This year, I swore no indoor seed growing. Here’s why:
- I really don’t have a place for them except the basement (where I’ll forget to water).
- The seedlings get leggy from not enough light (although I use full spectrum, grow lights);
- and quite frankly, I don’t wanna.
After placing orders for those seeds I can direct sow (outdoors), I gathered up the catalog multitude for recycling. Totally Tomatoes landed in a basket, and a small, lonely sigh escaped from within its depths. I tried to ignore it, but then a tabbed page fell open to my deep, dark paramours.
Smitten by their charcoal beauty, I began leafing through their descriptions.
Carbon, Black Krim, Black from Tula, Japanese Black Truffle or Trifele (new to me), Paul Robeson ((named after the African-American concert singer and activist) and Black Brandywine (more disease resistant in my garden than the original). Deep, rich, dark taste. Sultry grace on a summer plate combined with an ability to co-mingle with the brighters colors in the tomato rainbow. I confess we are in love, and, sadly, I’d nearly forgotten them.
Here, I would love to show a picture of one growing in my garden, but after looking through all of my photos, I discovered I don’t have a single one. Apparently, I ate them too fast to take a picture.
As stated on the Cold Climate Tomato website, almost all of these originally hail from Russian locales. I wonder if their darker color developed as a way to trap more sunlight. At 75 to 80 days, many of them are mid-season tomatoes (another reason to love them). They are indeterminate, and I like to grow a mix of determinate and indeterminate types. Although black tomatoes were developed in a frigid climate, I’ve never had trouble growing them in Oklahoma (at least in those years when I could grow tomatoes at all).
Yes, I can buy plants of hybrids locally, but other than the now almost-ordinary Brandywine, heirlooms are bit hard to locate. And, yes, I know I said hybrids will be my garden maintstays this year due to their built-in resistance to common diseases. Ah, but the black tomatoes are nearly impossible to resist.
So, do I pull out the trays, or do I buy plants from Lisa Merrill, the Tomato Man’s Daughter?
That is the question. She definitely has Carbon, Black Brandywine, Black from Tula and Cherokee Purple (which is nearly black). I’m sorry Totally Tomatoes. I’m taking the easy route this year and tearing up the asphalt to Tulsa. I can also hit Whole Foods while I’m there.
Anyone up for a road trip?
She also has eggplant (the French aubergine is so much prettier don’t you think?) and pepper plants. April 15, 2010 is her official opening day.
With all this bounty, my love can wait.