Spring Posts

Zero gravity bites.

Ground Control To Major Tomato

Silver reflective mulch has such a  space age look and feel that we put Matt Mason Spaceman on the case. Matt reports that he needed shades as he gently floated over our freshly-planted tomato plants — despite the overcast day. Finding a few dry hours has proven challenging. But we’ve been disciplined and avoided the temptation of planting […]

On the prowl for grape jelly.

Orioles Blaze Through Town

It does not feel like spring until we’ve had a visit from our migrating friends, the Baltimore Orioles. Once we hear their song in the trees, out comes the grape jelly and the show begins! Another bold neighborhood bird with a more muted plumage is the mewing Catbird. A taste for jam brings him to […]

A chilly day for our annual visitors.

A Snowy Spring Welcome

Our plans to plant tomatoes this weekend were scuttled by an unseasonable blast of cold and SNOW. It has sent our Baltimore Orioles into a shivery funk. The forecast shows improvement at the beginning of the week, but all thought planting has been put on hold for now. Out come sweaters and coats again. Brrr!


Jonquils are in bloom announcing the coming of spring. At TomatoTown, that means a trip to James Worley’s garden to visit our young tomato plants.  We found James hard at work busily watering his seedlings. It has been a rough spring with lower temperatures that usual, but we know these sturdy little sprouts will be ready […]


The Enkindled Spring by D. H. Lawrence This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes. I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration Of green fires lit on […]

Costoluto Genovese

Costoluto Genovese

Wednesday morning, Farmer J found Farmer T in the midst of a victory dance. He had discovered a blushing Costoluto Genovese, a fluted Italian variety from Baker Creek. Of course, any tomato is reason to celebrate, but the first ripe fruit of the season is especially noteworthy. Tomato season has officially begun!

A newly-ripened Jet Star

Red is the Color

Farmer J and her mother have an ongoing, friendly competition over who hosts the first red tomato of the season.  This year, the award goes to her mother with not one, but two Jet Star tomatoes.  They were picked blushing on June 6th, and photographed fully ripe on June 11. This is a record for […]

Farmer R gives the seedlings a long drink

With a Little Help from Our Friends

  We are excited about this year’s new crop of tomatoes!  A few days of ill-timed rain kept us from planting for several days, but a fortunate window presented itself and we just managed to get our plants in before a deluge.  Torrential rain after planting is most welcome and it will give our young […]

Seedlings ready for transplanting

The List

Our varieties for 2012 1. Abe Lincoln 2. Absinthe 3. Anna Russian 4. Aunt Lou’s Underground Railroad 5. Aunt Ruby’s German Green 6. Black Cherry 7. Black from Tula 8. Black Krim 9. Brandywine Sudduth’s Strain 10. Bull’s Heart 11. Burraker’s Favorite 12. Carbon 13. Cherokee Green 14. Cherokee Purple 15. Cowlick Brandywine 16. Dr. […]

Lovely, Lanky Plants

And They’re Off…

Stormy weather pursues us on tomato pickup day. At least the looming rain clouds produced no hail this year. Whatever the weather, it is always a very exciting day that marks the beginning of a new tomato season. When James puts out his list in February, we spend snowed-in days pouring over tomato descriptions trying to […]

On the Hunt

Rockin’ Robin

These sultry, summer temperatures have seduced us. We never plant tomatoes before the first full week of May, but the temptation to experiment proved too great. We planted twelve tomatoes in our back plot and are hoping for the best. While we worked, our digging drew the attention of an American Robin who bravely darted between […]

Spring Tilling

Farmer T dusts off the garden tiller to help prepare the soil for our young tomato plants.

Cherokee Purple on Basil

Planting Countdown

Here at TomatoTown, we’ve been busy making our final preparations in the garden. There is so much to do!  In one week, we’ll be ready to pick up our young tomato plants. This will be another year of experimentation with shape, color, and flavor. We’ll let you know the final list once we have picked […]

Drip Irrigation

Irrigation Station

With the promise of yet another hot summer, we’ve decided to invest in a drip irrigation system. With as many plants as we grow, our bucket brigade method gets a little tiresome as temperatures rise. James Worley has long encouraged us to take the plunge, so we headed over to see the way it works […]

Hops, tomatotown,


We introduced two varieties of hops to our garden a few years ago: Cascade and Chinook. While both plants have been fun, we’ve been impressed by how the Cascade plants have thrived and spread. They have flourished so well that, this year, Farmer J had to rethink her vine-training strategy. With the early warmth of spring, […]

James Cuts a Row of Beets for Guests.

Cabin Fever

James Worley hosted a Co-op Garden workshop Saturday. When James is not planting thousands of heirloom tomato seeds to supply Kansas City gardeners, incredibly, he finds the time to cultivate spring and fall crops in his impressive raised bed plots in his backyard. Having a chance to see James’ handy work up close is always […]

The Tomato Hydra

Farmer J admits that she can be a little too soft-hearted to be a true gardener.  Weeding still troubles her, but she is slowly coming around. To her horror, she discovered that weaving the branches into the fence sometimes results in the breakage of a branch or two.  While some might toss these branches into […]

The West 34

Farmer T’s mom is worried that we are working too hard in our garden. “You don’t have TomatoTown, you have TomatoCountry!” She’s right. We started off with 34 plants in the west plot and 16 in the east plot. (Click on the photo for the video!) Once we had the plants in the ground, we […]

It’s a Jungle in Here!

Plant Us! This is getting ridiculous! Our kitchen has become a very crowded nursery for our plantlings.  We managed to miss our planting window on Mother’s Day and heavy rains have prevented us from getting out and digging in the ground.  So we are left shuttling our tomatoes and peppers between porch and kitchen during […]

A Basket of Seedlings

You Say Tomato

On Saturday afternoon we paid a visit to James Worley, our favorite tomato aficionado.  James has been hard at work selecting and growing hundreds of heirloom tomato plants in his backyard greenhouse.  He is a great regional resource for tips on growing tomatoes and garden vegetables. http://kctomatotimes.wordpress.com/ Here at Tomato Town, we are growing around […]