img 4820 scaled Tomato Mystery

Tomato Mystery

Where’s Scooby-doo? We’ve got a mystery…..

My little tomato seedlings are growing out. They look so healthy! Today I noticed something that is strange — I may have accidentally bred a tomato cross!

Stupice tomatoes are supposed to have a potato-shaped leaf, like the seedling in the photograph below:

Stupice tomato with potato-shaped leaves

However, three of the four plants I grew out from seeds I saved last year have oak-shaped leaves, like this:

So, Shaggy, it seems like we have a mystery on our hands. Somehow the Stupice tomato crossed with one of the 22 other varieties in last year’s garden, and I have grown a new tomato! The varieties planters closest to Stupice last year were Davis Haas Pennsylvania Pink Plum and Kellogg’s Breakfast. One produces is a small, oval pink tomato, and the other produces a medium-sized orange slicer.

I thought briefly about culling the new mystery plants, but I’m going to go ahead and grow one out to see what comes of it. Stupice is only an average-tasting tomato, and I grow it only because it is so early and prolific. I really dislike the thick skins on Stupice fruit, and the flavor leans a little towards the sour or acidic side. If I could find a better early tomato, I’d switch in a heartbeat. Maybe I’ll luck out and this new tomato will have all the good characteristics of both!

Replanting Update

After the disappointing showing from my first tomato planting, I replanted the tomato seeds that didn’t come up if the first batch, plus I added some more lettuce to the arugula cells and more swiss chard to those cells. Most of those have come up, and now I have plenty of lettuce and chard for the garden. I think I will transplant most of the greens out to the garden in about two weeks. I now have at least one of every variety of tomato I started except Barry’s Crazy Cherry. None of those seeds germinated for me — but since I don’t like cherry tomatoes in general, I am fine with this development.

Mixed plant markers

I was on Instagram earlier this week, when a poster shared some pictures of her Bloomsdale long-standing spinach seedlings. They looked so very cute, and so very much like my own alpine strawberry seedlings. For a few minutes I was confused and went to go look at my plants. Suddenly, I realized what happened: I had mixed up my plant markers, and what I thought was spinach was in fact alpine strawberry, and what I thought was strawberry was spinach! I verified the mistake by googling pictures of the strawberry seedlings, and now, I am proud to tell you I have 23 yellow wonder alpine strawberry seedlings!

Yellow wonder alpine strawberry

I am, however, not proud to say I have just four spinach seedlings. I have replanted the spinach, and I hope to get a few more plants soon.

Outside plants

My outside plants are looking good — Jared has been helping me keep the Brussels sprouts covered when it’s very cold overnight using the milk jugs I saved all year in 2019. They are looking fantastic! I think we may actually get some Brussels sprouts if we can keep the deer away.

None of the peas or sweet pea flowers we planted have sprouted, and I’m gutted. We did plant a little early, and it has been cold — I just hope the seeds haven’t all rotted away by now because it’s too late to plant more, and I’m out of seeds anyway. we are in for some slightly more temperate weather the next few days, so hopefully at least one or two little peas will come up.

I don’t remember if I mentioned that I put out the 60 bareroot strawberry plants I got from Kelly Nursery, and I also planted the 6 North Carolina pine berry plants. They are under the asparagus, where I hope they will help with weed control (although I don’t really have too much problem with weeds in that spot because of our careful planning when we put in the bed).

Plant markers

I’ve been making all sorts of plant markers with the library Glowforge. It is so much fun!!!

I’ve done markers on slate, bamboo, and Rowmark’s Lasermax. I’m still tinkering with settings, but wow — I love that Glowforge. I definitely want one! If Jared gets a job in the next few weeks I may go ahead and buy one with our tax refund.

I’ve found that vinegar has worked best for cleaning up the smoke marks from the bamboo plant markers. I’ve been able to reduce my printing time and cleanup needs from the settings I got at the Glowforge site, but I still need to do some tinkering to get that sweet spot. I have a few more plant markers to make for daddy’s Rambo apples and some more for my garden, and then I’ll move on to other projects.

So, the garden is coming along — already I’m experiencing disappointments, surprises, and mysteries, and the real planting season hasn’t even begun! Be still, my heart!

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.