Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hello Again!

I apologize to the followers of this blog for neglecting it so badly. I have been swamped with the seed store and the garden but I'm here to bring you up to speed. Finally!!
This was the second year in a row the dreaded blight has hit. So depressing to nurse the seedlings from babies and see them months later get hit. I made a rookie mistake this year. Something I knew better than to do. I transplanted my seedlings into regular garden dirt instead of seed starting mix and lost about 1/3 of them. Then, I had a critter start digging up the plants when I planted out and then the blight. So between the 3 calamities, it was a poor season.
The sunflowers, peppers, beans and cucumbers went un-scathed. Thank you baby Jesus.
The good news is not everything was bad. I had some tomatoes that I loved and want to share with you.
Probably the star of the garden this year was Fleur de Reagir. Not only was it the most beautiful tomato I have ever grown, it avoided disease. I'm posting a photo because words cannot describe the beauty.
Fleur de Reagir
 I used to think that Marmande Garnier Rouge was the most beautiful but this one was exquisite. It's going to be hard to out do this one. I've never seen a tomato sliced that looked like this. It's listed as a black tomato but the color was more of a brick red.  The center where there is normally a core, it had a gel sac with seeds. Unusual. It's of course a French tomato as is Marmande Garnier Rouge. You have to hand it to the French for their gorgeous tomatoes. I'll be listing the seeds in a few weeks. I am waiting on more information about the history so stay tuned.
Fleur de Reagir

I will do an All star and Waste of Garden space in about 3 weeks where I will give a complete review of everything.
Took a little trip to Savannah in the midst of all this with my baby cousin. Soooo beautiful there. Wish I could buy one of those historic homes on one of the squares. Bonaventure cemetery. OMG beautiful. If you've never been it's worth the trip.
I give my word I'll post again in a couple of weeks. haha. Honest! In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of my sunflower photos to remind everyone to keep your faces towards the Sun.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happenings for 2014

Wow! I can't believe I have gone so long without writing a new post. I have a lot to say so get comfortable.
First I would like to thank all the people that are supporting my seed site with orders. God bless you and good gardening 2014!!
I am leaving for France on March 6th and returning on the 20th. I always bring home new seed varieties so it's a win/win. Also get to bring  back my Donkey milk soap. Sounds crazy but it makes your skin sooooooo soft. You can buy it in the U.S. on Amazon. Try it you'll be hooked. I always like to share the good stuff.

In a few weeks I want to do a post about Tommy Toe tomatoes and Landrace veggies. Something new that has become interesting to me.

I have the best growlist I have ever had but as you know I don't like to publish it until the middle of May but heres a preview: I am growing and releasing seed for a cross from my garden several years back. One cross produced two sister tomatoes; a pink beefsteak and a yellow beefsteak. They are both gorgeous and super tasty. Power producers of crackfree fruit. La Vie en Rose and Moonshiners Ball. Here's a couple of photos: Once released they will become rockstars in the tomato world!
La Vie en Rose

Moonshiner's Ball
Other things coming to my garden this year: A very old Irish Pole bean, A runner bean not available in the U.S. More rare Spanish peppers and un-available Spanish heirloom tomatoes. A very rare radish and edible flowers for salads. 
Check back in the middle of May when I publish the growlist and get a good look at everything. 

I also have a request; Have any of you come across the seed for the golden Peppadew? I think they call it the Goldadew. If you have any seed please message me (purty please) :-)
I don't know if I had posted this yet but we have a new style Tomato Whisperer baseball style tee in the store and Tomato Addict tote bags. Both available in the SSC Store: secretseedcartel.com
Another new thing, I am carrying all of Alan Bishops seed varieties you are a fan. I am!
I would also like to thank the growers that volunteered to do some growing for me this year. THANK YOU!! You know who you are. I couldn't have grown all of the varieties myself this year. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.  
I've sown my pepper seeds and when I return from France I will be starting the tomatoes. I wish a good garden to you all and the best season ever!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

GERNIKA SEED NOW AVAILABLE

For those that have been requesting Gernika seed we now have limited quantities in stock. Please visit our seed store for your order. 
Secretseedcartel.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Alan Bishop seeds

