Tomatomania, Southern California’s harbinger of spring gardening for the last 30 many years, had a brutal time in 2020, when most of its venues have been shut owing to COVID-19. But it’s gearing up yet again, with a couple of tweaks, prepared to start out its traveling seedling present featuring additional than 200 tomato kinds and 100 pepper types Feb. 26.
The fantastic information: Gardeners will have much more time to look through its offerings at every single pop-up cease. The not-so-fantastic information: There will be significantly less venues to visit, explained proprietor Scott Daigre. In earlier several years, Tomatomania moved its a few- or 10-working day gross sales “events” to about a dozen venues from Ventura County to San Diego County, featuring demonstrations, workshops, recipes and camaraderie for gardeners who simply cannot get enough of our beloved summer time fruit.
The ongoing pandemic has nixed those people in-individual extras this yr to be certain persons never congregate, but Daigre explained he expects some venues will present minor workshops on-line (and loads of data, recipes and guidance are presented on the Tomatomania! internet site).
Anticipate only about a 50 % dozen Tomatomania venues this yr, with on the net buying and/or loads of area in between tables so consumers can preserve properly distanced and not have to linger to locate the vegetation they want.
Daigre said they’ll be remaining a month at most sites, beginning with Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar on Feb. 26, and will often replenish their offerings, so consumers really do not really feel the have to have to crowd into the sales occasions the initial working day to get their favourite kinds before they sell out.
Other than that, the Tomatomania structure is likely powerful, with Daigre heralding his yearly choose for Tomato of the Year (an orangey red Hawaiian hybrid named Lava Flow), and, in recognition of very last year’s big fascination in container gardening, a total collection of particular Dwarf Collection tomatoes — heirloom hybrids bred to expand simply and profusely in smaller spaces and pots.
Daigre said the Dwarf Series tomatoes are just the thing for gardeners who want to expand more unique heirloom varieties but don’t have the place for in-floor gardening.
Bush sort tomatoes are not new, Daigre reported, but these Dwarf Series are unique because they are indeterminant heirloom varieties rather of the additional popular determinant hybrids like Greater Bush. Most heirloom tomatoes are indeterminant, producing tomatoes around several weeks compared with determinant varieties, which are bred to produce their crop all at the moment.
The difficulty is that indeterminant versions have a tendency to be massive, rangy crops that require a lot of staking, and can consider above a balcony, little patio or even a backyard mattress, Daigre stated.
That is the attractiveness of the Dwarf Sequence, he explained. They develop heirloom tomatoes but on vegetation that are stocky and compact, demanding little if any staking. A person of Daigre’s favorites is Saucy Mary, a tiny “micro dwarf” plant that can be tucked into a pot with quite a few other vegetation, he said, and even now present dozens of delightful eco-friendly-and-orange-striped fruit formed like Roma tomatoes.
In point, Daigre stated, if you have a large pot the place you would generally plant just one frequent-sized tomato, you can correctly plant two or 3 of the Dwarf Collection and triple your assortment and manufacturing.
“Last calendar year we attempted a few of these and I sense like I have identified the key for persons who can only do two or three containers on the back porch,” Daigre claimed.
“These aren’t cherry tomatoes you have the complete realm of tomato offerings in the Dwarf Series. I experienced just one tomato, Cyril’s Preference, that commenced early, concluded late and made dozens of fruit double cherry tomato size off a person tiny plant. If the output I got previous yr was multiplied into what people today usually place in their backyards, you could experience like a actual farmer, and you do not need main scaffolding to make it happen.”
But that’s the attract of Tomatomania — there are so quite a few alternatives to experiment. With additional than 200 tomato versions, assume the similar assortment of varied dimensions, flavors and shades — which include Cherokee Purples, misshapen, mahogany monster fruits with beautiful smoky flavors, deep oranges, environmentally friendly with stripes, sunny yellows as nicely as different shades of crimson from regular Roma paste tomatoes and sweet mouthfuls of cherries.
And this 12 months there’s the additional reward that you can peruse most of Daigre’s offerings on line. He will try out to offer all 200-additionally kinds at every single location, but some vegetation will operate out and other folks may well not increase as nicely as predicted, he explained, so be adaptable in your options.
Daigre is nevertheless negotiating with a few of venues for dates later in the spring, and the details about how product sales will be managed are nonetheless staying finalized, but most of the agenda is established. Be aware that Tomatomania’s choices will be shown on the net at Roger’s Gardens, Fig Earth Source and Otto & Sons Nursery, if you want to do some early searching. And since we dwell in ridiculous-uncertain moments appropriate now, be guaranteed to look at the Tomatomania and location internet sites for updates just before you go.
Roger’s Gardens at 2301 San Joaquin Street in Corona del Mar, a 4-week continue to be beginning Feb. 26. All of Tomatomania’s Choices of tomatoes and peppers will be outlined on the net.
Fig Earth Source at 3577 N. Figueroa St. in Mt. Washington, March 5-7. Gardeners can store on the net for their tomatoes and choose them up at the curb or make appointments to look through.
Otto & Sons Nursery at 1835 E. Guiberson Street in Fillmore, beginning March 12 for a single month. Choices readily available for online searching and obtain, with curbside pickup as nicely as on-internet site visits.
Tapia Bros. Farm at 5251 Hayvenhurst Ave. in Encino. On-site visits only, March 19 through April 25.
Underwood Household Farms fruit stands at 5696 Los Angeles Ave. in Somis and 3370 Sunset Valley Street in Moorpark, tentatively scheduled to start off in late March for one particular thirty day period.