My 'Final' 2011 Tomato Grow List

Okiedawn OK Zone 7January 4, 2011

This list has changed a bit since I first made my list in November, but I think it is pretty firm at this point. I dropped some late-season tomatoes because I'm expecting drought (unless La Nina suddenly goes away) and that means it will be hard to get a good crop from late-season tomatoes. I also added quite a few new container types because I'll have window boxes to fill on the south wall of the sunporch and added some new (to me) processing types from Franchi-Simenti Seeds because I need more, more, more salsa type tomatoes for canning.

I have left space (in my mind, if not in the ground) for whatever interesting varieties I might get via the seed swap or from my Tomato Seed Guardian Angel (he knows who he is).

So, here's the list. I've tried my best to categorize them by types since that might help others understand why those particular tomatoes are on the list. Also, I've added a lot more hybrids because they produce much more heavily in drought than many of the heirloom types we love. (We've had two good rainy years in Love County and it is inconceivable we'd have a third rainy year in a row, so I can't see 2011 being anything other than drought.)


1. Tumbling Tom Red (red)

2. Tumbling Tom Yellow (yellow)

3. Tumbling Tom Yellow Jr. (yellow)

4. Tumbling Tiger (bicolor)

5. Rambling Red Stripe (bicolor)

6. Pear Drops (yellow)

7. Sweet 'N Neat Scarlet (red)

8. Sweet 'N Neat Yellow (yellow)

9. Red Robin (red)

10. Orange Canary (orange)

11. Yellow Canary (yellow)


12. New Big Dwarf (pink)

13. Nebraska Wedding (orange)

14. Bush Goliath (red)

15. Cluster Goliath (red)

16. Early Goliath (red)

17. Goliath (red)

18. Azoychka (yellow)

19. Russian Red (red)

20. Marmande (red)

21. Moskvich (red)

22. Jaune Flammee' (orange)

23. Black Plum (black)

24. Southern Night (black)


For sauces and salsas

25. Heidi

26. Santa Clara Canner

27. Heinz 1439

28. Scatalone (Franchi-Sementi Seed)

29. San Marzano Redorta (Franchi-Sementi Seed)

30. Astro Hybrid (Franchi-Sementi Seed)

31. Red Pear (Franchi-Sementi Special Selection Seed)(This is a large red pear, similar to "Goldman's Italian American", not a small bite-sized red pear like "Red Pear".)

BITE-SIZED TYPES (CHERRY, PEAR, CURRANT OR GAPE SHAPES). We grow these for fresh eating, snacking while working in the garden, and for dehydrating for winter tomatoes.

32. Black Cherry (black)

33. SunGold (golden orange)

34. Mountain Magic (red)

35. Matt's Wild Cherry (red)

36. Sara's Galapagos (red)

37. Sweet Pea Currant (red)

38. Tess's Land Race Currant (red)

39. Sweet Treats (pink)

40. Ildi (yellow)


Black Types:

41. Gary O' Sena

42. True Black Brandywine

43. Black Krim

44. Indian Stripe

45. J. D.'s Special C-Tex

Purple & Pink Types:

46. Dora

47. Dana's Dusky Rose

48. Pruden's Purple

49. Cherokee Purple

50. Haley's Purple Comet

51. Evan's Purple Pear

52. Mortgage Lifter

53. Traveler 76

Yellows and Oranges:

54. Russian Persimmon

55. Valencia

56. Tangerine

57. Taxi

58. Dr. Wyche's Yellow

59. Sunny Goliath (if backordered seed arrives)


60. Burpee's Globe

61. Brandywine Liam's

62. Pear Goliath

63. Italian Goliath

64. Prime Beef Goliath


65. Speckled Roman

66. Large Barred Boar

67. Beauty King

68. Michael Pollan

69. AAA Sweet Solana

70. Red Boar

71. Pork Chop

72. Black & Brown Boar

73. Pink Boar

In the Chocolate Garden (along with chocolate flowers and chocolate peppers)

74. Chocolate Cherry

75. Chocolate Stripes

That's it folks! I've shown you my list. Now, show me yours. And, in answer to the obvious question, I do not have space to plant all these, but I always find a way somehow.

This list does not include the extra-early plants I'll buy in Dallas in February, transplant into containers, and grow strictly for early production.


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wow. that's quite a list... mine's quite a bit smaller, but i'm also looking forward to what might show up in the swap:

red robin
rutgers PS
Heinz 1439
Big Beef Hybrid
santa clara canner
arkansas traveler
black cherry
sun gold
better boy Hybrid


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 1:08PM
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Dody, That is a nice list.

Dawn, How many TOTAL plants do you plan for this year?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 3:07PM
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Oh Dawn you are killing me. I'm working every chance I get to finish up a list for the first thread. And you are already revising.

Last year I set a firm limit, even leaving room for a few I knew I would come from the swap. You may recall OkieTim thwarted that plan. This year I'm already at my limit, so I think I'm going to have to skip the swap. I am so weak.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


That's a nice list. A little birdie told me there will be quite a few tomato seed varieties in the swap, so maybe you'll get some interesting varieties from it.


I have no clue. Absolutely no clue. With some varieties, I might have only one. With some of the processing varieties, I might have 5 to 10 of each variety. My best guess is that, with some overcrowding plus a lot of containers, I'm looking at 150 to 200 plants but maybe only 100 in the ground. A lot depends on whether OkieTim has time to help me put up my Christmas present. (Ha! Y'all don't know about that one, but you're about to.) If the Christmas present is usable early in the season, I can get earlies into containers or in the ground and that would leave more "official" garden space for more plants in the ground.


Don't you dare skip the swap!! Somebody has to give a loving home to my excess plants, and I'm counting on you to do your fair share. I'll make OkieTim promise not to twist your arm too, too much, OK?

Finally, y'all, I know this is a lot of varieties and a huge number of "new" ones (new to me, at least) but I have grown more. One year in the mid-2000s I had 150 varieties and a total of 400 plants. Many of them were outside the fenced-in garden. Then, the deer found all those and started eating them and now I only grow inside a fenced area, where I don't have room to grow all the ones I want to grow. It was a great tomato year. I had so many tomatoes that I gave them away to total strangers who stopped to visit the garden and comment on how beautiful it was. That's the only year I've ever had so many that I could give them away to random strangers who were just driving down the road.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Berkeley tie-dye Pink
Black Cherry
Bloody Butcher
Brandywine Cowlicks
Bulgarian Triumph
Cherokee Chocolate
Cherokee Green
Christopher Columbus
County Agent
Dana's Dusky Rose
Dr. Wyche's Red
Dr. Wyche's Yellow
Earl's Faux
Earl's Polish
Ed's Millennium
Gary 'O Sena
Germaid Red
Golden Cherokee
Green Giant
Grub's Mystery Green
Hege German Pink
Herman's Special
Indian Stripe
J D's Special C-Tex
Ludmilla's Red Plum
Magnum Beefsteak
Mariana's Peace
Martha Washington
Martino's Roma
Mountain Princess
Mule Team
Nema red
Neves Azorean Red
Old German
Old Virginia
Orange Minsk
Ozark Pink
Randy's Brandy
Red Barn
Red Penna
Royal Hillbilly
Russian 117
Sara Black
Sophie's Choice
T.C. Jones
Teton de Venus
Tony's Italian
Top Sirloin
Wessel's Purple Pride (Cherokee Saugage)
Wick's Orange Paste

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 3:40PM
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wow.....that's all I can

My list of Tom's for this year is way smaller:

Tumbling Tom's red & yellow (in hanging baskets on front porch)
Cherokee Purple
Black Cherry
Roma Rio
Italian Goliath

and I'd like to add Santa Clara Canner along with Snowglobe.

Seedmama - I'll hunt you down if you skip the Swap...and Dawn - I can always dispose of any extra plants. I just haul them to work with me to distribute to FAA employees that think you & I are tomatoe fairies!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 3:41PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Gary, Great, great list.

I like the idea of being a tomato fairy, Paula. I think the Tumbling Tom's will look so cute on your big, beautiful front porch.

Tomorrow I'm going to clean up the guest room, rearrange some furniture and bring in my plant light shelf from the garage. It is too early to start seeds, but it isn't too early to get the seed-starting setup ready since it is going into the spare room. At the present time, the only guests in the spare room are a couple of cats. They'll like laying on the plant shelf, at least until they're banned from the room. I don't know how anyone else's cats behave, but mine think seed-starting flats are cat beds.

I am having a really hard time fighting the urge to plant something now. I guess the big Artic cold front that's due to arrive in a few days will slap me upside the head and remind me it is still the middle of winter!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Dawn, I'm fighting the urge to sow as well. I'm trying to use the energy to do things that will set me up for success, but those things just aren't as satisfying as putting seeds in soil.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 4:54PM
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seedmama - If you don't show up at the swap, Who will bring the "how my garden grows" cake? Besides I have 2 packages of pepper seed in my purse that I forgot to give you last year. Do you suppose they will grow since they have been exposed to every temperture possible. LOL I guess I lost one at some point, but the others have "lived in my purse" for a year.

Paula, My extras didn't go to FFA but I put them out at a cookout at my sons house that night and the boxes got emptied, so mine ended up scattered from Copan to Bartlesville.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 5:02PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

You guys are killing me with swap talk! And that cake -- incredible! All of the food was incredible! *drool* I know there's no way we can make it this year but maybe I can con one of you into mailing me a piece of cake. ;-)

Dawn, I think my best tomato (and pepper) year was the mid 2000s, too. 2004 or 2005? I grew almost 200 that year, I think? Only half what you grew and I was simply drowning in tomatoes and chiles. It was an amazing, amazing year. I gave away tomatoes like crazy.

I've no clue what I'll grow this year but I've been working on the list off and on since before Christmas. I was only able to bring 25 cages with me so will either stick to that number *snort* or pull some miracle cages out of my butt. Maybe I can sweet talk hubby into welding me up some new ones should a roll of CRW follow me home one of these paydays... And that reminds me of something I wanted to ask. Off to start a new thread!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 7:38PM
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Wow...I'm so inspired! Got several varieties to check out for this year. Last year mine all died (I only planted 5 little plants...I'm definitely the underdog on this board!) but this year I'll be having a garden together with a friend in her giant backyard. Hopefully we'll have plenty of luck.

What's this about a swap? When is that? I won't have anything to share probably, but I might come just to meet you guys and pick your brains. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 5:51PM
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We are having a seed swap by mail right now and you still have time to join. Later we will have a real get-together in the OKC area. We have it at just about planting time and share the transplants that we started inside. We have a pot luck luncheon, and seedmama makes a garden cake (right seedmama). Last year it was in p-mac's yard and that is a great place for it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 6:22PM
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okieladybug - there will be another thread in a coupla months about the "Spring Fling". We hosted last year because being a "newbie" myself at the time, I wanted to repay everyone for all their advice and guidance. I'm centrally located so I thought "hey! why not?!". I had a few melt-downs before the actual day, but it was a truly WONDERFUL turnout and TONS of fun. So I'll be offering to host again...and this time no melt-downs! ha! I've got a much more "chill" attitude about it all so just keep reading. I'm already thinking the end of April and will post the particulars as the time gets closer.

With Dawn's "final" list...I can't wait to see what she brings this year!!! And the food...OMG....and the people, and the door prizes! ok, gotta calm down or I'll have the whole thing planned before I even sow any seeds!


    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 7:37PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I think it was 2004. If your rainfall was similar to ours, 2004 was much, much better than 2005. In Love County, we had 39.26" of rainfall in 2004 and then only 21.39" in 2005. And, I think 2005 was even worse than it sounds because almost 10" of that rain fell in July and August, so prior to July we were incredibly dry. 2004 was the year I gave Wal-Mart bags full of tomatoes to anyone who drove by the house. : ) Then, in 2006 we were mostly dry (except at our house we had 9.25" of rain in one day in April) so the drought and wildfires dragged on. Finally, in 2007 we had R-E-L-I-E-F from heavy rainfall that had us all flooding by May or June. Do we remember that? I think it was 2007 that y'all were trapped at home, more or less, by a flooded roadway for a while? It was hard to plant in the waterlogged soil that spring, but then the summer was pretty good. I remember "history" by how well the garden did or did not produce.

Okieladybug, Seedmama doesn't just make a garden cake. She makes a work of art! It was almost too cute to eat, but we ate it anyway.

Paula, There's no telling what I'll bring...hee hee, but I'll try to bring a lot of the new ones so other folks can try them too!


    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:02PM
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Sounds like so much fun! For the seed swap, does it have to be seeds I've harvested myself or just seeds from a store? I'm a total one would want anything I've grown. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:05PM
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okieladybug - Check out the thread named
"Official 2011 Seed Swap (by mail)"

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Swap thread

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:38PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Welcome, okieladybug!

Dawn, I do remember the flooding. There were actually two years where that road flooded over but I'll be darned if I can remember which years. I have an eensy-teensy little brain and, as soon as I cram some tidbit in there, another factoid falls out.