I am very proud to announce that Secret Seed Cartel will be the exclusive vendor for Alan Bishop seed varieties. Alan is the breeder of two of my favorite varieties of tomatoes; Jack White and Absinthe. Here is Alan's bio:
Alan Bishop and Kimberly Ratts
Alan has run Bishops Homegrown, an ecologically managed sustainable farm in Pekin Indiana with roots in his family dating back to the 1940s since 2004 alongside Kimberly Ratts. As an outgrowth of his interest in developing local food sheds Alan began pursuing heirloom seeds both locally and abroad through his Homegrown Goodness forum and blog, trialling thousands of varieties for taste, flavor, productivity, and suitability to low input agriculture, when existing varieties proved unsuitable for current methods and environmental conditions Alan turned to population breeding in order to develop new landrace type crops, an act which at the time to seed purists seemed heretical but has proved reliable, productive, and profitable. Many of the earliest introductions were shared with other like minded breeders through his previous efforts with his own Face of the earth seed collective,those genetics now make up the foundation stock for localized landraces worldwide. Alan has been interviewed and honored by Association Kokopelli for his work, has written for local, national, and international publications, has taught master gardeners classes and maintains connections with breeders and farmers worldwide, as well he finds secondary employment as an agricultural advisor. In recent years he has stepped away from his seed list to focus on honing and increasing his seed stock in preparation for what he sees as the rough road ahead for all of us as well as turning his attention to his local community where he is a co-founder, current president, and former vice president of Washington County Artisans and Farmers market, a volunteer miller and distiller and reenact or at the historic Becks Mill and president of Old Settlers Days where he represents the distiller and yeoman farmer. Some of Alans previous works have filled particular niches and gained small cult followings. A few varieties of notoriety include Absinthe tomato, Jack white tomatoes, and Astronomy Domine sweet corn.
Secret Seed Cartel has become Alan's choice of vendor to release new landrace varieties from his work as they become available. The seed you will find here has not been commercially available for two years and never in its current form. The landraces here are highly genetically diverse and particularly hone to low input agriculture in the wider Ohio Valley. Phenotypes will tend to vary (sometimes drastically) from plant to plant but the genetic diversity within will allow the seedsaver to select for those best adapted to their cultural and environmental conditions and culinary use. This years selection is limited but more will follow. ~Alan Bishop
Please feel free to go to the store and take a look at Alan's offerings. Here's to good gardening.
secretseedcartel.com Go to the shop tab on the home page to see Alan's varieties.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Your Seeds

Peppadew

It's seed ordering time!!! Everything is now online. Supply of some seed is low so don't want anyone to miss out on something they might want.
I have had a lot of inquiry about Gernika seeds. Unfortunately I lost 14 Gernika plants to the late frost this past spring. So will re-plant this coming year and will have seed available for 2014.
If any of you are like me, I have already started my growing list for next season. It ends up being changed up many many times but it gives me something to work on in the winter months. Of course I'm looking for the rare and different things. I'll have a peek preview of the list sometime in March.
Check out the store and take a look at all of the new items for this year!!! secretseedcartel.com

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pepper Pandemonium

I'm buried under peppers here. Harvested everything that was still out there. Now I'm spending the day frying bushels of them for winter. All fresh pepper seed for this year. I sold out of Gernika so those that are looking for it, it will be available for 2014.
Moya Noire
I had a big surprise out in the garden a couple of days ago. I thought I had totally lost my Moya Jaune and Moya Noire plants to blight. I was tearing down cages and found 3 perfect, ripe Moya Noire's hanging from the healthy top part of the plant!! I couldn't believe how beautiful the color was. Then I walk over and see 1 perfect Moya Jaune. Wow. I love this variety in every color. I ate the big Moya Noire (for research purposes of course) and it was exquisite!! Perfect meat to juice balance and sweet with the smokey finish. I haven't eaten the Jaune yet so stay tuned.
Yes, I am already working on the 2014 growlist. I will work on this for months, adding, subtracting, worrying, questioning until my hair is grey. I torture myself before I have the final list.
I have new neighbors!! A herd of sheep in the back. For a couple of days I kept hearing what I thought sounded like the bells on the French cows. I thought I was having some kind of missing France issue. Then I walked outside and there they are. 6 sheep running around the back field with bells on. haha. I love to hear their bells. I took some photos so I'll have to post them in the future.

