Welcome to NakedTomatoes

All about tomatoes, heirloom and home grown.
With a bit extra thrown in about Brugs and bread, growing and baking, and other semi-relevant thoughts. And maybe a few recipes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Putting the garden to bed

Frost, and I mean real frost, has finally hit my garden. My valiant tomato plants have bit the dust. I've never had tomatoes this late before. In fact, this has been almost 6 weeks past the usual bite the dust date. Very unusual. But I knew it was coming, so over the weekend, the kids and I pulled out most of the tomato plants in the raised veggie beds, and in the front bed. Now I just have to finish weeding them completely, and I will try an overwintering adaptation of the lasagna bed technique. I used this early spring in one bed, as a trial, and it worked wonderfully. Kept the weeds out like nobody's business.

The basic idea is to smother weeds with newspaper, cardboard, other bio-degradable papers. What I did this spring was to layer compost, overwintered-soon-to-be composted leaves from the previous fall, and general garden waste in the bed, about ten inches or so. I then covered it all with about six to eight sheets thick of newspaper, and then on top of that, three to four inches of garden topsoil/composted lamb-cow-whatever manure. The idea is that the worms will pretty much eat all the garden waste, all the way up to and including the newspaper, leaving you with rich soil, and all the while smothering any weeds. Seemed to do the trick. I wasn't sure how happy the toms would be, in all that not quite composted stuff, but they didn't seem to mind at all. And when I was pulling out the plants, I saw more worms than I think I ever have. A win-win all around. I am going to try the same idea this winter in the other beds, minus the top layer of soil/compost. I'll save that for spring. I'll just add more leaves to the top to keep the newspaper from flying away, and see what it looks like come spring.

Oh, one thing I forgot to add, water the whole thing really well. Up here in Quebec, hopefully we'll get a really good snow cover, but even then, water will help the breakdown of the garden stuff (leaves, compost, etc,) and the newspapers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hello Tomato Lovers and Gardeners New and Old

I am creating this blog in the hopes of encouraging others to grow and save seeds of heirloom tomato varieties and to record and share my own experiences in my garden with tomatoes and everything else that grows in my garden, outdoors and in .

I use the word Naked as opposed to organic, non-gmo, non-hybrid, and other terms, because these are all kind of lumped together, as if they mean the same thing when they don't. I feel the word naked describes the tomato I want to grow. Pure, straightforward, old time strains of tomatoes, bursting with flavor, and all sorts of brilliant colors, these are not your hybrid perfectly round, perfectly bland supermarket tomatoes. These are tomatoes in their glory, blemishes, quirks and all. Grown with natural techniques, using no chemical fertilizing or pesticides.

I will share my growing tips and techniques, from choosing varieties and starting seeds, to lighting and watering, potting up seedlings, setting them out in the garden, bagging blossoms for pure seeds (or if you even need to bother), saving tomato seeds, soil nutrition, composting, and anything else I can think of related to gardening and success with tomatoes. Even if you've never grown a tomato plant, or started one from seed, you can follow along the process, and I bet you'll never go back to store bought tomatoes (except maybe in the dead of winter out of desperation) or buying those hybrids plants again.

I am also a Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpets) fanatic, so I will have the occasional posts and pictures of these beautiful tropical plants.

And I love to cook and bake, so I'm sure that will be there somewhere in the mix.

I hope I will get questions and comments. One thing I love about gardening is the generosity most gardeners have towards others. Walking in my neighborhood last summer, I complemented a woman who was weeding her garden on the gorgeous poppies she had growing, and she promptly cut off a few seed heads and handed them to me. I've had so many generous and kind people share little bits of their gardens and their time with me, I truly believe in the pay it forward philosophy when it comes to gardening.