I was just in the kitchen making some black bean pico de gallo, wailing about not having any fresh tomatoes. Of course, I had to come back in here with a bowl of it and at least read about tomatoes.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 1:24AM
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List ,uhhhh, oh yeah i need to get started on that.thanks for reminding me how far behind i am. I've got a pile of catalogs on the table i hav'nt even looked at.

I will probably just do a few varities of seed on hand. The last 2 yrs have been a total disaster for me and gardening.

with the greenhouse,garden,business,cattle,chickens,dogs,cats,haying season and all the equipment repairs, i think i have bit off more then i can chew sometimes. did i mention i also purchased about 200 ceramic molds and a kiln that i have nowhere to set up yet.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 2:02AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Busy1, The weather has been hard on us gardener's the last couple of years. Weren't y'all terribly dry there in your county this past year? I feel like we're due for a good year this year, but I could be wrong.

Where's the kiln going to end up?

You are too busy, you know, but I suspect you're happiest when you're busy.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 7:41AM
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Dawn, I have a place here at the house to put the ceramic stuff and kiln. I just need to do some major repair to it. Termites have done a number. And it being winter and the temps cooler than i like, i'm not motivated enough.

The days are still too short to get much done and the electric is dissconnected there right is a old hog farrowing barn. has cement flooring already, insulated walls,ceiling,water. just in need of repair, mostly the bottom plate on the walls and some studs.

I have to start on one end and work my way to the other. There is lots of other stuff in the way right now. It kinda was a catch all for stuff not being used and too good to throw away.

Just trying to find the time to start. me ,myself and I can only do so much. My plan for my BIL to help did'nt work out. He found a paying job.

We finally received some rain last week and really helped put some water back in the ground and ponds. ponds are still low, but they are not dry now.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 10:14AM
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Dawn, I have space limitation, need to restrict my tomato list to only TOP TEN. Here I have top twenty based on your top ten posted twice with two different top tens (as expected!) except one duplicates Brandy Boy, I have replaced that with Early Girl. Now please kindly help me to pic only TOP TEN among this following top 20 list (with production is top priority followed by taste, color);

1. Big Beef
2. Beefmaster
3. Brandy Boy
4. Celebrity
5. Goliath
6. Black Krim
7. Indian Stripe
8. SunGold
9. Black Cherry
10. Tess's Land Race Currant

11. Better Bush
12. Jet Star
13. Supersonic
14. Brandy Boy
15. Dr. Wyche's Yellow
16. Sun Gold Cherry
17. Black Cherry
18. Cherokee Purple
19. Mortgage Lifter
20. Better Boy

My apologies for asking you to shortlist within 20.

thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Chandra, It's OK, you don't have to apologize. I'll do my best to list top ten with production being the top priority, but you have to understand that some tomato varieties will be bigger producers one year and then the next year, other varieties might outproduce them. So much of our success or lack of such with tomatoes hinges on what the weather does.

These are not necesarily in order from the biggest producer (at #1) to the tenth largest producer (at #10) but they are the ten from this list that I'd plant if I were only planting ten and my main goal was production. All of these have great flavor, so I think no matter which ones you grow, you'll enjoy their flavor.

1. Celebrity
2. Better Boy
3. Jet Star
4. Beefmaster
5. Big Beef
6. Black Cherry
7. SunGold
8. Supersonic
10. Mortgage Lifter (this is an important part of the list because it produces heavily late in the season)

And, because I can't bear to leave Tess's Land Race Currant off the list, I want to explain why it is not in the top ten. As grown in my yard, Tess's Land Race Currant will climb to the top of an 8' tall cage and then the branches will grow back down until they touch the ground, giving you a plant that is 16' long although not 16' tall. Once it is touching the ground, I cut off the branches a few inches above the ground to cut down on disease from soil contact. The "problem" with Tess's is that it produces like crazy. With a plant that large that produces tiny fruit in vast quantities, you can spend 2 to 3 hours per day on 1, 2 or 3 days per week just picking the tomatoes from that one plant. Because I am a full-time homemaker, I can spend those vast amounts of time picking the Tess's tomatoes. After a long round of picking Tess's, I cut them in half and dry them in the dehydrator, giving us (over the course of the summer) gallons and gallons of dehydrated tomatoes for winter. However, people who put in a long workweek likely would find Tess to be a burden instead of a joy. That's why it isn't on the Top Ten list.

You'll also see that most of the heaviest producers are hybrids, which is sad but true. In a hot summer, the hybrids I grow greatly outproduce almost all the heirlooms. In a cooler and milder summer, the production of the heirlooms is closer to but still less than the production of the hybrids.

If you want to enjoy the superior flavor of heirlooms, you could substitute Cherokee Purple or Black Krim for Big Beef or Beefmaster. I wouldn't substitute anything for Better Bush and Jet Star because they give you early tomatoes, or for Supersonic or Mortgage Lifter because they give you late tomatoes. For any of the other non-cherry types that are mid-season producers, you could substitute any heirloom type and still would have a diverse enough collection of types/DTMs that you'd have a good harvest all summer long.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Dawn, I had to laugh at your discription of Tess's Land Race. Last year I had one plant of Tess and it wasn't looking very good. You gave me another at the swap and I planted it a few feet away from the struggling one on the same cattle panel and both lived. The panel comes to a peak at 8 feet. I had been picking tiny tomatoes for what seemed like forever and decided to get my garden stool and sit down while I picked the lower ones. My DH came into the backyard and was out there 20 or 30 minutes before I said anything to him. He had not seen me under the trellis, the vines were so thick.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 6:49PM
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Thank you Dawn, there are 9 in the list. I will add Better Bush and/or Black Krim to make it top 10. If i get enough time to cut down another 200sqft Bermuda turf, that time may go with another few types. I am thinking to plant Tess's Land Race Currant to shared-fence, so that my neighbors kids have some fun with cherry tomatoes -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


That is too funny. You had your own private hideaway.

Once during the summer of 2009, I was on a ladder picking tomatoes from near the top of the Tess's cage. A neighbor was driving by, saw me, drove up the driveway and said he had to see how I was 'floating' in the air. It turned out that from the roadway the 'cascading' limbs of Tess hid the ladder, so I did look like I was pretty much floating in the air picking tomatoes.

Chandra, Sorry. Apparently I don't like the number 9. I mean, really, who skips 9? I didn't mean to skip it but I was in the middle of 3 or 4 things, including 2 separate conversations while I was typing and I guess I wasn't paying attention to my numbering. Sometimes when I multitask and do too many things at once, little things I forget the number 9. (I'm laughing at myself, really, I am.)

That is so nice of you to want to share your tomatoes with the neighbors kids. I bet they'd love that.

One way to remove bermuda grass turf is to rent a sod cutter from an equipment rental place and set it to the desired depth and cut the bermuda out. Or, you could pay a landscape company to bring their sod cutter and do the job for you. I hate removing bermuda grass because I have clay and it is really impossible to dig down deep enough to get all the stolons out of the clay. Maybe you have better soil and it is easier to remove the bermuda? If that is so, I am really jealous.

I could send some currant tomato seeds to you via Carol's seed swap. Just let me know if you want me to do that.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 10:04PM
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Thank you again Dawn. Sod cutter idea sounds good, I think that is best way to get rig of most of Bermuda. Our turf is just two year old, I guess stolons may gone that deep, cutting top 3" will remove most of it, then i can user Mantis rototiller to till and pic any visible rhizomes. May be go with couple roundup or manual dig out the later growth. I will post my experience once done. Indeed i didn't aware that Bermuda would be so tough grass, else I would have requested builder not to add sod in half of the backyard.

Yes our backyard has typical Oklahoma red clay, it becomes very hard when dry. I have added lot of compost, sand and lawn clippings to improve soil in the existing rise beds, soil turned somewhat brown from red, I hope it will turn black in few years.

Thanks to your generosity for sharing tomato seeds, could please send me email with the list of seeds you wish to send to Carol's seed swap, so that I can update my online order list which I am thinking to order this weekend. You know my wish list of tomato seeds!

Do you think Tess's Land Race would be best choice of wooden garden arbor (sitting over the main gate)? I had cardinal wine last year.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 11:59PM
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Everybody's lists are looking so good! Now can we start sowing? I have plants in my pants!


    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Nice List!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 3:37PM
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Now its almost sure that I am going to expand the garden. That determination has lead to some tinkling in my brain to look for "Colorful Tomatoes"- RED, PINK, ORANGE, YELLOW, BLUE, PURPLE, GREEN, BLACK, WHITE... I have seed for RED, probably for pink. Any recommendation for other colors (just one for each color)? Thank you in advance -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 3:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You're welcome. I'll go through my seed box and see what I have and let you know. It likely won't happen until tomorrow though.

Tess's would be great for an arbor, but may require pruning to keep it from taking over the gate area. If you plant Tess's about 2' or 3' from the arbor, it should have plenty of room to grow without taking over the entire arbor. For me, Tess's usually spreads out 4' to 5' and I often have to prune it very hard at the point where it begins to block the garden path.

Boomer, Thanks. I'm looking forward to seeing your list. You had a lot of great varieties last year and I look forward to seeing your list for 2011.

Chandra, 'Colorful Tomatoes' are a special interest of mine. There is nothing prettier at dinner time than a tossed salad with tomatoes of all colors.

By now, you probably understand how hard it is for me to recommend "just one" of everything. So, how about if I recommend 2 (or maybe 3) so that I can include one small bite-sized variety and one regular-sized variety in each color. I'm going to add red and pink to the list so other folks who haven't made up their minds yet will have more food for thought.

Here goes:

Sweet Million (bite-sized)
Tomatoberry (bite-sized and somewhat heart-shaped)
Neve's Azorean Red

Sweet Treats (bite-sized)
Mortgage Lifter or Traveler 76

SunGold (bite-sized)
Jaune Flammee' (medium-sized)
Russian Persimmon

Ildi (bite-sized)
Dr. Wyche's Yellow (an Oklahoma heirloom from the Hugo, OK, area)

I don't know of any blue bite-sized ones. Jay might.
Blue Fruit
P20 Blue/OSU Blue (available from Canada's Solana Seeds, which does ship to the USA)

I don't know of any purple bite-sized ones, although to some people, Black Cherry is as much a purple fruit as a black one. It really is purple-ish/maroon.
Cherokee Purple or Royal Hillbilly

Green Grape (bite-sized)
Aunt Ruby's German Green

Black Cherry
Black From Tula

Snow White or Dr. Carolyn (bite-sized)
Great White

Isis Candy (bite-sized)
Old German or Berkeley Tie Dye


    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 4:45PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Blue tomatoes? I've never heard of those! And here I thought I'd heard it all... LOL

Chandra, Dawn does not exaggerate -- Tess is HUGE. I took a few pics of the one I grew last year. The pics do not do the massive size of it justice but I'll link them below anyway. HUGE. I'm not a pruner but I took to whacking branches of that sucker on a regular basis or it would have been even bigger.

Did I mention HUGE??


Here is a link that might be useful: A few Tess pics

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 5:55PM
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Wow Dawn! I named those colors quite optimistically but you found variety for every color! Its going to be fun:-). Thank you thank you.

Just for my curiosity I googled for pics to know how these tomatoes looks like... they are beautiful. I have arranged those pics and pasted below for curious newbies like me...

Diane, thank you for sharing Tess's pics, they are HUGE! looks like it will knockdown my wooden arbor or I need to reinforce before it take over, but will be fun too.

Here are pics of tomatoes I wish to grow (too ambitious for the beginner right!); source of the pics burpee,victoryseeds, willhiteseed, southernexposure, seedsavers, rareseeds, totallytomatoes, tomatogrowers, and other anonymous blogs/sites... Here goes:

Thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 5:59PM
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Chandra - I hope you don't miss your lawn!!!! Who needs grass anyway. LOL I can almost guarantee you will get a few of those tomato seed.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 6:11PM
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Wow Chandra! You are a very useful engine!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I love the photos of the kids with Tess's and are glad you posted them again. All the photos are cute, but my favorite one is the one where Josie sits there innocently smiling while the monster tomato plant looms over her in the background, preparing to gobble her up!

The only blue I've grown is "Blue Fruit" and it looked more like a black tomato than a blue. The newer blues that Chandra linked are a lot more blue in appearance. More blue varieties are in the breeding/development pipeline.


The photos look great, but I'm not sure about the accuracy of the Indian Stripes photo. When I grow Indian Stripes it looks very, very similar to Cherokee Purple except with very faint green/red striping, generally on the upper half of the tomato.

I'd suggest you not order seeds until after the swap because I think you'll get seed of many, if not most, of the varieties on your list through the swap. I've got my seed box sitting on the floor by my feet and as soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to go through my box and see how many of those varieties I have to share.

And, for all of you who are interested in bicolored tomatoes with crazy names, I've linked some info about some of the many fascinating ones from Brad Gates' Wild Boar Farms. I have a lot of them on my 2011 Grow List.

FYI-Tomato Growers Supply Company must be sending out 'Virginia Sweets', which is a gold and red bicolor, as the free seed with orders this year as it just came in my order that arrived today. I placed that order on the 4th and it arrived on the 8th. How's that for quick service?


Here is a link that might be useful: Bicolored Tomatoes From Wild Boar Farms

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:29PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Thanks, Dawn. I'll have to keep my eyes open and see how the blue ones do/taste for folks.