I've been hitting the farmer's markets. Yesterday was a good day for that. Connected with some other growers and picked up a whole lot of Cherokee Trail of Tear bean seed from an organic farmer. I didn't grow that bean this year but I did list it in the store for those that love this historical bean. I love the veggies that come with great history in their DNA. Speaking of beans....I bought some seed from a Spanish grower for a bean called Buenos Aires Roja. From the research I have done it looks like it's going to be a good one. Here's a photo of it from a Spanish blogger. Beautiful!!!! Also want to grow the Tabais bean for those that want to use the authentic bean in Cassoulet. For anyone that wants to take a whirl at Cassoulet, here's a link for a recipe.  Cassoulet recipe.
I still need to plant the garlic and then....a little break until Febuary when seed starting again. I'm planting 2 varieties this year and that's it.
Ohhhh before I forget. I planted rhubarb this year!! You can't cut it the first season so looking forward to making rhubarb/strawberry pie next year.
Thanks for all the support from everyone with the store, on my blog and good wishes always sent my way from the best people in the world. Growers and gardeners!! Peace

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Good the Bad and the Ugly of

Honestly, it was a horrible season weather wise for the tomatoes. Too cool and too much rain. Most of my new varieties got the blight. It wasn't a total bust but about 80% wipe-out. So many of the new things I was going to offer in the store will have to wait until next year. There were a few bright spots. My tomato Marmande Verte did exceptionally well! Avoided disease and produced for 2 months. I grew a Spanish variety called Morado Vejer de la Frontera and it also did exceptional. The peppers and beans are still going and no problems with them. I have most new items listed in the store with the exception of the beans. They will be listed in about 6 weeks.
Also..... I finally got a shirt made for hard core tomato enthusiast! Most of the time I feel like I'm a tomato whisperer so why not put it on a shirt right?! It's in the store also in sizes M and XL. I have one that's 2XL so if you want that one email me. I'll do my All-Star and Waste of Garden space list sooooooon! So let's get to planting the fall garden.Store link: secretseedcartel.com

Monday, July 29, 2013

Garden Update July 29, 2013

And,...it's raining again, sigh. Not turning out to  be the best season for the tomatoes. Late start due to weather now temps are more like fall. And the rain....well let's just say the spicket needs turned off now.
Margaret Curtain
Just now starting to get some ripe maters. The first ripe was Margaret Curtain. A black heirloom from New Zealand. The tomato is A++++++ Love it! Just started drying seeds and making them available on the website. A nice one for serious collectors or those that just love a good black tomato.
Another gem I found in the garden this year was a Marmande Garnier HEART!! I think last year one crossed with Everett's Rusty Oxheart. Saved seed from 1 and checking to see if I can stabilize it  next season. Working name: Queen of Hearts.
I've been spending a lot of time uploading new data and products on the website. I should have everything available for fall within the month. Sooo proud of the new items.
Margaret Curtain
I'm buying a pressure canner so I can do some serious sauce making this year. I just want to can until I drop. The only way I can be sure what is in the food my family eats. :-(
Hope all your gardens are flourishing!!
  


