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Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Tomatoes: Part Two

Even more of my tomato varieties for this year:

{Photo Credit}
A staple in many gardens, one that I knew I had to grow. I found mine at Green Fest from an awesome organic vendor Willow Herbal Delight Gardens. Willow is a folk herbalist, I also picked up a bunch of medicinal plants from her. According to Seed Savers: "The original Brandywine introduced by Johnson and Stokes in 1889 from seeds they received from a customer in Ohio. Named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Large vines produce deep red 8-12 ounce fruits. Excellent flavor. Very productive. Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant."

{Photo Credit}
Cherokee Purple
If ever there was a classic heirloom, this is it... I had to try it! I nabbed this one from the Sarasota Farmer's Market, but you can find it almost anywhere (Seed Savers, for example); according to Baker Creek: "80 days. An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor."

A lucky find at the Sarasota Market, this one from an organic grower that told me he used seed from Seed Savers Exchange. In fact, this variety won the SSE taste test in 2011 and was runner-up in 2012. According to the Seed Savers site: "Donated to SSE by Missouri farmer Larry Pierce, who received his seeds from an Amish woman in Seymour, Missouri. She originally got her seeds from a doctor she worked for whose family had brought the seeds with them from Germany. Luscious pink beefsteaks weighing up to one pound. Indeterminate, 70-80 days from transplant."

German Johnson
A random big box store purchase (sale!), can be found at Baker Creek. According to Monticello: "This popular “potato-leaf” variety, one of the four parent lines of the 1930s introduction, ‘Mortgage Lifter’ Tomato, originated in the southern United States. German Johnson produces large, meaty fruit with pink flesh and bright red skin streaked yellow at the top. The indeterminate vines grow up to 5 feet and mature within 80 days of planting. Sow seed indoors in pots and plant when soil warms in late spring; full sun."

Italian Heirloom
{Photo Credit}
Another from the organic vendor at the Sarasota Market, and another Seed Savers taste test winner (beating Dester in 2012). According to their site: "Outstanding heirloom from Italy. Plants are loaded with red fruits weighing over a pound. One of the most productive varieties we have grown at Heritage Farm. Excellent full tomato flavor. Ideal for slicing and canning—very little waste and easy to peel. Indeterminate, 70-80 days from transplant."

There's even more to come, you can find Part One here


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 Tomatoes: Part One

Tomatoes, the prize and pride of most home gardeners; I hear that you haven't lived until you've eaten a fresh tomato straight from the vine. Here's the problem, I don't actually like fresh tomatoes; it's sad, I know. However, I love tomato sauce, salsa, soup and many other things tomato related. I also happen to live with two tomato lovers, in a house that consumes quite a bit of pasta with homemade sauce. Plus, I find myself buying into the whole fresh tomato propaganda. So, here I am, with almost no past tomato success, growing 22 different varieties. Clearly, I am insane. Since I got a late start this year I didn't have a chance to start seeds for the toms; I've cobbled together a collection from various local sources, and I'm actually pretty pleased with what I was able to find. Without further ado,  Part One of my 2013 Tomato Varietal List:

Anais Noir
{Photo Credit}
Also known as Ananas Noire, Black Pineapple, and Tie Dye Tomato. An indeterminate heirloom; I purchased this plant at Green Fest last weekend, but it is available through Baker Creek Heirloom. According to their site: " This unusual variety was developed by Pascal Moreau, a horticulturist from Belgium. The multi-colored, smooth fruit (green, yellow and purple mix) weigh about 1 1/2 lbs. The flesh is bright green with deep red streaks. Everyone loves their superb flavor that is outstanding, being both sweet and smoky with a hint of citrus. The yield is one of the heaviest we have ever seen!"

Arkansas Traveler
Another Green Fest purchase; indeterminate heirloom also available from Baker Creek. According to their site: "80 days. A medium-sized pink tomato that is smooth and a beautiful rose color. An excellent variety from Arkansas, tolerant to heat and humidity; crack and disease resistant. Good flavor, an excellent hillbilly favorite. "
Beefy Boy
Purchased at the Sarasota Farmer's Market; a 70 day, indeterminate hybrid from Park's: "Beefy Boy is a meaty, extra large beefsteak type tomato with excellent flavor. Contains more solid and less gel than other beefsteaks."