Wow, Chandra! You are so not helping my winter tomato lust!!

I just now finished revamping and updating the tomato portion of my seed stash spreadsheet. It's supposed to make it easier for me to finalize a tomato grow list for this year. Ha. Yeah, right. Now I want to grow even more.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 8:40PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Okay, I forced myself to buckle down and just choose.


1. Black Cherry
2. Chiapas Wild
3. Large Red Cherry
4. Sun Cherry
5. Sungold


6. Hungarian Italian
7. Japanese Triflele Black
8. Opalka
9. Polish Linguisa
10. San Marzano Redorta

Green/Yellow/Orange Slicers:

11. ARGG
12. Azoychka
13. Juane Flammee
14. Taxi

Black Slicers:

15. Black Brandywine
16. Black from Tula
17. Black Krim
18. JD's Special C-Tex

Red/Pink/Purple Slicers:

19. Arkansas Traveler
20. Beefmaster
21. Better Boy
22. Bloody Butcher
23. Brandy Boy
24. Celebrity
25. Early Girl
26. Early Girl Improved
27. Estler's Mortgage Lifter
28. Eva Purple Ball
29. Italian Tree
30. Mexico
31. Mountain Princess
32. Nepal
33. Pink Floyd mix (from
34. Pruden's Purple
35. Rose
36. Rutgers

This looks nothing like my usual grow out list. I tried really hard to keep DTM in mind. I'm not a big fan of early tomatoes but since I'm in unfamiliar growing territory here on the frozen tundra, I'm nervous about not getting my fill of tomatoes. There are very few late season ones for the same reason. I'm also retrying several that didn't do well in OK but I wanted to give them a fresh chance in a cooler environment. More hybrids that usual for me, too.

Change can be a painful! But only for a while, then you grow into it. LOL


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 12:21AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


How short is your season going to be up there in terms of last spring frost/first fall frost?


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 4:55AM
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I will be surprised if you are restricted much on what you can grow. You might need to put out big plants. I'm not sure where you are located now but think somewhere in MO. Experience though is the best advice. There are also micro climates in many areas and those can make some difference also. Jay

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 8:40AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Jay, we're in northeastern Missouri now, up near Hannibal, MO and Quincy, IL. A couple of counties south of Iowa and less than a half hour west of the Mississippi.

Because of the Mississippi and the hills vs. flats, there are widely varying frost dates all within an hour of us. I just ran through all of the noted ones from MU and the 90% dates of over 32 degrees, all locations within 45-ish miles of us are:


Pretty crazy. Our immediate area is very flat, very open, very little windbreak, no place for frost to roll down to. Yet, just five minutes from us beging rolling hills so I assume we get some of the cooler air rolling off of them. Then again, the wind here is relentless and that helps keep the frost from settling in some days. We're 15-20 miles from the Mississippi so we dont get the moderating benefit of that large body on our temps, at least not much like Hannibal, probably not any.

In other words, I'm going to just have to experiment and find out. Of course, that's true anywhere. This first year, I want to play it somewhat safe and lean heavily on the early and midseason toms since I'm thinking we fall into the smaller numbers listed above.

That reminds me, I need to buy another min/max thermometer since we left ours behind. (Oops!) I'm going to try to record temps for the year and see what I can find out.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Diane, Your growing season my be shorter, but your daylight hours are longer and you're not going to have the scorching heat day after day like you did in SE Oklahoma. It still gets hot, but you get some breaks. I have seen some really pretty gardens up that way. I just looked at the daylingt hours chart for the end of June and you have 33 more minutes of daylight than where you lived before. A half hour may not seem like much, but added up day after day, it makes a difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunrise/Sunset

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 5:02PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

What a great link, Dawn, thanks! The longer daylight certainly will not be overlooked by the veggies.

By the way, I checked 7/21/2011 for Wister, OK, and got 0520 and 1930. For Monroe City, MO, I got 0456 and 1930. So the sun rises earlier here (which I can guarantee I'll never be up to check on that myself unless it's from staying up the night before! LOL) but it sets at the same time? That can't be true, can it? I might need to go back to science class.

In other news, I've already added three more slicers to my grow list for this year. Funny thing, though, none have been crossed off of the list, only added. Heh.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 5:18PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Wow those are some impressive lists! Im only doing 3 types but im doing about 3 of each.
big boy
early treat
right bite

we dont eat a lot so I dont need much. and after seeing that these arent on anyones list they much not be any good.

I just started them inside and plan to move them to the greenhouse when they germinate. Am I crazy to start this early?


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 5:25PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Doh! I meant Carol up there, not Dawn.

Coffee. Must get another cup of coffee...


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 5:26PM
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Diane, Were sisters! LOL If she's not offended, you're good, because I'm flattered.

Mike, You can start them about anytime you want to but unless you have a heated greenhouse, you will have to bring them in the house a lot of nights because of low temps. Most of us start ours in February because we like to put them in the ground at about 8 weeks. The planting date varies depending on where you live in the state. Most of us are growing inside under lights and we don't want them to get very big because they become too much trouble.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:04PM
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I have added a few to my lists that you guys have already seen.

Isn't there a new blue tomato being grown out called OSU Blue or something like that? OSU meaning Oregon State U I think. It's really a dark, almost black, and a lot of times black has a bluish cast to it.

I am adding:

Bush Goliath
Orange 1
Top Sirloin (this is not the old Ferry Morse introduction from years ago, with virtually no flavor, but introduced by a couple up in Canada. "Suze" from Texas has grown it and it is supposed to stand up well in heat and drought - mid late season)
Extreme Dwarf Bush

I'm not going to plant the late producing tomatos this year. I only have a few.

I've got a few "free" packets that I may or may not grow, including Purple Calabash, Garden Peach, and Paragon Livingson.

I am going to have to narrow down my list, just haven't done it yet.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 9:29PM
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Wow! You people do love your tomatoes! I am just south of the border in TX and am anxious to get my seed started too, and you have given me some great ideas of what to plant. I am so leary of planting tomatoes again, so tired of bad luck, but hear that the past few years have been bad all around for everyone in the garden.

Do tell, is it too late to get in on the tomato seed swap? Your tomato plant swap sounds wonderful, but I know I won't get to OKC. I can dream though! Thanks for all this great information -- I will use it!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:00AM
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gretagreenthumb, it's not too late to get in on the seed swap, but it's a vegetable swap, not just tomatoes. Midnight January 10. See link below.

If I can find a way to distract my husband, I'm going to do a tomato SASBE. But don't tell anybody, because it's not a definite thing. I'd hoped to have it ready before the veggie swap was over, but it's just not going to happen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Veggie seed swap

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:10AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Thanks soonergrandmom

My greenhouse is heated because I have my citrus trees in there. Im here in tulsa so assuming they germinate within the 7-14 days it looks like I may be about 2 weeks to early. Oh well they may just live in the greenhouse a bit longer. Im just so ready for that first vine ripe tomato that I could wait, LOL.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 10:03AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I am still harvesting cherry tomatoes from a Husky Red Cherry plant purchased late last February and grown all year long in a molasses feed tub, which I imagine is about the equivalent of a 20-gallon pot. Flavorwise, Husky Red Cherry is not special at all...just a typical plain old red hybrid cherry tomato flavor with kind of tough skin. However, it is very disease-resistant which makes it good for an early tomato that has to endure a lot of rain, dew, wet foliage and humidity.

The tomato plant looked pretty ragged by October and I almost yanked it out and threw it on the compost pile. Instead, I pruned it back really hard to about 8-10" tall. It regrew well, but grew out horizontally more than vertically. It has several dozen cherry tomatoes on it at any given time, but they are incredibly slow, slow, slow to ripen due to the colder temps, shorter day length and less intense sunlight.

I only harvest a handful of tomatoes in any given week, but each little bite of fresh tomato is greatly appreciated at this time of year. Despite very cold nights (the poor thing stays in the unheated garage at night and with overnight lows as low as 11 degrees, I'm surprised it hasn't frozen to death), the plant is blooming and setting fruit even now. Since it is inside so much, I do thump the blossoms to help ensure fruit set. On cold days it has to stay in the garage, but I leave on a fluorescent shop light for the plants all day long. On warm days, I drag the plants (I have 5 large containers and 7 small ones in the garage) outside but always have to drag them back in at night. Even on nights the temps are well above freezing, I can't leave them out or the deer will eat them.

In general, I don't think growing winter tomatoes is worth the time and effort, but in this case, every time I eat a tomato, I'm glad I kept this plant going. From our first ripe tomato in late April to ripe tomatoes the following January, a few container plants have enabled us to 'stretch' our tomato season into a pretty long one.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Just for curiosity, is there any side effects of eating lot of tomatoes through out the year? Lot means at least 3-4 big tomatoes/person every day in any form (raw, salad, cooked, baked, drilled etc)?. Do yo think eating anything in excess has any negative health affects?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:58PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Chandra, most definitely eating a lot of tomatoes throughout the year has effects! Just look at Dawn -- her brain is twice the size of normal people and it holds six times the information. If she keeps up with this year-round insanity, she'll soon have to wear a custom-made tomato cage on her shoulders to keep her head from sprawling.

It's true. I read it on the internet.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 1:44PM
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A Dr named Peter D'Adamo wrote a book called Eat Right for your Type in which he claims that some foods affect different blood types in injurious ways. Don't have the book, but do remember looking over the list for blood type O very carefully. Tomatoes are fine for us, but it seems to me that he didn't recommend them for one of the other types. (Don't remember which one.) Blood type Os can also handle more red meat, but not so much gluten grain. Knew that before I read the book, because although I love wholegrain bread, it can make me feel sluggish, a bit headachy, and then have gastrointestinal effects. Although I don't have fullblown celiac disease either. You might find some information by doing a web search.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 1:58PM
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There seems to be a trend for elimation of a lot of things these days, but I'm not buying in on much of it, except maybe for soy.

Of course, I am speaking of those things growing naturally and used for a food source, not all of the perservatives and dyes that are added into things. I am amazed at how many things now are made with coffee flavors and sweetened with sorbitol. I think what you must concentrate on is a balanced diet which includes as many fruits and vegetables as possible.

I also have noted that many of those who claim to have trouble with grain and have been diagnosed as such, have been told things about grain that are just not true, including one of my own daughters. She says she feels better by eliminating wheat from her diet. If that is so than she is doing the right thing FOR HER by elimating wheat.

Listen to your body and it will give you warnings. The reason diabetics crave water is their body is telling them there is too much sugar in their blood and it needs to be diluted.

Other warnings are out there as well. Many of the sugar substitutes do just awful things to some people, sorbitol comes to mind. I have to avoid all foods that have sorbitol or I will be miserable for hours. Sometimes I like to have a pancake, but I can't handle the sugar-free syrup. I use a light one that has reduced calories and just try to use less of it. I feel the same way about sugar-free candy. I got sf chocolate for mother's day last year and trashed most of it. Even cough drops can cause a problem

When I think of the pioneers and what their diet must have been, I realize that they ate the same things day after day, but either it was fresh, or they grew and preserved it themshelves. They also got a lot of exercise.

I guess the bottom line is, with all of the food available to us, it is easy to have different foods everyday, so why not? Some parts of the world eat rice everyday, but it is flavored with dozens of different vegetables and sauces that give them other vitamins and minerals.

Having said that, I think meat is an important food, but I think most Americans eat too much. Some of us are going to have diseases regardless of how we eat, but there are some that we can avoid by keeping our bodies healthier. I have always eaten well, but I have diabetes, but so did all of my father's children. I guess I was lucky that mine came as late in my life as it did. Had I not eaten well for most of my life, I might have gotten it when I was very young. My father's older children were much older and I didn't grow up with them and didn't know much about their lives until I was older. I gave birth to four children, all over 8 pounds, although I only gained 20-25 pounds. Each time, the doctors wanted to know about diabetes in my family because of the size of my children. At that time I didn't realize that I had three living siblings that had diabetes. I didn't have gestation diabetes like many have, but the signs of problems were there early on.

We are blest to live in a country of plenty, and have many choices. Food is probably one of the greatest blessings we have, and we have it in abundance. We are blessed.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I'm not a food scientist or nutritionist, so I sort of hate to tackle this question. I'll give it my best guess as an ordinary, non-expert. I think excessive amounts of anything could potentially harm an otherwise healthy person, but the unknown is what sort of quantity of tomatoes would be considered excessive.

Tomatoes are very healthy and are just loaded with vitamins and minerals so for a person in normal, good health with no major health issues, I think you could eat all you want as part of a normal, balanced diet and would be fine.

Tomatoes do have a lot of postassium, so someone for whom high potassium intake is a problem should consult their family physician for guidance on what's allowable.

Most relatively healthy people are encouraged to eat tomatoes and bananas to raise their potassium levels (to help lower their blood pressure), so I find it hard to imagine a healthy person couldn't tolerate the potassium in tomatoes eaten on a daily basis. However, for someone like my mom who is on dialysis or who otherwise suffers from a chronic kidney or liver disease, too many tomatoes probably are a no-no.