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Garden Happenings 2013

I know I've been slacking off on the blog but I have been sooooo busy in the garden!
I sowed the seed from the CERN poppy that Seb sent me in March. I've never grown poppies before so I crossed my fingers that they would come up. Boy did they come up!! Beautiful red poppies blooming like crazy. I'm in love with them!! I can't stop photographing them haha. I think this might be my new favorite garden flower. I want yellow and white poppies now.
Alot of rain this summer. sigh. Also had a late frost and I lost 18 tomato plants. Some of them were replaced by some kind gardening friends that over-nighted what I needed but not all. The others will just have to wait until next year. Also growing my first grafted tomato this year thanks to Buddy Malone. A Green Giant. One of the victims of the
 frost but replaced. I'm curious to see how the grafted plant does in comparison to the non-grafted Green Giants.
Unfortunately, I lost a good gardening friend this spring. Gary Millwood. He was my garden hero and mentor. He was from my hometown of Louisville so I was fortunate enough to see him and his wife when I was in town. He procured so many Kentucky heirloom tomatoes that I can't even list them all.  I really looked up to him and valued our friendship enormously. RIP Gary. You will be greatly missed.
I built a bottle tree in the garden that was inspired by my friend Rena Abernathy. Here's a link on the history. http://www.appalachianhistory.net/2010/10/bottle-tree.html
Although I'm not using it to trap spirits, I like the folk art aspect of it. Mine isn't quite finished. I need to find some more bottles worthy of the tree. I've always believed that the garden should not only be functional but beautiful ( This is where I am influenced by the Euros). I've worked hard to incorporate beautiful spaces right in the middle of the vegetables. The bottle tree is just the newest addition.
Tomatoes are growing like crazy. Just starting to get too much rain. I see a little blight starting on a couple so I'm hoping it eases up now.
The Mini-Kumatos are coming in as hoped. I wasn't sure if they were F1 seed or not but it looks like they are OP. Woot! Here's a photos of them. These are not from my garden but from the grocery store but wanted to show what they look like.
Looks like I also have a cross from Marmande Garnier Rouge with a heart! I'll keep you posted on this one.
I'll try and stay up with the blog a little better as the season progresses. Hope your gardens are growing well. Fresh tomatoes soon!!!!!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Stay up to date on our Facebook Page

Come visit our Facebook Page. Garden and seed news is usually posted there first. See what we're growing this year and enjoy garden and tomato photos all year. Don't forget to hit the "like" button so our postings show in your newsfeed. Happy gardening 2013!!'
https://www.facebook.com/SecretSeedCartel

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Black Turnip of France

Photo by Sebastien Prunet
The Black Turnip of Pardailhan (Navets de Pardailhan)  Not to be confused with black radishes.The Pardailhan Black Turnip is a variety called Caluire Long Black, named for its region of origin to the north of Pardailhan. Unlike the normal round shape associated with turnips, this one is long and pointy with black skin,   The black turnip is an ancient variety grown almost exclusively in this region of France for centuries. It is said to have been served at the King's table in Versailles.  After WWII, there was a decline in local agriculture and the cultivation of the variety became scarce to almost non existant. About ten years ago, a handful of producers created the association Lou Nap dal Pardailha to save the Caluire Long Black and bring it back to its former glory.   Free from manipulation from breeders, it is considered a virtual wild form of turnip. Thanks to my friend Gerard in Brittany and Seb, I have seed for it this year. Woot!! I have heard different accounts of the taste. Seb says it is sweeter than the normal turnip but he raved about it. It's been said to taste a little like Hazelnut or Chestnut depending on your palette. I've read that it is starchier than our common varieties.  It must be sliced lengthwise to cook. Although I will be growing it this season, unfortunately it will take 2 growing seasons for seed. (Like most turnips). Therefore,  I will plant one patch for eating and one patch for seed. At the end of my growing season I will give a review on the taste. Stay tuned. 
Photo by Sebastien Prunet

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Grow list


Peppers
Cristal
Cuerno De Cabra
Doux de Espane 
Doux des Landes
Espelette
Gernika
Guindillas Tolosa
Peppadew
Piquillo Lodosa
Piment de Bresse
Pimiento de Arnoia
Pimiento Blanco Rosal
Ros de Mallorca
Tabasco


Tomatoes

Green

Absinthe
Green Giant
Marmande Verte
Moya Verte
Dino Egg Verte

Blacks

BKX
Blackberry
Margaret Curtain
Moya Noire
Negrillo de Almoguera

Pinks

Dester
Goose Creek
Rosa de Perales
Montserrat
Rosa de Zarautz

Reds

Marmande Garnier Rouge
Uncle Remi
Pepe Jose
Moya
Moko Luze
Morado de Aretxabaleta
Morado vejer de la Frontera
RAF

