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Thursday, June 11, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Edibles

Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding edible plants you can grow you can grow in your garden. A single plant can produce kilograms of tasty, juicy fruit in mid to late summer. They are easy to grow, can be grown in the garden or in containers and come in hundreds of modern and heirloom varieties.

Heirloom Tomatoes Variety

Choosing a Tomato Variety

Tomatoes come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes. In fact, there are hundreds if not thousands of different tomatoes you can grow, most of which will taste and look better than those tasteless, watery, polished red globes from the grocery store. While the most popular are the cherry tomatoes and the large slicing beefsteaks, growing your own tomatoes is all about trying something new!

Tomatoes are classified as either Heirloom or Modern varieties. Heirloom varieties are generally older and are open-pollinated. They are grown for historical interest, for saving seeds year after year and for variety. Modern varieties, or hybrids, are generally newer and do not come true from seed.

Growing Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes

To grow well, Tomatoes need three things. First, lots of sunlight, 6-8 hours a day is preferred. Second, leave some space around each plant to ensure good air circulation. Finally, Tomato plants need lots of water on a regular basis. As we mentioned, tomato plants can be grown in the garden or in a container. When planting in containers, choose a large, deep one as tomatoes seem to prefer it.

Planting Tomatoes

Before planting a tomato, gently remove any branches near the soil, leaving some larger ones higher up. We do this because Tomatoes are one of the few plants that benefit from being planted deeply. Dig a hole that is between 1/3 to ½ the height of your plant. Sprinkle Bonemeal into the hole. This organic fertilizer encourages root growth and fruit development. Put the tomato plant into the hole. Along its main stem are small hairs. When these hairs make contact with soil, new roots will develop. These new roots will give the new tomato plant a great jump start and hopefully produce more fruit. Back fill the hole with soil and pat down to remove air pockets. Water thoroughly.

Tomato Planting

Tomato plants are heavy feeders and will benefit from regular application of fertilizer. Apply an organic or manufactured fertilizer with a high middle number. This nutrient, Phosphorus, encourages the production of roots, flowers and fruits, all of which we need for a good tomato crop. We particularly like Gaia Green and Orgunique products as well as our in-house GardenPro brand.

We plant lots of different types to test them and nothing is worse than forgetting which one was which. Take our advice, if planting more than one variety, take the time to label your plants!

Bush vs Vine Tomatoes

Tomatoes are either determinate or indeterminate. Determinate or bush-form tomatoes are bred to be smaller and have a more controlled growth habit. They stop growing when the terminate or top bud sets fruit. Do not prune these varieties as it may limit the crop size. Indeterminate varieties or vine-type are scrambling, reaching plants that will keep on growing if allowed to. They will continue to grow and set fruit until frost. Vining tomatoes will benefit from staking and/or the use of a tomato cage to keep the plant upright. This will help keep the leaves and foliage from touching the soil.

Water Regularly

Tomatoes require lots of water on a regular basis. Water in the morning and try to avoid getting the leaves wet. Wet leaves can lead to disease and plant health problems. Tomatoes respond well when watered on schedule – try to keep the soil evenly moist. The worst technique is watering irregularly. Stick to a schedule – but don’t allow the plant to dry or become soggy.

Tomato Sucker

Pinch and Prune for More Tomatoes

Refocus the energy of the tomato plant by removing suckers that develop in the crotch joint between two branches. These branches will not bear fruit and take away energy that could otherwise produce more fruit. Avoid excessive pruning or leaf removal as the plant needs the foliage to produce fruit.

Common Tomato Problems

Common Tomato Problems

Blossom End Rot

A very common problem when growing tomatoes is blossom end rot. This disease manifests itself with a large brown soggy spot on the bottom end of the tomato. Throw those tomatoes away as they will not be pleasant to eat. The best way to prevent this issue is to plant your tomatoes with added Calcium. Our GardenPro Tomato Food already includes calcium to help prevent this problem.

Cracked Tomatoes

Tomato cracking occurs because of irregular watering. When over-watered, the tomato will grow faster than the skin can keep up to – resulting in cracks. Cracked tomatoes are still edible, but pick them right away to prevent pests and disease from moving in.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellow leaves on a tomato plant are a symptom of 1 or 2 problems. Either the plant needs nitrogen or it is being over-watered. To solve the problem apply a tomato or all purposed fertilizer and get your watering under control.

Tomato Blossom Die and Fall Off

Tomato Blossom Drop occurs for a variety of reasons. It may be caused by using fertilizers with an excess of Nitrogen, dry windy conditions or temperature variation. Tomatoes are sensitive to temperature when they bloom and set fruit. If the temperature falls below 55F or above 75F at night, or reaches over 90F during the day, the pollen in the flower becomes non-viable and the flower falls off.

