Tomato Starts for the Ukiah Farmers Market Tomorrow 4/28

Tomorrow we’ll be loading up a bunch of tomato starts to bring to the Ukiah Farmers Market (so exciting, right?)…

Our tomatoes are all heirloom and specialty varieties that will grow well here in Northern California and look beautiful both on your dinner plate and in your garden.  The seeds that we use aren’t certified organic (many of these varieties aren’t available as organic seed) but we grow them completely organically from day 1.  We’ve grown almost all of these varieties here on the farm, so if you have any questions about them, feel free to ask.

This is the list of varieties we will be bringing tomorrow; the selection will change over the next few weeks. (The descriptions are taken exactly from the Baker Creek seed catalogue, none of them are my own writing- I thought it would be helpful for all of the market customers to see the full description written by the folks that are working hard to keep all of these great varieties around for generations to come).   Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!Ananas Noire: (Black Pineappple) A most exciting new tomato, it is wonderful in every way.  This unusual variety was developed by Pascal Moreau, a horticulturist from Belgium.  The multi-colored, smooth fruit (green, yellow and purple mix) weight about 1.5 lbs.  The flesh is bright green with deep red streaks.  Everyone loves their superb flavor that is outstanding, being both sweet and smoky with a hint of citrus.  The yield is one of the heaviest we have ever seen!

Big Zebra: “New! A stunning tomato that looks much like a giant version of our popular “Green Zebra,” this 8-10 oz. beauty has a vibrant green and deep gold striped skin, with delicious red-streaked, green flesh.  A superb home and market tomato, a must for all who love the beautiful and unique.  One of the most amazing tomatoes we have grown; so groovy and retro looking! 80-90 days.

Carbon: 90 days Winner of the 2005 ‘heirloom garden show’ best tasting tomato award.  These have won taste awards coast to coast in the last few years, so we were proud to locate a small supply of seed.  The fruit are smooth, large and beautiful, being one of the darkest and prettiest of the purple types that we have seen.  They seem to have an extra dose of the complex flavor that makes dark tomatoes famous.

Cherokee Purple: 80 days An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit.  Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor

Copia: 80-90 days  One of our most unique and beautiful large, striped tomatoes, these have lovely fine striped of glowing gold and neon red.  Inside the flavorful flesh is a mix of red and yellow that is swirled together in various combinations.  This new variety was developed by Jeff Dawson and named in honor of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, of Napa, CA

Cuor di Bue: 70 days This oxheart type Italian heirloom has been a favorite in Italy for many years.  Beautiful 12 oz fruit have a delicious sweet taste; similar to the shape of a heart; great for fresh eating or cooking.  Large vigorous vines.  Hard to find.

Dr. Wyches Yellow: 80 days This heirloom was introduced to Seed Savers Exchange by the late Dr. John Wyche, who at one time owned the Cole Brothers Circus and used the manure of elephants to fertilize his heritage gardens.  The 1 lb. fruit is solid and smooth; their color is a glowing tangerine-orange that always stands out in the kitchen or off the vine.

Fox Cherry: Delicious large, red heirloom cherry tomatoes that seem to be one of the best-tasting large cherries around.  The vining plants are very reliable; even in years when the wilt kills about everything else, these seem to do great.  The fruit weigh about 1 oz. each and are perfect for salads.

Great White: 80-85 days Large, 1-lb giant, creamy white fruit, this tomato is superbly wonderful.  The flesh is so good and deliciously fruity, it reminds me of a mixture of fresh-cut pineapple, melon and guava.  One of our favorite fresh-eating tomatoes! Fruit are smoother than most large beefsteak types, and yields can be very high.  Introduced by Gleckler’s Seedsmen.

Hillbilly or Flame: 80-85 Days A huge, bi-color heirloom: brilliant yellow color with red marbling.  Very large with a rich, sweet flavor.  Beautiful when sliced.  An heirloom believed to be from West Virginia.

Lollipop: 70 days Delicious, light yellow translucent cherries.  The flavor of these is really good– both sweet and fruity.  Plants set good yields.  A real winner!

Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge: 80-90 days Stunning tomato is a vibrant, tangerine orange with shocking true purple splashed in various amounts over its upper half.  This is one of the few domestic tomatoes that have true purple pigment, although research is being done with wild purple tomatoes.  These have a mild taste that make them good for snacking.  Fruit weighing 4-10 ounces were produced in abundance and tended to turn more purple as the season progressed.  Some fruit may not be very purple, coloration varies.

Paul Robeson: 90 days This famous tomato has almost a cult following among seed collectors and tomato connoisseurs.  They simply cannot get enough of this variety’s amazing flavor that is so distinctive, sweet and smokey.  7-10 oz. fruit are a black-brick color.  Named in honor of the famous opera singer star of “King Solomon’s Mines,” 1937. This Russian heirloom was lovingly named in his honor.

Placero: A flavorful, small tomato from our friend Herb Culver.  He colected this tomato in Cuba from a man named Orlando at Mission Mundial.  This tomato also is said to have a very high beta-carotene content.  Tasty, red fruit grow on very productive plants.

Pink Brandywine: The most popular heirloom vegetable! A favorite of many gardeners; large fruit with superb flavor.  A great potato-leafed variety from 1885! Beautiful pink fruit up to 1 1/2 lbs. each!

Plum Lemon: 80 days Bright canary-yellow 3” fruit looks just like a fresh lemon.  … This variety was collected by Kent Whealy, of Seed Savers Exchange, from an elderly seedsman at the Bird Market in Moscow.  Delicious, sweet taste.

Purple Calabash: 85 days.  May be the most purple of all the “purple” tomatoes; a deep purple/burgundy and very colorful! The shape is also exciting, with the 3” fruit being very flat, ribbed and ruffled.  Flavor is intense, sweet and tart, with a lime or citrus taste.  A most uniquely flavored tomato! The plants give huge yields.  This tomato resembles tomatoes pictured in 16th century herbal diaries.

Riesentraube: 76-85 days This old German heirloom was offered in Philadephia by the mid-1800s.  The sweet red 1 oz. fruit grow in large clusters, and the name means “Giant Bunch of Grapes” in German.  It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today’s cherry types.  Large plants produce massive yields.

Violet Jasper: When these little Oriental jewels ripen, your eyes will be stunned with color.  They have pretty violet-purple fruit with iridescent green streaks! Fruit weigh 1-3 oz., are smooth and have good tasting, dark purplish-red flesh.  This variety will also amaze you with its yield: It’s not only high, but incredibly high, being one of the most productive tomatoes we have grown.

Yellow Brandywine: 90 days Superbly rich and delicious tasting large fruit, the golden variety gives good yields and, in our opinion, the fruit are better tasting than pink brandywine.  Large potato-leaf plants are very sturdy and deep green.  This heirloom is delicious any way you eat it!

Yellow Pear: 78 days Very sweet, 1 1/2” yellow, pear-shaped fruit have a mild flavor, and are great for fresh eating or making tomato preserves.  Very productive plants are easy to grow.

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For some tomato growing tips from serious experts, I recommend reading this great article from Love Apple Farm. 

Grow It

Late Season Corn

Planting corn at the end of July turned out to be smart (even though I worried it was stupid).

Vegetables this precious should only be cooked briefly, a quick 7-8 minutes in the boiling water.  Slather the corn with butter, sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and serve to happy family and friends.

 

Garden Fresh: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Coconut

Our summer carrot crop is finally starting to come in, and I’m starting to see lots of nice big carrots at other farmers market booths too. Unique varieties are popping up in gardens all over the country, from the incredibly vibrant cosmic purple carrots from Baker Creek Seed Company to the rainbow carrots from Johnny’s Seeds.

This soup is all about improvisation, with rich coconut milk and fiery hot thai chili peppers and lime juice and garden fresh veggies.