Yellow/Orange

Banjan Rumi
Moya Jaune
KBX
Kentucky Cabin Yellow

Paste
Abbattista Paste
Work Release Paste
Pomodoro Banana Marino

Bi-Color

Marmande de Montpellier
Zebra Rita
Ananas Noire
Ananas Bleu
Lynn's Mahogany Garnet
Grosse Verte Rose
Surpriz
Spunky
Copper River
Pamplemousse de Grand Pere
Hippie Zebra
Yellow 1884 Pinkheart

Cherries
Black Hole Sun
Champagne
Grinch
Honeydrop
Mini Kumato
Pink Bumblebee
Purple Bumblebee

Growouts
Fairytale F4
Claude's Coral F4
Moonshiner's Ball F4

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Questions

Anyone out there have any info about the Mini Kumato? Has anyone grown the RAF tomato? Any info would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Photographer and Tech Man

Sebastien Prunet
I am the luckiest grower in the world to have Sebastien Prunet as my garden photographer. Well.....yes he is more than my photographer but for now..we'll discuss his photography, and maybe a few other things.
In my opinion, No one takes better garden porn than Seb. His tomato photos are un-believably good. Perfection. I tell him what photos I need, and he takes them. (Good soldier)...They are art.
He lives in the French Alps region which is not known for gardening, but Seb gets around all that by using Greenhouses. He is an A+ grower. He has a FB page that displays his gardening skills and photos if you want to see more.
https://www.facebook.com/Jardin.de.Sebastien?fref=ts  Jadin de Sebastien


He has a couple of cats. Here's a photo with Scarpette. I call her his barnacle because she attaches to him 24/7. He has another cat named Grisou that is a hunter/killer cat. haha
Some people might find it strange that my photographer lives in France but it all works out. Good people always find each other. We visit back and forth several times a year. We speak Franglais together and it is mighty funny let me tell you. :-)
He is my right hand man with the Secret Seed Cartel. He's my French tomato spy.
Of course, sometimes I like to take photos of Seb. Here's a couple. My favorite is when I photoshopped him into an Amish man.  Yes, taking him to Amish Country and telling him it was OK to take photos of the Amish was quite amusing. hahaha... I know, I'm bad.
He is quite the baker too. He has just recently perfected bagels. Something they don't sell in France. They looked professional to me! taught me how to make a classic French dessert called 'Clafoutis'. Probably my favorite dessert ever! So inside this tomato grower is a photographer, Alpine skier, pastry chef and hilariously funny man and good human being.
So this is a shout out to the best photographer, tomato grower, tech man and so much more. I love you Seb!! Thank you for all the work you do for me and other tomato growers. xoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Litchi Tomato

So this is a very interesting little fruit. Also called Morelle de Balbis. Mother Earth News did a great article about it so heres a copy/paste from them:

"The Morelle de Balbis, or Litchi tomato, has been grown as an ornamental curiosity in American gardens since the 19th century, but only recently has it gained attention as a novel-tasting food. Its dark red cherry-size berries, with the distinctive flavor of sour cherries and a hint of tomato, can be used in a wide variety of culinary applications — from fruit tarts, preserves, jams and sauces, to sorbets and wine. Plus, it’s easy to grow and frost resistant.
The Litchi tomato comes to us from South America, where it has been an important part of indigenous cookery for hundreds of years. Because the plant itself is covered with thorns, it is sometimes used as a hedge plant to discourage animals from wandering into vegetable gardens — not a bad idea.
 The fruits ripen dark red and are round and somewhat bullet-shaped, tapering to a blunt point. The interior flesh is yellow and full of tiny flat seeds that are arranged much the same way as seeds in a cherry tomato. Thus, when eaten out of hand, the raw fruit has the mouth feeling of raspberries. The actual flavor is tart and refreshing, quite similar to a sour cherry, for which it can be used as a relatively good substitute in pies." (Mother Earth News)

 Sebastien LOVES the Litchi Tomato. He has been trying to get me to grow it for 2 years. He uses it to make Clafoutis and Ketchup (I think). He sent me enough seed to sell on my seed site for this year but I am definitely growing it next season., I have to admit, I love the appearance of it. I think they are beautiful. As you know, I'm always on the lookout for unique and interesting things. The Litchi tomato is definitely interesting. Although it related to tomatoes, it's catagory is S. sisymbriifolium, therefore you do not have to worry about it crossing with your heirloom or hybrid tomatoes.

