Despite some definite quietness from this blog (and the mailing list!) I just wanted to post a quick message that the seed bank is still alive and well – I just sustained what turned out to be a pretty good injury that’s hampered most typing and (gasp!) gardening activity for the past several weeks.
If you’ve sent an email in the past 2 months – I have it, and it hasn’t been ignored, I’ve just been unable to answer.
Stay tuned – I’m healing up and updates and emails will be on the way. I’m sorry to say that the garden is a little lackluster at this point, but here on the west coast there’s still plenty of season, even if I did miss out on some of it already this year.
I find great joy out of acquiring seeds for varieties that are rare. It’s one of the reasons I’ve started to request a small selection of seeds from Plant Gene Resources Canada every year to grow out for the seed bank. Through this I’ve also found that “Seed Exchange Technician” is an actual job that somebody has, and if it weren’t for the fact that it was located in Saskatchewan, I would do everything in my power to make that my job. Saskatchewan is just way too cold for me. Despite the fact I was raised on the prairies, I’m a huge wuss with the cold.
But I digress.
This year I kept it minimal because I still had a selection of varieties from last year to grow out (‘Green Lime’, ‘Platillo’, and ‘Americke Pyramidni’) so I restrained myself and only requested four varieties. Here’s a bit about them:
Oh, there have been lots of updates around the old site and with the seed bank lately! With spring here on Vancouver Island I’ve been getting my ducks all in a row for the upcoming season, and am very excited with how it’s shaping up already.
Last year with the wrath of La Nina, we were still experiencing snow, and the cold, wet weather pushed through to the end of May. It was a bad season, but this year is shaping up to be much better already (despite threats of another La Nina, which didn’t seem to affect us too much).
The annual seed bank fundraiser is now on!
I want to take a minute to thank everybody who’s already purchased seed through the shop. There are more seeds available, and a great selection of my favourites. The seed bank is almost completely run out of my pocket as a labour of love, so the funds raised from this annual sale go a long way to helping the seed bank out through the year. If you’re looking at purchasing some tomato seeds, take a look at what I have available, which include many rare varieties, several of which aren’t available through any commercial source.
As usual, the seed for distribution page is currently on hiatus until the fundraiser is over (generally around mid to late May).
2012 Grow List is available!
Picking which varieties to grow every year is always one of my favourite things to do, and involves many hours of humming and hawing over which seeds to plant. This year I’m pushing 40 different tomato varietiesagain, and am really excited with some of them! If you’re interested to see what’s in store, go here to take a look at the list. I’ll actually be expanding the garden again this year, so that list is due to increase as I take account of the new space.
Current holdings now available
Click here to view the most updated list of what is in the bank. Getting close to the 200 mark!
I will be needing growers again (as usual) for the seed bank. There are a lot of varieties that require a big increase in quantity for proper storage. If you are interested, please send me an email via this form with your interest, and I’ll get back to you ASAP. I’m still catching up after some computer issues – if you’ve sent me a message the last four weeks and you haven’t heard back, please send me another one!
This is not nearly as interesting, but I know there are some broken images/links around the site and I’m working on getting those all fixed up. I moved servers a few weeks ago and am still playing catch up. Please bear with me!
Until next time!
Over the next few days the grow out list for the varieties being grown out for 2012 will be updated. It’s just a blank page now, so check back within the week to see what will be grown this year!
Also, the yearly fundraiser is now going on! Every year I put seeds up for sale that were grown the previous year to help fund projects for the following year. This seed bank is quite a costly undertaking at times, and every little bit helps! I currently have five varieties up (some in shorter supply than others), with more going up over the next 24 hours. Stay tuned to this page, and please consider purchasing some seed to help keep this seed bank growing.
More updates coming shortly!
Tomato ‘German Cascade’
Here’s my thought process when I see tomato seeds for sale.
1. “Oooh, what’s that?”
2. “Well I’ve never heard of this…”
3. “I guess I better buy it.”