My Tomato is Tall and Scraggly

Tomato stems have hairy fibres that when they come in contact with soil will form new roots. If you have a tall, scraggly tomato plant, mound soil around the stem. If you do this, remove any foliage that would come in contact with the soil other than the stem.

At Art's Nursery, we carry a great selection of tomatoes from April through late Summer. Drop by and visit us, pick up a couple and plant them today!


Monday, February 9, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Seeds

One of the joys of planting edibles from seed is the opportunity to try new and unique varieties from year to year with a minimal amount of risk or investment. Interestingly enough, new and unique often means going back to old, lost varieties or what's commonly referred to as heirlooms.

Heirloom Herbs and Vegetables

Heirloom plants are generally though of as old-time varieties of vegetables that come true from seed. That means that they're open-pollinated, identified by the letters (OP) so you can usually save seed from your plants every year for the following year's garden. An good explanation of Heirloom can be found at Renees Garden Seeds.

In this post, we'll showcase 10 heirloom herbs and vegetables that you should consider trying in your edible garden for 2015.

Chioggia Beets

Chioggia Beet is a striking Italian Heritage variety with light-red, smooth, round roots and bright pink and white alternating rings inside. Chioggia has very sweet flesh (raw or cooked), mild green leaves and stems striped like candy canes. Matures in 65 days. OP. Certified Organic. Approximately 100 seeds per pack. Buy Online

Mama's Cannellini Heirloom Pole Beans

Mamas Cannellini Heirloom Pole Bean Seeds produce white coloured beans that can be dried and are prized for smooth, meaty texture and nutty flavour. Classic minestrone bean. Heirloom variety. Don't plant too early - wait till late spring. March through June is a good time. Sow seeds 4 inches aprat and 1 inch deep. Will germinate in 7-10 days. Full sun. Harvest in approximately 85-92 days. Buy Online

Sugar Daddy Peas

Sugar Daddy Peas are the first truly stringless sugar pod peas. 8cm long, deep green coloured pods form on 61cm vines. Resists powdery mildew and pea leaf roll virus. Plant in full in early spring for first crop, in late summer for a second crop. Sow seeds 5cm apart in double rows spaced 15 cm apart. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.  Harvest in 65 days. Buy Online

Garden Rainbow Heirloom Chard

Garden Rainbow Heirloom Chard seeds produce vigorous and long-lasting chard with crunchy colourful stalks and crinkled leaves. Takes 7-10 days to germinate. Certified Organic. Full sun. Harvest in approximately 50 days. Begin harvestings when plants are well established and have at least 6-8 leaves. Both stalks and leaves make great eating. Chop and steam or sauté with garlic and olive oil. Use like Spinach in lasagna or minestrone soup. try tasty chard leaves stuffed and poached in broth with a dash of olive oil and fresh lemon. Buy Online

Old German Tomatoes

Old German Tomato Seeds produce a sweet and delicious heirloom tomato variety from a Virginia Mennonite community circa mid-1800s. Like a Caribbean Sunset with variegated red and gold colours. Complements any dish with a gorgeous splash of colour. Indeterminate variety. Harvest in 80 days. OP. Full sun. Approximately 205 seeds per pack. Buy Online

Jericho Heirloom Romaine Lettuce

Jericho Heirloom Romaine Lettuce Seeds produce full heads of sword-shaped upright leaves with a delicious juicy crunch. Heat tolerant variety. For a constant supply, make several sowings a few weeks apart until summer weather turns hot. Plant again in late summer for fall harvest. Lettuce thrives in cool conditions with consistent moisture. Weed, water and be sure to thin carefully. Certified Organic. Plant in full sun, add shade as the season gets hotter to extend the harvest. Germinates in 7-14 days. Harvest in 60-65 days. Buy Online

Summer Feast Heirloom Tomatoes

Summer Feast Heirloom Tomato Seeds are a luscious, widely adapted trio of treasured heirlooms. Medium-sized, richly flavoured Black Krim is from the Russian Black Sea area. It is the most reliable and delicious of the black tomatoes. Sweet Persimmon is a big, meaty globe-shaped fruits that ripen to a beautiful glowing orange. Deep-red, lobed and heavy with juice, Costoluto is a traditional Italian favourite for fresh eating. Seeds in the pack are colour coded. Pink seeds = Costoluto, Green Seeds = Persimmon, Undyed Seed = Black Krim. For best results with tomatoes use Bonemeal or similar product containing calcium and plant in full sun. Water regularly and consistently. Harvest in approximately 80 days. Buy Online

