When we moved in late July, there were tomatoes, eggplant, squash, corn, and zucchini more-or-less making the best of a bad situation in our new backyard.
As testament to the possibility that we may be living on radioactive, toxic, mutant Gowanus soil, we plucked this freak zucchini out of our yard in August:
The corn we ultimately uprooted and discarded. While it was kind of pretty and immediately evocative of a sort of Americana nostalgia (or, in the alternative, horror film creepiness) – it was also big and floppy (in a bad way) and the corn cobs that it produced were atrophied and not really worth the yard space:
The tomatoes, on the other hand, were plentiful and healthy and of many varieties. It was such a pleasant surprise to find some interesting heirloom varieties (which I’ve tried to recreate in this year’s garden).
Last year’s heirloom:
I think we sliced up the above tomato (and those like him) and ate them for what they were. But we had quite a few tomatoes last year, and so we wound up making a lot of delicious, spicy tomato sauces.
Some of our other tomatoes:
This year, we’ve stared our tomatoes from seed (ripping the old ones out of the ground once the season ended – as you’re supposed to.) We are looking forward to:
This old German heirloom was offered in Philadelphia by the mid-1800’s. The sweet red 1-oz fruit grow in large clusters, and the name means “Giant Bunch of Grapes” in German. It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today’s cherry types. Large plants produce massive yields. (Can be ordered here)
Brandywine, which dates back to 1885, is the heirloom tomato standard. One taste and you’ll be enchanted by its superb flavor and luscious shade of red-pink. The large, beefsteak-shaped fruits grow on unusually upright, potato-leaved plants. The fruits set one or two per cluster and ripen late—and are worth the wait. Brandywine’s qualities really shine when it develops an incredible fine, sweet flavor. (Can be ordered here)
Black Krim Tomato
Originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union. This rare, and outstanding tomato yields 3-4″ slightly flattened dark-red (mahogany-colored) slightly maroon, beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Green gel around seeds. Fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste (which is great for those not wanting to add salt to their tomatoes). Black Krim is one of my best black tomatoes. Also suitable for container/patio garden. Perfect choice for slicing, salads and cooking. (Can be ordered here) Isn’t there something pomegranate-like about them and their dark seed spaces?
And I haven’t fully excluded the possibility of growing another variety in a pot out front 🙂 But I eat at least 1-2 tomatoes a day, on average – so there’s definitely a demand in our home that would support such a supply.