If any of my readers have grown it, I would love to hear your opinions and maybe recipes for it. The photo above was taken by Sebastien Prunet and used with his permission.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 My cousin Ted and his friend Sterling eating the Brown Trinidad Scorpian pepper. haha
Order seeds for this on my seed site. Secretseedcartel.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 Winners and Losers

I have really been slacking about getting this list done but here it is for 2012!!!!! There are 2 that I despised but wont bother talking about because they were not stable varieties nor is there seed available commercially. Please...keep in mind as usual, this is ONLY my opinion.
The Losers or AKA Waste of Garden Space:

The first big disappointment I grew this year and will never show up in my garden again is:
Every single one of the Dwarves I grew from the Dwarf Project. I know that saying this will not make me popular in some circles but I"m willing to risk it for my followers. The following is what I grew and grown in France by Seb with a very similar report as mine.
Wild Fred
Mr. Snow
Summertime Gold
Summertime Green
Some were grown in pots and some were actually put in the garden. All produced poorly with small fruits. Although the tastes were average, they still left me confused and disillusioned. Not at all up to the hype you hear about them. The Mr. Snow in the garden, grew to 7 ft. Not sure how that fits the dwarf catagory. Sebastien had almost identical results in France. He also was disappointed.  Saying all that, the growers that work on the Dwarf project are amazing. They have put tireless effort and years into these varieties. This is in no way to diminish their work. Just trying to be true to my findings. If you've thought about growing any of these, move on.
There were other disappointing tomatoes but honestly I believe they were crossed seed so I will spare them the bad review. If I was sure they were 100% not crossed I would be more forthcoming in my critique of them.
The All-Star List:
The first one is:Marmande Garnier Rouge. This is a French, 1970ish selection of Marmande kept by a private collector for years. The most beautiful tomato I think I have ever grown. Super producer. Never quits pumping out tomatoes until the first frost. The taste is excellent with a more firm meaty interior with plenty of juice. Very tomatoey taste.

Banjan Rumi
 
Banjan Rumi. A small, beefsteak looking yellow orange tomato from Afghanistan. This little guy was amazing. You get a much better taste then you are expecting from a small tomato. VERY juicy and sweet. Got many good reviews on it from all of my volunteer tasters.
Blackberry. A purple/black heirloom from Kentucky. What I liked about this black was not only it's production and sweet taste but it seems to genetically be programmed to not scar or crack which can be a problem with many of the blacks. The appearance factor pushed it above some of the other blacks that are equally as good in taste.

So these are the ones that either stood above or below all the others. There were many that were very good but didn't have that little bit extra to make me grow them again or rave about.
Hope you all find this helpful and had a great season!

Post Script: I forgot to add Honeydrop Cherry to my favorites list. This was by far, the best cherry tomato I have ever grown. Heads above Black Cherry. Super sweet and a very nice cantoloupe color. Comparable to Sungold but an open pollinated variety. If I didn't grow for seed, this would be the only cherry I ever grew for the rest of my life.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2 RARE Varieties now available.

Now available...Hippie Zebra. I love the name! Quite a cool looking tomato. Taste is sweet and light. For those looking for a truely unique tomatoe for their collection.







This is is so special. Oncle Remi. Sent to me by my friend Gerard in Brittany France.  His wife's uncle brought the seed back with him to France from Algeria in 1962. Their family has been growing it since then. Huge beautiful red slicers that are always crack free. Picture perfect and rich tomato taste.

Look for these two in stock @ secretseedcartel.com

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New 2012 Seed in Stock

 
I would like to announce that my 2012 seed stock is now online @ secretseedcartel.com  Still waiting on beans to dry but they will be added soon. Please feel free to check it out.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Knee Deep in Maters


Oh yessssssss. I've been buried in tomatoes for a couple of weeks now. Can't stop eating them. Already I can see which ones are real winners and which ones are  a bust.  Unfortunately, you will all have to wait for my All-Star and Waste of Garden Space review which should be up in a couple of weeks. This year for the first time ever I had a groundhog make a home under the garden. He was tunneling under my potatoes. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Had the neighbor set a live trap and capture him. No problems since.
All of the Sunflowers are in full bloom. I love them! They are such happy flowers. Always facing the sun so tall and majestic. It's like they stand gaurd over the garden. Lots of different Marigolds too.
I don't know about the rest of you but I've been eating BLT's non stop. This is the only time of year I eat them. My perfect BLT:
Toasted Organic bread
Hellman's mayo
big thick slab of garden tomato
little bit of sliced red onion
bacon
piment d' Espelette
fluer de sel.
 
