The raised bed that is closest to the outdoor classroom area is the one that has 2 square sections that are a second tier. Because of where we had tomatoes last year and the garlic and shallots in Beds 2 and 3, we had no choice but to put tomatoes in that bed, fondly known as “Bed 1.” However, with those raised tiers, we decided to put some basil in those sections, with tomatoes on either end. The tomatoes will be half yellow/orange/gold varieties and half red varieties.
This is going to be fun! In both groups of tomatoes we have 3 average slicing tomatoes, 1 heirloom, 1 grape, and 1 random other tomato. Here’s a little information about each variety.
BHN-871: We tried to plant this one a few years ago, but I could only find seeds in volumes of 2,000 or more. Yeah, not so much. This year I can get a packet! Hurray! 10-12 oz. fruit, disease resistant, low acid, determinate. 74 days.
Carolina Gold: This has been on the K-State Recommended List for a long time, probably because there haven’t been better options. We thought it was only fair to try it and compare. 8-10 oz. fruit, some disease resistance, determinate. 71 days.
Taxi: An early producing variety with smaller fruit. 4-6 oz. fruit, determinate. 64 days.
Limmony: Supposedly this Russian heirloom tomato has tangy, lemony flavored fruit? Hmm…. Beefsteak type tomato, up to 1 lb. fruit. Indeterminate, 80 days.
Golden Sweet Grape: Yellow grape tomato, mild flavor, crack resistant. Indeterminate. 60 days.
Yellow Stuffer: This is obviously the “random” variety. The tomato fruits are shaped like bell peppers and are hollow like peppers, so you can make stuffed tomatoes! Indeterminate. 76 days.
Iron Lady: This is a new variety that I mentioned on the blog awhile back. It is resistant to late blight, early blight, and Septoria leaf spot. It has dense, 5 oz. fruit on determinate plants. 75 days.
Jetsetter: This is a slightly earlier version of Jet Star with much more disease resistance. 8 oz fruit, indeterminate. 64 days.
Bella Rosa: Another highly disease resistant slicer, this variety claims some heat tolerance as well. 10-12 oz. fruit, determinate. 75 days.
Arkansas Traveler: This is an heirloom that I’ve had recommended to me as one that tolerates heat. We’ll see! 6 oz. fruit, indeterminate. 90 days.
Five Star Grape: Basic red grape tomato. Crack resistant, indeterminate. 62 days.
Plum Regal: A very disease resistant plum/roma tomato, with some Early blight resistance. 3-4 oz. fruit, determinate. 80 days.
Bed 1: Basils
- Thai Siam Queen – as gorgeous in the garden as it is delicious on the dinner plate! The sturdy stems support extra-large, 4-inch-long and 2-inch-wide bright green leaves. Clusters of short terminal racemes of purple flowers are borne on the very top of the plant for a highly ornamental effect. Thai Siam Queen is loaded with spicy flavor and aroma.
- Red Genovese – This Genovese-type basil, bred in England as an improvement over the popular Red Rubin, is as ornamental as it is delicious! You will smell Red Genovese before you see it, the huge, lightly cupped violet leaves releasing a spicy clove aroma. Fabulous for cooking or in fresh dishes, Red Genovese is a generous producer, with good branching on plants that reach 18 inches high and about a foot wide. Compact enough for containers, they stand out nicely wherever they are planted!
- Minimum – Minimum is full of pungent oils for a very strong flavor in one of the smallest of plants. This dwarf is perfect for ornamental use in edging or in containers. Pick the leaves and use fresh or dried in tomato dishes, pasta sauces, vegetables, and soups. You can also use it in the garden as a companion plant to repel aphids, mites, and tomato hornworms. Minimum grows only 6 to 12 inches high and wide. The tiny medium green leaves are only 1/2 inch long. Small terminal racemes of white flowers are borne in summer.
- Corsican – O. basilicum is a beautiful and mild basil that works deliciously in desserts such as poached pears, or sprinkled on salads. This Mediterranean delight has variegated leaves in wine and green coloration. Stunning in the decorative border and vase 20-30” tall
- Red Large Leaf Lettuce – O. b. purpurascens Basil wraps now have a bright, new look! Colossal, deep red, ruffled leaves have a deliciously vibrant flavor. Spoon some creamy parmesan polenta on a fresh leaf, wrap, and enjoy. Can also be used in any recipe calling for basil.
- Pistou – Pistou has the small leaves and dense, neat shape, but it is much more uniform, so a mass planting looks tidy and trim all season long! Pistou is a mild-flavored Basil, excellent for cooking and very fragrant in the summer garden. It forms a lovely circular plant that works perfectly in parterres and other formal settings, but is also right at home in the all-purpose herb garden, the annual bed, and accent settings of all types.
Each of the 4′ square areas will have 3 varieties. The Thai and Corsican basils will be in the center. Then the two red basils will be planted around them. (Interestingly, we found 3 or 4 different catalogs advertising the “New” red Genovese basil, but each one had a different name for it. Same picture though…) Then the Minimum and Pistou basils will be along the edges. The ‘Minimum’ variety is supposed to have a more trailing habit, like thyme. That should be a different look for a basil!
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