Black Krim
Yet another indeterminate heirloom from Green Fest, one that I've had my eye on since hearing wonderful things around the blog world. Available from Seed Savers and Baker Creek, who says: "80 days. Dark red-purple fruit, rich sweet flavor. One of the best. It always places high in tomato taste trials. It’s very juicy. An heirloom from Russia with very unique looking, large fruit. I really like the wonderful flavor. It’s popular at many markets on the West Coast; also a favorite of many fine chefs."

{Photo Credit}
Black Prince
An indeterminate heirloom I picked up on sale at a big box store, available from Territorial and Baker Creek, according to whom: "70 days. An heirloom from Irkutsk, Siberia. The 5-oz. tomatoes are round and very uniform; the color is a wonderful deep blackish-chocolate brown. The flavor is as deep, sweet and rich as the color. A unique salad tomato; the plants produce a large crop and early; a good tomato for fine markets."

To be continued...


Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspiration for the Week

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
- John Muir

Photographic inspiration from around the web:

Tacoma Urban Coop Tour {credit}
How adorable is that coop? I love the window and the living roof, it's just so sweet looking! Oh, and the house numbers, too cute.

Just a beautiful arrangement of plantings

I'm going to put one of these in my front yard someday! For now, I'm seriously considering it as a layout for my medicinal garden.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Meditation

Things I am Grateful for

1. My job

2. Opportunity for Education

3. The wonderful people in my life!

What are you grateful for this week?

Goals for the Week

1. Finish planting and seeding the tomato bed

2. Install the potato towers

3. Socialize the chickens

What are your goals for this week?

Currently Reading: The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren


Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Thoughts On: This Blog

Photo via Akbar Sim
Just a bit of further clarification on why I am writing this blog. I know that keeping a detailed garden journal is a vital part of successful gardening long-term, and that is exactly what my goal is. I choose to garden for several reasons: beauty, stress relief, food, sustainability and independence, and general enjoyment. I choose to blog my journey both for myself, and for anyone else who wants to take the journey with me! My main goal is to lead a more sustainable life; I know this is going to take time, no one becomes a master overnight.

Thus far, my experience with gardening has been limited, and mostly unsuccessful. I only just really began last year, and Tropical Storm Debbie drowned out all of my plants. I'm also still trying to find the best ways to combat fungus and insects, which can be an utter nightmare in the swamp that is central Florida. I refuse to deviate from my organic methods; even if everything I purchase and use isn't certified, I am using organic methods as much as possible. I will not pollute my land or our waterways with poisons and synthetic fertilizers, I simply won't.

I live with my family, which includes my brother and parents, along with our dogs, cat, fish and chickens. It has been a long road getting them on board with living a more sustainable life, but I swear that if I can convince them, you can convince your family, too! My dreams eventually include a small farm, and making as much of my own food as possible; I want to inch my way further off the grid every day, without losing touch with the technology and city life that I enjoy. I wish to live simply, and simply live; I hope you'll join me!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Welcome to Simply Sakura

Hello, I'm glad you found my little corner of the web. I'm Kim, and like my bio says... I'm out to save the world! I believe that living simply is the key, and this blog is dedicated to that ideal. Finding joys in everyday life, and using your time to make an impact on the world. Here you will find ideas and inspiration for ways to make simple changes that effect the big picture. I hope you'll join me on my journey toward a more sustainable life!

My plan is to include recipes, tips, projects, gardening and more... with lots of photos. I will be participating in challenges presented by other blogs and will update on my progress. My format will be as follows:

Monday: Inspiration for the Week- Inspirational Quotations
Tuesday: How To- Recipes, Instructionals and Tips
Wednesday: Wordless Wednesday- Snapshot for the week
Thursday: My Thoughts On- Current topics from my life or the world at large
Friday: Spotlight- Featuring a Shop, Blog, Site, Product or Person that I find noteworthy
Saturday: Safari Saturday- Photographic tour... its an Adventure!
Sunday: Sunday Meditation- Gratitude, Goals and Challenges

Can't say that won't ever change, but I like structure sometimes. This blog has been a labor of love on and off for several years, though I am completely re-launching as of Spring 2013. I used to live and work in a different city, this is where all of my hard work and love was put into green living and gardening. When I faced a massive life change and was forced to move back to my home town (I call it that, but it's a reasonably large city) I lost momentum and gave up on many of the ideas I held dear; but now I'm back, inspired, and ready to go!

"Simple, simple living makes the world go 'round,
People live in peace.
No it don't take much to live and be happy in the world,
Seems the less we have, the more we see the beauty of the world.
So walk lightly on the earth!"