Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

Heirloom tomato seedlings in a window

It’s almost spring and for an edible gardener, that usually comes down to three things: starting, transplanting, and then loving on those luscious summer tomatoes! Are you ready?!

The five little things that made my week…

1. Heirloom tomato seedlings doing their morning stretch in front of the window. I’ve started eight varieties this season in a rainbow of colors from yellow to blue! (Which variety are you most excited about?)

Volunteer tomato seedlings

2. But why do I even bother seeding tomatoes when these little volunteers are threatening to take over my strawberry planter? It’s a funny story, actually. We usually keep a soaking tub in the sink for dirty dishes, then empty the gray water into our garden. (It’s California and we’re in a drought; every drop counts!) I guess we must have soaked a salsa bowl at some point. They’re mystery volunteers and I’m curious to see what kind of fruits we’ll get in a few months!

Young tomato plant

3. Somehow through all the holiday hubbub and a very busy winter, we missed this hefty tomato start that was growing on the other side of our strawberry planter! It’s grown just under a foot tall and still going strong.

Volunteer tomato plants

4. Speaking of volunteers, I’ve written about the wild tomato patch in the lower part of my yard (what I like to call a “naturalized garden,” but is really just a junk yard for pallets, wood logs, old chairs, and other things we collect from our neighbor’s curbs). I’ve been letting those tomatoes self-seed every year for the past few years, and aside from the occasional residual watering, they don’t get much attention. But they totally thrive every year from spring through winter! In fact, last year’s plants are just now dying back and in their place, a dozen more have popped up already. The largest volunteer is almost two feet tall!

Tomato blossoms

5. Our first tomato blossoms! They’ve managed to survive a couple of cold spells (and curious chickens) this winter, so they’re already proving to be quite hardy.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring โ€” all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ยป

18 Comments

  • Avatar
    Ruth Fuita
    May 10, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    The tomato volunteers are probably from your vemicompost. I will often just pack vermicompost and composted steer manure together and put them in seed starter containers for free tomato seedlings. Of course, you never know what you will get.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Julie @ Into the Southern Wild
    March 7, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Linda, I had the pleasure of hearing you speak last week in Atlanta and exploring your blog this week. I’m looking forward to seeing how your garden grows this year as I am (finally) getting to put one in as well! Happy spring! ~Julie

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      March 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Julie, I hope you found my presentation helpful! Thank you for reading and good luck with your garden!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Cary Bradley
    March 7, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Adore those volunteer tomatoes and that they have their own ranch! Years ago I mixed up seeds from Pineapple, Paul Robeson, Cherokee Purple, Ananas Noir and 2 or 3 others, and slipped and mixed them all up! Adore their stories so didn’t want to plant and not know what I would have. Consequently, I’ve been avoiding using those seeds. You’ve given me the resolve to just plant them out and enjoy whatever comes up! THANK YOU!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      March 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      I too have a “grab bag” of tomato seeds that I’ve forgotten to label… I usually start a few of those for fun as “extra” tomato plants and give some to friends as well. The lead-up to harvest time is especially exciting when I don’t know whether those green tomatoes will stay green (for the naturally green varieties) or ripen into a rainbow of other colors! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Harry Allen Rivnatz
    March 6, 2015 at 11:16 am

    got to love volunteers, typically the healthiest plants, real survivors

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      March 6, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Totally agree!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Christina Conrad
    March 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I’m excited about growing Purple Calabash tomatoes this year – my husband and I picked up a packet of seeds from Jefferson’s Monticello a year or so ago. We had some bugs destroy them last summer, so we’re trying again this year.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      March 6, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      I’m growing Purple Calabash this year too!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Misti
    March 6, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I think in the next week we’ll get our tomatoes plants. this is the first year in several we didn’t start from seed—baby kind of threw that off. That’s ok, we’ve got a good selection of heirlooms to choose from at our local nursery.

    Now I’m excited for tomatoes! LOL, thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      March 6, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Enjoy! Picking out starts is just as exciting as seeding new plants. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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