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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Naked Lady 1

Every August, clusters of pink, funnel-shaped flowers on erect, naked stems fill the air with a sweet bubble gum smell. The leafless stems give this gorgeous flower its common name: Naked Lady. The botanical name is Amaryllis belladonna and the plant is native to South Africa, yet widely cultivated in California and other parts of the world. We only have a handful of them scattered on the hillside, but I look forward to their beauty and fragrance every year.

Naked Lady 2

Early Girls.JPG

The Early Girl tomatoes are the smallest specimen I’ve ever seen, but they are super flavorful. I guess it’s just too dry, even though the drip irrigation is on every day. The cherry tomatoes are doing OK and also very flavorful and sweet. We got a decent plate full of tomatoes

harvest.JPG

which turned into a great tomato salad for dinner.

salad.JPG

 

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My favorite spot at Enchanted Meadows

March 4 and it’s 75 degrees! You are not supposed to be walking around in shorts and a tank top this time a year, but I was.

I started preparing the beds. Time to plan what to plant: tomatoes, carrots, squash, peas, maybe some beets this year? The artichokes I planted last year are thriving and should produce this year.

The plum tree is flowering and so are a handful of daffodils. The irises are popping up and should display their glory shortly. The cherry will soon show off its pink flowers. Welcome early Spring!

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I love food and I love growing it. So you can imagine that I had been aching to get plants in the ground and I did this weekend. I turned the soil of several boxes on the hill – yes, my back is feeling it! – and I hope we will be harvesting tomatoes, squash, carrots, radishes, beans, peas and more.

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Darrell Merrell, "The Tomato Man with Garlic Breath," 1939-2008

Darrell Merrell was one of the most inspiring farmers I’ve ever talked to. There was nobody in the world more enthusiastic about biting into a homegrown Cherokee Purple tomato! He passed away in 2008 after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

I will never forget his passion for biodiversity and sustainable farming every time we talked to him on Beyond Organic, a radio show I produced 2003-05. Listen to him here talking to the host Jerry Kay:

Darrell grew hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes and garlic according to his own recipe. Here are THE TOMATO MAN’S TOMATO PLANTING TIPS. His daughter Lisa continues his tradition and has a great website.

I think about Darrell every time I plant my garlic and tomato seedlings following his recipe. His inspiration and passion live on.

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February. Spring is just a couple months away. This will be our second growing season and this year I’m not going to be late!  I started my tomato seedlings in late December and they are growing slowly.

Tomato seedlings

It is hard to imagine that these little plants will produce this:

Brandywine

Cherokee Purple

I ordered my seeds from Seed Saves Exchange, one of my favorite organizations that you should check out. They are a nonprofit dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Each plant has a description and its history, for example this is the description for Brandywine:

(a.k.a. Red Brandywine) The original Brandywine introduced by Johnson and Stokes in 1889, the large vines produce fruit that are 8–12 ounces and deep red in color. Very productive, excellent taste. Indeterminate, 80 days.

Yum, I can’t wait!

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