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Singing Gardener: Draws for tomato seeds have taken place

Plus, what kind of weather should we expect after this cold winter?

Draws for the dozen packets of Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomato seeds took place on March 5. Winners can expect their seeds in the mail via Canada Post with names appearing in April 9 issue of Grainews. Endless thanks to each and all who participated. I’ll be checking the entries for comments and garden tips following the draws and sharing them with readers in successive columns.

A joyous young couple recently welcomed their second daughter into the family and named her Missy Moriah. I then learned that Missy originates from the English name “Melissa,” meaning “resembling a honeybee.” That spurred me on to show a picture on this page of a honeybee on hop-like pink flowers on a Bristol Cross Oregano plant.

On the way home their first daughter began singing:

We’re bringing home our baby bumblebee,
Won’t Mom and Daddy be so proud oh gosh oh gee,
We’re bringing home our baby bumblebee,
I’m her big sister and her first name is Missy.

In case you’re wondering, her second name Moriah is a Hebrew word that means “God is my teacher of the hill country.” Folklore says: Babies born a day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.

Then it popped into my head that I should introduce some newer hybrid tomato varieties with brief descriptions and where to get seeds. My Grainews readers are a good bunch of people and I’m so glad to have you tag along with me.

Note the visiting bee attracted to a multitude of hop-like pink flowers on this striking ornamental Bristol Cross Oregano (Origanum “Bristol Cross”).
photo: Ted Meseyton

Here comes the tip o’ my hat to all. Tipping one’s hat was once an especially popular outward and respectful thing to do when welcoming someone. Or it also meant a gesture of pride, thanks and appreciation upon meeting someone or acknowledging any good deed done. So gentlemen — the next time you raise or tilt the brim of your hat,  it could be a salutation, a greeting and a mark of respect for any of the aforesaid.

After a cold winter – what’s next?

So what do you think of the winter just past, or is it hanging on where you are? Folklore says that a tough outer skin on an apple predicts a hard winter. Do you recall the structure of its skin the last time you bit into an apple a day to keep the doctor away?

You’ve heard it said, “I am not the prophet, only the messenger.” That got me to wondering whether climate change has in any way impacted the following predictions. In past, traditional weather forecasters have claimed 80 per cent accuracy. We’re being told that Canada will be singing in the rain this spring. Sure — there’s a song with a similar name and I’d rather sing about it than wear rain boots and carry an umbrella as an expression of this spring’s fashionable outerwear. What else is on the weather menu? The only exception seems to point a finger to Atlantic Canada where below-normal precipitation is the order during spring days. In the rest of the country we can look forward to many rainy or some kind of moisture spring days. As for spring temperatures from Atlantic to Pacific they’re expected to be near or below normal right across the nation.

Regardless – let’s se some tomatoes

Three of the best dates, according to the man and woman in the moon, for seeding annual veggies and annual flowers including tomatoes are March 15, March 16 and April 11, 2019. Secondary best days are March 17 through until March 20 and April 12 through until April 19, 2019.

Next, let’s move along to some hybrid tomatoes. If some varieties grown in past were found to be too acidic for you, try adding a few grains of white sugar over tomato slices, or give a very light dusting of powdered stevia, (available at health food stores and some pharmacy and grocery stores) or add a drop or two of liquid honey. The other option is to grow tomato varieties with just the right amount of acidity — not too much, not too little. You can also grow stevia plants in your garden.

Goldmine, Chef’s Choice Yellow and Chef’s Choice Orange are slicers and each has a distinct taste, yet less acid compared to deep-red tomatoes. Then there’s “Sweet Gold” an excellent large yellow cherry tomato that doesn’t crack while “Sweet ‘N’ Neat Yellow” is an ultra-compact cherry tomato especially suited for outdoor patios, decks and window boxes.

Over on the red side are the following tomatoes with more acidity as part of their nature. What I like about “Polbig” is the very round, firm and fleshy red fruits with excellent yield that start to ripen in only 55 days after transplanting outside. “Polbig” is also well adapted to short growing seasons and cold regions, so gardeners in the near and high north take note of that.

“Polbig” tomato plants are compact and well adapted to short-season and northern cool regions. After 55 to 60 days in the garden, “Polbig” produces an excellent yield of small to medium-size very early 200-gram (seven-oz.) round, firm and fleshy, deep-red tomatoes.
photo: W. H. Perron

Every tomato gardener I’ve spoken with who’s planted “Celebrity” can’t say enough good things about it. Strong plants produce firm, large dark-red fruits with exceptional taste that are ripe and ready to pick in just 70 days or so.

Then there’s other red varieties including “Mountain Merit” with good resistance to multiple diseases common in home gardens including late blight. “Mountain Merit” is an all-purpose flavourful tomato perfect for sandwich making and in side dishes. “Mountain Magic” is a good-size cocktail cherry tomato with some pretty high marks. Dark-red fruits can be harvested in clusters, are tolerant to cracking and have a long shelf life. Want to grow a tomato in both the greenhouse and garden? Then red “Sweetheart” is a good choice. It has a remarkable tolerance to cracking and great taste. “Pozzano” (see photo) is an Italian tomato producing elongated attractive fruits that hang in clusters with a slightly narrow waistband in the middle.

All the above tomatoes and many others, plus a large selection of everything from alyssum to zinnia flowers and asparagus to zucchini vegetables and everything in between are available from W.H. Perron & Co. Seeds and Accessories, located in Laval, Que. For customer service or to request a complimentary copy of their Special Edition 90 years of service to Canadians catalogue, phone toll free 1-800-723-9071 or contact via email at [email protected]

Do you avoid cilantro?

Ninety per cent like it — 10 per cent don’t. Many chefs on cooking shows and recipe writers tout, proclaim and promote the use of cilantro herb in cooking. You’re not alone if you have an aversion to it. Many in the 10 per cent group including yours truly say it tastes like soap or something unpalatable. Studies indicate it may be due to a genetic variant. I equate those same percentages when it comes to dowsing for water but sort of use those percentages in a reversed way. Ten per cent have the gift to locate underground streams by dowsing and 90 per cent are unable to do so. More on water dowsing in a soon-to-read future article.

Are you bilingual?

Here’s an account from things Mother used to say. You can tell it to children if any are hesitant or not wanting to learn another language. The story goes like this. Mother mouse and her family went for a walk one day and met up with a cat. Mother mouse quickly barked “bow-wow!” and the cat ran away. “See children?” said the wise mother. “It pays to know a second language.”

About the author

Columnist

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

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