Everyone knows that I’m the Queen of Lazy when it comes to keeping my fridge stocked with anything to cook with.  (I could say that I am eating local and right out of the garden if I wanted to sound like one of the cool kids…)  It’s really also laziness though, and being way too busy to go shopping.  At the end of a long work day, who wants to stop by the store and buy stuff for dinner? Not me.  This ends in a whole lot of improvisation, which I encourage the rest of the universe to participate in. I could have called this Farmers Market Reject Produce Soup, because it’s really just my leftovers from our booth at the market. You could do something similar and make this soup with from a CSA share or your own garden.  Feel free to substitute yellow summer squash for the cauliflower, or even some of the carrots too, it will still be delicious. (To really get crazy, you could actually substitute any winter squash for the carrots and cauliflower. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, you name it.)

Learn how to improvise when you cook and you can be Queen Lazy with me.  Free yourself from the grocery list, you know you wanna…

Carrot Ginger Soup With Coconut Milk And Lemongrass

Serves: 6 large servings

Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. roughly chopped carrots, about 3 small bunches
  • 2 small heads of cauliflower, preferably Cheddar*, cored and roughly chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tbs. unrefined peanut oil (or canola oil is a fine substitute)
  • 1 fresh onion, both the bulb and the greens, diced
  • 3″ section of lemongrass, left whole (to remove later)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2″ section of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. red mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 small dried thai chili peppers, crushed
  • 6 c. filtered water or vegetable stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • garnish: chopped scallions, basil, mint and cilantro (or whatever you have), a splash of tabasco sauce or hot paprika, and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
In a large soup pot, heat up the peanut oil on medium-low heat. Add the coriander, mustard seed, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, lemongrass, and onion. Saute on low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. The spices will become very aromatic as they saute in the oil. If you need to add another teaspoon or two of oil to prevent things from sticking, go right ahead. 
Add the chopped carrots and sections of cauliflower and saute for another 4-5 minutes.  Then pour in the water (or vegetable stock, if you have it on hand), turn up the heat to medium and bring everything to a simmer. Cook on medium heat for about an hour and a half (or longer, if you get distracted and forget about it). Add water or stock to make sure the vegetables stay covered as they cook. 
After the soup has simmered for the hour and half, add in the cilantro and coconut milk. Remove the piece of lemongrass and discard. Puree with a hand mixer, in a blender or a food processor until the soup is completely smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. If the soup tastes bland (this part is important, it makes it taste like take-out Thai food) add fresh lime juice, tabasco sauce, and salt, alternating in small batches until it tastes right.
Serve with chopped fresh herbs, hot sauce and limes. This soup is delicious with summer rolls or a small cabbage and peanut salad; it makes a wonderful light meal out of the garden or the farmers market.
*Cheddar is a bright yellow variety of cauliflower that is becoming more popular at farmers markets. The yellow color blends nicely with the carrots, but you could certainly use any variety.
P.S. I know that’s a long ingredient list for supposedly not going shopping before you make the soup.  Really it’s just spices and coconut milk, though. If you do one or two big shoppings a year and pick up a nice variety of dry goods you won’t have to worry about it after that.

Market Flowers, July 2011

July is here, which means I am sleep-deprived, sweaty, dirty and sore, but that the garden is looking pretty lovely and the produce is rolling in at the farmers market. I take mental snapshots of these busy summer days to look back on during the winter…  Farmers markets and weeding and planting and oysters on the BBQ and elderflower cocktails.

Until I get time to write down a full recipe (my mom’s blackberry pie is up next, I think), I wanted to share a bouquet from our market table this morning with any gardeners that have their eyes peeled for new plants to grow. Bells of Ireland, flowering marjoram and my most favorite of favorite zinnias: Queen Red Lime, from Johnny’s Seeds.  These zinnias are wonderful cut flowers that last ages in a vase, and the maroon to lime green petals are truly stunning. Grow it!

 

 

Taste Of Mendocino

Hey Folks, I’ll make this short because it’s a blatant plug for an event that I’m doing.

Come to the Taste of Mendocino.  It’s on Monday at the Fort Mason Building in San Francisco from 5:00-8:00 pm. Tickets are $35 and available here and at the door.

In addition to saying hi and trying lots of jam, there are vineyards bringing wine down to this event that you literally cannot buy in stores.  To drive around and do wine tasting at all of these small tasting rooms would take days and days, and probably end up in a drunk driving arrest.

