Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Heirloom Tomatoes, Everything Old Is New Again?

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I actually got my tomato plants into the soil yesterday! That is a record for me--usually I don't get them it until the first week in June. I am pleased with my accomplishment. :)

For the past few years I have planted Lemon Boy. They have a wonderful fruity flavor and are a pretty yellow color. They are not heirlooms, but I purchased 2 at a recent visit to Steins since they are a favorite. I also picked up a Sweet Cluster--a small 2" red type.

Last year I ventured into the heirloom varieties with Mr. Stripey. Those were fun. Huge striped red and yellow fruits with a great flavor. The photo is from last year's Mr. Stripey. You can see it was mostly yellow. The tag on this year's shows a primarily red tomato.

Since I liked Mr. Stripey so much, I purchased it again this year and ventured into a few more heirlooms. A gardening friend recommended I try Brandywine, so this year I picked one up.

Steins had a marvelous selection of heirlooms this year, and the plants looked very healthy. I think the price was 3/ $6.50. A few more heirloom varieties jumped into my cart:  Mortgage Lifter--a meaty red prolific tomato, said to have sold for $1.00 during the depression, Aunt Ruby's German Green--a large yellow and green striped tomato, Green Zebra--a small green and yellow tomato, and Cherokee Purple--an unusual mahogany and red colored tomato.

Sadly, tomatoes do not grow well in my vegetable garden. I must have some virus in there or something. Instead, I plant them on the southern exposure of my house in my perennial bed. The tomato plants love the heat that radiates from the foundation after dark. Granted they look a little odd in with the flowers, but hey, I am a tomato lover so they look good to me! 

No need to worry about having too many tomatoes. They freeze very well. All I do is wash them off, cut out the core, and throw into a freezer Zip-loc bag. Because the freezing action breaks down the structure of the fruit, they are wonderful in soup or spaghetti sauce  I am rather a peasant type cook, so I don't even peel them. You can rub off the peelings very easily when they thaw a bit before you put them into the soup pot, however. 

Can't wait for the first tomato and mayo sandwich!

I noticed in Brookfieldnow that Dixon Elementary School was including heirloom tomatoes in their fundraiser on Sat. May 17th, from 9AM to Noon. Price: $5.00/plant. Proceeds go to purchasing white boards for the school.


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