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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tomato Update 2013 and, Lots of Links from Past Years Summer and Winter Garden Beds

I was so busy with my kitchen projects that I didn't take a lot of photos of our tomatoes this year.

First of all, we generally only grow Indeterminate tomatoes. We built heavy-duty wood 8 foot cages a few years ago, see the links at the bottom for photos.

We only grew 9 tomato plants this year but boy did we have a nice harvest.  The only one that didn't do as well as the others was San Marzano.  This was a plant that I purchased at a local nursery and maybe it was marked incorrectly because it never grew that tall.  I have heard that there is a semi-determinate San Marzano and that may be what this plant was. It only made it half-way up the 8 foot cage.  It also could have been a hybrid instead of the heirloom or open-pollinated plants that I normally grow.  The fruit on this plant were much shorter than I have had in the past.  Most of them were not much over 3 inches and were not the 'pointy' long looking 5" San Marzano's that I am use to growing.   I also remember that most of the tomatoes came in at the same time which is why I think it was a semi-determinate hybrid.  I only preserved 5 pints of San Marzano this year.  Next year I think I will grow from the seed I get from Baker Creek Rare Seeds

All of the other varieties that we grew did very well.   

Goliath, was a real winner and produced all summer.  It is an early producer and a perfect size for canning or freezing.  The tomatoes are meaty,  4" + across and heavy, 1 to 3 pounds.  They have great flavor and a strong, upright tall indeterminate plant. It reached well over 9-10 feet, two feet over the top of our 8 foot cages; I had to let it bend over the top to the San Marzano cage next to it and it just kept on growing, producing more and more flowers as it grew!  Goliath is an heirloom variety dating back to the late 1800's.  Heavy plant, give it lots of room and support early on. This tomato will be on my list for next year.

Cherokee Purple, was another winner, this is always on our repeat planting list!  This plant was loaded with large, fabulous flavored tomatoes. We had many that were just under the 2# size.  An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890. Indeterminate plant, heavy vines, give it lots of room and heavy support.

Gold Medal, is not a heavy producer but if you like the pretty yellow-red stripes on this tomato you will want to add it to your list of winners.  It always produces large, sweet fruit. Many reaching the 2 pound mark.

Dr. Wyche's, one of our all time favorites is another one that is a low producer but worth giving it space.  It is a huge, yellow, sweet tomato.   An Indeterminate, Heirloom variety.

Stupice,  is a small, salad tomato with fantastic flavor. This tomato is originally from Czechoslovakia, it is a heavy producer and an Indeterminate tomato. I still have this one growing as it shows no signs of stopping yet and the plant looks healthy.

Green Zebra, was a volunteer plant from last year that came up next to Stupice.  We decided to leave it and see how it would do. Good thing we did because this was the only green tomato that we had this year. I do love Green Zebra!  Indeterminate tomato.  Not a true Heirloom as it was only developed in 1985 but it is on its way to being America's favorite green-stripe tomato.  This one is still growing and is giving us tomatoes so we will leave it until the end of the month or if the weather holds out, both Stupice and Green Zebra will be still growing until December.

We planted two cherry tomatoes this year. One was an Heirloom Black Cherry and the other was a Super-Sweet 100 Red Cherry.  We loved the Black Cherry, it had nice size round fruit, super sweet with a grape or cherry flavor. Dark purple, it looks like mini Cherokee Purple tomatoes.  Super Sweet 100 was a new hybrid that had tiny fruit and the skins broke at the stem end as soon as you picked it.  This is not good if you want to store them in a bowl on the counter. It encouraged fruit flies in the kitchen.  I kept a bowl of cider vinegar next to the bowl to keep them away but with not much luck.  This one will not be on list for next year, but Black Cherry will definitely go on the list.

Except for Stupice and Green Zebra, we have pulled up the plants and are now preparing the beds for the winter garden. I would have liked to keep the rest of the tomatoes growing until December, but we don't have a lot of space.  I may need to devote more space to veggies and less to flowers in the future. With water costs rising all the time, we can't afford to grow roses! 

I bought 20 bags of organic manure and organic soil amendment Saturday.  We dug up the beds yesterday and put in all the goodies, covered the bed with plastic to warm it up and I will plant next week.  The Farmer's Almanac moon planting guides states not to plant seed today, so I will take the day off and relax and plan the gardens.

Here are some links to past years varieties and photos. Since I didn't take a lot of photos this year, these links will give you some idea as to how well tomatoes do for us.

2010 New Tomato Cages and Varieties ( these cages were the first ones we built for the raised beds)

2010 Tomato Photos and Review

2011 Tomato Update

2012 Tomato List

2012 105 Tomatoes in 2 Days

2012 Still Picking

New Cages for 2012  (scroll down to the bottom of the photos to see the new cages.  These are the cages I use along the driveway)

The links below will give you an idea of what we plant and harvest around here in the winter months.

2011 Winter Garden Beds

2012 Winter Garden Beds

2010 Winter Garden Beds


1 comment:

  1. Hi Carla, cheers to your beautiful tomatoes, home grown, no comparison to commercially grown ones. It is fun to grow the apples of Paradise as the Austrians say and beautiful to cook with them. Fun also to go back to earlier posts from time to time and enjoy the garden back then.


Thank you for taking time to visit my blog, I love hearing from you, stay as long as you like, Carla