Seeds from 2019 Growing Season

Regrettably, seeds from the 2019 growing season are not ready yet – only about 300 hours of seed processing left to do, then packaging, drying and inventory 😵  So hopefully by early December I can post the list that I wish I could post here today.

At last count, over 67,100 photographs taken for Delectation of Tomatoes, with more than 20,000 still to be named.  I’ll post a couple of newer ones here, at least.

Super cold, record cold, the past few days.  Only 7° F yesterday morning where I grow, and an amazing – 45° at Peter Sinks, Utah yesterday morning!

I harvested a really good crop of Glass Gem Corn (a popcorn) over the past few days, including these beauties:

Ears of several additional varieties of corn are in processing for seeds.  More to come – not succeeding very well at keeping up this season.  Just returned from the last farmers market of the season, so that should free up about 40 hours per week, meaning I should be able to get back on track soon.  Except for that “must move by the end of the year” looming – yikes!


Short Growing Season

Frost last night shortened the 2019 growing season to 113 days, which is 74 days shorter than what I was accustomed to a few years ago in West Valley City.

It has not been devastating frost yet, as there are still many tomato vines still alive and producing where weeds and corn stalks have protected them.  The prediction is for even colder temperatures tonight.

A number of the tomato vines have yet to produce their first ripe tomato.  And it’s been a very tough year for hot peppers, eggplant, okra and melons which prefer hot weather.  There were a few weeks of hot weather in July and August, but it has been unusually cool, overall, for the past five months.

So far, I have saved seeds from 20% of the tomato varieties planned for 2019, and I am an estimated 300 hours behind schedule with this massive project.  Here’s the first sizeable batch of tomatoes processing for seeds: dwarf varieties on August 31st.

The “missing” 300 hours has been more than taken up with participation in two local farmers markets every week:

Saturday the 28th was the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers’ annual weighoff event.  (Let’s not talk about the pumpkin I reluctantly submitted…)  The winner weighed 1,608 lbs.!

This one might be the most interesting of the lot:

The giant tomato contest was extremely close.  The winner was a 2.18 lb. Big Zac, still hard green.  My largest submission was a 2.16 lb. Domingo:

This was the first ripe tomato of the season on this vine.  At least it, and another Domingo off the same vine, topped 2 lbs. – something I didn’t manage to do in 2018!



Cruel and Cold-hearted Mother Nature

Quite unusual Spring weather here along the Wasatch Front: cold and wet for nearly a month in May, including several late frost events which had me covering thousands of seedlings several and delaying planting for several weeks.

I thought I was being prudent and clever by waiting and waiting some more.

Then, just after I got nearly all of my tomato seedlings planted (about 2,000 of them), a freaky late frost came through one week ago (June 9th) and destroyed about 800 of the 1,100+ tomato seedlings which were already in the ground at the Carlisle Farm.  Brief video:

Late frost wipes out tomato seedlings

Replaced with “leftovers” from plug trays for tomato seed saving project:

Tomato seedlings leftovers plug trays_20190606_162015547



Here is what it looks like, with about 3,400′ of rows of tomato seedlings:

Carlisle farm background mountains snow_20190614_144835627_HDR

And snow-capped mountains in the background, including Lone Peak (11,260′ elevation).

This has lead to even more delays, as replacing those dead seedlings was no quick or easy task.  Although more than 2,000 tomato vines are in the ground and growing, seedlings for my giant tomato project and dwarf tomato project are still in 3-1/2″ pots and getting quite stressed.

But I did finally manage to get my (very stunted) giant pumpkin seedlings in the ground: 5 of them in about 500 square feet of space. Maybe I’ll find the time and motivation to kill squash bugs this year before they kill my pumpkin vines?

Pumpkin, Giant, Atlantic Dill_20190616_161445083 (2)

Lineages of these five pumpkin vines:

1060 Seamons 2015 (1421.5 Stelts X 1832.5 Midthun)
1039 Laub (1985 Miller X Self)
915 McRae 2017 (1386.5 Sadiq X 2261.5 Wallace)
1468 Strickler 2018 (2363 Holland 2017 X Self)
1073.5 Laub 2015 (1817 McConkie X 1526 Menting)

Early Painted Mountain Corn (Alpine Varietal) is tasseling now:

Corn, Painted Mountain_20190615_154955424_HDR

Corn, Painted Mountain_20190615_154941128

And predictably, I remain fascinated by the reproductive parts of a variety of plants:


Included above are: Larkspur, Rhubarb, Snapdragon, Feverfew, Comfrey, Mullein, Purple Orach, Rose, Calendula, Dianthus, Onion, Chives and Penstemon.  Then there was this suggestive Sugar Magnolia Snap Pea blossom:

Pea, Sugar Magnolia Snap_20190615_154501253 (2)

Really not so cruel and cold-hearted.  I just need to prepare better for contingencies.  It could be much worse: the severe flooding of many other parts of the country; drought; volcanic eruption blocking most sunlight; goats let loose to rampage like last year; curly top virus; and many other potential setbacks come to mind.  This is definitely not a cushy 9 to 5 job…

There remains much data entry and compilation to determine where we stand with tomato varieties which survived the frost.


= = =


Oops!  Above was written on June 16, 2019 but apparently I neglected to click on the “Publish” button.  So here it is, July 31st, and much of what I wrote is sort of obsolete.  But it may still be of interest.

Brief update here.

The Carlisle tomato patch on July 3rd after t-post installation –

But now (photo taken July 29th), this is looking much more like a corn patch – very likely tomato production will be greatly reduced.

The first ripe tomatoes in this patch were Gold Nugget on July 29th.  Perhaps 80 tomato vines have been destroyed by curly top virus.

In the backyard garden, Totushka ripened about a week earlier than Red Alert and Moscow, followed roughly a week later by Rose Quartz, Egg Yolk, Sasha’s Altai, Gregori’s Altai, Chocolate Cherry, Bursztyn, Bison, Orange Bourgoin, Rosalie’s Early Orange, Slava Moldovoy, Stupice, Lucinda, Sunsugar, Sweet Apertif, Maddeline’s Vine Candy, Peacevine, Indian Stripe, Alpine, Bellstar, Be My Baby, Auria, and a few others not coming to mind at the moment.

Here’s Gold Nugget – makes quite a tasty little morsel!

At my cousin’s tomato patch, where most of my seed saving plants are, weeds currently predominate and it’s looking like about 40% of the plants will not produce tomatoes due to a combination of factors:  poor soil (dense alkaline clay), problems with the drip hose (mostly fixed, but the system’s a mess…), late start, curly top virus (15-20% loss to date, with more succumbing almost every day), goats got out (7 of them, but I think I caught them in time and did repairs to their pen), and hot weather (6 days over 100° so far).

The goats’ escape hatch:

And this one’s a head-scratcher: old plastic bags to restrain goats?

Hopefully my repairs will hold through the growing season.

Giant tomato project started very late, in 20-gallon pots filled with decent but not great soil.  Here are the 27 plants on June 26th, right after transplanting completed:

And here they are 33 days later, about 15 of them with fruit set:

Here is this year’s dwarf tomato project, transplanting completed on June 26th.  These are 7-gallon grow bags – 100 of them, though a few are not dwarf varieties.

First giant pumpkin finally pollinated on July 21st:

And so far it looks like it’s taking.

I reneged on my promise never to participate in farmers markets again.  Among the tasks of harvesting, cleaning and packaging produce, travel to and from, setup and breakdown, time at market (4-5 hours), and cleanup afterwords, we’re looking at 8-9 hours of time.

After 4 weeks, I think I’ve finally earned enough to pay for the canopy.  Maybe next week I will start bringing in enough to begin paying for gas, and then vendor fees…






Delay from Cold, Wet May

Officially the second wettest Spring on record, with 11.18″ of precipitation from March-May, with precipitation on 18 days during May and many low temperatures in the 35-42° range.  Cold and wet is a recipe for disaster for young tomato seedlings, so I’ve kept most seedlings cozy warm in the low tunnel until the past couple of days.  Now it’s catching up time, transplanting directly from 128-cell plug trays into the gardens.

About 1/3 or the way planting out tomatoes seedlings of 802 varieties, assuming I got at least 1 seed to germinate of each variety.  Which is definitely not going to be the case.  Once the dust settles, I will likely have a little over 3,000 tomato seedlings in the ground at 3 locations.  I’ll likely update with the full list once all seedlings are in the ground and growing.

Seedlings in plug trays, destined for seed production.

Seedlings in 3-1/2″ pots, intended for other gardeners, with over 900 not sold, of around 150 varieties.

Seed saving already in progress for several types that survived the winter, such as Brussell’s Sprouts – covered with a mesh of tulle fabric to prevent cross pollination with Kale that is in bloom nearby.

More varieties of flowers blooming, such as this dianthus

Plenty of herbs growing well, such as feverfew:

It has been a great year so far for flowers, herbs, fruit trees and cool-season crops.

More updates once tomatoes are in the ground.  Long days, short nights…

Seedlings Available for 2019

New low tunnel is currently jam packed with pepper and tomato seedlings, most of them looking for a good home for local growers (Wasatch Front area, Utah).  Using three layers to regulate heat and prevent sunscald: greenhouse plastic, shade cloth, and heavy duty frost blanket.

Crazy weather of Spring – some warm and sunny days, and likely light frost tonight.  (update May 2nd: ground covered with frost the past two nights – would have been wiped out without frost blanket!)  Good thing I did not succumb to the temptation to transplant four weeks ahead of schedule!

List of tomato seedlings available:

Tomato Seedlings Growing in 2019

But of the 615 varieties planted for seed saving, I need to replant 88 of them!  A few because the seedlings were eaten by snails; but there were 36 varieties with ZERO germination!  Plus another 46 varieties with only 1 surviving seedling.   That’s a lot of extra time and effort from getting poor quality seeds!!

First ripe tomato of 2019 is again Totushka, discovered on April 24, from seeds planted on December 12, 2018.  That’s 133 days; but I really did not care for them well.  Metal Halide lights, which I did not use this past winter, are far superior for growing tomatoes indoors than are the weak T-12 fluorescent bulbs that I did use.

Other microdwarf varieties which produced ripe fruit at close to the same time include Gold Pearl and Regina:

Other signs of Spring –

A cracked robin egg found on the ground


Flowers in abundance:


Fruit trees heavily laden with blossoms this year:

Corn – I attempted to plant an extra early patch of Painted Mountain, Alpine Varietal, just to see how early I could get corn.  Seeds planted on April 17; 128 seeds in a plug tray and kept warm indoors.  Seeds began to emerge in less than 3 days, with most of them up within 5 days.  Transplanted outdoors after 8 days, and some seedlings already had taproots that were 8″ long!

This little patch is covered for the night, with 33° F for predicted low.

Several varieties of lettuce also planted today (April 30, 2019):

Amish Deer Tongue, Jericho, Tennis Ball, Buttercrunch, Summer Bibb, Prizehead, Dark Lollo Rosso, Speckled, Bronze Mignonette, North Pole and Tango – with several more I would like to plant when I can find the time and garden space.

Several varieties of peas are also emerging:

Wando, Super Sugar Snap, Sugar Magnolia, Alderman, Little Marvel, and Amish Snap

Also planted on April 25th: nine large pots with Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds.  After five days, no signs of life yet.  Later – after 8 days, 5 have germinated.

LOTS more to come…

Of Spring, Rain, Rainbows, Flowers – and Tomatoes

The clock, the calendar just keep ticking away the seconds and the months.  The first day of Spring has come and gone, still finding me mostly indoors working with seeds and databases.

But I did manage to notice some rain and a double rainbow en route to the post office.


The coming and passing of crocuses of promise:

The coming and passing of thought-provoking orchid irises:

The coming and near passing of daffodils of portense:

Fresh new stately hyacinths:

The flaming of forsythia flowers:

With tulips, apricot blossoms, and so much more just around the corner.  What is this fascination with the flamboyant display of the reproductive organs of flowers?  Maybe there is a butterfly or bee deep inside of me.  Reminders of the brevity of life, whether filled with beauty or other things; of connectedness, if we choose to see it.

This weekend I climbed out of my basement cave, out of hibernation, and started doing autumn garden cleanup – yes, the work a conscientious gardener would complete in November.  Oh, what a mess I left!

A short couple of breaths for noticing something else, and suddenly a new season of tomato growing is pressing, pressuring.

Already way out of space on my 4′ X 6′ stand with grow lights, a couple of weeks ago I constructed a makeshift cold frame by using lawn chairs, a double layer of thick row cover, and a small electric space heater.

Birdie Rouge, a microdwarf, putting out a few fruit:

Over the weekend I found this on the ground underneath the pots from the microdwarf tomato project of last year, which were left outside all winter.

This is possibly Florida Petite, but hard to say for sure.  No, I didn’t taste it!  But you guessed it, I’m doing a seed germination test: how well do tomato seeds survive overwintering?

This coming week I will start potting up my first batch of tomato seedlings:

This is about 450 seedlings of extra early tomatoes, mostly for other gardeners and farmers who, like me, hope for fresh ripe tomatoes by early July.  Varieties shown here include these 37:

Amazon Chocolate
Andy Buckflat’s Wonder
Black Sea Man
Bloody Butcher
Chocolate Cherry
Dwarf Arctic Rose
Forest Fire
Fourth of July (OP)
Gregori’s Altai
June Pink
Maddeline’s Vine Candy
Marshal Pobeda
Mormon World’s Earliest
Orange Bourgoin
Orange Paruche
Red Alert
Rosalie’s Early Orange
Rose Quartz
Santiam Sunrise
Sasha’s Altai
Slava Moldovoy
Sophie’s Choice
Sunset’s Red Horizon
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf

But where will they go when potted up?

A brand new low tunnel, 6’X36′, large enough to cram in 108 of the 1020 trays if needed.  Temperature regulation is going to be tricky!

About 52 varieties of peppers, plus ground cherries and a number of other types also up and growing.

Seeds of 128 additional varieties have also been planted for other growers.  Send me an email if you would like a copy of the list:  These should be ready by early to mid-May.

Now the BIG task – planting tomato seeds for seed saving this year.  The count currently stands at 872 varieties MUST GROW varieties, with at least 300 additional SHOULD GROW varieties.  Time, space, energy, other resources are so limiting.  But ambition is not!! What to do, what to do…



Tomato Varieties with Outstanding (or Fabulous or Wonderful) Flavor

With hesitations and reservations, I post the following list of 151 tomato varieties which I consider among the best for flavor among the 2,000+ varieties which I have sampled over the past few years.

Hesitation for the following reasons:

  1. There remain more than 500 varieties for which I have not transcribed field notes or prepared pictures or descriptions.  Doubtless many of these belong on this list.  I am working on this project, but it’s not easy to finagle the necessary time.
  2. This post is essentially an addendum to my post of December 19, 2018, Best Tasting and Biggest Tomatoes of 2018 – but there are discrepancies which might present a challenge to resolve.
  3. As mentioned in that previous post, mine are just one set of taste buds; there are micro-environmental differences; my criteria for “super tasty” might very well not match yours. etc. – multiple opinions are recommended.
  4. Short-changed especially are many outstanding varieties that I received from Russia which have been sitting on the back burner for up to three years – varieties which I have shared in list form only so far.
  5. I have concern that other growers might restrict their options to just this list, when there are hundreds and hundreds of other varieties that I would strongly recommend, depending upon what you are looking for in a tomato.

That being said, I have taken a few hours to go through my databases, descriptions, online publications, and those faulty memory banks between my ears, and come up with this “short” list of varieties which have especially tickled my taste buds.  Although I make a concerted effort to not exaggerate, to not use superlatives, to be forthright with my descriptions, somehow I still managed to come up with 151 varieties for which I have used descriptors for flavor such as: Fabulous, Outstanding or Wonderful.

In alphabetical order:

Alex Popovich Yugoslavian
Alice’s Dream
Altaiskiy Oranzhevyi
Amazon Chocolate
Ambrosia Gold
Amish Paste
Amish Potato Leaf
Arad’s Pink Heart
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Barlow Jap
Belarusian Heart
Berkeley Tie-dye Heart
Big Cheef Pink Potato Leaf
Big Zac
Biyskiy Rozan
Black and Brown Boar
Black Bear
Black Cherry
Black Crimson
Black Krim
Black Mountain Pink
Blue Ridge Mountain
Bosanski Stari
Brandywine from Croatia
Brandywine, Cowlick’s
Brandywine, OTV
Brandywine, Pink
Brandywine, Sudduth’s
Bulgarian Rose
Bulgarian Triumph
Bych’ye Serdtse Vystavochnoye
Chang Li
Cherokee Purple
Chocolate Cherry
Crnkovic Yugoslavian
Da Chilo Orange
De Barao Rozoviy
Domaca Pfarrgarten
Dr. Lyle
Dr. Wyche’s Yellow
Dwarf Mr. Snow
Earl’s Faux
Eastman Pink Heirloom
Everett’s Rusty Oxheart
Gajo De Melon
Gold Medal
Goose Creek
Grandfather Ashlock
Grub’s Mystery Green
Guernsey Island Pink Blush
Hanging from Vesuvius
Hawaiian Pineapple
Indian Stripe
Ispanskaya Roza
Iva’s Red Berry
Japanese Oxheart
Kayleigh’s Large Pink
Kellogg’s Breakfast
King Pineapple
Korol Gigantov
Korol’ Londona
Kozula 161
Large Black and Red Boar
Leadbeatter’s Lunker
Lemon Drop
Little Lucky
Loxton Lad Dwarf
Lyagushka Tsarevna
Maddeline’s Vine Candy
Maiden’s Gold
Mallee Rose
Mammoth Cretan
Marianna’s Peace
Marizol Gold
Mary Reynolds
Milka’s Red Bulgarian
Momotoaro (OP, offtype)
Mr. Underwood’s Pink German Giant
Noire de Crimee
Orange Minsk
Orange Paruche
Orlov Yellow
Osburn Oxheart
Pierce’s Pride
Pink Berkeley Tie-dye
Pink Sweet
Polish Pink
Purple Not Strawberry
Purple Passion
Rebel Yell
Red Butter Heart
Reinhart’s Chocolate Heart
Rhoades Heirloom
Rosalie’s Big Rosy
Rose Quartz
Rozovaya Krupnaya
Rozoviy Syrayeva
Rozovyi Shlem
Russian 117
Russian Rose
Seek No Further Love Apple
Sinister Minister
Sugar Plum Fairy
Sweet Apertif
Tennessee Suited
Tzi Bi U (aka Violet Jasper)
Uluru Ochre
Veras Paradeiser
Vinson Watts
Virginia Sweets
Waltingers Fleisch aus Indien
Weisnicht’s Ukrainian
West Virginia Sweetmeat
Wild Thyme Purple
Yasha Yugoslavian
Yoder’s German Pink
Yusupovskyi S Fergany
Zorica’s Sebastian’s Bull’s Eye

Following is some mid-winter “eye candy” of some of these varieties; seeds available at:

Delectation of Tomatoes Seeds on Offer

Or drop me an email with your list of seeds wanted – it’s easy enough for me to just send you an electronic invoice.

A brief update about micro-dwarf indoor tomatoes – Micro Tom was the first to bloom, 55 days from seed sowing:

In an effort to support and encourage those who grow food and sell to people in their local community, Delectation of Tomatoes is now a member of Utah’s Own !

Fresh food that is grown and consumed locally and organically typically tastes better, is more nutritious, has fewer potentially harmful chemicals, leaves a smaller carbon footprint (on average,  vegetables consumed in the USA travel more than 1,400 miles from farm to table!), supports small local farmers (rather than mega-monocultures and international corporate farming practices), keeps more of a community’s hard-earned money at the local level, helps create jobs for the community, and helps support the tax base of local and state governments.

That’s a big part of what Delectation of Tomatoes is all about: encouraging and facilitating gardeners and farmers working small farms to provide the freshest, most nutritious, most flavorful and most interesting fruits and vegetables for their families and communities.

In their favor, BIG corporate farms have the economy of scale, millions of dollars to spend on marketing, expensive machinery, big subsidies from governments, and the power of habit of 100+ million shoppers who frequent big box stores.  Yet in the midst of this gigantic agro-industrial complex, there should still a place for the artisan seed saver and grower, especially as more people become aware of viable and sensible alternatives to the status quo and as they take advantage of these alternatives.