If a person with low blood sugar or high blood sugar eats too many of the sweeter varieties of tomatoes, then maybe the sugar in the tomatoes would interfere with their blood sugar levels, but that's just a guess on my part.

Diane, You are too funny. If eating too many tomatoes is harmful to a human being, I should be dead by now. In fact, I probably should have died ten times over.

My dad used to tease me when I was a kid and tell me that all the tomato seeds would sprout in my body and plants would start growing out of my ears, but it never happened.

All kidding aside, as a long-term cancer survivor, I'd like to think all the lycopene in the tomatoes is helping keep me healthy. I eat a lot more tomatoes now than I did back before I was diagnosed with cancer, but I had a very small garden then and a large one now.

Dorothy, I am going to read that book. It sounds very interesting.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 3:19PM
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It seems I have a problem with elimination. Not the action, but the spelling of the word. LOL I assure you I know how to spell 'blessed', but sometimes I type fast and fail to proofread. I will s-l-o-w down and try to improve my spelling. HeeHee

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 4:15PM
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...anything in excess... "anything" I was referring to any types of tomatoes. You have thrown quite useful lines. I just ordered book "Eat Right 4 your Type"...

A few minutes ago I was talking with one of my uncle who believe very much in natural remedies and Ayurveda. He said- tomatoes are very healthy, one of good source of vitamin C, trace minerals, K, etc. and it has tons of Antioxidents (lycopene) which will help in preventing certain cancers. For male species, tomato is an essential dietary item, as lycopene, zinc and saw palemetto in tomatoes will sustain a healthy prostate and prevent prostate cancer... that's already good sign of why we should have lot and lot of tomatoes in our food...

Dawn you are right, tomatoes might have been helping you lot. Now i know why you love tomatoes so much. I also agree with Diane "Dawn -- her brain is twice the size of normal people and it holds six times the information"
Cheers -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 8:30PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

I need professional help. I've added about dozen varieties to my above list in the past few days.

37. Black & Red Boar
38. Burning Spear
39. Carbon
40. Cuostralee
41. Dana's Dusky Rose
42. Gary'O Sena
43. Livingston's Paragon
44. Ludmilla Red Plum
45. Marianna's Peace
46. Neves Azorean Red
47. OSU Blue
48. Prue
49. Sara's Galapagos
50. Wes

Will it never end??

I usually like to plant three of each but think I'll have to cut down to two of each this year since we need to make cages again. Don't want hubby to have to invent new bad names to call me.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Diane, do you already have seeds of Livingston's Paragon? If not, I am sending mine to Carol for the swap.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 9:14AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Not yet but they're on their way from Martin as we speak. Did you grow them last year or are they new to you? I can't wait to try them!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've grown Paragon several times and it has grown and produced very well here. It is one of my favorites of the Livingston tomatoes, along with Magnus, Stone, Gold Ball and Golden Queen.

All of Livingston's old varieties are extremely drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant and seem to have high disease tolerance as well, though of course, they didn't test and label for disease-tolerance back then.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 11:39AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Dawn, your previous testaments to Livingston's Paragon was one of my main reasons for wanting to grow it out. I stalk your tomato favorites lists like other women stalk the mall sales. :-D


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Has any one grown chocolate stripes? I was thinking of growing it for the first time. Wondering if any problems with it and how it tastes.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've grown Chocolate Stripes and it performed very well for me in a 20-gallon container in what was a very rainy year here. All the rain may have contributed to how well it did, but I still had to water it a lot in July and August since container plants dry out a lot in the heat.

In a container, it grew 7' tall and 3'-4' wide and was covered in blossoms and fruit all summer long. The flavor was a tiny bit on the mild side for a black type (and the milder flavor might be because of all the rain), but still very good...just not quite as strong as the flavor of Black Krim or Cherokee Chocolate....other "black" types that I've grown. The flavor still was very good though, being both rich and sweet....maybe more like the flavor of a pink type of tomato than a typical black. With the striping, the fruits are strikingly beautiful.

Since we all have different taste buds and, thus, perceive flavor differently, you won't know how your taste buds will like it until you try it.

It didn't give me any problems and I was really happy with how it performed and with how it tasted.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Thanks Dawn, I will give it a try. I try to pick one new variety to grow each year and this was going to be it. My list for this year is not as extensive as other posts on here and I am trying pots this year for some. Last year was horrible way too hot 100 degrees for several days. Tomatoes and peppers dropped their blossoms all summer. Hope this year will be better, Here is my short list.
Chocolate Stripes
Black Krim
Kellogg's Breakfast

Limited space but have to have home grown tomatoes.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 6:49AM
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Hello Tomatoes Kings and Queens,
Is there any variety mentioned above (tomatoes pics in my Jan8 post) has Genetically Modified (GM) Crops? Why i am asking this question is because of;

I have posted same pics in Facebook, one of the Botany professor left a comment...I have seen all the photos of the tomato varieties. They are awesome. So far I have not seen are purple, blue colored tomatoes. Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink are fine. Green tomatoes are green when unripe. But here they are green after ripening. I think many of these tomatoes are GM crops. They may have adverse effects on environment and other biodiversity. When GM tomatoes are consumed, their health safety is not guaranteed. So I suggest you and your children not to eat GM tomatoes, but eat only the normal conventional tomatoes. The organically grown are the best.

If not GM, are there any hybrids in the list? I may need to note down which are heirloom, F1, etc for future seed saving?

Sorry asking too many silly questions. Thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 2:22PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


No, as far as I know, none of the tomatoes on your list are GMO and that includes OSU Blue/P20 Blue. This is really getting beyond what I know or even what I think I know because I am not a scientist, biologist or botanist....I'm just a woman with a garden who loves to grow tomatoes.

I do not know why the Botany professor thinks the tomatoes that are different colors are genetically modified, but can only assume that he or she is not familiar with tomato variety history. A good book that discusses tomato history is written by Andrew Smith and is called "The Tomato in America". In addition, Dr. Carolyn Male and Dr. Amy Goldman both have written excellents books on heirloom, O-P tomatoes. I also learned a lot about tomato history by reading A. W. Livingston's own book written about his work, "Livingston and the Tomato". It was Mr. Livingston who began carefully selecting varieties, always choosing the best fruit from the best plants to carry on the traits he wished to develop. Before Livingston began his tomato breeding work in the mid-1800s, many tomatoes were large, filled with seed and mostly hollow, like the types we know today as 'stuffing tomatoes'. He is the one who began work to develop meaty tomatoes that weren't hollow and/or extremely seedy.

Tomatoes of various colors have existed for hundreds of years and we know that because they have been documented in both historical written record and illustrations. One very, very old variety that comes to mind is "Fejee" and it was a black tomato, now extinct, that was used by many early tomato breeders. As far as I can remember, the earliest tomatoes that were found by Spanish explorers in South America were yellow varieties. It was these Spanish explorers who disseminated seed to the Philippines (they then spread throughout southeast Asia) and the Caribbean, Spain and Italy. From there, they eventually spread to the European continent and then to the rest of the world. All the other colors of tomatoes appeared in different times and places but are believed to have originated from those early ones found in South America. One tomato species, the currant tomato (L. pimpinellifolium) was found growing wild in the southern portion of the USA in the 1830s.

It was the tomato breeders in the late 1800s who "decided" that all tomatoes "must" be red and mostly geared their procedures to selecting and developing red (and some pink and a few yellow). Many of the non-red tomatoes we have now were saved by amateur seed savers and passed down over the years. In some cases, some of them have been developed in more recent times via either accidental insect cross-pollination or deliberate breeding attempts accomplished by crossing and back-crossing varieties. Some occur as a mutation. For example, Cherokee Purple has been documented back to the 1800s. In fact, it was brought to Oklahoma by the native American Cherokee tribe and members of other tribes as they traveled the Trail of Tears in the 1800s, but Cherokee Chocolate and Cherokee Green are believed to be more recent mutations of Cherokee Purple.

As for as OSU Blue/P20 Blue, I've been following the development of these blue tomatoes for several years. Nothing I've ever read about them indicates any GMO technology is being used. The developers of these tomatoes at Oregon state have used a wild tomato species known to have anthocyanins which give them the purple/blue color. They've been working on these a long time, and have done it the old-fashioned way, by crossing and backcrossing repeatedly to get the blue genes they desire. I've linked one piece that describes their work and, in fact, they proudly proclaim near the end of the article that they are creating the tomatoes the old-fashioned way.

As for the tomatoes you have on your list, I have not gone back and looked up each one of them to verify that I am correct, but based on my aging memory, here's what I think they are:

Open-Pollinated: Neve's Azorean Red, Mortgage Lifter, Traveler 76, Russian Persimmon, Ildi, Green Grape, Great White, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Black From Tula, Isis Candy, Tigerella, Green Zebra, Big Rainbow, Indian Stripe (also believed to be very closely related to Cherokee Purple, by the way), Berkeley Tie-Dye, and Black Krim.

Hybrids: Sweet Million, Sweet Treats, Sungold, P20 Blue/OSU Blue, Celebrity, Jet Star, Big Beef, Better Boy, Supersonic, Brandy Boy, Goliath*, Better Bush, Sweet Seedless.

There's a couple I'm not positive about. Snow White, for example, was hybridized by tomato enthusiast and seed saver Joe Bratka, but I don't know if the form of Snow White we have now is produced as a hybrid or if it was dehybrized/stablilized, at which time it would have become an OP. I also am not sure about Goliath, because it depends on your seed source. There is an heirloom known as Goliath, but I don't know anyone who grows it. The hybrid known as Goliath, and the whole family of Goliath tomatoes available from Totally Tomatoes, is a hybrid.

To learn more about OSU Blue/P20 Blue, I'm sure you can google them and find lots more in addition to the brief article I've released below. Or google Tom Wagner, find his tomato breeding website, and see what you find there. He's been doing a lot of independent work with OSU Blue.


Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Blue

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 4:12PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Oops, I erred on Cherokee Purple. As far as we know, it made it at least as far as Tennessee, because that is where, I think, J. D. Green lived. Some people in Oklahoma believe it was carried here by those who traveled the Trail of Tears, but I don't know that this ever has been verified. However, Dr. Wyche from Hugo, OK, saved the Cherokee Trail of Tears bean which was brought here by those who traveled the Trail of Tears (and he also saved some other heirlooms including Dr. Wyche's Yellow Tomato and Dr. Wyche's Yellow Tomatillo). Indian Stripe, perhaps not coincidentally, was found in Arkansas. It greatly resembles Cherokee Purple in size, appearance and flavor and many believe IS and CP are closely related since we know some people of Cherokee descent settled in Arkansas and because Arkansas is adjacent to Oklahoma, where the Trail of Tears ended.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 4:22PM
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hats off to you Dawn! You have provided very important information. I need keep a dairy of all these records. Its already too much of info to store in my tiny brain. Btw, I know that botany professor is not vegetable expert and he knows very little about the gardening. I know many people assume and say GM or Hybrids when they see unusual color, size, shape than what they used to super-store vegetables. Good night-Chandra

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 12:40AM
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Dawn answered your question very well. There are many myths and opinions around about tomatoes especially. Size, color, shape,where a variety originated, grafting ect. I was doing some research on grafting last evening as I hope to do a little playing with it either this year or next. One search led me to a discussion on a tomato forum where several posters including some who have grown a lot of tomatoes were basically ridiculing and saying how worthless the procedure was. A well respected grower and also breeder made a statement that basically said those that were pooh pooing grafting were just proving they knew poo about grafting. As he has used it and has seen great results. I've seen him and a few others who have used it on heirlooms say that instead of getting 4-6 fruit from a vine by grafting they get 30 or more. The point I want to make is there are lots of rumors and opinions around about most things involving gardening. I encourage you to do like you did this time. To seek more info and form your own opinion before just discarding something you thought about doing or growing. Also remember because something does great for you doesn't mean it will for me or vice versa due to different climate and soil conditions along with our different growing practices.

I had never looked at the pictures above. I was going to comment about the Indian Stripe but saw Dawn already did. And she also covered Goliath. I've grown both the OP( which isn't related to the TT Goliath hybrid) and hybrid from Totally Tomatoes. I only grow the hybrid now. I know a grower who was trying to stabilize the TT hybrid version but have never heard how that went. I'm going through seeds now and starting to fill requests. Just drop me a line listing what you don't have yet. Like I stated before I should have many of those you want. Will also send you a favorite or 2 of mine you can try in the future if not this year. Jay

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 6:56AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I wish people would not assume that tomatoes of a different color are recent GMO developments and instead would take the time to find out the truth like you did by asking the question here. For some reason, most people automtically assume the vegetables they see in their local supermarket are the "standard" and that anything that deviates from the stardard is too odd. The reality is that most vegetables come in many colors, and the more colors you eat, the better your diet. That's a good topic for another thread....vegetable varieties in colors that are unusual for that particular vegetable.

I grow tomatoes, beans, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables in a wide range of colors and it is fun to see the expression on people's faces the first time they see a purple potato or a red carrot or a black tomato.

Jay, I've been doing my job as an enabler, encouraging Chandra to explore the world of tomatoes of many colors. After I made some variety suggestions for tomatoes of other colors, he put together the photo lineup. Doesn't it look great? He and Priya will have tomatoes in so many colors this year.

