Monday, May 9, 2011

Invasion of the Russian Tomatoes!

Early Mothers' Day morning I'm cruising the garden section at that mega-mart everyone seems to love to hate. Freshly unemployed with much more time than money, I had launched an addition to our backyard for Annie for Mothers' Day two days before. The project was all but finished--including a fully-functioning, low maintenance, conservative-water-using water feature--and I was on one of those rare solo scouting trips, looking for finishing touches. When what to my wandering eyes should appear but a tag I certainly did not expect to see in this establishment, HEIRLOOM TOMATO!

This writer hardly expected to ever use Wal*Mart and heirloom tomato positively in the same sentence; but there it was, tucked away amid all the usual hybrid suspects. A healthy enough looking little specimen, considering where it was living, and claiming to be an old-world variety called Black Krim from Russia. Its parent supplier is an Alabama outfit called Bonnie Plants.
I have seen Bonnie's products before in Lowe's. Plants are packaged in biodegradable pots made from recycled materials, so you just plant the thing pot and all. I like that. I also like that Bonnie is bringing their products into places like Wal*Mart. Oh! If you have one of them smart phones that can read QR codes, Bonnie's plant data tags has that covered as well.

Worth a shot at three bucks! The Black Krim is billed as a chocolate beefsteak, the "chocolate" referencing its dark brownish color, from the Ukraine. Well let you know how it shakes out in a couple of months.

Also worth three bucks to check out is this self-contained, solar-powered LED landscape lamp by Westinghouse, and also available at Wal*Mart. I took one to try, installing it at the base of Annie's new water feature. It does not put out a mass of light; more like a friendly glow. I like that these can be picked up as single units and placed wherever without any need for wiring. How well they hold up to life on the Rolling Plains remains to be seen.

Man, is it getting hot out here, or is it just me!?!
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