2016 was a bad year for blogging for me. I lost three of my animal friends - Scooter, Nikki, and Baby Boy - and I really had the wind taken out of me. I'm realizing now that I have some stories to tell from 2016. In some cases I told those stories elsewhere, on ephemeral sites like Facebook or Twitter. I'm gathering the information from those sites and presenting it here.
I didn't get seeds started until very late in the season, possibly not until late April or early May. I had picked up a packet of Better Boy and a packet Black Krim, a variety I had always been interested in due to the promise of its exotic color and flavor. Everything I read about this variety warned about low germination rates and low yields, so I decided to start more of that variety than the other.
I think I had a better germination rate for Black Krim than Better Boy. Both were started in terra cotta planters on a windowsill that would get the morning light, a spot that has given me good germination success in the past. After a few weeks on the windowsill I decided it was time to begin giving the seedlings some exposure to the outside world by placing them on the front porch (which receives sunlight from midday on) before I left for work and bringing them in at the end of the day. After a few weeks of this hardening-off, it was time to move them into an outdoor nursery, large planters with eastern exposure nestled under a Rhododendron. By early June they were ready to be planted in the yard.
I didn't dig a dedicated garden this year, and the one I had dug back in 1992, directly over a shallowly-buried gas line, has been allowed to grow over. (My last real garden was in 2006, in one half-heartedly dug next to the 1992 garden, but I haven't planted one since then.) But there are some spots that are good for planting around the foundation of the house. There is also a spot in the back yard behind the shed, rosebush, lilac, and garden swing. For years it had been in the shade of a neighbor's arborvitae growing along a chain-link fence. After some new neighbors moved in a few years ago, they removed the arborvitae and replaced them with a white plastic fence. Almost immediately weeds sprang up along the fence, big, exuberant weeds that would regrow as quickly as they could be pulled. Something was special about that location, I realized. That was where I would plant tomatoes.
I had too many.
I filled the space by the fence with Black Krim, six or seven of them.
|A baby Black Krim! This one is about two inches across, bigger than I realized when I saw it and the other tomato babies yesterday.|
|A lone Black Krim on the north side of the house. This one gets almost no direct sunlight, except for a few hours before sunset. It is well over three feet tall, and is nearly the size of the ones by the fence. It also has several baby tomatoes! July 14, 2016|
I harvested bushels of tomatoes, eating them raw, fried when green, in sandwiches, and cooked into sauce. I did not find the flavor of the Black Krim as as exciting as I had expected, and actually preferred the Better Boy for most applications. I may actually start fewer seeds this year, and may reverse the locations of the tomatoes relative to 2016. We'll see how things go in 2017!