I'm glad you're following the grafting results carefully, and I'm waiting to see how grafting works for you. I might experiment with it some next year. It was very encouraging to read what you said about increased yields with grafted heirlooms. I had wondered if grafting really was worthwhile for someone who doesn't have any sort of major disease issues in their soil, and after reading what you wrote about increased yield, I can see where it could be worth a person's time and effort if it gives increased yields of heirloom types.

I also, as always, was counting on you to find and correct any errors in my dissertation on tomato history and colors.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:19AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Jay, I'd sure appreciate you keeping us updated on your grafting project as you have time. I've kinda/sorta followed a few interesting discussions on them over the years but never had time for any in-depth reading on it. I can see myself wanting to tinker with grafting in five or so years but just have too many irons in the fire at the moment.

Since Dawn mentioned blue tomatoes (first I'd heard! And I read quite a bit of tomatoey stuff. I must have selective sight. I try to read so much that I automatically ignore anything not having to do with what I'm reading on right then.), I've tried to read up on them a bit. Tom Wagner, Martin/Paquebot, and Darrel Jones are solid sources of info in my world so I was happy to find they (of course!) knew all about them. Now I'm growing OSU Blue this year, all thanks to Dawn, The Enabler.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Long before I'd heard of OSU's work with blue tomatoes, I'd grown the old heirloom blue tomato, "Blue Fruit", which sadly was a poor producer, did not have any sort of outstanding flavor at all and wasn't even blue. It was a pinkish-purplish-blackish thing, although I did grow it in a very flooding-challenged year, so that could have affected both productivity and flavor. Thus, when I first heard about OSU's work, I ignored it, thinking a true blue tomato was not attainable without GMO technology, and I figured if it tasted as poor as "Blue Fruit" then it wouldn't be worth growing anyway. Time marches on, though, and I think eventually they may get both the color and flavor where they want them with the blue tomatoes.

Another tomato that seems overhyped is Kumato. I bought some Kumatos at Central Market and tried them with the idea that if they were good, I'd save seed and grow some. Well, Kumato wasn't anything special and I grow many other black types that are much better and much more worthy of garden space. It could be that home-grown Kumato is better than store-bought, but I've purchased other locally-grown heirloom tomatoes at Central Market and while they were not as good as fresh, home-grown tomatoes, they were much better than standard grocery store tomatoes. Kumato wasn't.

Everyone has a purpose or purposes in life. I think one of my main purposes in life is to encourage everyone to grow more, more, more of everything. Thus, I wear the label of Garden Enabler proudly. Still, Jay is the true Master Garden Enabler because he not only encourages everyone to try new varieties, but also sends out huge amounts of seeds every year. I'm just an amateur enabler, but Jay is a pro.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Yeh, sure!

As the one who distributes some of those seed from each of you, I can tell everyone that not only are you both master gardeners, you are both exceedingly generous enablers.

As I sat at my dining room table last night and began to label packages, I was in awe at the generousity that I saw there. I have tried to make basic rules that don't stress anyone out by trying to find 20 things to send. We had a really good swap last year, and this year the seeds are piling up and still arriving. Some are sending many, many more than required. Some who don't even want to be in the distribution have contributed greatly. What a great bunch you are. I am pleased to consider myself a member of this group. We can't all live next door to each other, but this must be the next best thing because of the way we talk and share. You guys are great.

This may be the year of the okra. LOL I have received several types of okra and several of them could be split into several packages and still have enough for people to trial. When I get them all in, maybe I should list what is available and see if anyone has a desire to grow a certain one.

I don't think anyone is going to be disappointed that they played.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:47AM
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Dawn and Diane,
It was Darrel Jones who made the comment about grafting tomatoes. It was the Queen who sees no benefit from it. I'm like Diane I trust and respect what Darrel, Martin, Tom, Keith and a few others have to say. You can bet when they say something they have usually tried it themselves and not an opinion from talking to someone. The comments from Darrel are very similar to those I've read from a few other growers I highly respect. From what I've read Maxifort is a very vigorous grower and Emperador is also. In greenhouse settings they top the graft so the plant will form 2 main leaders. They say this is needed so the Maxifort graft doesn't grow too much foliage. The two mentioned above along with He-Man are the rootstocks I have seed for. What I've read the opinion is that because of the vigor, soil borne disease resistance and overall health they set and produce better and can withstand heat stress better even when they have a heavy fruit set. Darrel isn't the only grower who has reported a lot heavier crop especially on heirlooms. I saw the results of a trial at NC I believe and they used Celebrity as the grafted plant and also grew it as a hybrid for comparison purposes. The difference in pounds per acre were huge. Several of the growers that I know who have tried grafting is good soil have seen very good results.
Darrel also said in a recent post that a Mr Scott in Florida is working on plants with a nematode tolerance gene. So that is good news also. Jay

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Dear Jay, Thank you very much. This forum become one of my favorite website, I am eagerly waited to open response to threads to read so much new things i never heard before. I learn from each and every post. All your kind response encouraging me to do gardening. As I am very new to gardening, I not have many seeds of tomatoes or any other vegetables. I last time I brought few seeds. one of it was tomato variety (RK seeds, Desi) and few other seeds, but never used them to raise my own seedling, just bought few seedling from market.

Dear Dawn, Priya and I are very excited to grow colorful vegetables this year. All those credits goes to you for wonderful recommendations, Carol and co for seed swap and Jay, Diane, Dana, Paula, Kieth, Dorothy, and many (sorry for not naming everyone, my volatile memory) of you for your precious time and sharing your knowledge.

I know after seeing some colorful tomato photos in my social network, many friends/families are very excited to see my success and also some are looking forward put their hand in dirt.

Now I feel like I did big mistake in buying home with only half acre lot (less than), even more, regretting of my stupid mistake of asking builders to cover entire backyard with grass. I did not aware that how tough it will be to get rid of that Bermuda turf... lessons learned. I am thinking to get rid of half of my well established lawn, please let me know any of you need free sod.

Thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:45AM
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OMG - she's already talking about getting rid of the lawn! That's a sure sign of a gardening addiction! Yippee! Bit by bit I am losing grass year by year, Chandra. Most of it went when I began to garden for the butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. I raise butterfly and moth caterpillars, as I grow the plants they like to lay their eggs on. Everything from American Ladies to Monarchs, to Swallowtails, to Wild Indigo Duskywings.

Now, I am getting interested in veggies, too. We are so sick!


P.S. From Susan who is still sick.......wah!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:04PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Oh what a wonderful world we share here at the Oklahoma Forum!


I think most of the recent comments about grafting that I've read have been from Darrel and Keith and I do know that anything they say you can believe.

I hope the gentleman in Florida working on the plants with a nematode tolerance gene has much success. If he did, it could completely revolutionize tomato growing in areas with predominately sandy soil. From what I understand, one problem with some nematodes is they mutate so they can overcome the nematode tolerance in some tomatoes labeled 'N'. It seems like scientists have yet to find a way to overcome the nematodes who can mutate that way except by constanting breeding in new kinds of nematode tolearance.

The name He-Man cracks me up every time I see it. Instead of picturing a tough tomato rootstock, I picture the little cartoon character He-Man who was on television when our son was very young.

Chandra, I sincerely hope you and Priya have a wonderful gardening season. Once you're growing all those colored tomatoes, we'll get you started on growing purple, yellow, pink or red "green beans", orange or white eggplant, purple potatoes, red okra and yellow or purple carrots. A harvest of vegetables in many colors is the most beautiful sight you'll ever see. My entire garden is a "Rainbow Garden" of many colors.

The piece of land you have is large enough for a growing family and a nice garden too. Well-amended soil and raised beds allow you to raise many more vegetables than you can grow in grade-level, unamended soil. Stick with us and we'll help you increase your productivity with the size of the garden plot you have. There's a certain point at which a large garden becomes too hard to manage because of its size, so it is better to master gardening with a smaller garden first and then make it bigger every year until it is as large as you like while still being easily managed. Remember, you do have to work at your job too and can't become a full-time gardener no matter how much you love it.

I hope Priya doesn't get angry with us for encouraging you to rip up so much of the lawn. She might rather have more lawn so the children have a larger place to play. : )

Susan, I'm sorry you'll still feeling poorly and hope you're feeling better soon.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:39PM
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While you are on a book jag, you might want to read The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan. It purports a person can feed a family of four from 1/4 acre. The quantities produced in the book wouldn't feed my family. (It suggests I could grow enough wheat to make one loaf of bread each week.) Nonetheless, the concepts are thought-provoking, and will help you to realize how much you can grow with the land you have.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 5:07PM
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Susan, lawn maintenance seems to be as much expensive as maintaining vegetable garden. I spend so much for lime, fertilizer, pr-emergent (only applied once, then found that was not good for environment), huge watermill, then need to move so frequently. I guess same time/money I can grow more vegetable and can be more eco-friendly. Along vegetables, I love to plan for butterflies and birds... I feed birds, love to see them eating seeds and fun to take their pics...

Dawn, color of vegetable you mentioned sounds like I am dreaming!!!! what a great fun grow to pink beans, orange eggplant, purple potatoes, red okra and yellow carrots ...yahooo... Santa sends me a person to help me remove lawn, it really a surprise! This morning I was browsing Google for local small/individually owned landscape contractor, no success, then at noon someone ringed my door bell, introduce himself as David, asked me do you need compost for your lawn and garden? Unconsciously I said ya ya yes, he realized how desperately I need it...then he explained me about the Norman compost facility (I am aware of this before), he can haul a truck load of compost for $60, he also know how to get rid of Bermuda. He told that will give an estimate once I make final decision on how area need to be removed. Now I need to get permission from home owner association about the expansion. I hope they will approve my request. I think I may able to take care of plants along with my regular job. I am early riser, makeup early in the morning at 5:30am and spend most of the time in backyard after coming from office till it becomes dark.

Priya will not get angry, she also kind of getting addicted after listening to my lectures about colors, tastes, varieties,.. secondly she also loves gardening as much as I but need some push also need to fulfill some of her silly wish lists. Even after removing half lawn, we will have plenty of space for children to play, my daughter demanding a wooden gym set, now its time to fulfill her wish as well.

Dana, thank you for another nice book suggestion. Its already sitting my amazon cart for $10.91 (free shipping). I also copy your post to "Oklahoma Gardening Books" thread just in case someone may also look at it... Chandra

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 6:59PM
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Chandra - I want to warn you a bit about the Norman compost facility. We have gotten several loads in the last 2 years. 2009 garden year only one load, but 2010 garden year we got 3, maybe 4, which ended up being WAYYYY more than we needed.

After spreading the first 2 loads last year, we were happy with the coverage...and then time progressed on. We encountered several "unidentified fungal growths"...which were really hard to fight due to time constraints (!) and also, didn't work well with the watering schedule (again, WORK!). There was also a surprising amount of rock in it. But hey! Since DH loaded it himself, the price was right and we still worked thru it. IF you get some....compost it some more. Add some kind of heat generator and keep it stirred if you're going to use it this year. We stored our "leftovers" at the back part of our 2 and a half acres...and we've stirred it enuf that I feel sure we won't have the same problems this year, but I just wanted to kinda warn you. It's all still good! Just need to pay a bit of attention to it so it'll work best for you.

And btw - I saw some pics you posted on another thread and we're almost actually neighbors. I recognized your backyard view in a heartbeat!~

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:56PM
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Just be cautious with compost and soils brought into your yard in bulk amounts. My friend who lives in Norman had that done, and she contracted a soil borne fungal disease that caused her to develop growths on her joints in her feet, arms, and other locations among other symptoms. After 4 months total bedrest and IV antibiotics that had to be done in her home by a home health nurse, and several surgeries to remove the growths, she then had to stay on the the extremely expensive oral antibiotics for a year. She is lucky in that she was able to recover from it, and it has not returned, which it can do. She now gardens wearing gloves.

Don't want to scare anyone, but it is something gardeners, especially those who bring in truck loads of soil from outside sources, need to be forewarned about and take the appropriate precautions to avoid. I say "large amounts...from outside sources...", but it can happen with smaller quantities of good bagged soil, too. It is just more likely when dealing with larger quantities.

Chandra, you could just grow Bright Lights or Northern Lights Swiss Chard, and have most of your colors covered, LOL!

I might have missed it in another thread, but how old is your daughter? My GD helped me with butterfly gardening for several years. She learned a lot, taught me a lot, and has an appreciation for God's little winged critters now that she probably wouldn't have otherwise. I wish I had a photo of her with the colorful caterpillars crawling up and down her arms! Don't panic, Diane! Teehee!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 10:48PM
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There has been several discussions around by several growers I trust on grafting including Darrel and Keith. Michael in the UK has done a fair share himself with good results. He is the one who sent me He-Man seeds to try. There is another forum and chat site that has had several good discussions on breeding, grafting, landrace, selection and genetic drift lately. All issues of great interest to me. Genetic drift is what I get by only selecting and saving seeds from the best each year. I know there are some who don't believe in it but those who have done research and trialing do. Have to watch how much I read as I tend to not get what I needed done around here. This is the time of the year where those who do a lot of these things have time to talk about them. I always look forward to this time of year for that reason. Jay

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Susan - a friend of mine that also lives here in Norman contracted a similar (if not the same) soil born disease a few (10 or so) years back and it really hit her hard too. She was off work for months after hospital care (after they finally figured out what was wrong!) She was just working dirt in the front yard rose garden...and didn't wear gloves. Made me a FIRM believer in ALWAYS wearing gloves. Protect your skin first, then your dirt. That's why I wanted to warn Chandra, along with all the other consequences. I know he's not familiar with some of our dirt.

