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Ozzy and special photobomb guest Buddha welcome you to this week's DKos Asheville Open Thread.

The late great Ozzy, enforcing zero-tolerance rodent policy in the spring veggies. 2008.
JULY 20 UPDATE
We are pleased to announce our second DKos Asheville Meet Up planned for Saturday, July 20th at The Bywater in Asheville. Official start time is 1:00 but come early like last time if you want. You can find us listed most every day at the New Day diary and see your name in lights. If you don't see your name, Please let me know, we would love to have you.

Asheville will be pretty hot in July, not like the parka conditions in the spring, but the river usually provides cool relief. Any ideas on making this event even more awesome, please let em rip. I can't wait to see what SteelerGrrl has done with the tye dye T-shirts!

Hope everyone has a nice Saturday. I am spending time this week with a dear friend from LA who I haven't seen for twenty eight years!  No kidding. He is loving some Asheville.
Thanks SteelerGrrl for this diary. Spring! Gardens! Snakes!

randallt

More after the orange root ball.

It's been a dark and stormy spring here in Charlotte, and here at Casa Steeler we're playing catch up in the garden. To set the mood, have some flirtatious frogs.

Tree frogs, my back yard, 4/29/13

Today I'll focus on tomatoes and follow up with another diary on tropicals if there's interest. Please consider this an open thread for what you're growing in and around Asheville, and everywhere else too! If anyone is interested in seeds or cuttings, I have extras of everything below and more and will be saving seeds from this year's crop, Mother Nature permitting.

My last really good growing season was 2010, until it was rudely interrupted by my house catching on fire in July of that year. These were my plants, ready to go in the ground. They survived the fire but not the neglect that followed. Broke my heart.

Big babies! Ready to plant, May 15, 2010.
This is the first season since that I've had the time and stability to start a garden from seed. My raised beds still aren't built, so I decided to grow some dwarf/container varieties on my deck. I do plan to plant a few of the indeterminate types out in the yard. I went mostly for early varieties because I got a late start sowing. Good thing, because the weather hasn't exactly been cooperative until this week. The seedlings are still very small for their age, but with a little heat and feeding I think they'll rally.

I planted 15 varieties, all purchased from The Sample Seed Shop. I cannot recommend this site highly enough. I love being able to buy my seeds in small, affordable quantities (most are $1.25 for 10-15 seeds.) Both the service and germination rates are excellent.

All block quotes are from the Sample Seed Shop web site unless otherwise stated, text comments are my own. Tomato names are linked to online images.

First, the indeterminates, to be planted in the ground and staked:

Adventure
It's fitting that this would come first, because I'm a pushover for funky tomatoes. But a good round red, warm and sweet off the vine, takes me straight back to the early 70's in rural NJ. Summer bliss.

I received seed for this variety from my friend Randy out in Iowa. It is a productive round red. Great for those who want a "€œnormal" perfect looking tomato.
Belmonte
Trying this for the first time. It looks like it would be good for both canned salsa and dehydrating.
There seems to be another Belmonte circulating around that is a pink beefsteak type. This is NOT that tomato. This Belmonte originated from seeds straight from an Italian company.  Because of the unusual shape, I thought this Belomnte was in the piriform/large pear group of tomatoes. After reading more in Italian, they seem to describe it as a Oxheart-Marmande type cross which would explain the variable shape with ribbing. They are meaty and good for canning, but not as dry as pastes so good for fresh eating too.
Black Cherry
One of my favorites, I grow these every summer. Very flavorful and productive dusky purple cherries.

Snow White
This is my other favorite cherry, though I've had problems growing it from seed in the past. This year's seedlings are doing well, in fact better than the Black Cherries.

