Two Things Money Can’t Buy…

There are two things money can’t buy… true love and homegrown tomatoes.

~~Guy Clark

YouTube:  Guy Clark Sings Homegrown Tomatoes

YouTube: Guy Clark Sings Homegrown Tomatoes

This is probably one of life’s truths.*  The fault with store bought it is breed to volume, weight, skin thickness, and color.  My seed collection has 32 lines of tomatoes going, most I grow for flavor.


A tomato harvest from 2015, had 50+ plants growing.

I love cherry tomatoes because they are indeterminate and just produce all season long.  My absolute favorites are Yellow Pear, and Black Russian cherry tomatoes.  I have some seeds a little old Greek lady “Sophia” who gave me some tomatoes at the community garden I used to be at.  She grew the most beautiful and tasty mixed up big tomatoes I have had in 30 years.  She’d been gardening there for 25 plus years.  She used compost tea, put them in the ground weeks before the rest of us, and just nursed them into the most beautiful crop you have ever seen.

I picked up three books on garden plant breeding, and tomato breading seems simple enough.  A green house would help, but I might be able to get two generations a year here in New England without one, ever the optimist.

At an organic farming conference recently, they were discussing how the best tomato of them all is the Brandywine tomato.  The thing I learned was that not all Brandywine strains are created equal, especially in taste.  I’ll focus on that this coming year. I’ll grow 3 large tomatoes, a Brandywine, Early Girl, and line I call Sophia.   Plus, half a dozen cherry tomato lines.

I want to be the crazy old tomato guy in 10 more years.  The ones that shows up with homegrown tomatoes and home made wine, then sits there smoking with the other older old crazy <insert specialty here> guys, and shoot the breeze as the day goes by.  Tomatoes are so fine!

*Puppies not withstanding.


Streamlined to the ultimate for functional performance the earthworm blindly eats his way, riddling and honeycombing the ground to a depth of ten feet or more as he swallows.

~Anatomy Underfoot, J.-J. Condue

Research has demonstrated that night crawler fertilizer, likewise called castings or vermicompost, enhances the air circulation, porosity, structure, waste, and dampness holding limit of soil.

Numerous studies demonstrate that when contrasted with conventional composts, vermin-compost is less variable and much more stable. Blending vermicompost into the planting medium essentially disposed of the requirement for extra manure in the creation of tomato attachments as one illustration.

Studies demonstrate that worm castings expand plant stature, stem diameter, improve root development, build dry weight, and produce a bigger number of blooms every plant than peat moss. Worm castings give a rich wellspring essential plant media and provide needed supplements.  Microbial movement in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the dirt and natural matter that the worm ingests.”

Redworm (Eisenia fetida) castings are a wealth and pure humus matter in the world. Humus is accepted to help in the counteractive action of harmful plant pathogens, parasites, nematodes and microorganisms.

Worms devour three times their weight a week or more. Red wrigglers are extremely dynamic, imitate rapidly and consume their own body weight of waste like clockwork. So 5 pounds of worms will consume ten pounds of waste in 24 hours! Also, 5 pound of worms can change 5 pound of pig excrement into compost in just 48 hours.  These are hard working little creatures that never rest.

Worm castings are BLACK GOLD!

How to use worm castings–

At the point when planting vegetable and annuals line the columns and holes with around two inches of castings. About every eight weeks side dress the plants with one-half measure of castings per plant or one container every foot of line.

Perennials work one-half measure of castings into the soil in the spring, center of summer health Fitness Articles, and early fall.

Pots and containers, including  hanging wicker baskets add one-half cup worm castings to the top and water in. At that point reapply like clockwork.

Roses can use four glasses of castings for every plant.

On the off chance that beginning another garden includes 15 pounds of throwing every 100 square feet (10′ x 10′) when sowing. When created utilize seven pounds per 100 square feet.  This is more a minimum, I have doubles the amount of worm castings and had no ill effects, but they are very valuable and their are never enough castings.

Also see–

The book Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System, 2nd Edition by Mary Appelhof (1936-2005).  I met Mary once and she was fascinating to talk to about gardening, and of course worms.

I ran a vermicomposter inside for 2 years, when I didn’t have much space to garden, or more importantly compost.  It took some jiggering to break some habits of getting my compost too wet, but after 3 weeks it worked like a spinning top.  I used the equivalent of this kit, Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter (Black), that I found at a yard sale, for $50, but got for $35 cause it was the end of the day.  Except this kit is better because of some of the features they added into the redesign.  Do you need the new features?  No, but they will make it easier to work with the composter trust me.

The vermicomposter’s don’t come with worms!  This isn’t a bad thing, so order the worms when you buy your composter.  If it is winter, you might want to find a local source unless we are having a thaw.  1000 worms is a little over 1 pound of worms, this a good starting amount, see Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.  When I have moved a long distance I have bought 250 worms from these guy’s to prime my on the ground compost pile.  Great little worms.

Gore Plase: The Historic Govenor Gore Estate

Over the weekend I visited this estate and walked the grounds and farm.  It looked quite interesting.  I had to leave before they had the lecture on how people used to keep warm in the olden days.

IMG_5310Gore Place, the Federal period, historic house and estate of Massachusetts Governor Christopher Gore, includes a small farm with sheep, goats and poultry. The elegantly furnished mansion has been called “The Monticello of the North” and architectural historians consider it to be the most significant Federal Period mansion in New England.

I hope to return when it’s greener and the farm stand is open.  There seems to be a lot going on with new restoration projects, the farm, and tours.