Joseph's Garden

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Joseph Bordley – over 35 years of gardening and counting!
2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Joseph’s Garden in its current location on the Jumpoff Community Land Trust.

Feel free to email or call us with questions concerning tomatoes, ordering, or anything else!

Tomato Plants 2013
March is here and we’re already salivating for the first Sewanee-ripened tomato of 2013. Regardless of what’s ahead of us in the next couple of months weather-wise, we at Joseph’s Garden are planning and planting for the upcoming season. This year’s varieties were chosen based on customer feedback, our own observations last season, those that we especially love, and those that we think will do well in our area. Organic seeds were chosen when possible and we think we’ve come up with a well-rounded list, including old favorites, heirlooms, trusted producers, newbies, paste, cherry, early and other interesting varieties. Plants will be in quart size containers in our own custom-made organic soil mix.

We’re also offering Sweet basil plants this year for those who need fresh basil on hand, enjoy fresh pesto, like to dry it for winter use, or simply love to garnish your creations.

Please check out our complete list below.

Prices are: $4.50 each or 3 for $12.
Here’s to a tasty season!
A few facts:
-Heirloom varieties have often been handed down through generations and come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes and colors. They are open-pollinated and therefore great for seed savers.
-Hybrid varieties are the direct result of cross-breeding two or more varieties together and their seeds do not breed true to the parent plant. They generally offer a more uniform yield than heirloom varieties.
-Determinate varieties typically are short-vined plants that seldom need staking. Blossoms and fruit develop about the same time.
-Indeterminate varieties typically are long-vined plants that bear fruit continuously. Some may even continue to fruit until frost. All indeterminates should be caged or staked.
-Open-Pollinated Varieties grow true from seed producing seedlings that are identical to the parent plant. Good choice for seed savers.
-OG – Organic Varieties
-Where we got our seeds: Fedco Seed Company, Johnny’s Seed Company.

Aunt Ruby’s German Green (Indeterminate) Fedco describes these as large green tomatoes with oblate 12-16 oz fruits that blush lightly yellow and develop an amber-pink tinge on the blossom end when ripe. Flavor is described as sweet and tart, rich and spicy. This open-pollinated variety is considered by some to be the best green eating tomato and an essential ingredient in salsa verde. Introduced in the 1993 Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook, these tomatoes originate from Ruby Arnold of Greenville, TN, who got them from her grandfather who emigrated from Germany. Aunt Ruby’s were recently nominated to Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.

Black Prince OG (Indeterminate) Fedco’s description drew us to this variety a couple of years ago and we are still impressed. ‘These iridescent, garnet-colored, globe-shaped 5-7oz. fruits are among the most uniformly handsome in the tomato kingdom’. Besides being pretty, these tomatoes have earned a reputation for their outstanding flavor and without a tendency to crack. Replacing Black Krim, so for those who ordered B.K. last year, try these – we think you’ll be pleased.
Hails from Irkutsk, Siberia.

Bobcat (Determinate) We grew Bobcat for the first time last year and are happy to keep it on the list. Large, 6-10 oz. red, slightly oblate tomatoes with great looks, disease resistance, thick skins, midseason maturity and excellent flavor – this write up from Fedco convinced us to try it in the first place. Prolific fruiter on a huge plant with large leaves and thick stems. Taste is described as slightly spicy with a hint of sweetness. A good replacement for Big Beef, one of our usual varieties but now available only as Monsanto seed.

Cherokee Purple OG (Indeterminate) Cherokee Purple is a must-have variety in your garden. One of our most awaited tomatoes, my mouth is salivating just writing this description. Joseph says ‘These are my favorite ever. They do not always produce tons of fruit and may crack but definitely have the best flavor’. A Tennessee native heirloom open-pollinated variety, C.P.’s are said to have originated with the Cherokee Indians. Fedco describes them as ‘sweet rich juicy winey’ with fruits averaging 10-13 oz. Skin is a brownish-purple with dark green shoulders and brick-red flesh. Expect some concentric cracking. Some tomato growers recommend keeping the vines unpruned to prevent sunburn.

Goldie OG (Indeterminate) According to our records this open-pollinated variety was another customer favorite last year. We can confirm Fedco’s assertion that this is one of the best orange tomatoes, with a rich flavor and an extraordinary velvety texture. Deep orange beefsteak fruits average 16-20 oz. and are very productive. Despite a tendency to cat-face under cold and/or excessively wet conditions, this variety typically does very well in our area.

Green Zebra OG (Indeterminate) Described as having a delicious, sweet, rich flavor, Green Zebra’s are also some of the most unique-looking tomatoes out there. Small-medium size fruits (4-5 oz.) with a green dark green striped exterior ripening to a yellow blush and an emerald green interior. Fedco reports that this open-pollinated variety has perfect exteriors that hold up under adverse conditions and don’t crack. We think they are especially fun in summer tomato salads and for garnishing.

Mark Twain OG (Indeterminate) New to us this year, this is a rare variety with an intriguing name. Professed to have a ‘deep red interior’ and ‘full-bodied flavor’, this ribbed heirloom beefsteak tomato ripens in a range of sizes (8-24 oz!) yet they don’t crack and can continue to produce late in the season. We felt the literary calling to promote the tomato named for a man who wrote a story in which the character was saved finding a garden full of ripe tomatoes.

