Sunday, March 16, 2008

What a nice weekend! I learned alot about tomatos

The weather once again was a hit and miss....saturday it was overcast and windy with random sun and drizzle thruout the day, so frustrating, I wanted to be outside working in the dirt. Sunday redeemed itself with sun, but man the constant post storm icy breeze was more then a bit irritating.

I had planned on going to the tour of Cal Poly Pomona's center for regenerative studies, but alas I had a fun night friday with my friends enjoying a drink or 2 ( ok, this time I got to 7! eeks!) and playing bunco (as we moms do once a month) and I didn't roll out of bed on saturday untill around 11am.

As fate would have it, Steve Goto ( "California Tomato King") was doing a talk at the local Armstrong Garden center, so I had enough time to eat and get ready to go over around noon to scope out some plants, pick up a few herbs/veggies I didn't have seeds for and generally take a day off from lugging the kids around with me to actually smell the roses....or at least read the descriptions of them without fear of a child pulling plants out of thier flats. I got a cinnimon basil plant, an 'Japanese Millionaire' asian eggplant, a gorgeous orange tomato 'Orange Oxheart' and a 'Big Bertha' pepper as comparison to the 'California Wonder' variety I've been growing.

The talk was really informative, Steve Goto is great at talking and had a nice little handout on the basics of tomato care. The talk lasted about 2 hours, but there was so much good info the time really flew by. It started to rain halfway thru so we had to pick up our chairs and move inside the store, not a small feat when I also had a garden cart with plants and 2 bags of compost, luckily a fellow listener saw me struggling and carried my chair, awww!

Steve has grown over 900 varieties , wow, just wow! I took 2 pages of little notes and scribbles front and back, and this was just a short version of his talk, the longer one has photos and slideshows too. I'd type some of the stuff out here but I'm not even sure where to start. I'm sure some more experiences tomato growers may not have been in as much awe but I was somepletely smitten with all the info on different varieties and growing conditions and amendments and such. He's doing a full talk on March 26 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Theres even a tomato plant sale after the talk, I'm really itching to go if I can get a sitter for the kids since its on a wed morning.

One thing he talked about I definatly want to try is growing a 'cool season' tomato in fall to get a nice crop of tomatoes in the winter as well. Last year I was picking tomatos well to near Christmas before I ripped the plants out but they didn't taste nearly as much as they had in the heat of summer. I had no idea they had tomatos bred that can resist cold to 36 degrees, how cool! It barely gets to 40 here on the coldest of nights, so one of those plants along with the 'Better Boy' and 'Orange Oxheart' plants should keep us happlily feasting on tomatos till next spring I'd hope! I'm really hoping to make that tomato sale even if I can't stay for the talk because of the kids.

Steve also mentioned a huge tomato tasting event with over 100 varities of tomatos to sample *drools*. Man, At this rate I'm going to be tempted to grow more tomatos then anything else just for the variety of flavors! I guess I'll have alot of salsa and pasta sauce when all is said and done.

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