Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
heat index 110
i can feel my brain melting
trapped in hotel room
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I am sitting here now, typing this up with the bluetooth keyboard you see here. I took the photo with my iphone, which is why it's missing on the table (hopefully i won't get yet another iphone stolen!). Very handy... everything I need for hyper-american-productivity with less than one minute of set-up.
One of the vegetable beds our tomatoes are growing in (the one that is hidden in this photo by the tomato super-growth) was built by Young Whan this spring!
Here's how to grow your own tomatoes from tomatoes you eat:
1. use heirloom seeds: if you can, make sure you have an heirloom tomato. That means that the seeds are fertile and tends to be related to its parent plant (which you are eating), plus you'll be preserving the natural tomato genetic diversity... and growing super tasty tomatoes. Hybrid tomatoes like sun golds, sweet hundreds/millions, and early girls do not have seeds that will produce a tomato exactly like the parent tomato, though they are mighty fine tomatoes anyway, and worthy of buying seeds for every few years.
2. pull out seeds and put them in a water bath: before you chew and swallow the tomato piece, use your fingers or a spoon to pull out the little seeds (avoid pulp) and put them in a little cup to allow them to ferment in a water bath for 2-3 days.
3. strain and dry the seeds: pour the water with seeds in it into a fine mesh strainer (or cheese cloth), and then allow them to dry as is or wipe them onto a paper towel to dry
4. save for next season: once dry, store the seeds in a clean, dry and dark location. I usually pull them off the paper towel and put them into little plastic baggies with labels (when you have 30+ tomato seed varieties it can be easy to mix them up if you're not careful!)... and then store them in a closed glass jar in a closet.
5. get ready for magic next season! I usually start my tomato seedlings indoors in February, transplant them to larger pots in late March, and then plant them outside in mid to late May. Last year my tomato plants were small and purple and spindly in March and April... and finally after fussing with their light, water, etc., I realized that they didn't have enough nutrients in the soil I used to sprout them in. They promptly grew into a tomato jungle after I added organic tomato/vegetable food. And voila! After that initial scare, we now have a wonderful bounty of delicious heirloom tomatoes every day! It's amazing how responsive plants can be.
This is the year of the Great Tomato Experiment: I saved 20+ varieties of heirloom tomato seeds from tomatoes I ate last year from our local farmer's market and grew 15 varieties of tomatoes in our garden. (Props to Happy Boy, Lucero, Tomatero and Surly Girl farms - sorry, didn't know that last farm's name so I made a name up in honor of the slightly cantankerous woman who works the market.) People tend to be mighty impressed when they find out our tomato jungle originated from tiny seeds from last year's salads, but lemme tell ya - it's a lot easier than it looks. See my next post for instructions.
I tried to choose tomatoes with lots of color diversity... it's my way of being a graphic-artist-garden-nerd. I've also decided that cherry tomatoes do especially well in our short growing season, plus they pack a flavor punch in a small package. What you see in the photo here includes pretty much what we're harvesting every day now in early September:
-currant tomatoes: tiny orange-red bright sweet little thangs
-super snow white: lemon-white sweet cherries
-green grape: yellow-green when mature, a very gourmet umame, almost porcini mushroom taste to it!
-black cherry: a deep purple cherry with a mellow sweet taste
-isis candy: a very deeply sweet cherry tomato
-sun golds: bright orange hybrid with a complex but still clean flavor, and an amazingly productive plant - we're getting hundreds of these tomatoes!
-sweet million: bright, clean red cherry tomato flavor, also a worthy hybrid (that means you have to buy seeds from people who especially hybridize two parent tomatoes to create the sun gold and sweet million seeds)
-moskovich heirloom: a regular-sized red tomato on the smallish side, but with an amazingly bright and complex umame. This is our favorite regular-sized heirloom tomato.