Oh, and I’m also bringing a few jars sweet peas, some veggies and our fresh eggs. Come early, I’m sure they’ll sell out fast.

Kimchi, And A Lot Of Hard Work

The farm has been a whirlwind of activity for the last few weeks. Late May through early June is always characterized by the frantic rush to transition everything from winter to summer. We’ve finally done it, though. Weeds have been wacked. Compost has been hauled from here to there.  Garden beds have been tilled and prepared for planting.  The irrigation system is back up and running. Starts have moved from the greenhouse to the ground. Seeds have been planted. The tomatoes are caged and the peas are trellised.  Flowers are blooming. Fruit trees are growing and ripening. The hens are starting to lay eggs like crazy.In another month, when we harvest all of the garlic, onions, cabbages, lettuce and peas, we’ll have another big round of work. Until then, though, I can breathe easy knowing the bulk of the gardening work is finished. (Now I’m switching to jam! I’m driving to the city this weekend to shop all the big farmers markets for berries and other fruit. I’m on a search for good, sweet organic strawberries and I think I’m going to have to leave town to find the organic part, unfortunately. That’s a story for another day, though.)

Despite the fact that I haven’t been cooking a whole lot, I want to share the one preserving recipe that I’ve been making over and over again. It’s so simple that you can make it even if you’re working back-breaking long hours and don’t even have time to bathe properly.

kimchi with savoy cabbage and garlic scapes

Whatever-Kind-Of-Greens-You-Have Kimchi, an adaptation of Ramp Greens Kimchi from the Hungry Tigress

I got the idea for this from the Tigress, who made a fantastic looking ramp greens kimchi. We don’t have ramp greens here but we do have lots and lots of other kind of greens. I particularly like this kimchi recipe because it’s vegan; a lot of recipes have anchovy paste or fish sauce in them. I don’t have any issue with those products but I’m a tired farm girl and I am not in the mood to drive to town for anchovy paste.

This recipe will work with pretty much any greens you have. I’ve made it with savoy cabbages, kale, garlic scapes, and rainbow chard.  I would avoid traditional types of cabbage because the leaves are so thick, but napa cabbage, collard greens, boy choy and mustard greens would all be fine.

Equipment needed: 2 quart jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. greens such as savoy cabbage or rainbow chard
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 dried cayenne peppers, crushed
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbs. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. unrefined peanut oil (or toasted sesame oil)

1. Sterilize two quart jars.

2. Wash greens and roughly chop into 1/2″ strips. 

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the greens. Mix together thoroughly. Add the greens to the bowl and mix well, making sure to coat everything evenly.

4. Divide the greens between the two jars. Loosely screw on lids and leave unrefrigerated overnight. The next day, give each jar a good shake. Put them into the fridge for a week to lightly ferment the greens. Each day or so, take the jars out and give the jar a shake and stir up the greens a little bit so that the ones on the top of the jar eventually end up at the bottom. The greens will shrink down and if you’ll probably want to combine them into one jar after a 4-5 days.

5. In about a week, the kimchi is ready.  You’ll know because the greens smell slightly sour and you won’t be able to resist digging in any longer.  Eat it in sandwiches, wraps, salads, as a side dish with stir fry or rice, or all on its own.  You will love it, I guarantee.

rainbow chard kimchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Morning

It is raining. As frustrating as it is – I can’t spread compost or til beds in this weather – the quiet drizzle is soothing first thing in the morning. Part of me will really miss the rains and the cold winter months as we transition into the work-filled, 100 degree blazing sunshine days of summer.

the cala lilies are blooming

Without that sunshine, though, we wouldn’t have those big sweet tomatoes, and I couldn’t deal with the idea of that at all.

Gardening To-Do List, Late April

I’m working hard at waiting for paint to dry right now.  Our lovely little barn has gotten quite the facelift for 2011, but unfortunately paint just doesn’t dry the way that I want to…. which is instantly. Until then, there’s a bed frame in the driveway, mattresses in the kitchen, boxes and other junk strewn basically everywhere. The second that paint is dry, the project is finished; all we have to do is move the furniture back in.

