I saved a ton of tomato seeds this year! And I saved them not only to grow again in my garden, but I hope in many other gardens too.
I recently took a lot of those tomato seeds to a soup festival here in Toronto called Soupalicious. (Of course, I was serving a tomato-basil soup!) Serving soup was a great opportunity to excite people about gardening. Most gardening events attract gardeners—but this event attracted foodies, and people looking for a delicious and diverse lunch. So, with the opportunity to excite people about growing their own food, I talked a lot about one of the tomato varieties I brought, ‘Purple Calabash.’
It’s Not Ugly!
When deciding which varieties I would bring with me to Soupalicious, I was torn about ‘Purple Calabash.’ I love it, and would highly recommend it, but I recalled my friend and tomato mentor Linda Crago talking about how the unusual appearance turned some people off.
The unique appearance of ‘Purple Calabash’ has a couple of different components—its shape and colour. It is about the right size to sit in the palm of your hand and is a dark red-purple colour, with deep lobes. I love the way that it looks.
At Soupalicious, where I had samples from my garden for people to see, it got A LOT of attention. I got a ton of comment about how great it looks.
In the Garden
‘Purple Calabash’ takes about 85 days to mature. It is one of the most productive tomato varieties that I’ve grown. The plant is indeterminate, so staking, caging, or trellising is recommended.
In the Kitchen
The flavour is complex and is sure to please. Some people describe the taste as being slightly smoky.
Start Your Own
If you’re looking for seeds for ‘Purple Calabash’ or other neat tomatoes, now is a good time to mark your calendar for Seedy Saturday events where you can find cools seeds. Find these events on the Seeds of Diversity website. [https://www.seeds.ca/events]
Emma Biggs is a 13-year-old gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2018—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbour’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, and on the garage roof. Her garden is the source of many of her stories—and the source of produce that she sells in her neighborhood. In 2015, at the age of nine, Emma co-authored of Grow Gardeners, Kid-Tested Gardening with Children with her father and started helping him at garden talks and workshops. For the past couple of years, Emma has been giving her own talks at libraries, seed exchanges, garden clubs, and garden shows. Emma is the co-host of The Garage Gardeners Radio Show. She hosts kids gardening videos on the From Dirt to Dishes gardening channel on YouTube. Her latest book, Gardening with Emma, helps kids find the fun in gardening (and helps adults remember how much fun gardening is!)