Tomato Tastings, Fall Garden Starts, and Getting Ready for Garlic

heirloom tomatoes 3 Ira with tomatoes 

We are in the thick of harvesting tomatoes and
attending local Tomato Tasting with samples from the many varieties in our
trial gardens.  Last week we were at
Monticello for their Annual Saturdays in the
Garden Tomato Tasting
.

They usually have the tomato tasting at the edge of
the orchard near a row of fig trees laden with ripe fruit, but after a rainy
ending to the tasting last year and many 100°F days recently the event was
moved to the Woodland Pavilion. Surrounded by shade trees and comfortable
chairs in a lovely room with natural light and air conditioning in reserve, I
think I like the change. With 30+ participants and over 30 varieties of
tomatoes the tasting is a low key version of the tasting at the Heritage Harvest
Festival at Monticello
, coming up on Sept. 15, 2012. 

heirloom tomatoes 2 striped tomato  

Here are some of the varieties we tasted and talked
about last week at the Saturdays in the Garden at Monticello:

Varieties from our
Southern
Exposure Seed Exchange Trial Gardens:
 

Amys’
Apricot
Old
Virginia
Dwarf
Rosella Purple
Glacier
Matts’
Wild Cherry
Red
Cherry
Radiator
Charlies’ Mortgage Lifter
Roma
Black
Cherry
Hungarian
Italian paste
Amish
Paste
Red
Pisa Date
Green
Zebra

More varieties from Southern Exposure: 

Cherokee
Purple
Georgia
Streak
Yellow
Brandywine
Persimmon
White
Wonder
Paul
Robeson

Varieties
from Monticello:
 

Purple
Calabash
Costoluto
Genovese
Large
Red
Black
Krim

Varieties from
Ann Eddins, local tomato grower:
 

Estonian
Granny
Cantrell’s German Red/Pink
Mortgage
Lifter Halladay’s Strain
Rose
Mortgage
Lifter Bicolor
Dr. Lyle

Plus
last minute additions from participants.

We
have another Tasting Scheduled for the Edible Orange Fest and our own on Farm
Tasting for local customers later this month. Of course we will have lots of
varieties for the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello and the
Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs in PA
. What a great
way to share the taste of heirloom tomatoes.
 drip irrigationkale red russian 

When
we aren’t busy picking, eating and preserving tomatoes, pepper, beans,
eggplants, and more we are trying to keep the weeds under control and
everything watered. I felt like it was all worth it when I went out to the
partially shaded area where I maintain my seedling beds and start especially
tricky fall
crops
like snap peas. How sweet it is! The snap peas have
blossoms and are setting little peas. Our broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other
brassicas that were just little sprouts last month are sturdy little plants
growing well and just waiting for cooler weather to really take off.  If you haven’t started your cabbage family
seedlings yet some should begin to appear in local garden centers and farmers
markets soon.

lettuce  

The
long string of 90-100°F days has cut down on how often we can have salad, but
we do still have lettuce. As soon as the new planting are big enough for cut
and come again we should be back to daily harvest.

We
just prepared the area for our
garlic planting
and sowed it with a quick cover crop of
buckwheat. In October, we’ll till under the buckwheat, add more compost, and
wait a few weeks for everything to break down before planting the perennial
alliums.

allium sorting  

I
love alliums. We plant garlic, elephant garlic, yellow potato onions, white
multiplier onions, several varieties of shallots, and perennial leeks. They are
all easy to grow if you prepare a rich well drained bed, mulch them, keep them
well weeded and watered. So order your planting stock and start preparing your perennial
onion and garlic beds now.
 alliums hill 

We’re
trying to use up the last of the produce we have in storage, as we’ll soon be
replacing it with our fall plantings
of carrots, beets, radishes
and other winter roots. One of the
things we enjoy is pickled carrots. It is a good recipe for using now or in
winter.

Refrigerator Dill Carrots 

1 pound carrots, peeled
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, lightly-crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill weed
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 bay leaves

1. Cut the carrots into sticks approximately
the size of your fourth finger. Bring a medium-sized pot of lightly-salted
water to a boil. (Use a non-reactive pot.)

2. When the water boils, drop the carrots in
and simmer for one minute. Pour into a colander and rinse under cold water.
Drain thoroughly.

3. Using the same pot, bring all the remaining
ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add the carrot
sticks. Cool until room temperature, then put into jars and chill.

Carrot sticks should be made at least one day
in advance, and will keep for up to four weeks in the refrigerator.

Thanks
for stopping by and we hope you’ll come back often to see what we’re growing
and cooking.
___________________________________________________________________

Ira Wallace lives
and gardens at Acorn Community Farm, home of


Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

,

where she coordinates variety selection and seed growers. Southern Exposure
offers 700+ varieties of non-GMO, open pollinated, and organic seeds. Ira is a co-organizer
of the


Heritage
Harvest Festival at Monticello


. She serves on the
board of the Organic Seed Alliance and is a frequent presenter at the Mother
Earth News Fairs


and many other events


throughout the Southeast. Her first book the “The Timber Press Guide to
Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast” will be available in 2013.