Jay - so glad you're back and reading!!! After the holidays...we gardeners have much with which to look forward!!! How far way is Spring? March 30 according to our current calendar!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 11:45PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


If we go by meteorological seasons, winter starts December 1st, Spring on March 1st, Summer on June 1st and Autumn on September 1st.

Since using meteorological seasons will give us spring much earlier, I vote we adopt the meteorological seasons! There now, doesn't spring suddenly seem much closer?


    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 5:47AM
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Dear Paula an Susan, Thank for letting me know about the Norman compost and deadly soil born fungi. I will cross check with David.

Paula, I am glad to know that we are neighbors!! our backyard just opposite the Church, you may notice tips of latices trellis with dried vines of gourds and beans.

Susan, my daughter is 3rd old. she loves to participate in every garden chores. Ya she is also helped me many time to slim and trim my garden plants. Last spring I was planting tomato and pepper plants. I about say all done after planting last tomato seedling, then OMG I found my daughter standing behind me holding many plants in her both tiny hands and said papa here you go, plant them! she had pulled all those planted behind me, you know how much she was helping me! Here is another story, I bought few nice plants of roses of Sheraton and knockout roses as gift to my wife for the mother day, those plants were sitting in the patio bench while went to I dig holes to plant them. When I return to pick them, found a plant massacre, someone butchered those plants badly, it not took much time to guess the creative work must be of my daughter, rushed to inside find her as secateurs was lying there. She was waiting outside the bathroom to give fleshly cut bouquet to her mother. It was my mistake of telling her these plants are for mamma for mother day gift... I did not say anything to her, just took those bare plants and cremated in newly dig holes.... likewise she helped me many times, but its has been fun to work with her in the garden, love to see their joy of running behind butterflies, picking peas, tomatoes.

Sorry I am not a good writer, and also a syndrome of skipping words in the sentence while I type. One of the opthamologist told me that I used to think faster than my typing speed, which is the major cause for typos while I write in computer... I hope my aging will slow down thinking process. Another positive side of aging. Thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:23AM
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dawn... how does Haley's Purple Comet
compare to black cherry in taste? from the pics iv seen it looks a little bigger than cherry tomatoes . thanks!!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hey Jeff,

Sorry I can't help you with the flavor. This will be my first year to plant the Haley's Purple Comet (and all the other Wild Boar Farms varieties, except for Berkeley Tie Dye). Maybe Jay or Gary has grown it, will see this and describe the flavor for you.

However, I find it hard to even imagine that any cherry tomato would ever taste better to me than Black Cherry, Sungold and Ildi (which, technically, is a grape and not a cherry). I don't think it ever will happen.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:15PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Do I need to try Black Cherry from another source? I read somewhere that this person tried BC from three sources and only liked the one from TGS. I don't like cherry tomatoes as well as medium ones but I read the glowing comments. My BC ripened slowly and had green shoulders. I liked Big Sun Gold Select better and I am not crazy for Sun Gold F1. It could be I just don't appreciate cherries. I am still trying some though. If I had Dawn's will and energy I would get all those little suckers picked which may be what I have against them.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:07PM
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i tried black cherry last year for the first time and loved it . just thought i might find one as good but bigger . ill ask again in the fall when you have tasted it !!!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:48PM
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Black Cherry all the way is my vote! This one and Cherokee Purple (because of the size) are my "must haves". Just sayin'...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've grown Black Cherry from several sources and they've all grown the same and tasted the same.

Having said that, since Vince and Linda Sapp developed Black Cherry and released it shortly before he passed away, I always will think of it as "their" tomato. Thus, whenever I am ordering something from TGSC, which is pretty much every year, I always order a packet of Black Cherry from TGSC, even if I have seed from another source too.

Some people in the last couple of years have grown Black Cherry that did not perform or taste (or, sometimes, even look) like Black Cherry. In a couple of cases, the individual had seed from BCHS they said, but in other cases the individuals were using 'saved seed' obtained via a trade.

Unless you're trading seed only with people who bag blossoms or otherwise isolate the tomatoes from which they save seed, there's always a very small risk of getting crossed seed but it doesn't happen very often. It shouldn't happen in the commercial world either, but every now and then it does.

So, unless your Black Cherry is from a source you're unsure about, I imagine it will be fine.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 6:43AM
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I grew several of the brad gates varieties in 2009 and I honestly was not impressed with any of them, but it was probably the season and not the varieties. I had absolutely no production on Berkeley Tie Dye and very little on Pink BTD, but I am growing the Pink again this year, because it gets so many good reviews and I need to give it another chance. Haleys Purple Comet did very well and production was good, but I was not really all that impressed with the flavor. since it has Cherokee Purple as a parent, I guess I was expecting better....But it may have been the season and I should probably give it another try, but not this year......Red Boar did fair, but I can't remember what it tasted like.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 12:20PM
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    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It is an interesting article, but I'm not buying it.

The problem with tomatoes bred primarily for disease-tolerance or production is that flavor and texture are not a priority for the breeders, and it shows. As a home gardener, flavor and texture of the tomatoes I grow are just about my top priority.

Also, these varieties are 'only' tolerant and not 'resistant' to the so-called blight diseases. Tolerance only gives most gardeners a couple more weeks of production, and in my garden I don't even think I see that extra couple of weeks.

The tomatoes I think likely to be most promising for tolerance to late blight are those being developed by Dr. Randy Gardner, recently retired from NCSU, but still breeding varieties on his own time. I believe "Mountain Magic" which hit the retail seed market this year may be the breakthrough late-blight-tolerant tomato with great flavor that everyone has been waiting for. I'm growing it this year, and eager to see if it has flavor and disease-tolerance. However, and this is a key point, since late blight is very rare in Oklahoma, I just don't worry about it.

I have been gardening for a long time now (I hate to say it is measured in decades and not years because that makes me feel ancient, but it is true) and I have seen late blight on a tomato plant in my garden exactly once in all those years, and I don't spray my plants with any fungicides either. It was an extraordinarily cold and wet summer and that's why we had late blight appear. Our weather is generally too warm for late blight to become much of an issue, if at all.

Early Blight is very common and is found just about everywhere in the world where tomatoes are grown. It can spread through the soil, by rain or irrigation water that splashes up onto the plants after touching the soil, and even through the air, and there are not, so far, any plants that truly are resistant to it. You can greatly reduce its incidence by never putting water on your plants' foliage (water with drip irrigation or soaker hoses and not with sprinklers or any other form of overhead watering), by mulching the ground heavily to reduce soil splash, by spraying preventively with chlorothalonil (found in Daconil and other products) from the very first day plants go into the ground, and by being careful not to touch any tomato plant with your hands or pruning shears after touching an infected plant.

Of the varieties listed in the article, I've grown several and almost all were disappointments. 'Legend' produced very late for me, did not produce many fruit and had poor flavor. I was very disappointed with its performance in my garden. 'Santa' is a great producer and had pretty good flavor, but as a result of the settlement of a lawsuit between produce companies, Santa F-1 hybrid seed is not sold in the USA any longer. I only grow 'Juliet' for dehydrating because it has very thick skin and I don't, in general, like thick-skinned tomatoes. If you're dehydrating them, the skin is less of an issue. I grew one of Johnny's Selected Seeds' early blight-tolerant varieties last year, and it got early blight earlier than many of my other varieties, including heirloom varieties that have no tested, proven tolerance to Early Blight.

So, all I am saying is that we rarely have Late Blight on tomatoes or potatoes here. Nothing really prevents Early Blight although the measures I listed above help a great deal. Choosing varieties solely for their so-called blight resistance ignores the fact that most of us grow because we want tomatoes with superior flavor to those found in stores.

If you grow tomatoes, you will have to deal with Early Blight at some point. Sometimes you're lucky and it doesn't "find" you for a few years, but that is rare. I even see tomato transplants at the store that have Early Blight on their foliage even before someone buys them and takes them home. All you have to do is purchase one diseased plant and you've introduced Early Blight into your garden. Some years (usually in the wetter and more humid ones) I see a lot of early blight. Some years I see almost none. I just don't worry about it. It is there. It exists. We have to deal with it.

I'd rather choose my tomato varieties based on flavor, first and foremost, and secondly on productivity and on the plants' ability to produce well in all our weather, not just in the milder spring weather.

Having said late blight is rare here, I do think Lisa Merrell mentioned on her website last summer that she couldn't sell her fall tomato transplants at The Tomatoman's Daughter because they had late blight. That was an extraordinary action on her part and I greatly admire her for her decision to take the financial hit herself by refusing to sell disease-infected plants. However, last year was an extraordinarily bad year for tomatoes and the problems she encountered are unusual ones.

In an odd way, I love drought years, at least in terms of growing tomatoes, because there is uniformly low humidity and rainfall, so the tomato foliage doesn't get wet much at all if I irrigate carefully, and the tomato plants stay healthier. It is a lot harder to keep the plants going in wet, hot summers than in dry, hot ones because foliar disease thrives hit wet/hot/humid weather.

Every time I read an article (any article, anywhere) that goes on and on about varieties of tomatoes with disease tolearance (often inaccurately described as resistance) bred into them, I pretty much roll my eyes. Been there. Seen it all before. Unfortunately these articles offer more hype than real help or legitimate hope.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 5:36PM
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I have grown several of Brad Gates varieties. I've had similar results as Gary. The ones I've grown seem to have very poor disease resistance. The few I've tasted hasn't been that great. I've thought about grafting a few of them to see if that would help them survive here. But then feel if I'm going to graft I should graft something I really like. I received a few of his varieties in the mail today. May try 1-2 again depending on if I have room. In fact as I've went throug seeds I have set all of my Wild Boar varieties out to offer to anyone that wants them.

I've grown BC from at least 3 different sources. The main difference I've noticed is the fruit from the one source is bigger. I have never grown any straigh from TGS seeds if my memory serves me correctly. The taste has always been very close if not the same. Jay

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 6:54PM
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I have enjoyed reading everything posted here! I am a newbie and would appreciate recommendations for 5 or so HEIRLOOM varieties that could potentially do well in SW Oklahoma (both bite-sized and slicers).

Also, when do you start your seeds? I'm going to read the Seed Swap thread next to see what that's all about...Ya'll seem like a great bunch of tomato enthusiasts! :)


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 12:41PM
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Let me be the first to the Oklahoma Gardening Forum. We're pleased to have you!

If you haven't already, try doing a search for 'tomato' using the GardenWeb Search function. We've had a lot of conversations since November discussing what we're going to grow, and you don't want to miss out! You'll find that few if any of us will ever commit to just five. Keep in mind that selecting tomato varieties is not as big a committment as buying a home, although for me it always feels like it. Every year brings an opportunity to try new varieties.

Glad you found us!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:09PM
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Thank you Susan, just browsed images of Bright Lights and Northern Lights Swiss Chard, they are beautiful! looks like more ornamental than vegetables. We don't know how to cook, but definitely will grow for its bright colors...

I am on hunt for all types of colorful vegetables! Just imagine vegetable garden with blend of rainbow pattern, isn't that sounds beautiful but all edible! -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Callie,

Welcome to the forum. We're always so happy to have new members.

In Southwestern Oklahoma, you face several challenges, not the least of which is your intense summer heat. For you, the most heat-tolerant varieties probably would perform best, and you want to go with those types that produce medium-sized fruit. The varieties that produce very large tomatoes like Big Rainbow or Giant Belgium will be shut down early in the season by the onset of hot weather.

So, for southwestern OK, here's a few suggestions:

Sioux or Super Sioux. Both perform well for me in southcentral OK even in the worst of the drought years. They still need good improved soil with lots of organic matter and regular watering, but they can hold their own in the heat and continue to produce pretty well. (FYI Sioux is the original and Super Sioux is an improved version of it.) Fruit are red, round, and tasty and are good for fresh eating or for canning or making sauce or salsa.

Arkansas Traveler or Traveler 76. This was developed in Arkansas and sets fruit pretty late in the summer, making it good for hot areas. It produces very good yields of pink tomatoes with great flavor.

Black Cherry. This is a pretty recent open-pollinated cherry tomato introduction from Linda and Vince Sapp at Tomato Growers Supply Company. It is the best-flavored cherry tomato I've ever tasted and also produces well. The color is a dusky maroon that sort of reminds me of big old dark red grapes.

