchiniSummer squash: tender gem

50 days. Easy to pick, almost spineless. Huge yield and performs well under stressful conditions.

 

 

 

Golden ZucchiniSummer squash: golden zucchini

Golden zucchini that grow 7-8 inches and set all summer long.

 

 

 

Flowers:

Mammoth SunflowerMammoth Sunflower

I’ve grown these before and they are huge (about 10 feet tall). The heads are about 10 inches across and produce great seeds for eating (if the birds don’t get them first!)

 

Ms. Mars sunflowerMs. Mars sunflower

Dark red to lavender petals. Grows 20-30 inches tall and blooms in summer.

 

 

 

 

Skyscraper sunflowerSkyscraper sunflower

They grow up to 12 feet tall with a bunch of flowers per stalk. Each flower is about 14 inches across.

 

 

 

Evening SunEvening Sun Sunflower

These have a mahogany color, a great fall-colored sunflower. Up to 6 feet tall.

 

 

 

Tall Orange SunTall Orange Sun Sunflower

Is this not the most adorable sunflower ever? Grows 5-6 feet tall.

Blue-eye daisiesBlue-eyed daisies

A mix of lavender, pink and white daisies with blue centers. Grow 12-18 inches tall.

 

 

 

 

HERBS!

I have a lot of herb seeds. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll make sure to grow some extras.

  • Basil
  • Stevia
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro