CSA Contents for 7-31-2013

In 2013 we are raising (or rather attempting to raise) more than 1,500 varieties of fruits and vegetables. I am hoping to eventually develop a viable seed company, completely independent of the seed “cartels” which control more than 95% of the seed production in the U.S. Thus the insane (you have no idea…) number of varieties, about 57% of which are tomatoes. Here’s a link to the list of tomato varieties which are growing – and in many cases producing – now:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AvteJL5raChLdHVmRV9USF84S0RRb0MyNFJDS1BrSFE&output=html

Here’s a mostly complete list of plant types we are attempting to grow, with mixed success in 2013. Numbers following “:” indicate approximate number of varieties of that type.  Types preceded by “*” indicate that there is a good chance that some will be included with CSA shares on 7-31-2013:

Alfalfa (sprouts)
Amaranth: 2
Apple
Apricot
Artichoke
Arugula
Asparagus: 2
*Basil: 12
Beans, dry/shell, runner: 30
Beans, fava: 4
*Beans, snap/green: 12
Beet: 12
*Blackberry
Bolivian Sunroot
*Borage
Broccoflower
*Broccoli: 5
Brussels Sprouts
Burdock
Cabbage: 6
Calendula
Cantaloupe & other melons: 40
Cardoon
*Carrot: 20
*Cauliflower: 4
Celeriac
*Celery
Chamomile
Chervil
Chia
Chives
Cilantro: 2
Clover, Red (sprouts)
*Collard Greens
Corn salad
*Corn: 6
Cranberry
Cress
*Cucumbers: 18
Cumin
Dill
Echinacea
*Eggplant: 15
*Endive
Ephedra
*Fennel: 4
Flax
Flowers (for pollination & aesthetics): 30
Frisse
*Garlic: 10
Goji Berry
Golden Garlic
*Grape: 3
*Ground Cherry: 3
Hon Tsai Tai
Hyssop
*Kale: 6
Kamut
Kiwi
*Kohlrabi: 3
Lavendar
Leeks
*Lemon Balm
*Lettuce: 29
Litchi
*Majoram
Malabar
*Mint: 4
Mizuna
Mustard Greens: 3
Naranjilla
Nasturtium
*Okra: 8
*Onion: 8
Orach
*Oregano
Pak Choi
Papaya
*Parsley: 2
Parsnip
Peach: 2
Peas: 7
*Peppers, Hot: 70
*Peppers, Sweet: 60
Pomegranate
Potato: 4
Pumpkins & gourds: 10
*Purslane
Quinoa
Radicchio: 2
Radish: 24
Raspberry
*Rhubarb
*Rosemary
Rutabaga
*Sage
Sesame
Shallots
Spinach: 10
Sprouts, mixed
*Squash, summer: 25
Squash, winter: 40
Stevia
Strawberry: 3
Sunchoke
Sunflower: 5
Sweet Cicely
Sweet Potato
*Swiss Chard: 5
Tamarillo
Tarragon
*Thyme
*Tomatillo: 3
*Tomatoes: 880
Turnip: 3
Watercress
Watermelon: 15

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Giant Tomato Project Update

Taking on more than I can manage this year. I ended up with 880 varieties of tomatoes growing now, plus about another 60 which I lost due to:

A) Seeds never emerged
B) Seedlings died before planting
C) Vines died after transplanting due to bugs, birds (peacocks), or neglect

Total number of tomato plants is around 1,600 in 4 locations. I made a goal to get them all in the ground by June 1st. I was 26 days late, even with a lot of help. I donated around 1,500 plants to community gardens, etc. but still have about 500 without a home – just sitting in 3-1/2″ pots barely surviving.  No time or space to plant them.  Not sure I have the market to sell the fruit anyhow – LOTS of people grow their own tomatoes in this area.

For my giant tomato project this year I am burying vines. Giant tomato bed is 7′ X 33′ with 20 plants. This gives each about 11.5 sq. ft. With this method, this is really only enough space for 6 plants. Amended soil was covered with 4″ of fresh wood chips. Burying vines involved gradually pinning them down with large wire staples over a couple of days, then removing the staple, brushing away wood chips, digging a 2-3″ deep trench, amending with a blend of nutrients, sprinkling on some mycorrhizal fungal spores, removing leaves and blossoms as needed, pinning down the vine again, replacing soil, replacing wood chips, then watering in. I tried to leave 2 main stems per plant. I let suckers grow up until they have 2-4 leaves, then snip off the growing tips.

Space has long since run out and I’m to the point of needing to put in stakes to allow main vines to grow vertically now. Here’s what the bed looks like today:

Giant Tomato Bed 7-21-2013

The Michael’s Portuguese Monster (from my 2.610 fruit of 2012) is the best growing of the 20 vines and is the only one setting any significant fruit in the very hot weather we’ve had (most days 95-105° F in the past 5 weeks).  The plant measures 12′ across (curled leaves are due to heat stress):

Michael's Portuguese Monster plant 7-21-2013 C

Buried vines are thick with lots of root growth:

Michael's Portuguese Monster plant 7-21-2013 F

Even with very hot weather, at least a dozen unplanned tomatoes have set fruit:

Michael's Portuguese Monster plant 7-21-2013 E

I’ve been keeping my eye on a developing 5X megabloom:

Michael's Portuguese Monster A (from 2.610 DT 2012) A-002

This morning it began to open, showing just a bit of yellow petals.  I’m concerned that it will wither and die in the intense heat, as have hundreds of other megablooms so far this year.  So I’ve taken proactive measures:

Michael's Portuguese Monster plant 7-21-2013 G

Michael's Portuguese Monster plant 7-21-2013 I

A small laundry basket with part cut out, three 2-liter jugs of ice, and a cloth cover.  On this first day, ice was completely melted by 2 p.m.  Looks like I’ll need to replace them twice, maybe three times a day.  Not sure how I’ll find that kind of time…

Quite a few other tomato vines in the project have (or had) megablooms, but none of significance have taken yet.  Here’s the full list of tomato plants in the 2013 project:

1884_ (3.375 Kirschenmann 2003)
Big Zac (2.962 DT 2012)
Big Zac (3.486 DT 2012)
Big Zac (5.32 Lyons 2011)
Big Zac (5.50 Johnston/Butler 2012)
Big Zac (5.64 Timm 2010)
Burgess (4.188 Chambers 2006)
Chilo della Garfagnana (3.375 Koshykar 2012)
Church (3.208 DT 2012)
Delicious (5.41 Landry 2011)
Delicious (7.33 Hunt 2010)
Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012)
Epstein’s Potato Leaf (Big Zac derived) (Johnson 2012)
Italo (Meisner 2006 from 5.78 Santangelo 2005)
King Kong (Shlomin 2012)
Leadbeatter’s Lunker (4.905 Leadbeatter 2012)
MegaMarv (5.51 Meisner 2011)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (2.610 DT 2012)
Peter Glazebrook’s Special (Johnson 2012)
Thunder Creek (3.313 Chambers 2004)