I found this adorable no carve tin man pumpkin while working on a collection of pumpkin carving templates tonight and couldn't resist sharing it with you. I'm thinking of making this for my sister who has a special fondness for the tin man. You can find the complete instructions for making this tin man pumpkin at Celebrating Halloween.
Until Next Time ... Happy Gardening!
I just came in from harvesting a bowl of chocolate cherry tomatoes (Lycoperiscon esculentum) and I'll be honest with you. I was not aware that they were 'Black Krim' until I looked up the info on Gurney's site to compare my results with their product description. For those who are unaware, 'Black Krim' is an heirloom tomato prized for its flavor. Although I've never grown them (other than the cherry) they are now on my list of tomatoes I want to try next year. I'm in-love with these tomatoes. Here's why:
Size: My chocolate cherry tomatoes weighed in at an average of .5 to .6 ounce each and measured nearly 1-inch in diameter, which is right on the money for Gurney's description. To put it in perspective for you, they are much bigger than 'Sun Gold' or 'Sweet 100' cherry tomatoes.
Color: The chocolate cherry tomato turns a light brown that deepens to a deep red/brown.
Production: These tomatoes began ripening approximately 84 days after I set them out in the spring. According to Gurney's the days to maturity is 70 days, which means mine took a bit longer than expected. In fact, the majority of them are still green on the vine as of Sept 14. (I transplanted them to the garden the first week of June) To be honest, all my tomatoes were later than usual this year, so I'll chalk that up to the weather.
Flavor: This tomatoes are delicious! They are bursting with tomato flavor with a hint of sweetness that makes them ideal for eating right from the vine or in salads.
Growing Habits: These plants grew taller than I expected. In fact, they are still growing and have made their way over the fence at the back of my raised beds. The vines happily climbed into the nearby shrubs where they are still producing clusters of tomatoes. If they had produced earlier I think they would have been very prolific. As it is, I'd want more than one plant for eating them fresh. The vines are thick and stocky and resist breaking.
Problems: The only problems I encountered was that they produced later than my other cherry tomatoes and didn't produce enough ripe tomatoes early in the year.
Next year, I will transplant them earlier in the year with plant protectors to give them time to produce before fall arrives. I'd recommend these tomatoes to anyone who enjoys eating tiny tomatoes right from the vine. I wish I had realized they were heirloom tomatoes and had isolated them from other tomatoes so I could save the seeds.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Some of you may remember my excitement this spring when I ordered my red lightning tomato seeds. I fell in-love with these fiery little tomatoes and knew I had to grow them in my garden. Here are the results:
Days to Maturity: I started the seeds sometime in late March or the first week of April and set the seedlings out in the garden around the first of June. The first tomatoes began to ripen in the middle of August. This means the it took them about 70 days to reach maturity. Not bad for tomatoes with an expected days to maturity of 82 days.
Size: Burpee's plant description lists 'Red Lightning' tomatoes as 1- to 2-ounce fruit with a diameter between 2-1/2 to 3 inches. My largest 'Red Lightning' tomato measured just under 2 inches and weighed in at 2.6 ounces. I'm not sure how Burpee came up with their figures for the size and weight of these tomatoes. My 'Red Lightning' tomatoes fell considerably short of Burpee's size description, yet exceed the weight.
Appearance: This is an attractive tomato that lives up to the image and description of fiery orange with red 'flames'. The stripes are evident when the tomato is green. It gradually progress from two-tone green to green and yellow-orange, and finally to orange and red (with several subtle variations in between).
Growing Habits: This is an indeterminant tomato that grows to a height of 4 feet or more. The foliage resembles the sprawling vines of cherry tomatoes. If you grow red lightning tomatoes, plan to stake or cage them. Otherwise, the branches crack and break under the weight of the tomatoes.The tomatoes grow in clusters of 6 or 8, making this a showy plant.
Flavor: The flavor of red lightning tomatoes is a bit of disappointment. Although they have decent flavor they do not compare with 'Early Girl' or 'Big Boy'. These tomatoes are best for salads where they add a splash of unexpected color but don't depend on rich tomato flavor.
Problems: The red lightning tomato is susceptible to blossom end rot. When grown in the same beds as my other tomatoes ('Chocolate Cherry', 'Early Girl' and 'Big Boy') the 'Red Lightning' tomatoes showed signs of blossom end rot while the others did not. This suggests that red lightning tomatoes either require higher amounts of calcium or are more sensitive to moisture fluctuations than other tomatoes.
I will definitely try 'Red Lightning' tomatoes again next year, but I will probably grow them in containers to maintain more control over the moisture level. Adding organic matter to the soil and mulching may also prevent problems with blossom end rot.
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