With every second that ticks by, a surge of “holy shit I have so much work to do” is welling up in the corners of my brain. It is that time of year, after all. So, while I wait for paint to dry, I think a to-do list is probably in order.  This list is inspired by the Garden Chore posts from Margaret Roach’s blog, A Way To Garden, which I have found to be very helpful in the past. Every gardener’s to-do list is going to be a little bit different, though, and mine is more centered around growing food and less around perennials and ornamental plants.

When I was just starting to grow vegetables and flowers, a seasoned farmer told me that the goal is  to plant and harvest constantly, with some sections of the garden in the earliest stages of growth, others ready for harvest, others growing, and others waiting to be planted.  “A good farmer is always planting,” she said. It was a lightbulb moment. I used to try to have my garden be completely planted at the beginning of every season, but I’ve realized that having everything is a state of organized chaos and disarray means that it is a more productive farm. There are always flowers and vegetables to harvest and there are always new plants to replace them with.

alcosa cabbage, ready for harvest

MAINTENANCE WORK AND SPRING CLEANING:

  • Weedwack all of the borders in the gardens before the spring weeds go to seed.
  • Inspect fences for holes and repair as needed.
  • Inspect irrigation system and repair as needed.
  • Clean out foliar sprayers, watering cans, and barrels used for mixing compost tea- a mild bleach solution and elbow grease seems to work well.
mustard greens

VEGETABLES:

  • Harvest winter vegetables now (cabbages, greens, carrots, beets, etc.). Cook, preserve, barter or sell to clear the way for summer planting.
  • Fertilize growing spring vegetables that are a month or so away from harvest (peas, lettuces, more carrots, beets and greens). I use an organic liquid seaweed fertilizer (any brand will do) or make compost tea.
  • Inventory starts for summer vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer and winter squash).  We grow some from seed in the greenhouse and I fill in the gaps with starts that I get from friends or buy at the farmers market.  Cucumbers and squash can also be direct sown in the garden after the frost date.
  • Fertilize plants in the greenhouse- they are usually getting quite large by this point, and may not be able to get enough nutrients from the soil in their little containers.  I foliar spray with a high-nitrogen fertilizer if the leaves on my starts look too yellow or pale.
  • Plant carrots, beets, and lettuce in the garden before the weather gets too hot.
summer squash start in the greenhouse
sweet peas, ready to go to the market in bouquets

FLOWERS:

  • Spring flowers which may have overwintered are blooming, which is fantastic (calendula, sweet william, sweet peas, pansies). The sweet peas smell divine and will go to the market on opening day.
  • Early season flowers that were seeded in weeks ago should be popping up by now (bells of ireland, poppies, calendula, love-in-a-mist, etc). Weed beds to keep the space open for the delicate seedlings and fertilize if needed.
  • Flower starts in the greenhouse will probably need some fertilizer, just like the vegetables do.  Varieties will vary greatly from one garden to another, but in our greenhouse I have marigolds, zinnias, celosia, and much, much more.
sweet william
celosia starts in the greenhouse

HERBS:

  • Tender spring growth is perfect for rooting cuttings from plants like rosemary, lavender and sage. Never taken cuttings before? Here’s how. 
  • Overwintered herbs (mint, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.) should be growing nicely by now. Use the abundance of fresh growth for pestos, as filler in flower bouquets, mix into quiches, toss into pasta dishes, mix into jellies.
thyme

FRUIT TREES:

  • By this time of the year, trees should already be pruned.
  • Clear weeds from the base of the trees.
  • Inspect irrigation and repair any leaks.
  • Plant any remaining bare-root trees before the weather gets too hot (it’s late by now, they will need extra water to make sure they get established properly).
  • In a few weeks when the weather starts to really stabilize and get warm, plant out any citrus trees.
Cara Cara Pink Navel in the greenhouse

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…. THE COMPOST PILE:

