Thursday, March 22, 2012

I love going to seedling sales.  It’s not that I’m going to buy something in particular, and I never go with a list. Rather, I like to see what’s different or new and what somebody else thinks is so fabulous that they label it as such. I always find things I never even knew about…Yes, I grow a lot of tomatoes, but there’s no way that I can know them all!

Last weekend, we actually had a rainstorm in Los Angeles. Storm Watch ’12 really was more than a drizzle.  But, I would never let a little or a lot of rain stop me from checking out some new tomato varieties. So, off I went, in my oh-so-cute rainboots to visit the seedling sale at Two Dogs Organic Nursery.

When I arrived, I was greeted by Jo Anne and Alejandro and their two dogs (hence the name) Jake and Lalo. I immediately felt right at home.  The driveway was lined with rows of tables of tomato varieties. I decided to save the best for last, so I went all the way to the back to see what was there.  
 I wasn’t disappointed…there were so many vegetable starts that I was like a kid in a candy shop! There were a number of lettuces – greens and reds and speckled.  I opted for Nevada because I know it’s one of the only lettuce varieties that can survive in the San Fernando Valley heat. Then,  I was elated to find golden beets. First of all, beets are really easy to grow. The golden ones are more mild and subtle in flavor. They’re so delicious in salads with fresh greens, toasted walnuts, a drizzle of really good olive oil and a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel.  There was a nice selection of peppers, both hot and sweet varieties.  I went for one I’d never grown before and chose Purple Bell. 

I really love to grow squash. They’re easy and prolific and, when picked young and tender, are so tasty.  The White Bush Scallop is just so cute I couldn’t resist, but the one I’m most excited about is Zephyr, an adorable two-toned, yellow and green straight necked squash. It can be eaten cooked or raw so it will be a beautiful addition to my crudités baskets in the summer.

Not wanting to go too crazy, I decided to move on to the tomatoes.  There were many of my standards and favorites and, of course, those made their way onto my flat.  What really excited me, though, was the many varieties of tomatoes that were early producers.  Some were grown from seed that Jo Anne discovered at the Heirloom Expo last year.  I’m most excited about AAA Sweet Solano, a yellow striped tomato with a slightly tropical flavor. Sounds like perfection to me.  And Early Annie, a determinate, 60 day producer of high yields sounds great for salads early in the summer. It’s also known to be a great canning tomato.

With a full flat of assorted veggies and tomatoes I felt happy that I made the drive in the rain to this seedling sale. They have many more plants, including berries and citrus trees that I look forward to seeing at one of the farmer’s markets they sell at all season long. To know more about Two Dog Nursery visit Two Dogs Nursery.
Jo Anne and Me talking tomatoes!

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