Porter. This is an old, open-pollinated pink tomato from the now-defunct Gene E. Porter & Sons Seed Co. of Stephenville, TX, and it was bred to produce in the heat. It produces a little late, but once it starts, it doesn't slow down and it often sets fruit in the most extreme summer drought conditions when most other varieties have been shut down or slowed down by the hot temperatures. These have very good flavor. It is a bit larger than a cherry tomato and I like them cut up in salads or just about any other way you can imagine them. They aren't large enough to use as slicers on sandwiches though.

For a medium-fruited black open-pollinated tomato, you can't go wrong with Black From Tula or Black Krim. They produce well in dry, hot climates although they may set fruit in spring and even through June, then shut down and not set many new fruit in mid-summer, before setting fruit again in the fall. That is normal in our hot summers.

For a yellow-fruited slicing type, you could grow Dr. Wyche's Yellow, which is an Oklahoma heirloom saved by Dr. John Wyche of the Hugo, OK, area. It produces heavily for a yellow type in our climate and the tomatoes have good flavor.

For an orange-fruited slicer, Russian Persimmon is one of the best-producing oranges I've ever grown in Oklahoma, even in very hot years. The fruit have very good flavor. Nebraska Wedding is another orange-fruited variety that grows and produces well in the heat, but it is not as consistent from year to year as Russian Persimmon.

For an orange-fruited tomato that produces smallish tomatoes (bigger than a cherry, smaller than a standard slicer), you cannot go wrong with Jaune Flammee'. Great production and incredible flavor.

If you want a Roma-type, Heidi is a very, very good producer in our hot weather. It is originally from West Africa so it ought to be able to tolerate southwestern OK's summer heat.

Rutger's is an old reliable variety good for fresh eating, canning or for salsa or sauce and is a very reliable and heavy producer.

That's a few for you to think about, and I hope others will give you their recommendations.

If Jay sees this and responds, I suspect he'll have great recommendations very suitable to your climate there. He gardens in extreme SW KS and his hot, dry, summer weather would be very similar to yours most years.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:50PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Welcome, Callie!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:10PM
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You are all dearhearts! Thank you so much! I can't wait to round up and start some seeds! Dawn, how wonderful to have such a grasp on all of the varieties...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Welcome Callie,
I'm at work so will be going from memory and also will try to keep this short as I will need to get back to work soon. I may try to add more later.

First I want to say anything I say is from my experience and yours can vary a lot from mine. Then conditions seem to change. For several years Goliath hybrid was as dependable as any I grew. Then 2 years ago was the first failure I had with it. But again I only had one plant that year. This year it did better but still not as well as in the past. That is why my list of must grows and stand by's vary from year to year.

Black from Tula has performed well most years in my extreme conditions. I grew Black Krim last summer and production was much lower. I had 4 BK plants so felt it received a fair chance. Last year was my first for Dana's Dusky Rose. I was impressed with it's season long production. Only time will tell how it performs long term. Cherokee Purple has usually done well for me. Out performs Indian Stripe here. And very good taste.

For an orange Kellogg's Breakfast is a favorite that has good production. Like Dawn said Juane Flammee' is also a good one.

Heinz 1439, Glick's 18 Mennonite and Atkinson are steady performing all around types. I've tried both Sioux and both Porter types along with Arkansas Traveler. None has performed as well or tasted as good as those I just mentioned.

Black Cherry had very good taste but moderate production for me last year.

This is a very short quick list. Keeping it anywhere near 5 is hard for me. I will add some more later when I have more time. Jay

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 1:57PM
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Thank you ever, EVER so much! I'm making my list now and hope to order seeds tonight! When do you usually start them indoors?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I try to start seeds indoors in flats on Super Boy Sunday because it is something I can do in order to avoid watching 9 hours of pre-game shows. Well, actually I chose that date because is is roughly two months before my average last frost date.

My avearage last frost date is March 27th, but keep in mind that if you plant on your average last frost date, there's still a 50% chance a frost will occur after that date. So, I usually wait a few days---maybe planting around April 7-10 if the weather forecast is good and the soil temps and air temps are right.

You don't want to start the seedlings too early or you run the risk they'll get too tall or rootbound. You don't want to start them too late or they'll be teeny-tiny and get off to a slower start in the garden. So, if you start your seeds about 2 months before the date you "expect" to transplant the plants into the garden, that should be just about right.

Figuring out the best planting date for your garden may take some trial and error. Average last frost dates are based on the 30-year-average for your county, but your particular area may get warmer or cooler than the official weather site does.

With tomato plants, you want them in the ground as soon as is humanly possible after the danger of frost is more-or-less over. High temperatures can impede tomato blossom pollination, so here in Oklahoma where it heats up pretty early, we are in a frantic race every spring to get our tomato plants into the garden, blossoming and setting fruit successfully before the temperatures get too hot. At my house, we reach the "too hot" stage around the 3rd week of June in an average year, so I can't afford to plant too late or I wouldn't get many tomatoes at all.

If you don't know your average last frost date, let us know what county you're in and we'll help you figure it out.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 2:51AM
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Welcome to Oklahoma's best source of Gardening Addiction Enablers! ha! I'd wager you'll find answers to any question about anything you might want to grow right here!

I've attached a link that might be helpful to you as well as some others in determining an average last frost date. For example, I live in Norman. There's a 90% probability that my last frost date is March 27, but can be as late as April 29 (a 10% chance). Dawn has probably got a reference that may be easier to read but thought I'd link this anyway.


Here is a link that might be useful: NOAA chart of frost dates for Oklahoma

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 1:34PM
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This one is helpful sometimes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Normals and Extremes MESONET

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 7:08PM
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Dawn - Super BOY Sunday? Where is your mind, girl?

You're as bad as I am when I posted the Cilantro thread....


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Oh, that's funny! Actually, there is a logical answer. I picked up a seed packet of Super Boy tomato to add to the grow list and it is sitting here on the coffee table right in front of me. I don't really care for Super Boy myself, but it is a great giveaway tomato for friends who won't grow their own. If they want the better-tasting heirlooms, they'll have to raise their own, but I'll plant and give them Super Boy toms. : )

The game between the Jets and Steelers is on right now. Tim is a Steelers fan and Chris is a Jets fan. I'm between two big boys on this one, and am getting out of it by rooting for both teams.

Notice how cleverly I threw in the name of another tomato variety (Big Boy) when mentioning how thriling it is to watch a conference championship game when you're stuck between two big boys on opposite sides. No matter who wins the football game, one guy or the other will be miserable over it and won't want to watch the Super Bowl in two weeks.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:30PM
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There's talk of the WOW cherry tomato over on the Growing Tomatoes forum, and they're selling it at Fedco. For as many times as the word WOW appears on this thread, I didn't find the WOW variety on anybody's grow list. Who's going to go first? Will it be Dawn or Jay? Or maybe a dark horse?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, it won't be me who tries it first. My grow list for 2011 is much too long as it is. You could be the one to try it first and then you could tell us all about it.

My experiments this year are the Brad Gates Wild Boar Farms varieties, the new dwarf hanging basket and container types, and some of the Goliath hybrid family.

It is hard to imagine anything could equal Sungold, much less supercede it, so I'm taking a wait and see approach on this one. I've tried some of the supposed SunGold-related tomatoes, and not been impressed with any of the OP ones. SunSugar is the improved hybrid version, and it is very close to SunGold though not quite the same, but with less cracking.

I've already been down this road with Brandywine, in the endless search for something "close" and with the same great flavor but enough production to make growing it worthwhile. Nothing else comes close to Brandywine, but it is hard to accept that and give up the search, which explain's why Brandywine Liam's is on my list this year.

If every tomato variety performed as hyped, I'd get more excited about new introductions, but they don't, and I say that after trying several hundred different varieties since moving here. My best guess is that 2 or 3 out of every ten I try will make it into the permanent growing rotation.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 2:34PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

This Sungold talk reminds me of something I think I never mentioned about last year:

We tried Sungold and Black Cherry for the first time last year. Both were great. However...

At the plant swap, Dawn brought some Sweet Treats toms. I passed them by several times as we don't like "sweet" tomatoes. I kept telling the kids, no, we wouldn't like those so leave them for someone who would. In the end, one ended up in our van anyway so, of course, we planted it. It was THE BEST cherry we've ever had. Loads and loads and loads of large cherries, best taste in the universe. And they weren't at all sweet.

I'd forgotten all about that until just now. Now I'm going to have to find some seeds for those suckers!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 5:47PM
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OkieTim did it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 5:54PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Aha! I knew there was something fishy about that man...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Don't y'all get it? He wants to be sure none of those "extra" plants hitch a ride back home to our place because if they do.....

OkieTim will have to get out the rototiller and make a new space for them.

See, that's how he operates and he does have an ulterior motive. He thinks the garden is big enough so we should give away the extras. I think that a half-acre addition would be a fine place to plant the extras. Also, he seems to be a natural enabler himself so he's just trying to spread the addiction around.

Diane, I don't have any more Sweet Treats seeds, but Jay might. I got my seeds from him last year.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 6:12PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Oh, no, Dawn, I definitely don't need seeds this year. My little 36-variety list up there? That then turned into 50 varieties? You don't want to know what it's up to now. Heck, I don't want to know what it's up to. I will not get any more seeds this year. I will not. No one send me any more seeds.

Not. A. Single. One.

Well, except for the ones already on the way. But no more after that, really!


But, yeah, Sweet Treats is going on my list for next year.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 6:23PM
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Call me a glutton for punishment, but I really want to try the Tess's Land Race. Where can I find seed for that? I just did a search, but could only find sites talking about it, not selling it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 11:15PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tess's is available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which I have linked below.

I just planted the last seeds from the packet I've had for about five years, so I either need to save some seed this year, which I never seem to have time to do when dealing with harvest season and all the canning/freezing of the harvest it brings, or buy another pack next year.

It is a monster plant and produces masses of tiny tomatoes. I eat them all day long while working outside. It is my favorite currant tomato so far, and I'm growing a couple more currant types alongside it this year to see how they compare.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tess's Land Race Currant at SESE

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 8:43AM
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I'm sure I just culled some. I checked and you don't have your email option enabled. If you will email me I can check. I haven't disposed of the seeds yet so will just have to sort through to find them. If I have them they have never been opened and I'm guessing 3-4 years old. Jay

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 9:48AM
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I went and found the Tess seeds along with seeds for Hawaiian Currant. I have them setting out. Ladybug if you want them shoot me an email. If not Dawn will be receiving another envelope. I received both as gifts and have never grown either. Jay

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 2:09PM
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I have finally compiled a rough draft of my 2011 grow list. I will be trying to cut it down some. And have a few more seeds being sent to me. Will see what they are when they arrive. A few are supposed to be new releases. After reading the the great lists above I feel like the country boy sneaking into the presidential inauguration. Jay

2011 Tomato List

All Around Types

Amish Canner
Glick's 18 Mennonite
Heinz 1439
Heinz 1350
Kanora - Kansas variety
Mozark - A University of Missouri variety - Det


Arkansas Marvel
Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye
Texas Star


Barlow Jap - Pink
Big Cheef - Brandywine Cross
Brandywine OTV
Carmello OP
County Agent - Red
Cowlick Brandywine - Pink
Ed's Millenium - Brandywine selection
Germaid Red
Grandma Suzy's Beefsteak
Hege's German Pink
Lancaster County Pink
Pomodoro Costoluto Genevese
Royal Hillbilly
Sandul Moldovan Ribbed
Sweet Corners Pink - Don't know anything about this one. Sent to me and sounds nice
Todebusch Pink


Aunt Rubys German Green Cherry
Black Cherry
Black Mystery Pear
Camp Joy
Mountain Magic Hybrid
Roller Coaster
Smarty F1
Sungold Hybrid
Sungold Select OP
Sunsugar Hybrid
Sweet Treats Hybrid
Texas Star Cherry


Amazon Chocolate
Black from Tula
Cherokee Purple RL & PL
Dana's Dusky Rose
Indian Stripe
JD's Special C-Tex
PPP x P "C" - Pale Perfect Purple x Purple Price
Purple Haze F5 and possibly Haze(an OP selection)
Spudakee - PL strain of CP
True Black Brandywine

Green when Ripe

Cherokee Green
Emerald Evergreen

Guildo Pietroboni
JD's Special Pink Heart

Plum/ Paste/Other small types

Cody's Paste
Grandma Mary's Paste
Heinz 2653 Paste
Hog Heart Paste


1884 Yellow Pink Heart - Darrell Merrell variety
Casey's Pure Yellow
Golden Queen non USDA
Juane Flammee'
Kellogg's Breakfast
Lillian's Yellow
Orange Minsk
Woodle Orange


OSU Blue Fruit
Tomasil - White

Grafting Rootstock


Hybrids other than cherries - Will pick 5-8 from this list

Big Beef
Big Zac
Heritage Hybrid
Jet Star
Momotaro - Nematode tolerance
Old Fashioned Goliath
Pear Goliath
Pink Beauty
Prime Beef Goliath
Red Defender
Sunny Goliath

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:01AM
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Hey Jay, Shall we see who can grow the biggest Royal Hillybilly? I think a couple more people got seeds in the swap. How about you Chandra? Are you in?

I don't think these were the biggest ones, but they are the ones I took a picture of.

