Category: heirloom tomatoes

Doctor, Doctor, we have a case of bottom end rot.

Bottom/Blossom end rot. Powdery mildew. Early summer blight. Late summer blight. Bacterial speck. 

These diseases strike terror straight into my tomato growing soul. Almost all of my tomato plants have a case of powdery mildew. The days have been so humid and wet, it has been almost impossible to keep my tomato plants well ventilated and dry. When I saw the tell-tale white powdery specks on the leaves I knew I needed to break out the milk. Yes, the milk. Apparently, a solution of 1 part milk to 9 parts water will help in the fight against powdery mildew. Why? Scientists are not sure (says the internet). My friend, an actual Doctor of Plant Genetics (fancy!) had never heard of this before, but thought it would have something to do with pH levels. She also suggested that I grow roses in my tomato gardens next year as an indicator species. The roses will get the powdery mildew first and I will be able to safeguard my tomato plants before they too get sick. Great suggestion, Doctor, great suggestion. In vineyards, at the end of each row you will see a rosebush for this very same reason. 

Plants are amazing. 

Small bit of powdery mildew. I trimmed the plants before I could get a photo of really bad mildew. 

Now, the case of bottom end rot. What can I do? This disease is caused by a deficiency of calcium in the soil when the plant was developing. I have been saving my eggshells all summer to add to the soil of my plants and have fortified the soil with a calcium rich green fertilizer. I think I might have to just give up, let those bottoms rot and hope for the best. 

Blossom End Rot. Sigh.
Feuerwerk, Lemon Boy & Eva’s Purple Ball Tomatoes
Greens, greens, greens.
Very trimmed tomato plants.
Delicious cherry tomatoes.
Tastiest tomato of the garden to date: tiny little coyote yellow tomatoes from matchbox garden and seed co.
Broccoli gone to seed, all the pretty yellow flowers.
Mixed spicy greens.
Mixed italian greens.

La Primavera!

I am relishing the sunny (and even rainy) days of spring. This is the first spring I have had a real backyard since I was a kid. Eager plans were formed quickly in the early days of spring for an abundant garden full of heirloom and rare varietals. I poured over seed catelogues from Urban Harvest and Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. With varietal names like Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato, Mountain Princess, Mrs. Bot’s Italian Giant, Perfection Fennel, how could I not be excited? But, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I bought dozens of lovely seed packages with exotic names and did not start my seeds indoors early enough to use most of them this year. Alas, next year, next year.

Although my garden is not an heirloom vegetable utopia, I am pleased as punch (yes, as punch) with what is going on in my backyard. I sowed some of my fancy seeds and bought seedlings from various non-fancy locations and a few designer tomato plants from local farmers markets. One thing I have learned about myself in this process is that I am OBSESSED with gardening and the miracle of plant life. Planting lemon cucumber or romano red flamed bush bean seeds and watching them erupt from the ground is incredible. Oh, nature. You amaze me.

I left my heart in San Francisco.

August was a whirlwind of guests, last minute trip planning and vacationing. California was a gastronomic adventure of gluttonous proportions. Yosemite excluded, we ate fantastically.

We arrived in San Francisco, famished from a 5-hour flight with only two things on our minds: get to Yosemite and find the legendary California burger chain, In-N-Out. We found one, and what a burger! So fresh, so simple, so juicy. Yum!

We arrived in Yosemite, stuffed full from our burgers, content to sit on the Wawona Hotel porch, eating local cheeses and wine, listening to the whimsical piano stylings of Tom Bopp.

While Yosemite may have lacked in flavour, it was more than made up by in awe-inspiring landscapes and mountaintop engagements. After three wonderful nights in Yosemite we made our way to San Francisco, through Santa Cruz and alongside the Pacific Ocean on Route 1.

Saturday morning! The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market! Glee!

We bought Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, Acme bread, Saint Benoit Yogurt, heirloom tomatoes, mission figs and peaches for picnicking.

Blue Bottle Coffee Co. fresh brewed filter drip coffee. Amazing. It took about 20 minutes to get a fresh filter drip coffee and a latte, but it was worth the wait.

Beautiful okra.

Heirloom tomatoes ($1.99/lb!) were everywhere. I could move to San Francisco based on my first glimpse of produce alone. *swoon*


One of the best things we ate in San Francisco – a beer battered taco with salsa de arbol, cabbage and avocado mayo from Primavera’s stand by the pier.

…to be continued…