Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Great Canadian Tomato Experiment

My foray into the world of growing vegetables from seed has been a roller coaster ride of emotions with mixed results so far. It all started on February 26th with Operation Pepper. I tore open a pack of seeds, planted ALL of them, and then waited, and waited, and waited. More than a month later, here is what I have to show for it: one baby pepper sprout. Not exactly the kind of return I was looking for on my investment. I count it as a success nevertheless.

Not one to be deterred, I soldiered on. Staring in vain at the dirt of my pepper plantings became more tolerable as I found success with other seeds. The broccoli seemed to sprout almost overnight. The leeks were also robust performers, sprouting quickly and putting on a good show. I love cherry tomatoes, so when a lonely little Sweetie tomato emerged from the soil, I counted myself lucky. But as the days rolled on, the "successes" seemed to flounder a bit. The seedlings flopped over, they drooped, the leaves curled, and some faded from a deep green to a green-yellow. Oh, they're still hanging on, but perhaps dropping the word "robust" from my seedling descriptions is in order.

During a recent visit to Seedy Saturday I became intrigued by a sign inviting gardeners to plant a Canadian tomato this year. The Canadian Tomato Project is an iniative by Seeds of Diversity. It's an invitation to Canadian gardeners to help grow over 100 varieties of Canadian tomatoes from coast to coast. Well how could I pass that up? Being a proud Canuck and a gardener, I felt it was nothing less than my duty.

I planted some Petitebec seeds. To the best of my high-school French knowledge, the name translates as "Little Kiss." There's not much information out there about the tomato, other than it is a small, cherry variety bred by Roger Doucet in Quebec and released in Canada in 1976. Doucet's focus was on breeding a tomato that could tolerate cool spring nights. Well, whatever you did Monsieur Doucet, you did something right. The seedlings have outperformed all my other plantings. There are 13 plants altogether. I have already transplanted once and am ready to transplant again.

I guess there really is something to home-team advantage. Plant a Canadian tomato this year.


Iowa Gardening Woman said...

What a cool idea, you will have to keep us posted on your tomato plants, I have not heard of that variety. I used to grow lots of veggies from seeds but I haven't in several years. I do want to start some flower seeds soon.

Anna said...

They do look healthy! Now I have a question for you. Do you have any air circulating around those seeds. Seedlings need airflow or they become spindly. A fan over in the corner of the room with just a hint or stir of wind in the air makes the stems strong. It's kind of like exercising your muscles. Kind of like if you don't use them you lose them. Yellowing can mean too much water or not enough light. I'm not an expert on indoor seed growing but I do know they need some air flow. Good luck with your new babies and they look really good. Makes me think that when you eat them you'll grow big and strong!