This pale yellow cherry is a favorite of many growers. It has good flavor. Many people assume pale tomatoes have a bland taste, but this variety proves that is not true. It won sweetest at the 2010 Buffalo~Niagara Tomato Tastefest. The fruit is a nice pop in your mouth size. It is also a nice contrast to other colored cherries when making a salad.
Northern Lights
Oooh, more pretty! Good review, too.
This is a very productive bi-color, and it starts producing quite early too. The tomatoes varied in size from medium to large. They have the typical sweet fruit flavor of bi-colors. This variety was a hit for many customers who purchased it this past year.
Olive Hill (Photo courtesy of Hilde Reineck.)
Beefsteak type. Originally from Kentucky = good with hot and humid. Sold. Good thing, too, emphasis below mine.
Reports from everyone who has grown this variety are the same; it is exceptionally productive. It is a deep pink tomato averaging about 3/4lb. They have a mild sweet flavor. Originally from Kentucky. Potato leaf.
Sorry these are now of stock.
Indigo Rose
Had to try this one, I planted three and two are doing well. Description from another trusted seed site, Territorial Seeds, where it's sold out.
Plant-Indigo Rose Tomato: 80 days. Unlike any tomato that we have seen! Indigo Rose is the first high-anthocyanin tomato commercially available anywhere in the world. The high amount of anthocyanin (a naturally occurring pigment that has been shown to fight disease in humans) creates quite a vibrant indigo, almost blue skin on the 2 inch, round fruit. The purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion starts out green and turns deep red when mature. Inside, the flesh reveals the same rouge tone with a superbly balanced, multi-faceted tomatoey flavor. The indeterminate plants have an open habit and are very vigorous producers. Bred at Oregon State University.
Tigrovy
H/T to my Russian heritage. I also chose this one for its reported heat tolerance, not that heat's been an issue so far! As a bonus, it's totally cool-looking.
The Russian name Tigrovy translates to Tiger-like and is so named because of the stripes on the fruit. I prefer to keep the names of tomatoes in their native tongue if they came to me that way. I believe it helps to avoid confusion later on. If you look at other country’s catalogs, they do not rename our tomatoes. Anyway, all that aside. This is a nice little tomato! The flavor is balanced between sweet and tangy. They started producing fairly early, and in good quantities. A customer down in TX this past year sent me updates and pics. It performed amazingly well down there, so it does do well in heat.
Container varieties:

Bradley
Pretty in pink and heat tolerant ...

I really like this unassuming round pink tomato. It has excellent flavor and produces very well. It can have green shoulders. It was introduced in 1961 by the University of Arkansas by Dr. Joe McFerran. He named it after his father, Bradley. He is aware that people might think it is named after Bradley County, Arkansas, as they do have a Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival there each year. Semi-determinate.
Mountain Princess
I'm going to plant one of these out, and another in my largest container, just to see what happens.
When first offered in 2009, the seeds of this variety went quick! I was quite surprised; I didn’t know the variety had such a following, but then again this variety is excellent for growing in a large pot or in the ground. The red fruit is quite good for an early variety. They are small to medium size slightly flattened globes. Originally from West Virginia. Determinate.
Czech Bush
Because I'm at least half Slovak.
The cultivar with small red fruit is originally from Czechoslovakia. It was introduced by Ben Quisenberry so this variety has been known to heirloom seed savers for quite some time. It has stayed popular because it is early and productive. The determinate plants have rugose foliage.
Orlovski Rysaki
Something ate all but one of my seedlings of this. Good sign or bad luck? We'll see.
This is a determinate from Russia. The tomatoes are small red globes ... It is an early determinate, and tasty for an early. It does have a zippy taste but is not overly acidic. The name comes from a Russian breed of horses, Orlovski Trotters, maybe because of the speed of ripening?
Polish Dwarf
Another Eastern European heirloom. I'll plant 2-3 of these.
This is a very cute variety. It is a mini tree type with rugose foliage. It grows to about 2-2 1/2 feet tall. All my plants were in small pots(nursery gallon size) so growth was more restrained to about 1 1/2 feet or so. They stood straight up until they got full of tomatoes and then started to tip from the weight. The tomatoes are small unassuming red globes, but what flavor! They are quite yummy for an early tomato.
Remy Rouge
Very sweet? Check. Container-friendly? Check. I'd like to try tomaisins with these. Only one seedling survived whatever also ate the Orlovski Rysakis.
This cherry tomato is from France ... The small cherries are incredibly sweet. I would dare say sweeter than Sungold, yes, I know, you might think I’m lying, but I’m not. The very productive plants are quite attractive too. Determinate.
Stupice
Another popular early heirloom I've grown before, perfect right off the vine.
It gets loaded with large cherry sized fruit. A lot of people love the flavor and will tell you it is the best early. I remember them being acidic. Originally from Czechoslovakia. Potato leaf.
Since Randall promised snakes, here you go. A few minutes ago, my hunter kitty Lily was involved in some commotion on the patio. When I checked on what she was up to, I came face to face with this guy. Yikes! Anyone know what kind of snake he is?
I went back five minutes later and he was gone.
The floor is yours. Have a colorful weekend!
16:31 EDT - Title and tags updated, thanks for stopping by!
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