YUM! I'm thinking tomatoes! I start tomato seeds in plugs, not pellets, and they do pretty well. For about six weeks you just need to check on them so that they don't dry out. Today I'm ordering them so they'll be ready to plant as soon as I can get them outside. I plant in three stages: seed starter plugs inside near a window (but a growlight is actually better) in late January/early February, then transfer to a coldframe outside about six to eight weeks later, and then transplant into the garden when their stems have become strong. OR, you can put your starter plug directly into pots for potted tomatoes to set outside later. Even if you have a garden, a potted tomato is so handy to have, especially when the garden is muddy.
If your experience with tomatoes is limited to store-bought, even the hydroponic tomatoes, you are in for a treat if you'll try raising your own! Saying you don't like homegrown tomatoes is like having day-old coffee and thinking you don't like the flavor of a fresh brew! You really owe it to yourself, if you have any space at all, to give it a try. In the summertime a pot of fresh tomatoes on the doorstep can greet you with a delicious treat after your day's work. Plan now.
Seed selection is important. As a homegrower, you'll have a wider selection than a mass producing truck farmer has. You won't need the tough skins or long shelf life. I suggest a small round tomato such as the Early Girl by Gurney. The sweet flavor is incredible and makes incomparably fresh-tasting sauce for pasta and pizza! I'm aware that Roma seems to be the tomato of choice by packers of tomato sauce but its flavor is bitter compared to the Early Girl. A sweet potted cherry tomato plant is perfect for a quick bite or a salad. For either fresh or canned tomatoes, I'll choose Gurney Girl but I'll also plant Mr. Stripey because it is so pretty in salads and also very tasty with a firm texture that just feels good to eat. The experience of eating a tomato, fresh from the garden, is so fun!
Heirloom tomatoes can be flavorful but mushy. I've tried a couple. At first bite, I thought, "This is it!" But the mushy flesh and lack the disease resistance quickly turned me off. They tended to rot easily before they ripen. UGH! At least, that's been my experience.
Please let me know your tomato-growing experiences and preferences. I'm willing to try something new! And if you haven't tried growing your own yet, it's time to start!
Welcome to The Pauley Principle!
The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!
Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.