I forgo the lettuce but any crunchy lettuce will work. Something about eating a garden fresh tomato on a BLT with a glass of home brewed iced mint tea that screams summer. I look forward to this all winter.
Hope you all are enjoying your garden and daily Blt's! Coming soon: the 2012 tomato review.
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Droughts and Doubts

I'm sure most of you know we here in my area are in a very bad drought. Thank God I'm on well water or I would be in serious trouble. I have the hose running morning to night. The only problem is, nothing really compares to rain water. The plants are struggling. The fruit growth seems stunted and many varieties are getting hit with BER or as the French like to call it... "Black Ass". Haha.
I posted a photo of some of the varieties that are doing well. Grinch cherry, Banjan Rumi and most of the cherries.
Just seems like it's the nature of the beast. You never know from one season to the next what Mother Nature will do. A couple of years back it was non-stop rain. Lost most of my crop to Early Blight. Still, in spite of the challenges of weather, I wouldn't change what I do for anything. When I lose a tomato plant I really mourn for it. The same way I celebrate the ones that hold strong and come thru. I am so emotionally invested in these tomatoes that I feel pain or joy according to what they do. I know this would sound silly to anyone that doesn't have a passion for growing but I know most of you feel what I'm saying.
On a side note, I entered a national tomato contest. (fingers crossed). I will post the photo after the results are posted...win or lose. Wish me luck.
I hope most of you are enjoying a great season with few problems!!! Stay tuned..........

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trial Balloon


I'm floating a trial ballon here. Please give your opinion. I was thinking about offering 2 or 3 (only) select memberships to the SSC. (Raising money for much need equipment). I haven't thought it out completely but it would give those members access to my complete seed inventory (not just what's online) and X amount of seed a year. They would also get advance notice of what's going in the store and consulting on what's the trending tomatoes and peppers. Monthly updates on what I'm chasing and advance notice of my yearly review. Thoughts please. You can leave comments or email me @ Terry@Secretseedcartel.com



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just Launched

Well finally! My seed site is up and running.
For the time being, the inventory is limited from last year's stock. In September I will be updating and adding 70 new varieties of tomatoes, peppers and flowers. I also will ship internationally because I believe in sharing with everyone! My new contact info is: Terry@Secretseedcartel.com  Please use that email for any questions. I look forward to doing business with anyone looking for the best and rarest seed available.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2 New "Must Have" tomatoes

The 2 up and coming must have tomatoes. Mini Kumatos and the Spanish RAF tomato aka Pata Negra tomato.

The RAF tomato is famous all over Spain. Also known as Pata Negra (Black Paw). It is not a hybrid and is originally thought to be of French origin. They are the most sought after tomato in Spain. Cultivated in Bajo Andarax and Campo do Nijar in the Province of Almeria. It is resistant to fusarium. Green and striped with red. Deep grooves and ripens from the inside out. Ask anyone that has eaten one and they will rave about its sweetness. Of course, I have it growing in the garden this year and will have seed available in October.

RAF Tomato Pata Negra
The other is the Mini-Kumato. A cherry version of the Kumato/Rosso Bruno tomato. I have seeds for it but will probably not grow out until next year. Promising little tomato. I might try and start seed and see what happens before winter so check back........