  • In these last few weeks before planting time, I turn the compost pile several times to try and really get everything going in there. The composting process often slows down significantly during the winter (since it’s cold outside), but once the temperatures warm, everything should return to normal. Before you planting date, break down the pile and pull out finished compost to till into beds.
  • If you have particularly hot compost, you may want to spread and till the compost into garden beds now so you can water it a few times and let it sit for a week or two before planting time.  (“Hot” means high in nitrogen; anyone using lots of chicken manure will have this issue. Or blessing, depending how you look at it).
  • Have questions about composting? Martha has a really good slideshow here (big surprise.)
butter lettuce in the garden
wildflower
calendula
bleeding heart in the greenhouse

… and in case anyone forgot, since that was a long to-do list:

  • Enjoy the spring, and the sunshine, and the wildflowers. Try not to work too hard. Don’t worry about perfection, just have fun.
parrot tulips

A Gardening Question

I got an e-mail this morning with some questions about starting your own tomatoes from seed.  I thought I’d share this info, since it pertains to so many backyard gardeners. Not everyone has money or space for a greenhouse or grow lights, and it’s important to learn how to adapt using whatever materials you have on hand.

the tomato seedlings in question

Hey Caroline,

The first tomatoes I planted are already about 2 1/2 – 3″ tall and are starting to get the second set of leaves. But I have the impression that they are leggy. The stem seems very tall in my opinion. How do I recognize if they are leggy? I can send you a pic of then and could you please tell me if they are and if so, what to do with them?


thanks!!!

These little seedlings in the picture are a bit leggy.  The tomato in the lower right hand corner of the picture is doing the signature ballerina stretch, as you can see by the long, thing, graceful but delicate looking stalk.  When the plants are older, the distance on the stalk in between each new set of leaves will be quite long on a leggy plant and very short on a plant that has received enough light.  There are several things that a gardener can do to remedy the situation:

1. Greenhouses are always ideal for starts, at least from what I’ve seen.  That way you can make use of the ambient light from the sun and you won’t have to worry as much about hardening off the plants when it comes time to plant them outdoors.  That being said, not everyone has a greenhouse, and you definitely don’t need one to grow your own seedlings.

2. Light is key: Your plants should be in the sunniest, warmest area of your house.

If you have the money or space, hang a florescent grow light over the seedlings to augment natural light.  There are a huge array of grow lights available, but a simple 24″ florescent fixture with two bulbs will work fine. If you get a light, you’ll need somewhere to hang it from, and it doesn’t need to be the ceiling.  Metal shelving like you might have in your garage or pantry is easy to hang lights from using some lightweight chains and S-hooks .  Simply hook chains onto lights, loop the chains over the shelf that it’s going to hang on, and use the S-hooks to hook the very end of the chain back onto itself below the shelf.  Most hardware stores carry rolls of rope and chain that they will custom cut for you in the store.  This method is easily adjustable as the plants grow and it’s very sturdy, but you can also use rope or a variety of other materials that you may have lying around the house.  You don’t need shelves, either.  One year, I attached eye-hooks to the bottom side of our very nice wooden dining room table, and then hung my light under the table.  The tomatoes were happy, but my boyfriend was less than thrilled.  It worked really well though!

If you don’t have access to a light, just remember that if it happens to be sunny and warm outside for a few days, but it’s safe to plant the tomatoes in the ground yet, you can always carry the tray outside for the day to give the little ones some light.

3. Point an oscillating fan at the little seedlings, even though they look so delicate. I’m talking about whatever kind of fan you might have lying around; just place it about a foot from your tray of seedlings, turn it on low and point it at the tomatoes (or any seedlings, for that matter).  They will blow all over the place and stop growing for about a week, but their delicate stalks will get stronger and healthier.

4. Take special care to plant leggy tomato starts very deeply when it comes time to put them in the ground. If your starts still look leggy when it’s time to put them outside, gently tear off the bottom leaves and plant the seedling so that most of the main stalk is below the soil, leaving only 3-4″ of the stalk above the ground.  All of the stalk that is below the soil line will sprout roots, resulting in a very strong, sturdy tomato plant.  Remember to break apart your roots when you transplant! It’s actually always a good idea to transplant tomato plants using this method, but it’s more important when the plants are lanky and have a long, thin stem.

5. Just remember, tomatoes are very resilient and you should be able to work with whatever you have when it comes time to plant them outside.

It’ll be summer before we all know it…