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Tomato Late Blight Progress/Winter Garden Report

The continuing tomato late blight reports are terrible, but I am delighted to hear from others who have the problem and begin to hatch a scheme to try to escape it. Also glad of confirmation that the varieties I plan to try have shown resistance in our area.

     Thanks for the tip about Seeds of Change carrying Matt's Wild Cherry tomato variety. I had looked at their catalog and missed the listing.  I will order a pack, which should be enough. I am getting 50 or 60  seeds of the several other possibly resistant varieties, and of course I will need to grow a control, like Clebrity or Early Girl just to be sure that the late blight is still capable of killing something.

We won't be starting seeds until maybe the end of March, but stay tuned if you want to get some plants in May.

I thought you'd like to see some successes in the City College Demo Garden this month. We are seeing the various cole crops that were planted early in September come in now.

2009 January 038 copy  Cauliflower has been heading up very nicely. Thes one is probably 'Snow Crown' a very easy type. We also grew 'Cheddar', which is yellow, like the cheese. It tastes the same as white cauliflower, but adds a little color to the plate and I guess a little vitamin A to the diet.

2009 January 037 copy

Romanesco broccoli, which some would call a cauliflower comes in between November and January. Lovely as it is, I wish this were the larger-headed heirloom Romanesco I once grew. I haven't found seed for many years now, but the heads were over a foot across, not 6-7 inches like the little f1 hybrids such as this one, Veronica. I am hoping that someone who is lucky enough to travel to Northern Italy will find seeds for the original heirloom some day and find a US seed company to carry them.

2009 January 036 copy

Our garlic is in the middle of its long winter journey from single cloves to fat heads of many cloves. It won't finish until about the end of June, at which time the leaves will be mostly dead and we will dig to see what we have. I have positioned the garlic at the end of a bed away from the source of the drip lines, so that I can pull the lines back in spring when the plants begin to turn yellow. This is to let the soil dry, in hopes of avoiding root rot.

So the garden rolls on through winter. There will be peas to show soon, and winter broccoli. The lettuce transplants are growing, and we are trialing a very cute little red mustard green, spiky, like mizuna, but it is too small to show yet.

Keep the tomato late blight reports coming!


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I love Romanesco broccoli! I'm glad to see someone else is growing it. What do you use for pest control? I'm having some trouble with insects in my garden. So far, I found Safer Brand's Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer. Have you heard of this? I like that it can be used safe to use up to the day of harvest.


First I have to tell you that Golden Gate Gardening is the most worn book on my gardening bookshelf, it's an excellent book.

I'm not sure if any of my tomatoes suffered from late blight this year, a couple of them did die late in the season but I didn't really look that closely. I'll keep an eye out this coming summer.

About the Romanesco broccoli, I grew some this year from seeds that I got from Daylight Farms in Half Moon Bay a few years ago. They are Franchi Sementi seeds from Italy and are not F1 hybrids. I've been picking it over the last couple of weeks. The heads have varied in size, so far a couple of 1 pounders and the latest came in at over 3 pounds. Another head is also sizing up nicely. I don't know if Daylight Farms is still carrying Franchi seeds (they were selling them at the SF Landscape Show), but I did see the same seeds online at Seeds from Italy ( The individual florets are not as sharply pointed as the F1 varieties, but it's still quite dramatic looking and delicious.

It's so nice that you're back to blogging!

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