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coming Soon

I have been working for a long while on getting a seed site up that will offer all of the rare and unusual seeds I chase down all over the world. I now have a web designer that will have it up and running by June. I'm calling it the Secret Seed Cartel. My goal is to not only offer seed that has no commercial source, but to offer seed that is not available in the U.S. I also intend on selling to all European countries. Something that most seed companies here in the U.S. do not currently do. I want the Europeans to have the same access to varieties that we have.  I want this site to be the best of the best. I will work hard on providing the best seed I can find for all of us to share.
In time, I am also going to have up and running a site for hard core tomato heads. Merchandising items for all tomato enthusiasts. I know there are many seed sites but I plan on filling the current gap where there are no sources for a lot of seed and to be a friend to the Europeans that look for varieties outside of their catalog. Stay tuned..........

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why I Love Seed Criminals

There are so many reasons I encourage people to commit seed crimes that I don't know where to begin.. You may ask "what is a seed crime?" A seed crime is when you send crop seed to another country where it is forbidden. A seed crime might be saving your own seed from your own harvest. A seed crime might be growing a vegetable that the government has forbidden. It can be as simple as sharing seed to a pepper that a corporation owns and being in peril of a lawsuit. I know it sounds crazy but every example is true.
Most of my readers are familiar with my quest to free the Peppadew. I think I have done a mighty fine job if I may say so myself. Should it be illegal to grow a Peppadew? Not hardly. Unless a corporation owns the rights to a F1 hybrid, I believe everything else is free for all. I have done my best to not just preach but to be active in what I say. If you're growing Peppadews in your garden, I'll just say "You're welcome". :-)
Next I want to discuss the European catalog. In the European union (and Canada I have heard but not verified) they have a catalog which lists all government approved crop seed. You are forbidden to "sell, swap, gift or exchange" any seed not listed in the official catalog. If you would like to list your families heirloom tomato for example, you have to pay for the privilage to the tune of about $6000 USD. Really. I'm not making this crap up. The damage here, many old family heirloom varieties will be lost forever. All commercial seed companies sell the same varieties more or less. No competition there except for pricing. So ridiculous. The Europeans are also at a disatvantage in that they cannot get seed for varieties from other countries. American heirloom crops or any other country. The government controlling what they grow and stealing their money in order to grant them permission to grow maybe their own family tomato. This is one reason I love to send seed to Europe. Yes, there is a huge underground of growers that seek seed outside of the catalog. Can you blame them?
If you have friends or family in Europe, I encourage you to be a seed criminal and mail all the forbidden seed you can to them. I don't think the U.S. will extradite you for your "crimes". Some of you might ask "Why should I care? I don't live in Europe". My best answer is that sometimes you have to defend the rights of others to protect your own rights. If this insanity comes to the U.S. (we all know the current administration would like to model Europe), we will be well prepared correct?
I was going to move along to the subject of GMO seed and how Monsanto is trying to control the worlds seed supply but I think that might be another post all unto itself. If you think GMO seed is a good thing,  read the following link about the epidemic of Indian farmers commiting suicide over it.  http://uk.news.yahoo.com/wave-suicides-among-indian-farmers-060910878.html

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Pie Pumpkins and Bubbles



 
This was my first year to grow winter squash and Brussel Sprouts. Of course, your first year growing anything is always a learning experience. One of the winter squash I grew is called Long Pie Pumpkin. Sooooo cool . I really loved this one. It has a very interesting history and I love how it is long like a zuchinni.  It has been said that it came originally from the Isle of St. George in the Azores and been brought to Nantucket in 1832 on a whaling ship. Sometimes known as the Nantucket Pumpkin or the Maine Pumpkin. It grows anywhere from 4-7 lbs. You know it's ready to pick when there develops an orange stripe or spot where it is in contact with the ground, as you can see in my photo. You pick and put in storage and it will turn a bright orange all over in a period of weeks and months. I made my Thanksgiving pies with it and it was seriously the best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. The flesh is almost 90% stringless so no need for a food mill.
If you're looking to grow just one winter squash next year,here's the winner. You have to try it.  
The other newbie for me was Brussel Sprouts. I bought already established plants at the nursery. My variety was called Bubbles. I loved growing them. So pretty. You definitely need to stake them. As they get weighted down with sprouts they will lean. I put mine a little too close together, so another lesson, space them out. We ate them for Thanksgiving dinner and I also froze tons of them for the winter. Not a real time consuming vegetable in the garden so for those that don't like fussy veggies, this is a good one.