Epic Tomatoes

In these few days following our family’s Christmas celebration, we are beginning another period of pandemic lockdown. Here in Southern Ontario we will stay in for another 28 days (at least) until January 23rd. That’s not so difficult for us as retired people, but with our snowy weather we may get a little cabin fever. During our first lockdown in March, my seed starting and indoor gardening experiments kept me occupied and I enjoyed making beer at home.

Tomato seeds in seed starting trays
Pandemic seed starting

Some of the seeds and seed starting equipment and the Mr. Beer brewing kit were certainly “inspired” Christmas gifts last year, and will be used again this winter!

Mr Beer home brew kit
My Mr. Beer home brewing project

This week, I am sorting through my Christmas gifts and tidying up. One of my favourite gifts this year was a book about growing tomatoes. The book is called “Epic Tomatoes How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time”. The book is awesome and will keep me busy over the winter. It’s not just a book about gardening. It is obviously written by someone that just has a love of growing tomatoes. It covers his favourite varieties, seed starting, transplanting and troubleshooting and a lot of other things. I particularly enjoyed reading about dense planting during seed starting – I think I’m up for that this year.

I have always grown a few tomatoes here and there, but last winter I started tomatoes from seed indoors, and had SO MANY seedlings, that I transplanted into raised beds that my husband acquired and put together for me. We had so much success with the tomatoes, and yes we grew a FEW other vegetables as well – but why not go with the flow and plant what works?

Multi coloured heirloom tomatoes
I’d like to grow more varieties of tomatoes this year, like these – which were a gift that we used to make Bruschetta in a Jar.
Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time

Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time

Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier provides everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes, from planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to various pests and tomato diseases, explaining how best to avoid them. With beautiful photographs and intriguing tomato profiles throughout, Epic Tomatoes celebrates one of the most versatile and delicious crops in your garden. 

So with 3 packets of tomato seeds, we grew hundreds of tomatoes without having to buy nursery seedling plants. What I would do differently this year, is improve my planning of the tomato plant layout with more supports, maybe choose some different seed varieties, and be just a bit more careful in the timing of my planting and harvesting.

Green tomatoes in October
Green tomatoes in October

We definitely had lots of green tomatoes left on the vine when frost occurred, so that was a shame. I attribute this to having a late planting out date here. Although I had my seedlings ready to plant in May, we had frost this year much later than usual, so the plants did not get quite a long enough growing season. Perhaps if I plant out at my usual Mid-May time and then cover the plants to protect from frost, we will have better luck. It’s easy to think about these things while I sip coffee and gaze out the window at the snow.

Tomato plants in need of support
These overgrown tomatoes could have used more support and organization

Anyway, after I put down my new book, I headed downstairs to check out my seed starting trays and inspect this year’s supplies. There were a few tomato seed packets in my Christmas stocking as well, so I just have to remind myself not to start my seeds too early.

This post contains affiliate links for products which I have used and enjoy.

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