Tomatoes are amazing. Or rather, tomato seeds are amazing. (Don’t get me wrong, tomatoes are amazing too.) I just finished replanting my pepper plant seeds (a lot of the hot peppers failed to germinate), but when I checked my tomatoes–every pot had someone in it. Amazing. It’s amazing because none of the seed was new. Terrific viability.
I got a text from a friend the other day that said “I had seed from 1998 that came up!”
Let me guess . . . “Was it a tomato?” I wrote back immediately.
And yet, I always overplant. Just in case. I mean, why lose the time starting over if the seeds are too old? And those seeds are so small. There are so many (one of the reasons I have so many old seeds!)
So I plant two or three of all the kinds I like to grow, plus those new ones someone gave me, plus. . . Before you know it I have 30 or 40 plants. Yes, I’ve posted about it before. I will say this: Last year I didn’t plant any from seed–I just bought a few plants at the local farmer’s market. See there, I’m not a total addict.
What does one do with so many tomato plants? Let’s see, six for me, six for mom, there’s my neighbor, the community garden. . . Yeah, you try your best to give them away. Kind of like the jokes about anonymous people leaving zucchini in your unlocked car.
What kinds of tomatoes do I like to grow? I like to grow really big tomatoes (Tiffen Mennonite is one). I just do, okay? No good reason. I’m not even a big fan of raw tomatoes. If it’s a big paste tomato, like Amish Paste, so much the better. I make my own salsa and spaghetti sauce. I prefer my freezer salsa recipe, but I also can some. When I really end up with too many tomatoes I just put them in a ziploc freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. I have a great chili recipe that I make in the winter and then I just add those frozen tomatoes right to the pot. Easy peasy.
Another thing I do if I have a bumper crop is dry them. They’re called “sun-dried” tomatoes but most people don’t actually do it out in the sun because then you have to deal with the possibility of flies. . . gross.
Even though I have my favorites, I always try a new one if it comes my way. Like at a seed giveaway or exchange. I seriously don’t buy new tomato seeds since I have so many. A new one I got this year at an exchange is called azoychka tomato. I never heard of it before. Because it was most likely the freshest seed, those germinated first and are looking strong! Can’t wait to see how they turn out.
Do you have a favorite tomato to plant? (or eat?) Let me know in the comments below.
Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!