Here’s Tommy on his 18th birthday. It seems like just yesterday that I tucked his little seed into a little wad of ecologically-unsustainable peat but it really has been over two weeks, eighteen whole days. Just look how he’s growing! He’s even cut his first pair of true leaves.
Tommy is an heirloom cultivar—a portmanteau word from cultivated+variety—of tomato called San Marzano and has a long and distinguished history. The original San Marzano tomatoes were grown in Italy in the Eighteenth Century and have been prized since then for their flavor. Since San Marzanos are heirlooms, it means they are open pollinated. A plant of this variety will pollinate itself and produce offspring that are the same as its parents. Hybrid garden plants can’t do this. Because of this, seed can be saved from year to year. In fact, Tommy was grown from seed I saved last year from a plant I got from a friend. With luck I’ll be able to save seed again this year and keep my own supply of this line going.
Here is where Tommy will eventually make his home. This is a view looking northeast.
It’s kid of hard to see the beds with the leaf mulch still in place, but in this view you can see that garden is now twelve beds, each of which is approximately 8’x3’ in size. The second and third bed from the grass path there in the far corner have been reserved for the tomatoes and peppers this year. I prepared them in advance by installing the support stakes and then seeding the ground with a cover crop of buckwheat. My hope is that the buckwheat will have time to grow and be cut back before tomato and pepper planting time. It will help loosen the soil and then provide mulch.
Until then, Tommy’s got a lot of growing up to do. I’ll keep you posted on his progress in the coming weeks.