"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tomato Update, Melons, Harvest and Second Crop Plantings

Orangeglo Watermelon from Baker Creek
Lots of photos to keep my garden blog updated.

Our Orangeglo Watermelon and a French cantelope melon called Charentais are doing well.  Both should be ready at the end of this month or early September.  Most are hidden, but I was able to get a few photos of the melons.

Charentais Melon from Baker Creek
Charentais vines
Orangeglo Watermelon and Charentais vines
Charentais Melon
Orangeglo Watermelon
Japanese Eggplant, I have picked 3 so far.
Florida Market Eggplant from Baker Creek 
I picked 2 so far. I have three plants but this one is doing the best.

Gold Medal Tomato 1 pound 7 1/2 ounces! Probably will weigh more when completely ripe.  Seeds were from Baker Creek.
Gold Medal 1 pound 6 ounces!
This Gold Medal filled my hand!
I wear plastic gloves when I pick or tie up my tomatoes. This keeps my hands from turning green and often the vines make me itch!!

August 1st harvest, I froze the ones in the tray yesterday.  I also can some, but I make stewed tomatoes when I can.  Freezing is so easy and I often roast several sheet pans in the oven first, then lift off the skins and toss into bags.  I use a Food Saver Machine.  Quick and easy.

The grapefruits in the bowl to the left are from our tree, also the lemons.  I know how lucky we are!!
August 2nd harvest

Cherokee Purple
 This is a Cherokee Purple tomato that I planted on May 28th.  The stake that is holding it broke last night when I was working around the plant. It broke the part of the main stem at the bottom when it fell. I checked it this morning and the leaves all look good and not at all wilted. I did cover the break with new potting soil and soaked it real well late last night.  This plant has some of the largest Cherokee Purple fruit that I have seen.  At least 4 inches across.  It also has clusters of 4 fruits. No wonder the poor thing fell over.  I also added another stake to brace it.  Next year I will have Tony build more cages. That is the only thing I have found that will hold up my tomato plants.

Cherokee Purple tomato
 This is the Ponderosa tomato that I have been harvesting from. It still looks good and is still putting out fruit each day. Ponderosa is a light red, pinkish tomato. I really like this one and will plant again next year.

Ponderosa, picked Aug 1
Ponderosa, 10 ounces
View of the cages by driveway on August 1st. Ponderosa, San Marzano (as above).  What's left of Southern Night, these did very well for me.  And Gold Medal, still full of huge tomatoes.

 Here are two more Ponderosa tomatoes that I planted on May 28th, fruit is now setting.  I will see how these do with staking. They are next to the Cherokee Purple that broke.  I generally don't stake because you need to cut the suckers out and they actually help with shading the fruit on hot, sunny days here. I just hope the stakes hold up the weight of the plants.

 Here is Black Krim, San Marzano and another Black Krim.  These were planted just a few weeks ago (July).

San Marzano tomato planted in July
 A San Marzano that replaced a yellow squash in mid July.  My San Marzano tomatoes have not done well for me this year.  The photo below shows the two plants.  The one on the left is pretty much finished. All the leaves dried up early in June.  The one on the right does still have some fruit but nothing like I had last year.  Next year I will replace all the soil in all the raised beds. I think the problem is from using it three years in a row. Even though I amend it with compost and manure, it still failed in some of the beds this year.

Poor San Marzano in Bed 1
 Here we have German Queen, Dr. Wyche and Chocolate Stripe.  The were planted in front of the melons June 24th.  All the plants are healthy and setting flowers.  The bees are busy with the melons but hopefully they will stop in and pollinate these for us.

Bed 3 is still giving me Gold Medal, Mortgage Lifter, and a few Black Krim. 
At last we have Flame' or Hillbilly.  I planted this one on June 24th in the backyard by the birdbath.  It is larger now, I took this photo a couple of weeks ago.  Fruit is setting already.  The birds love sitting on this red cage waiting for a turn in the birdbath. I hope they are keeping the worms off!  So far this year I have not seen one tomato worm so I guess the birds are doing their jobs for us.

The southern sun shines brightly on this summers' day, as the leaves of the great Mayall shades me. I sit alone in my sacred garden, of all my precious plants and herbs. For I have gained their infinite knowledge, now I absorb their mystical powers. The gentle northern breeze, rustles through their leaves and flowers. Infusing the air with their sweet scent. Their aroma becomes quite therapeutic as I muse over their ancient lore.
-Wendy Eversen 2000


  1. Hi Carla, your tomatoes are beautiful, and just a wee bit plentiful. What is magical about planting on June 24th? That watermelon looks truly yummy.

    1. Hi George, not sure about June 24th, just a day I picked to plant more. They sure are doing well though.

      I can't wait to try the melons!

  2. Did you also have a much earlier crop? What is the earliest date that you can put in tomatoes? We are somewhere between Mat 1 and May 10 to be safe. Second question, why do you roast your tomatoes before freezing them?

    1. George, I did pick a few Purple Russian in June. I planted that one along with Paul Robeson, San Marzano and Persimmon Orange. Paul Robeson yielded very few tomatoes, but Purple Russian was good. My San Marzano failed me this year. And Persimmon Orange has a lot of fruit but so far I have only picked one. Now these plants are all in the same bed and I think the problem is the soil, which I will change next spring. I do pick tomatoes in late June and sometimes it doesn't start until early July.

      The earliest I have planted tomatoes is March. That is generally when I have my seedlings ready, but I also plant more in April. We often get hail storms in March, but that doesn't seem to harm the plants. I feel that a cooler temperature gives the plants stronger roots.

      I roast the tomatoes because I love the flavor it gives them. I cut them in half, the place cut side down on a sheet pan with a good rim to it to keep the juice from spilling over. I also add peeled garlic and often slices of lemons. I let the skins get pretty brown when baking. Then I cool them and lift off the skins and remove the lemons, but the garlic I mash up a bit with a fork and then put it all in bags to freeze. I will be trying your method this year though. Mortgage Lifter tomato has nice, small fruit which would be great to put in bags like you do as they ripen.

    2. Oh one more thing about Paul Robeson. Tomato Fest website says it is from Siberia and is a good plant for cooler climates, hence the early ripening I had.


  3. Oh my what a harvest. What a garden. What success. We have planted watermelon and cantelope for the first time. We are quite curios to see how they turn out. Yours look fabulous.

    1. Ann, this is our first year with the cantaloupe too and the second year with watermelon. But last years watermelon never ripened before it got too cold. We planted them earlier this year.

  4. Your produce from your garden is so amazing, Carla! I get itchy from the tomato plants as well. My favorite tomato is Cherokee Purple. Although we had a rose one for lunch that was just delicious. Keep up the good work! Love watching it progress from the east! xxoo Nancy

    1. Thank you Nancy. We love the Cherokee Purple too. It is one of the heavy producers which is nice when you have limited space like we do.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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