New Girl Hybrid (Indeterminate) New Girl is a good way to get a jump start on the tomato season as it is the earliest maturing tomato we’re growing this year (averaging 62 days to maturity). Johhny’s touts this medium-sized red variety as a prolific, solid performer that is better tasting and more disease resistant than Early Girl. Nice shape, size, and color – what folks expect a tomato to be. A must have in Joseph’s Garden.

Pink Brandywine OG (Indeterminate) This popular potato-leaf variety is a nice, meaty beefsteak tomato, averaging about a pound. Fedco describes it as having a ‘perfect tartness’. These large oblate tomatoes have pink hues, smooth red flesh, and thick skins – great for sandwiches. A big seller for us again last year.

Rose OG (Indeterminate) Considered a Brandywine rival, Rose is a large (10+ 0z.), meaty, flavorful addition to the garden. An Amish heirloom that offers good yield with a deep rose-red color. Great-tasting variety for slicing and sandwiches. If you are a Brandywine fan, this may be its Waterloo.

Taxi OG (Determinate) An early producing variety of 4-6oz. baseball-sized lemon yellow tomatoes. Very prolific, with blemish free skins and sweet taste. An easy to grow variety on a compact plant, Taxi is geared to give you a lot of fruit early in the season.

Green Doctors Frosted OG (Cherry Indeterminate) A new variety for us in the cherry category. GDF is touted as sweet, delicious, with very low acidity. Fruits are green with a silver frosting and blush gold when ripe. Plants are large and rambling but are prolific providers of the oval gems. Named for two doctors who have authored books about heirloom tomatoes.

Lucia Grape Hybrid (Grape Indeterminate) Another new variety for us this year – we’re trying this as an alternative to Sun Gold (cherry) for its resistance to splitting. Said to have the same great complexity of sweet and tart flavors as their smaller rivals, they are also very prolific and bore fruit by mid-July in the Northeast, so we can expect fruit even earlier here.

Matt’s Wild Cherry OG (Rampant Indeterminate) We admit we got a little annoyed having to continue to pick these little (5/8-3/4) sweet bombs of flavor, but what a decadent complaint. Vigorous, disease-resistant plants bearing intensely sweet (high sugar content) and flavorful small, deep red cherry tomatoes. Try in fresh salsa or just pop ‘em in your mouth for a sweet explosion. Also great from the freezer (just freeze on cookie sheets, then throw into a ziplock)– we’ve been enjoying them this winter! A wild looking plant from seed collected in the wild near Hidalgo in eastern Mexico.

Peacevine OG (Cherry Indeterminate) Almost identical to SuperSweet 100s in fruit size and growth habit, we thought we’d give Peacevine Organic a try. Said to bear ‘gazillions of sweet clusters each with 8 or so 1” fruits’. Called Peacevine because of its high and gamma-amino butyric acid content – a natural nervous system sedative. Also has loads of Vitamin C packed into these richly flavored cuties.

Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (Cherry Indeterminate) One of our more popular hybrid cherry varieties with sweet 1” fruits produced in clusters. Very prolific (you may even tire of picking them!) Fedco stresses that the plants should be staked and the fruits have a tendency to split after rain.

PASTE Varieties
Amish Paste OG (Paste Indeterminate) With 26 listings in the 2011 Seed Savers Exchange, this variety has an amazing following among tomato lovers. We’ve had good luck with these medium-sized (8 oz.), red, oxheart fruits and they are a must have in Joseph’s Garden. Fedco customers’ comments about this variety include ‘excellent sauce and canning tomato’, ‘heavy yield and good flavor’, and ‘my favorite tomato in the past eight years’. A Wisconsin open-pollinated heirloom from Amish farmers dating to the 1870s.

Casady’s Folly OG (Determinate) A new paste variety to supplement Speckled Roman, which did not do well for us last year (succumbed to blossom end rot). Fedco states that Casady’s Folly has even crazier striping and coloration but with much better disease resistance. The 5oz. fruits have narrow bodies with nippled ends, have firm skin and are solid and meaty, perfect for sauces. If you loved Speckled Romans like we do, these may be our new favorite paste tomato.

Paisano (Determinate) A Roma-esque variety in the true San Marzano style. Bearing 4-5oz. fruits, Paisano is solid and meaty with good flavor. High yielding medium sized plant.

Speckled Roman OG (Paste Indeterminate) Our second favorite tomato that’s fun on the outside and fabulous on the inside. We loved the deep red interiors packed with flavor. An open-pollinated variety that Fedco states is an underground favorite of many seed savers. The 4-5 oz. red cylindrical fruits with orange-yellow striations are prolific and reach maturity early in the season.

Vilms (Indeterminate) Another new paste variety for us that is said to produce pounds and pounds and pounds of 2oz. paste tomatoes. Blemish free and solid, these tasty plums are versatile (good on salads and sandwiches too!), prolific and persevering (in Fedco trials they did not succumb to blights). An easy growing, multipurpose variety.

Basil Called the ‘insanity plant’ by ancient Greeks and Romans, basil has come a long way since then to be named the 2003 Herb of the year. An indispensable herb in any garden. Please note that basil plants do not take frost – even temperatures in the 30s may set it back.

Sweet This is the one we grow every year. Plants get nice and bushy and are the heaviest yielding variety available. This variety is recommended for all around kitchen use, drying, and making pesto.

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