There’s been a lot of action around here this week due to the short break in the weather. Good days of dry sunny weather are very few and far between here in the cool spring of the Pacific Northwest, so when you get a dry spell you work as much as you possibly can. More about what we’ve accomplished in the sun later(hello Flip Video!), but for right now I’d like to introduce you to our Heirloom Tomato Operation!
This year marks our second year growing and selling Heirloom tomatoes and tomato starts at our farmers market. We have a whopping three years of experience with growing tomatoes but last year we were blessed to have the guidance of a retiring farming couple and we quickly became respected tomato growers. Jared was know as “The Tomato Guy” at one of the markets we vended at last season with our tomato starts.
We seed over 3,000 tomato seeds, pot up as many as we can, save around 300-400 for ourselves, and sell the remaining plants as starts(go-go victory gardens!). The work began back in March as we began seeding, now in April we’re in the potting up phase and can’t seem to stay caught up with the rapid growth of so many plants.
Once the night time temperatures reach 50 degrees we can remove them from the temperature controlled greenhouse their currently in and place them in an unheated field greenhouse to harden-off for two weeks.
After two weeks of the tomatoes getting exposed to the lower temperatures we can begin to sell our well cared for and ready to plant tomato starts to the excited and eager folks who crave to grow, care, and harvest their own tasty Homegrown Heirloom tomatoes.
We’re super excited about our tomato varieties this year, as we really focused our attention to growing short season, cool weather tolerant, and productive Heirloom tomatoes. Here’s a quick variety break down: 39 different varieties, 6 different colors, 6 are cherry types, 9 are semi-determinate/determinate, and only 3 varieties are over 80 days! Say bye-bye to the eight pound tomatoes of last year and hello (hopefully) to higher yields that should satisfy our customers, many of whom have joined solely on our tomato growing operation.