So as one could imagine, I have quite a variety of tomato seed floating around.
This tomato I had bought on a whim. I had never heard if it, nor had the interweb apparently, since when I got home and tried to google it I found absolutely no information available. I couldn’t find a colour, any growth info, I couldn’t even find if it was a cherry or not. I asked around, nobody else had seemed to heard of it either. All I had to go by was what was said on the seed packet:
Good taste. Good producer. Stake.
Ya, seriously not much to go on. But I’m a sucker for a mystery (especially a tomato mystery) so I bought it.
Now I must preface this by saying that ALL the tomatoes had a tough year. Besides a few (and those entries will be coming later) the wacky weather really took a toll on the plants. It literally, over night, went from a high of 10C in the end of May, to a high of 30C. No amount of hardening off could have prepared them for that (and I am rigorous with my hardening off – sounds a little dirty, doesn’t it?).
That being said, this tomato got burnt back pretty badly (as did about 90% of my ‘maters, so this year a lot of judgment on growth is “how well did this bounce back?”). However, it did bounce back, but it took a while. About 4-6 weeks to bounce back enough to actually start producing, so it made it a little difficult for me to judge whether this is a mid or late variety. When it did bounce back, it produced, well, not great. Only a few tomatoes came out. However, by the end of the season, of course when it started to frost, this plant REALLY got going. Tons of fruit just exploded. I reckon during a more stable year (temperature wise) the production on this plant is fantastic.
The colour of this tomato is your absolute classic red. Even most red tomatoes don’t have this vibrancy of colour. But what really caught my eye was the unripened colour. I’d never quite seen an unripened tomato with this shade of light-limey-jade-green before. They looked like little jewels on the vine.
It’s definitely a pretty tomato, and even in my bed of wild and wacky tomato colours, this one routinely caught the eye of people taking a look around.
Fruit ended up being about 1.5-2″ in diameter, somewhere in between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Perfectly round, and very uniform. They average about 60 grams a piece.
I had a lot of tomato taste surprises this year, but this one takes the cake. I hadn’t expected too much from it. Mostly because I hadn’t heard anything about it, so why would I expect much? When something like “good taste” is written on a seed packet without any description of that taste, I guess I just don’t think it’s going to be that outstanding. Especially with its smaller size.
Holy crap, was I ever wrong.
I have never tasted a red tomato like this. Ever. And I’m not entirely sure there are any words in the English language to properly describe this flavour. Rich is immediately the first word to pop into my head. It is an extremely rich tomato. Not just rich, but with complex flavours. It’s acidic, but sweet, but earthy all at the same time. It’s almost a flavour you’d expect from the best of the best of the black tomatoes.
You know how a really fine expensive Scotch has a really peaty earthy flavour? That’s almost what this tomato reminded me of. But, you know, without the booze.
I must put a disclaimer here though. Mr. B, my partner (in crime) often partakes in the tomato tastings with me. He did not like the flavour of this one. And it’s not as though he’s opposed to earthy rich flavours (he’s the Scotch lover in the house). But he did liken this tomato to “dirty socks”. I, however, did not get that at all. But this appears to be one of those tomatoes that really clicks with your pallet – or you hate it.
Recommended uses: because this tomato is quite juicy, it’s a great fresh or juicing tomato (if you’re so inclined to make tomato juice). I tried putting a few in a sauce but the juice definitely made the sauce quite thin.
This plant had a tough year, and I wasn’t too impressed with how long it took to bounce back from being burnt, or in fact, how badly it got burnt while other tomatoes in the garden did a lot better under the crazy weather situation we had this year. However, the rate at which it finally did start producing near the end of the season convinced me that this is a good producer, although not entirely too heat resistant.
I was just about to give up on this tomato before I tasted it. The taste alone is enough to convince me to give it another go. I will definitely grow it again next year.
Originally posted @ Populuxe.ca, October, 2009