Super Rapini Heirloom Broccoli Raab

Super Rapini Broccoli Raab is also known as cima di rapa, or Rapini. It is a robust and rich tasting traditional Italian heirloom and a quick growing cool season favourite. Broccoli Raab produces an abundance of deep green leaves and tender shoots topped with tiny bud clusters. Enjoy these full flavoured greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic as Italian food lovers have for time immemorial. We import our Sessentina seed selection directly from Italy, so you can rely on its freshness and authenticity. Full sun. Germinates in approximately 7-10 days. Harvest in approximately 60 days. Buy Online

Chinese Giant Sweet Peppers

Chinese Giant Sweet Peppers are an Heirloom variety with huge 10-15cm bell-type green to red coloured fruits. Plants grow to 61cm. First introduced in 1900. Start indoors in a warm well-lit area 8 weeks prior to transplanting outdoors. Keep seedlings moist. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days at 24-27c. Before transplanting, move the sheltered area outside for a week. Full Sun. Harvest in 80 days. Buy Online

Wild Garden Frills Heirloom Russian Kale

Wild Russian Heirloom Kale is an especially tender, mild and simply delicious Siberian heirloom with blue-green frilled leaves. Highly nutritious, long-standing, weather tolerant and wonderfully ornamental. An equal part mix of Wild Red and Green Russian Kales. Sow in ground as soon as ground can be worked in spring. Prepare a well-drained, fertile garden bed in the full sun. Harvest in 48 days. Begin harvesting outer leaves when plants have 6-8 leaves. Vitamin rich kale is delicious in hearty winter stews and sautes, or braise the beautiful leaves with garlic and olive oil in traditional Mediterranean style. Pull and discard once plants begin to bloom since the leaves of flowering stalks get tough and bitter. Sow again in late summer for another cold-hardy crop. Buy Online

Lemon Cucumbers

Lemon Cucumber is an attractive heirloom variety that are small and round with lemon yellow coloured skins and mild, sweet, lime-green flesh. Lemon cucumbers are extremely productive and grow on long vigorous vines that do well on vertical supports like a trellis or fence. Tasty too! Matures in 70 days. OP. Approximately 30 seeds per pack. Buy Online

These 10 varieties and many other seeds from West Coast Seeds, Renees Seeds, Burpees and Suttons are available at Arts Nursery from February through June. Quantities may be limited and availability is subject to change. Most varieties are also available online at www.artsnursery.com/catalog/seeds


Saturday, September 13, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Edibles

I am new to winter vegetable gardening. This year I’ll be trying a few greens and possibly some radishes in a large container against the south side of the house under the overhang. I have some old glass squares for a bit of a cover if needed. For 10 years I’ve been meaning to do it but I’ve finally got the spot and a few little seedlings all ready to go. I’ll share with you some of the winter veggie garden basics as it really is pretty easy.

Kale | Winter Veggies

Planting Location or Container

Any good draining spot or container that will get 6 or more hours of sun a day. Against a South wall is best if you are planting in a large container or somewhere you will not get too much winter wind. If you do have a windy spot, you can build a wind break with hay bales or bags of fall leaves. Raised beds are ideal especially with our rain. We’ve got one on wheels at the store for you to check out!

For winter protection you can build a low plastic tunnel with pvc piping and poly, or you can use bales of shavings if you are in an area with very wet winters or bales of hay if you are in an area with cold and dryish or snowy winters (wet mouldering hay is not a fun fragrance) and top with old windows or plastic. Basically you can spend many happy hours on Pinterest looking up cold frame or cloche designs and find one that meets your budget and area.

Winter Veggie Guide

What to plant?

There are many wonderful winter vegetable books at your local library, also some great online catalogues. Our awesome catalogue… both online and in the store is the West Coast Seeds Planting Guide for Fall and Winter Harvests. It lists the veggies as well as when to plant, when to transplant and the best part…when to harvest.

Winter Vegetables

When to Plant

Summer is the best time to plant your winter crops such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Turnips and Cabbage. Your little seedlings need some sun and heat to get started. If you have time in the summer leave a bit of an area clear for your winter crop. If like me, you blinked and your summer was over, there is still time to plant both by seed and seedlings. There is still time for Mesculun Greens, Chives, Cilantro, Radishes and Turnips among others.

Do I fertilize my winter vegetable crop?

