Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Snows of Spring

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Already afternoon here on the mountain. Gail and I gave up on working outside today and she just left for Montpelier with a list of errands and a load of recycling. Hard to believe that yesterday I was working at the nursery in a T-shirt and shorts and during the past hour the temperature here dropped 5 degrees with a promise of snowfall by 3 this afternoon. Reports have already arrived of snow falling in a band from south of Williston through Bolton Flats and on up past Morrisville. Accumulation could amount to 6"-12" depending on how much water gets pulled out of the Atlantic. Last night's weather report said that if that happens, high elevations may receive more snow and Jay Peak on the Vermont-Canadian border may reopen for weekend skiing. Saturday is now estimated at 65-70 degrees...another weather roller coaster!

The seed industry is a marvel now days although I always need to issue the cautionary note about how understanding genetics has led to genetic engineering and modified seed which almost talks to the gardener. On one hand it's scary and on the other it's interesting and rewarding.

Tomatoes are a crop known the world 'round and loved by many. Last year I wrote about a trial I ran with Tomaccio's, the Sweet Raisin Tomato, hybridized in Israel using a wild cherry type with a mature height of over 7 feet there. I wrote on my former blog, Vermont Gardens how amazed I was with the packaging used to mail me a starter pack of plants. Last year was the worst year in history to try to grow tomatoes in Vermont but these cherry tomatoes grew well and produced nicely. They never made it to 9 feet tall but clumps (also called brix) of tomatoes kept me in business as I worked late at the nursery and needed a quick snack. My comments on this tomato are still available at the old VG site. Take a look.

This year there's a new tomato on the block (packet pictured above). It's Sweet Treats and it's the work of the Japanese seed company Sakata. Sweet Treats is a pink cherry tomato favored in the Far East because of its sweet flavor and balanced acidity. Sakata's marketing info says "good aroma, good texture and great taste."

The company brochure shows the stages of ripening and explains when to pick the fruit for long distance shipment, local shipments or farmers markets, or home gardeners use fresh from the garden. Here's their chart.

So whether you use Tomaccios, Sweet Treats, or one of the many tested cherry varieties on the market, I'm sure that you will find a fruit for your needs. I'll be growing some Sweet Treats at the nursery this year along side some more Tomaccios. It should be an interesting competition!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the only noise is from Alex slamming the back door as he heads out for his dog sitting duties. Bark, bow-wow, bark! Snowfall just began here.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
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