Monday, September 13, 2010

9/13/10 Crimson Giant Radish and Kumato Tomato

While the fall garden is taking time to grow and battling pest damage (most likely slug damage, gathering from many helpful readers/commenters who contributed over the weekend), the weekly harvest continues to stay rather small.  Even so, we still had some excitement this weekend in the kitchen garden.

Our first garden radishes!  I've heard that radishes are supposed to be one of the fastest growing garden vegetables.  That may be true if you're growing them under optimum conditions, but that was certainly not the case for these radishes.

I sowed the seeds for these Crimson Giant radishes in early July.  They germinated just fine after 5-7 days, but then they stopped growing.  Maybe they didn't like the hot summer in the mid-90s during most of July and August.  According to the seed packet, these are supposed to grow to 1.5 inches across, but my radishes were only 0.75 inch across.  I would have left them in the soil longer, but the leaves were getting infested with aphids (very yucky), so I pulled these two.  The third one I pulled had about 2 inches of long/narrow red root that never bulbed up.  I don't know why that one didn't grow.  The two harvested radishes tasted fairly mild but still had plenty of "radishy" flavor.

I also harvested some cilantro from the indoor grow box and two more hot cayenne peppers so that I could make some fresh salsa.  The cayenne peppers are still not showing any signs of turning red, but the green ones still pack plenty of heat for our needs.  Since we didn't have any garden tomatoes for salsa-making, I had to rely on some store-bought tomatoes.  Now, before you shake your head in disgust, check out these Kumato brown tomatoes I got from Trader Joe's.

I did some internet research, and apparently the company that developed these Kumato tomatoes has stated that it will never make the seeds available to the general public.  The tomatoes are only grown in a few European countries and Canada by certain growers selected by invitation only.  There's also some controversy as to where these tomatoes originated and whether they are open-pollinated or a hybrid variety. 

After reading all this, I did something that any curious backyard gardener would do:  I saved the seeds.  Well, the seeds are in the processing of being saved and going through the fermentation process at the moment.  It's my first time saving tomato seeds, so we'll see how it works out. 

Anyway, these Kumato tomatoes were pretty brown/black/greenish in color and somewhat sweeter than "regular" red tomatoes.  They made beautiful tasty salsa with our hot cayenne peppers.

Please visit Daphne's Harvest Monday for more fall harvests.


Sherri B. said...

That will be interesting to see if the tomato seeds turn out for you.

Stefaneener said...

Ha. What a silly thing to say. You'd think that it's like waving a cape in front of bulls. I hope they turn out nicely; it's at the very least a fun experiment!

meemsnyc said...

Hehehehe, nice work! I can't wait to see if those brown tomato seeds produce for you!

The Idiot Gardener said...

I'm feeling very anti-tomato at the moment. It could have been so very different, but right now I can't help but consider all the effort that resulted in a few jars of green tomato chutney and a bloody big bonfire!

The Idiot Gardener said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

I have never heard of Kumato tomatoes. It will be interesting to see if they are a hybrid.

The cayenne peppers may take longer to get red at this time of the year. I hang mine in the kitchen and dry them to make cayenne pepper. If you want to do that, leave them on the plant as long as you can. Pick them and hang them to dry. They will continue to change color as they are drying.

Erin said...

Good for you for saving the seed! Can't hurt to try! I'm upset with the "Pesto Perpetuo" Basil developers - you can order the plants only and they have engineered that baby to not flower at all so saving seed is not an option, and even though that would indicate it's a bit of a "frankenfood" I am addicted to its variegated beauty, so I continue to order the plants, ugh!

Engineeredgarden said...

Oh, those tomatoes are beautiful! I hope the seeds do well for you, because you know us other gardeners would like to trade for some later!

johanna said...

My radishes look the same and I had to go out and get some tomatoes for something I was cooking because I did not have any fresh ones. I think summer is ending.

kitsapFG said...

Aphids can be a real pain with late summer planted items. The radishes look good even if you did have to pull them a little early.

The tomato looks interesting but I bet it is a hybrid and does not grow out true. Will be interesting to see though.

Sense of Home said...

Interesting tomatoes, I have never seen or tasted that variety. I will have to watch for them next spring.


thyme2garden said...

Sherri B. - I'm looking forward to finding out, too!

* * * * *
Stefaneener - Thank you! I'm all over garden experiments!

* * * * *
meemsnyc - Thanks! I hope these seeds produce some more brown tomatoes like the parent ones, too.

* * * * *
The Idiot Gardener - It really can be discouraging to put so much effort into something and have it not turn out. I'm experiencing similar feelings, except that my resentment is towards peas at the moment.

* * * * *
Robin - I didn't know that peppers could continue to charge color as they are drying. Thanks for the tip! If my peppers don't start turning color before it gets too cold, I'll do exactly what you said.

* * * * *
Erin - That must be some special basil you got there! With these Kumato tomatoes, they won't even sell you plants. Only the final product!

* * * * *
EG - Thank you! If I successfully save these tomato seeds, I'll definitely offer them up for trading, and you'll be at the top of the list!

* * * * *
johanna - It was so hot for so long that I couldn't wait for the summer to end. But then it shot down to the low 50s (at night) so fast, now I'm worried about having a very short fall!

thyme2garden said...

ketsapFG - if it's not the cucumber beetles, then it's the aphids, and a whole host of other pests in between. I guess dealing with pests is just a given with a home garden.

I was also skeptical about these tomatoes being open-pollinated, but after a few minutes of internet research, I'm optimistic. There's even a rumor that the developing company does not want to advertise that these are OP, because they want to discourage consumers from saving seeds and circulating them. Since there just isn't enough data out there, I'll have to do the experiment myself and see how it works out.