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Hillbilly 2010

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:26AM
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Although I picked some nice ones last summer it is hard for me to get many real big ones here in my conditions until late in the season. But I'll try. I had a few other varieties with bigger fruits but the RH's were really good.

After I posted the list. I remembered one I left off. George's Prudence Purple. And it is one that I for sure will grow. Jay

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:22AM
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I got Royal Hillybilly in the swap. Please count me in, that would be another fun! But you prepared to expect smallest in the race. Probably I could fit well if you say who can grow the smallest Royal Hillybilly!

Here is my tomato grow list for 2011... You all know who send all these seeds... Credit goes to Seed Swap! I did not buy a single seed in the list except four marked with asterisk are the only seeds i am planning to order.

Jet Star
Beef Master
Better Boy
Brandy Boy
Black Krim

Eva's Purple Ball
Tess's Land Race
Red Pear Franchi
Super Sweet 100 Hybrid
Baker's Family
Paquebot Roma
Royal Hillbilly
Tommy Toes

Sweet Million-Red bite
Porter-Pink sliceSunGold-Orange bite
Russian Persimmon-Orange slice
Orange Banana-Orange paste
Ildi-Yellow bite
Dr. Wyche's Yellow- Yellow slice
P20 Blue*-Blue bite
Cherokee Purple- Purple slice
Royal Hillbilly- Purple slice
Aunt Ruby's German Green-Green slice
Black Cherry- Black slice
Snow White*- White bite
Indian Stripe- BiC- slice

Thank you -Chandra

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:13AM
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After I purchased seed of Purple Hillbilly from Remy, I ran into the issue of what is PH really? I know, I should have done it before I got the seeds.....oh well. Finding very little on the Internet after an in-depth search, I asked about it on several other forums and inquired of Remy, too. Supposedly it is potentially synonymous with Royal Hillbilly, or at the minimum, related to it per Remy. PH was apparently developed in Belgium and seeds sent to growers in the US, and sometimes, as I understand it, names do get mixed up in the exchange process. Like RH, PH is a semi-det, dark pink variety, with an 80 DTM. RH is PL and PH is RL, though. The late Darrell Merrell was given seeds from Hillbilly and selected the variety named RH. Perhaps he received the seeds from the gentleman in France, but no one seems to know for sure. The photos on Tatiana's database are from this fellow, though.

So, there is some mystery surrounding the relationship of PH and RH, but all who have grown both say they are so similar in growth habit (semi-det), color, size, flavor, DTMs, etc., that they cannot really tell them apart except that RH is a PL and PH is RL.

So, I think I may not grow this one this year since it has a longer DTM and instead will grow Santorini that I received in the trade. Does anyone know more about the Santorini? I find it could be 1 of 4 different Santorini types (all being named after the Greek isle Santorini). One is a round cherry; one a 2 oz plum; 1 a ribbed paste type (2-3oz); and 1 a saladette version of the ribbed. It is supposed to have a very good flavor and I am excited about this one.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:15AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Chandra, if you've not already ordered, I have both Snow White cherry and Celebrity if you'd like. I also have OSU Blue. Just email me with your mailing addy and I'll get them in the mail as soon as I can tunnel my way to the almost-buried mailbox.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Thank you very much. I just emailed you my address.
With your additional swap, my tomato wish-list become grow-list 100%!

I am so glad to know that Garden World is filled with so much of generosity, altruism, sharing and caring... tech world should learn lot from this part of the planet.

Take care -Chandra

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 3:40PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Got your email, Chandra. Will pack up the seeds tonight but pretty sure mail won't be running for a couple of days. Will holler when they go out. :-)


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 4:26PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

As grown in my garden for several years, Royal Hillbilly is Indeterminate and has regular leaf foliage. It produces fruit of variable size, some as large as Carol's in the photo and some not as large, but all of them taste good. I like them better than the original Hillbilly, which is a yellow and red bicolor with highly variable flavor.

We do know where Royal Hillbilly came from in terms of where Darrell Merrell's seed came from. He received 'Hillbilly' seed from a woman in Collinsville, OK, named Ruth Marcum and she, in turn, had received the seed from her brother, Ralph Miller, who lived in Ohio. Plants grown from his Ruth Marcum 'Hillbilly' seed gave at least three fruit variations and from those he selected over several years until he had the stabilized OP variety we know as Royal Hillbilly, which Darrell grew as far back as the mid- to late-1990s. I don't remember seeing seed of Royal Hillbilly available commercially until maybe the mid-2000s. Well, Mariseeds may have had it earlier than that, but I don't think Baker Creek had it until then.

For the last few years, Royal Hillbilly has been on the "top ten" list at The Tomatoman's Daughter, and I know it was one of Darrell Merrell's faves.

Gary, having grown plants for Darrell, probably knows a lot more about Royal Hillbilly than I do.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 4:34PM
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My Royal Hillybilly had regular leaf foliage also. In fact, it didn't have as much foliage as most of my tomato plants did. I would say the the first half dozen fruits were about the size that I showed in the picture, but after that they were smaller, but still large tomatoes.

We are still getting snow. Al said the TV map just showed us with 18 inches.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:07PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, I don't remember mine ever having oodles of foliage either, although they somehow manage to have enough that the fruit don't sunscald. I always get the larger ones earlier like you do, but in a very dry spring, the larger ones aren't as large as they are in a wetter spring.

You have too much snow. Our three inches is minor and wouldn't be notable at all were it not for the thick layer of ice underneath. The wind and cold temps are as much of a problem here as the snow.

Our snow ended after that last little shower of snow flurries Tim saw while watching the dogs run outside. We had clear blue skies after that and, as our local weather forecaster said on the evening news, now we're likely to go even lower than previously forecast because there's no layer of clouds above us....just clear open sky. I want my clouds back!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Cool beans! From the little info I did get, reports on the flavor were mixed, so maybe therein lies the difference.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Flavor? The only complaint I had was that it was too big for a slice of bread. It's not one of those smooth, midium sized little grocery tomatoes, but it's a winner.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:00PM
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Carol - checked on other threads so I'm VERY happy to know you're snug at home with no problems so far!

Diane - I'm seriously worried about you up there! You guys may end up with more than the 22" you were expecting!! And the wind....omg, it's AWFUL! Have you put the kids to work sorting seeds yet? ha!

Chandra - what Goliath are you interest in? I ordered some Early Goliath because I was so impressed with the Italian Goliath last year. I'll most probably have a few of those to share at the Spring Fling if you're interested.

(who's going off to make her "final" tomatoe list...and pepper list....and cucumber list...and okra list...and bean list....I see a pattern developing here....)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:22PM
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Last year was my first year to grow Royal Hillbilly. Mine were more of a SD. I looked back at an old SSE yearbook and one of those who listed said it had enormous leaves and mine had big leaves also. Mine had above average foliage. And were RL. Every listing I find for it if they state leaf type says RL. My early fruits were the smallest. They ran in the 8-11 oz range. The later ones ran 10-14 ounces. It is normal for most varieties to produce their largest fruits late here. Unless we have an early spring and I get them in early so they can set fruit and it can grow before the heat sets in. My seeds came from either TGS or Mariseeds. I would have to check to know for certain. My vines ended up around 5' but with a bushy look to them. Thick stems. Like Dawn said Gary would know as much as anyone about it. My fruit shape and color fit that of most descriptions. As Glen at Sandhill describes it. Flattened coral-pink. Mariana calls it dusty purple pink.

Susan will be interested in your opinion of Santorina. I have grown it from 3 sources. Each one from growers I respect and each highly recommended it. I will say this. The plants are very productive and never slow down even in our heat. Although some who sent it too me said it produced fruit around 4 ounces I have never seen that here. They have been around 2 ounces and scalloped. And too me the flavor is a 5 at best on a 1-10 scale. I hope you really like them. After last year I swore I would never waste space and water on them again.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:37PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

We're still alive, Paula. I'll go check in on the Snowmageddon thread.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Thanks for the info, Jay, I appreciate it. You're such a nice guy. I am going to narrow my list very soon, too. At first, I was very ambitious and thought about growing around 30 containers. Since then, the number has gone down to around 20, and now I'm thinking perhaps 10-12 max. I'm just afraid we are going to have severe drought continuing into summer that I don't want to be a slave to the hose. Also, I have other vegetables I want to grow. I will definitely grow the Purple Haze and the Juanne Flame, Sungold and Black Cherry. See, that's 4 already, only leaving room for another 6-8 varieties. Some of my dwarfs can be grown in much smaller containers, so I will include those. Will probably narrow to a couple earliest varieties, and then a couple more mid-season, and that will be about it. I'm feeling a little deflated about it, but I don't see a better alternative unless my neighbor on the corner wants to try some heirlooms and I can talk him into sharing a couple tomatos with me if I provide the plants.

I will likely include the Santorini just to see how they turn out.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:03AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

I think mine is final. I have a strong taste preferance for the yellows and blacks, but am limiting what I grow this year due to the nematodes. The ones I am growing are either RKN resistant, and/or cherry varieties (which seemed to fare far better than my larger tomatoes last year).

The ones I chose were mainly based on availability. I had to place orders for Harvester Bush Beans, Wando Peas, Alabama #1 Pole Bean, Charleston Bell and Carolina Wonder Peppers from three different internet sources, so I just grabbed whatever RKN resistant tomatoes those three companies were selling.

RKN resistant:

Abraham Lincoln Improved
mid, Ind, 6-10 oz red, tangy

Atkinson (Jay's rec)
mid, Ind, good flavor 6-8 oz red

Better Boy
mid, Ind, 6-10 oz red

early to mid, det, 8 oz red

Lemon Boy
mid, ind, 7 oz yellow

Supersweet 100
mid, ind, 1 oz red cherry

Hopefully Nema Red

I am going to give two other small to cherry tomatoes (not advertised as RNK resistant but who knows) a shot this year based on availability. One each of black and yellow. I wanted to grow Black Cherry and Sungold but none of the sellers I ordered from had those.

Extra Eros Zlatolaska:
early, Det, 3 oz., orangish-red

Plum Black:
mid, Ind, 1.5 oz., grey-green to blackish
I have many more that I would like to try when/if we move next year. I saved seeds from my very favorite tomato jaune Flamme but don't dare try it again this year because it was one of my early deaths last year.

By the way, if anyone is looking for Alabama No 1 Pole beans, I looked for days and only found ONE internet seller offering them.

This grower seems to have a ton of unique varieties, great prices, and shipping is free if your order is at least $10.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:03AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

I just added Sungold and Black Cherry (bought from Remy). While I was there, I got a couple of pretty climbing flowers (Glory Vine and Hyacinth Bean Vine).

That's what happens when I am stuck inside for too long. I shop.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Paula, I am looking for some kind early bearing Goliath, I think exactly what you ordered! Thanks for the offer.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 1:30PM
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I sent in the "Santorini of Greece" tomato to the swap. After flooding, extremely high humidity, heat, etc. last summer, the Santorini was one of a handful of plants (out of 40+ varieties) that never showed a hint of disease and when everything else stopped producing during the worst of the heat, it continued to pump out tons of fruit. It definitely was the workhorse in my garden and will certainly be considered for another spot in the garden this season. The fruit is ribbed, probably around 4-6 oz. and was meaty like a paste but much more flavorful than most paste tomatoes I've tasted.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 3:38PM
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I am really late getting back to this, but am sharing a photo of the cake discussed above. It was a blast to make, but I won't be doing a repeat this year. I started working on this year's project in my head on the way home from last year's Fling. Variety is good.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:09PM
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carsons_mimi, I again looked the swap seeds, Thanks for sending all those seeds!

Seedmama, that's awesome Cake!!! a lovely spring vegetable bed!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 5:43PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

It's a conspiracy, I tell you! For two days now, the kids have been testing their skills at subliminal persuasion by mentioning "cake" as often as they can. I'm weakening...

While typing this, each of the older kids have come running up, squealing, "Ooh, I remeeeember THAT cake! It was gooooood!" Then they saunter away, mumbling "cake, cake, cake..." under their breath while snickering.

They put you up to this oh-so-conveniently-timed cake photo, didn't they??


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:13PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Holy COW! What a CAKE!

I am a good cook but I do NOT BAKE. I am terrible.

Last weekend my neighbor (KelleyP) had a birthday and I made her a no bake icebox cake...that's how bad I am.

I made Cook's Country Light and Fluffy Dinner rolls for thanksgiving and they were BRICKS.

Diane: How old are your kids? Mine are two and four. And home ALL WEEK.

Guess who is making margaritas tonight???



    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 7:11PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Jo, the four boys are 17, 14, 10, and 8. The two girls are 5 and almost 2.

We homeschool so they're always home anyway. I really need to learn to drink more and procreate less.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 7:46PM
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My at home this week kids have been asking for cake too. Here we go again.... By chance did you have homemade pizza for dinner?

"I really need to learn to drink more and procreate less." You do know it doesn't always work like that...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:53PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

We did the homemade pizza two nights ago. We were eating the leftovers until last night. Does that count?

I'll refrain from commenting further on the other. Ahem.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:36PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Drinking more and procreating less is an oxymoron.

I should have named my two kids Margarita and Chardonnay.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 8:10AM
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    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 8:53PM
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