Why yes you do! Before planting work some good compost or well rotted manure in to the soil especially if you’ve just pulled out the summer crop. Then you can add a good all-purpose fertilizer to the soil and I like to add some rock phosphate and then get cracking with the planting!

I am really looking forward to this!! I think the veggies will continue at a more sedate pace and I won’t be in too much of a panic over watering in the heat and beating back the weeds. I will also really enjoy those greens on my toasted French bread and fancy cheese - very civilized!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Vegetables
grafted tomato

Grafted tomatoes are the most exciting thing to hit the herb and veggie business in a long time. These unique vegetables (fruits?) are made by attaching the top of one plant (called the scion) to the root system of another type of plant (called the rootstock).

When the union is complete, the resulting plant reaps benefits from both parents. The rootstock contributes vigour and disease resistance and the scion (the top) is choosen for the fruit type, flavour, yield and quality. The end result should be a healthier plant, more tomatoes and fewer issues with disease.

While grafting has been used on trees, shrubs and many other types of plants for centuries, it is relatively new for tomatoes and soon other plants like peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers.

As grafted tomatoes are new to the Pacific Northwest, we look forward to growing them this year and seeing how they perform in our climate. Plant a few yourself and let us know how they are doing!

Benefits of Grafted Tomatoes

  • Increased vigour
  • Improved quality and quantity of fruit
  • Greater disease and environmental tolerance
  • Larger harvest over a longer period of time

Growing Grafted Tomatoes

Unlike traditional tomatoes, do not plant grafted tomatoes deep. They should not be planted any deeper than they are in the pot. Otherwise, treat them as you would other tomatoes. Plant in full sun, water regularly and apply a tomato fertilizer as required. Stake varieties as required.

This year Arts Nursery is proud to offer an attractive selection of grafted tomato varieties. Quantities are limited so hurry in and get yours today...


Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Vegetables
yukon gold potatos

Potatoes are one of the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow in your garden. All you need is a little bit of space, sunshine and potato seedlings.

Potatoes come in a variety of types, sizes, shapes and colours including white, yellow or even blue. To get started either purchase potato seedlings, generally available in March or cut your own potatoes into large chunks. Each chunk should contain at least two eyes or growth points. Allow freshly cut potatoes to dry for 24 hours before planting.

Plant your spuds in an area that recieves at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. While they will tolerate less light, they will produce smaller crops.

The planting area should have rich, loose, well drained soil, preferably mildly acidic. Mix bonemeal in with the soil to help promote root/tuber development. New potato plant growth is tender so wait until chances of frost have passed before planting. In our area, this is usually mid to late March. Tubers may rot if planted to early as the soil is likely cold and wet.

Potato plants will produce potatoes off any part of the stem that is covered in soil. As the plant grows to about 1ft in height, gently hill up or mound the soil around the stem. Leave about half the stem exposed. Repeat this process every couple of weeks until the plant begins to flower.

During the growing season, water your potato plant regularly and deeply, but allow the mound to go somewhat dry between waterings. A good foliar fertilizer, or fish emulsion can be used every 2-3 weeks until the plant begins to bloom. Do not fertilize after flowering has started.

Harvest your potatoes when the foliage begins to die back. Gently remove a little bit of soil from the soil mound to determine if the potatoes are ready. Place the potatoes in a cool dry place for a couple of days to allow the skins to toughen up.

Enjoy your spuds!

potatoes

Our Favourite Potato Varieties

Name Harvest Yield Skin Colour Size Comments
Norland Early High Red Large High yielding variety, adapts well to different soils. Sensitive to drought. Susceptible to skinning and bruising if harvested before maturity. Washes well at maturity
Sangre Mid High Red Large Ranks high in taste tests. No after cooking discoloration. High levels of vitamin C
Russet Burbank Late Good Russet Large Requires uniform moisture supply and long growing season to produce maximum quality tubers and to prevent knobbiness and second growth
Kennebec Mid-Late High White Very Large High yielding, fast growing variety. Widely adapted.
Warba Very Early High White Large High yielding variety
Bintje Late High Yellow Medium High yielding, widely adapted. Higher tuber set, give each plant more space, approx 40-45cm apart
Yukon Gold Mid High Yellow Medium Large tubers. Slightly susceptible to hollow heart.
Banana Late High Gourmet Fingerling Fresh market specialty potato. Yellow fleshed. Produces 15-20 tubers per plant
Nicola Late Good Gourmet Medium Low GI rating, good for diabetics.
If you are looking for a specific potato variety, please visit Art's Nursery or call 604.882.1201 ahead of time to confirm availability. Best Potato selection is during the month of March.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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