My neighbor tells me that we've passed both "dogwood winter" and "blackberry winter" (terms our ancestors used to describe spring frosts), so that means tomato planting season is just around the corner. Of course, as unpredictable as the weather has been lately, it's good to have a bucket or sheet (or better yet a small hoop house!) handy to put over the tomatoes in case we get a late frost.
Here are the varieties of tomatoes and peppers that I currently have available. Note that the tomato plants are indeterminate, which means the plants climb up to 10 feet, so they need to be trellised and most likely suckered.
Cherokee Purple is a variety originally from the Tennessee area that was cultivated by the Cherokees. The productive plants produce dusky rose to purple colored, 12 oz. - 1 lb. fruits. The tomato's rich, complex and sweet flavors make it a popular market variety.
Oxheart produces large, deep pink heart-shaped fruits that have few seeds and a sweet, rich, complex flavor. The tomatoes are meaty while also juicy. The variety was originally brought over from Russia.
Ruby Orr is a variety typically only found in Southwestern North Carolina. It is similar to German Johnsons in size and shape. It produces a meaty, flavorful, sometimes knotty fruit that turns pink with yellow shoulders when mature. It is excellent for BLTs.
Yellow Roma is a unique variety that retains the great flavor of the Roma but has an exotic color. It is very productive all season. The thick wall of the small oblong Roma makes it the perfect tomato for home-canned salsa, sauces and catsup.
Arkansas Traveler is a 100-year-old southern heirloom variety that produces well in hot weather, humidity or drought as it is highly resistant to cracking and disease. The smooth, rounded rose-colored tomatoes are 6-8 oz. and very flavorful and sweet.
Sweet One Million Cherry produces high yields of super-sweet bite-size tomatoes that have excellent, hybrid disease resistance. The large vigorous plant has long chains of smooth, dark red, 1 to 1.5" fruits. It matures nicely and continues producing until frost.
HEIRLOOM OR OPEN POLLINATED PEPPERS
Gamba is a green bell pepper that turns red if left on the plant long enough. It excels as a frying or stuffing pepper. The thick, meaty flesh holds up well and sweetens during cooking. It produces flattened bells, 3" in diameter and 1.5" deep with rich red color.
Golden Treasure is an Italian variety, excellent for frying, roasting and fresh eating. Long, 9" fruits ripen from green to shiny yellow. Sweet flavor with medium thick flesh and tender skin.
Corno Di Taro is an Italian variety. The tall plant produces large amounts of narrow, slightly curved 8-10" long fruits. It is best roasted or fried.
Sweet Big Red is a high yielding variety that produces a sweet, thick-fleshed bell that ripens green to red.
Golden Summer is a yellow mild and sweet pepper with exceptionally thick walls. It starts out lime-green, then turns a sunny gold at maturity.
Request a full plant list by emailing me (Megan) at email@example.com. M R Gardens sells on a sliding scale so that all people in the community can enjoy healthily grown plants.
The M R Gardens plant wagon is typically open 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in April and May. Email or call 828.333.4151 to request exact directions. In the case of inclement weather, please check the M R Gardens Facebook page to make sure the plant stand is open. Please note the wagon will not be open May 12. Read more about M R Gardens seedling sales.