* * * * *
Sense of Home - I was in the same boat - never seen, heard of or tasted them before this weekend. I picked them up from the store because they looked so beautiful, but now that I've read their background story (and tasted them myself), I can't wait to try to grow them myself next year.

Carol@KeepingUpWith said...

Oh, you are amazing! I have had the hardest time growing cilantro. Yours looks picture perfect.

Daphne said...

Goodness. If you tell a gardener the seeds aren't available anywhere and you can't grow them, what in the world do they think will happen. Of course people will save seeds from them. How could they not?

Frugal Gardener said...

As Carol said, your cilantro does look amazing. Makes me wonder if I will be able to plant some seeds and get a quick harvest in before frost. That most likely will happen next month.

My radishes came in very quick, much to my surprise. I planted them August 23rd and harvested some yesterday. Couldn't believe it.

Stevie from said...

Interesting about the tomatoes - did they taste good?

Anonymous said...

If I leave radishes in the ground for too long they turn so hot that are not edible any longer. I think that they stayed small becouse of the heat.
That tomato is beautiful. I wonder if it is as good looking when it's grown in the kitchen garden. We will find out next year.

Faith said...

Oooh. Good one on saving the seeds. Hows the melon doing?

Barbie said...

Definately keep us posted. I can't wait to see what happens in the spring.
Your cilantro is the best looking I think I have ever seen. I'm drooling here - my fave!

balcony/paradise said...

Hahaha, I would have saved the seeds as well :) I'm curious wether and how they'll grow next year!
Radishes are usually fast growing, but I think they need the right temperatures...yours look very nice anyway!

thyme2garden said...

Carol - Thank you! I learned this year that cilantro is a cool weather plant, so it's really hard to grow it in the summer. The seeds I sowed outside in May all bolted almost as soon as they germinated. I grew this batch in our indoor grow box, which seems to maintain a good temp at around low to mid 70s during the day.

* * * * *
Daphne - exactly!

* * * * *
Frugal Gardener - thank you! The cilantro that bolted for me in May/June flowered and set seeds all summer long, and now the volunteers are starting to pop up in my garden. This picture batch is from seeds I sowed on 7/30/10 in my grow box, so it took about 40 days to get to harvestable size.

I saw your radishes, they look really great for being three weeks old!

* * * * *
Stevie - yes, the brown tomatoes were delicious!

* * * * *
vrtlarica - Hopefully I will have success growing these brown tomatoes next year!

* * * * *
Faith - thanks! Lupe is still growing, although slower now that we've cut back on watering. Theoretically, she should be ready next weekend, which is right at the five week mark. I will only harvest if I see evidence of slippage from the vine.

* * * * *
Barbie - I certainly will! Thank you!

* * * * *
balcony/paradise - thank you! I will keep everyone updated of my Kumato Tomato growing experience next year.

michelle said...

It is amazing what you can find at TJ's (or Costco)! Darn, we'll have to wait a whole year to see if they come true, can't wait...

mac said...

Interesting tomato, waiting to see how it grows out for you next year.

Prairie Cat said...

I am glad to hear that I was not the only one who had difficulty with radishes! My parents grew them so easily, but I have been struggling to get any that bulb. I planted more for a fall crop, so we'll see if the cooler weather helps them out a bit.

Good luck with those tomato seeds! I have never tried anything but a red tomato, so I am anxious for next year when we venture into some new varieties.

upinak said...

OMG OMG OMG!!! I LOVE TRADER JOE! Okay can you tell I am jealous LOL. I miss them, and loved going to them when I lived in Seattle.

But onto the Kumato's. You want to know what type of Tom they really are? Cherry Tom bred with a Russian black beef. Oh yes, even you can learn the tricks of the trade.

WHy do people LOVE the weird looking toms, because in Russia (and Alaska and Canada) due to the not so warm temps.. black toms grow faster and mature faster... but look weird. So someone bred them with Cherries and there you have IT!

Okay time for class is over. :)

~Holly~ said...

Ooooh...purty tomatoes!! How interesting!!

thyme2garden said...

michelle - I love TJs, but I don't make it over very often due to distance from our home. I know, the thought of having to wait until next summer sounds agonizing, but I'm sure it will be here before we know it!

* * * * *
Prairie Cat - I'm also crossing my fingers that the cooling weather will help our radishes. We're also looking forward to growing a variety of tomatoes next year.

* * * * *
upinak - Trader Joe's is like the grocery store version of Disneyland for adults, complete with crowded parking lots and long check-out lines sometimes.

Thanks for letting me know about the Kumato heritage! I searched google to get as much info as I could, but did not get the same info that you did. Will have to look into it more! I like the weird looking tomatoes for the novelty value, and the flavor was actually pretty good, too!

* * * * *
Holly - thank you!

* * * * *

Nartaya said...

Sounds like I will have to make a stop in at TJ's as soon as the kids are up for it! As far as our gardens, we have just about the same "harvests" going on right about now. I am impatiently waiting for he fall crops to grow. Where is Cali is your Mom?

Melissa said...

Those tomatoes have such an interesting color! I can't wait to see if your seeds grow.

Thomas said...

It will definitely be interesting to see what the seeds will develop into. My guess is that it's a hybrid. Now you've peaked my interest. I must do some googling!

thyme2garden said...

Nartaya - Let me know if you find these tomatoes, or something else unusual, at your TJ's. My mom lives in Torrance, on the west side just a mile away from Redondo Beach.

* * * * *
Melissa - I am so anxious for next spring, and it's not even winter yet!

* * * * *
Thomas - I thought it would be a hybrid, too, but my googling resulted in very inconclusive results, with several references to Kumato possibly being an open-pollinated variety with enough stabilization after the initial cross. Please let me know if your googling turns up anything more conclusive!

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