Thursday, March 29, 2018

Racy Tomatoes and Topping Pepper Plants

   I started potting up tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings this past week and have begun the Musical Chairs game of the seedling world.  Trays and pots will be rotated daily, as I have more of those than I have grow-lights.  Once our days become sunnier, a small shelving unit will be set up in the living room against the south-facing windows for the extra transplants.

   My Casper eggplant seeds didn't germinate (old seed), so I fished them out of their peat pellets.  Taking their place are these new-to-me tomato varieties, adding to those started earlier this month:

Auria  (red, heirloom, paste/canner/cooking, elongated/banana, “suggestive shape”, sometimes called “Adam” (as in Adam & Eve), origin Ukraine, indeterminate, wispy foliage, midseason)

Damascus Steel  (stripe/bi-colour purple & red, high anthocyanins, bred by Dean Slater, open-pollinated, 2-3” fruits tapered to round, “sweet with a bit of acidity”, indeterminate, midseason DTM ~80)

   The Chocolate pepper seeds didn't germinate, either (old seed), so I popped in some mixed colour bell pepper seeds, a hybrid that is supposedly early.  We'll see how they do.  

   Chocolate peppers, Carbon tomatoes, and Martino's Roma tomatoes were the first vegetables I grew here.  I wish I kept notes from the beginning; I don't even remember what year I started to garden.  Maybe in 2006?   We must have had very agreeable weather, or else I was blessed with beginniner's luck, as they all did well.  Once I tasted the tomatoes - especially Carbon - I was hooked on gardening and hooked on heirlooms.

   The daughter of a friend asked me recently if I topped my pepper plants.  I was surprised and replied that I didn't.  I top my tomato plants but it had never occured to me to do the same to the peppers!  She showed me some videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to do it.  The result is a bushier, stronger, and more productive plant.  I am eager to try this this summer.  While the hot peppers I've grown have done well, the sweet peppers have underperformed and the plants often look sparse.  I hope topping them gives them the boost they need to produce well!

It is snowing lightly again today.  We have had a lot of snow this month.  Parts of this region (e.g., Fort St. John) received enough this week to break records.  It's wonderful for the skiers and for the children on Spring break who want to go tobogganing, but it makes getting around a little tricky.

I don't have a metre stick, but I do have a broom...

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