Friday, February 1, 2013

TDN Newsletter: February 1st, 2013 -- 2013 Tomato Line Up!!

Two Dog Organic Nursery 
The 2013 Tomato Line Up!!!  
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Dear Gardening Friends,

Drumroll, please....our 2013 Heirloom Tomato line-up is now online!! Please click here to go to the beautiful and completely revised Tomato page on our website!! This year we're offering a total of 52 varieties, with 21 of them being brand new!
Something New...  

We're trying something different this time: we're taking Pre-Orders through PayPal (or email and mailed in check) on your tomatoes, which you can then pick up at our Spring Kick-Off Sale & Food Drive. This way you can read, ponder, decide, order, and your new babies will be ready and waiting at the Sale. Plus, it should give us early clues as to what the buying trends might be, which will then inform our second and third round of seed sowing.


 After last year's "storm of the century", we're hoping that Mother Nature will smile on us the weekend of March 16th and 17th. Please do plan to join us for this wild and wooly Sale! As always, it will also be a Food Drive for the L.A. Regional Food Bank, who does such great work helping those in need in Los Angeles County. Your generous food donation will be your "admission" into the Sale; you'll then receive 10% off Everything: Seedlings, Soils, Trees, Blueberries, EarthBoxes, Smart Pots, etc. And at the end of the event, Alex & I will donate 5% of the total sales to the Food Bank as a monetary donation. It's a win-win!! 

Click here for more details, and plan to come with your like-minded friends!

Tomato Page Updates...

 The Tomato descriptions are formatted a little differently this year; we hope it keeps the pertinent info clearly visible. There are also these new buttons to check out: 

An all new "Growing Tips & Info"  Here you'll find all you need to know about Planting, Watering, Fertilizing, Staking, plus a discussion about Common Problems and lots of Tomato Terminology. 
Plus, there's a "Quick A-Z" listing for a fast look at what we're growing this year.
A "Cool Tolerant Varieties" page, which lists those tomatoes that like the coastal climate and will grow late into the year.

And a new  "Tomatoes by Season" which will help you select your varieties for the longest harvest period possible.

One to a Box, please...

And, although I mentioned it in an earlier Newsletter, I've reiterated our plan to grow larger-fruiting tomato varieties just one to an EarthBox. Last year, as an experiment, and with a great desire to finally have success with Mr. Stripey (which was my beloved Aunt Martha's favorite tomato), I grew just one seedling in an EarthBox, and ended up with 24 gorgeous beefsteaks!! So, we're going to suggest you try your big ones solo in the EarthBox, and perhaps the Cherries and other small fruiting varieties two to an EarthBox.  

Spring Offerings Taking Shape...

We will also be offering several other new varieties in the Spring line-up; the "Spring Veggies" page will be revised and ready to go within the next few weeks. Eggplants and Peppers are already sown and on their heat mats, and soon we'll be sowing many more of the amazing Warm Season categories!

Sweet Potato Reports

Sweet Potatoes will return later in the season. Some of us did better than others with this new addition to last Spring. Ours only grew to the size of Fingerling Potatoes! I suspected this might happen because I ignored our own Growing Guide (link) and tried to grow them in our native soil, which is mostly clay. I harvested and cured them nonetheless and have eaten a few, and they're actually very tasty! I'm excited to try again in a few months, but this time I'll grow them in 30-gallon Smart Pots!

A couple customers answered the call for a Sweet Potato Report:

Our customer, Ceebs Bailey, took this prize with this one! She wrote on the Two  Dog facebook page:

 "Finally got around to harvesting my sweet potatoes today and this is the biggest one of the bunch. Those seedlings took off and were happy and busy during the waning days of summer. If only I had pulled and cured them sooner, they'd be ready for the Thanksgiving table. Funny how nature and our customs collide like that. Thanks for the sweet potato fun, Two Dog!"
It's always fun trying something new! Ceebs grew hers in half whiskey barrels; this gave me the idea for growing them in big Smart Pots. We'll see how it goes next time around. Oh, and the 30-gallon Smart Pots, which are new to us this year, will make happy homes for your tomatoes as well!

Below: Our Customer Leslie's Beauregards had abundant vines and small fruits, but will try again this year!!

There is still time for Cool Season Veggies!! 
Meanwhile, we've got plenty of time for the yummy Cool Season veggies. I think the Fall/Winter garden is the prettiest of the two. The kales, chard, colorful cauliflowers and cabbages are as ornamental as they are delicious! Don't miss the boat on growing some of these beauties! Here are a few photos of our garden in January.  


We just planted another round of Carrots & Beets and will keep the Lettuces coming; don't forget how fabulous they grow in this lovely cool weather! Lettuces are continuing to sell like mad. We've got Red Salad Bowl, Astro Arugula, Romaine Trio and a great new batch of sweet & crunchy Parris Island Cos ready, and very shortly, we'll have two hybrid Spinach varieties: Spargo and Renegade. Our Spargo, planted right around this time last year, lasted until the end of June! Renegade is new to us, and it has a reputation as one of the most warm weather tolerant varieties available...Yay! We love Spinach!


Leeks & Onions Returning! 

Walla Walla Onion & Lancelot Leek Seedlings will return just in time for our Spring Sale. Our Fall Leeks are almost ready to harvest. They're so easy! Here's a tiny video we shot on the spur on the moment showing just how simple they are to plant.
Planting Leeks
Planting Leeks

(Otherwise known as Joaquin's Mom's garden in Argentina)

We recently received these great photos from Paz (one of Alex's 4 amazing sisters!)...she's having a great time sampling Sun Gold and Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes, Baby Persian Cucumbers and Spanish Musica pole beans!! These are all grown from the seeds we sent home with Joaquin last July! Beautiful harvests (and a beautiful sister-in-law) in the Southern Hemisphere!

 This is Paz!                                        This is me in 1975!  
What is it about gardening that makes one want  
to wear a peasant blouse? LOL!      
Oh, and an NRDC Update:

Since so many of you so kindly responded to our request for Letters of Recommendation to be included in our NRDC Growing Green submission, I thought you might like an update: I called early in January, and was told that the 4 winners would be notified by phone just a few weeks before the big awards ceremony held in San Francisco in early April. Those not selected will not hear anything... They want to keep the element of surprise, because the San Francisco shindig is going to be a big anniversary affair for NRDC, and there will be lots of press. I've put it out of my mind - or rather, it's been temporarily crowded out as we prepare for Spring - but absolutely we will announce any news the second we can ascertain it!!! Still have our fingers crossed!

Well, I think that's it for the moment. We sincerely hope you are pleased with this year's Tomato selections. We'll see you soon, and thanks, as always!!
Jo Anne, Alex, Jake & Lalo

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