2020 Tomato List

Tomato seed starting in spring

Greetings, friends! I’ve been deep in garden-planning mode and thought I’d poke my head up from the mess of seed packets surrounding me to share my 2020 tomato list. I grew about 30 different varieties last year and canned some delicious tomato sauce, and I’m prepared to grow even more this year in an effort to can enough sauce to last us all winter. We use it as both a pasta sauce and pizza sauce, so I have my work cut out for me!

The bulk of my garden will be tomatoes this year, which is just fine since the dahlias are getting their own plot in 2020. In total I plan on growing about 40 varieties this year, some new and some old. I sow multiples of each variety, ensuring I’ll have extra plants to give to family members and friends, or backups in the event some seeds don’t germinate or a hungry slug devours a few seedlings.

So without further ado, here is my 2020 tomato variety list:

  • Millionaire
  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Kellogg’s Breakfast
  • Dr. Wyche’s Yellow
  • Vintage Wine
  • Sunrise Sauce
  • Behemoth King
  • Amish Paste
  • Hillbilly
  • Mushroom Basket
  • Alice’s Dream
  • Northern Lights
  • Marzipan Gold
  • Texwine
  • Beauty Lottringa
  • Slankard’s
  • Shuntuk Giant
  • Fleur De Reagir
  • Peter Glazebrooks
  • Uncle Mark Bagby
  • Mr. Stripey
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green
  • Black From Tula
  • German Pink
  • Red Rosso Sicilian
  • Dark Galaxy
  • Paul Robeson
  • Brandywine (red and black)
  • Pineapple
  • Stump of the World
  • Ceylon
  • Mountain Princess
  • Jersey Giant
  • Old Ivory Egg
  • Sungold Cherry
  • Sweet Pea Currant
  • Brad’s Atomic Grape
  • Chocolate Cherry
  • Tomatillo (purple, pineapple)

Have you grown any of these varieties before? If so, which are your favorites?

Happy spring!

A Worm Bin Report


Worm castings in a two-month-old worm bin

It’s been a few months since my red wigglers got cozy in their new digs, so I thought it’d be a good time for an update on how the worm bin composting system is working out.

Overall, it’s going really well — I harvested my first batch of worm castings from the bin last weekend, and I was a bit surprised to discover just how fast worms will eat our kitchen scraps — I think I got maybe two pounds out of the bin in just a two-month span, and I’ve already used most of it!

Here are a few things I’ve learned in my short two months of managing a worm bin:

  • Worms eat a lot. And I mean a lot — a pound of worms can consume half a pound of food in a day. And if you don’t provide enough food for them, they will either start to die off try to crawl out of the bin in search for more food. I’ve started aiming for three pounds per week — an easy way to do this is to keep excess kitchen scraps in the freezer until you’re ready to feed them.
  • Leaves don’t make great bedding unless they’re finely chopped — otherwise they’ll clump together, creating an unideal environment for the worms and taking much longer to break down. Worms breathe through their skin, and if the leaves get too slimy, the worms might have a hard time breathing and could die.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can add citrus to a worm bin — but it’s all about moderation. It’s important that it’s small quantities and that it’s chopped up. (I eat a lot of oranges, so the majority of the peels go into our compost pile rather than the worm bin, but sometimes a bit of peel finds its way to the worms. They don’t seem to mind.)
  • You learn pretty quickly what your red wigglers like and don’t like to eat — for example, mine love banana peels, coffee grounds, and tea leaves, but they don’t like potato peels.

I’ve gotten in the habit of checking on my bin twice a day — once in the morning when I take the dogs out, and once in the evening when I get home from work. This sounds like a lot of work, but I keep the bin on our deck, and all I have to do is lift the lid as I’m passing by and take a quick peek to make sure the bedding is still moist and that the worms aren’t trying to escape the bin. It usually doesn’t take more than a couple seconds.

Overall it’s not a lot of work to maintain the bin and its population — the most work I’ve put into it was removing the castings and sorting out the worms (which took a few hours), but I plan on making a sifter soon, so it should be a much easier process in the future. It’s pretty rewarding knowing that I’ve kept a lot of waste out of the landfill and in return am left with a nice, rich, organic fertilizer. My garden is going to be very happy!

Have you ever tried vermicomposting? If you haven’t but are interested, I can’t say enough about the book Worms Eat My GarbageIt’s a great resource for getting started and troubleshooting any issues you might have later on. If you do decide to try your hand at vermicomposting, I’d love to hear all about your setup — there are so many different options out there.

Happy composting!