Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Totally Tomatoes Isn't Totally

Totally Tomatoes doesn’t sell only tomato seeds. I suppose the company was named when it sold only tomato seeds—but over the years its product lines have expanded to peppers (sweet, hot, & ornamental), cucumbers, and a smattering of other veggies, such as lettuce, cauliflower, squash, carrots, watermelons, and cantaloupes.

To give an idea of company offerings, the 60-page catalog devotes 25 pages to tomato seeds, 14 pages to pepper seeds, two pages to cucumbers, and about 10 pages to a mixture of the above or other veggies. Most packets contain 20 or 30 seeds.

The catalog contains a two-page article under the headline, “These Simple Steps Yield Totally Terrific Tomatoes” that should move any student of tomato growing to the head of her class. Subsections include “Seeding,” “Growing On,” “Hardening Off,” “Site Preparation,” “Transplanting,” “Culture,” “Diseases & Pests,” “Container Gardening,” and “Preserving.”

For tomatoes, variety names are followed by “disease resistance” abbreviations, such as Celebrity Hybrid VFFNTASt. Abbreviations are explained in the “Simple Steps” outline. Variety descriptions include days to maturity, factual highlights, and whether the variety is determinate or indeterminate.

Cucumber descriptions also indicate disease resistance, with five varieties labeled as resistant to downy and powdery mildew and others indicating “excellent disease resistance” or similar characteristics.

The company website contains convenient tabs to help find what you’re looking for: New, Tomato Seeds, Pepper Seeds, Tomato & Pepper Plants, and Other Vegetable Seeds. For a free catalog, click the “Get Catalog” tab at the top of the home page.

Price of a sample seed order: Packet (30 seeds), Big Beef Hybrid VFFNTASt tomato, $2.55. Packet (20), Juliet Hybrid tomato, $2.35. Packet (25), King Arthur Hybrid pepper, $2.85. Shipping: $4.95. Total: $12.70.

CLICK HERE to link to the Totally Tomatoes website.

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