2009-10 TOMATO TOURNEY!!!!

(Zone 5a)

And sow it begins.. the 2010 TOMATER TOURNEY!

Theres biguns, lil uns, and tweeners! Be they tall, be they small! On the vine or in a basket.. show us yer maters! Mater flowers, mater vines!

What can ya do with a mater in an arrangement!

(Yeah, I know its still fall.. but gotta give the guys down under a start too ya know!)

So it begins..

SOoooo, how ya'll starting your seed or whatcha got growing?

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Well this plant that I started from seed got 42 maters on it so I am sure I will harvest this seed for next year.

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(Zone 5a)

Well, thats some l plant there! Im going for big and large yeild per plant next season. I was at one of my favorite GH's a few days ago and she gave me some whooompas maters.

Check this out.. they grow 12 to 15 feet in the GH and heres have been yeilding almost 2 bushel per PLANT! Now thats a space saver in a container for you.

You grow them in the GH tied to a string. She says lop the branches off and just let thing grow. It will bush out and get lots of bloomers for new maters. I am gonna try them on the hoop house and let them run up the hoops instead of strings and raise them outside to see what happens there! Hopefully them will not be woody like some hothouse maters are or to pink. I want lush red sweet maters and large ones at that.

I plan to fertilize them with chicken poo tea.

I am also gonna do some in hanging baskets for cherry maters. How I did them this year worked just swell!

Well, here is her plants at her GH! They are the tall things towards the back.

To get my seeds from the maters I let them rot in a tray in the GPS for the winter and whalah! Seed mush, goes dry and there ya go. I just plant the mush particles with the seed. I usually broad cast the seed some how, be it in a tray or in the garden and transplant the better starters later to where they will grow off!

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Sounds like a plan to me BB. I took a pic this evening, it finally toppled to the ground in spite of all the stakes. I have been harvesting from it and still counted 37 maters still on the vine and they are a good size. Like your idea for harvesting the seed, will do the same here only in the garage or basement as I don't have a GH.

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(Zone 5a)

I dont know any other method to really extract the seeds fro the maters... I guess you could try mashing them through a screen.. but rotting them out works. It does smell, but my GH is not heated in the winter and I am not our there as it goes to storage of my containers etc and by the time I do the spring cleanup, I find the mater seeds andits about time to plant. For some reason I alwasy have cherry tomato volunteers so I collect those and dont make to big a deal to start them. I chuck a few cherrys out in the garden and find them when they grow. I figure if its good enough to grow in the garden, then its time to work on really gettign maters going.

(Zone 5a)

Im finished with harvest for 2009....it will be something in 2010...Hmmm need to figure out my planting date for spring!

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Can a Zone 9 join this thread? I had a wonderful crop this year! (as opposed to the past two which were pitiful indeed.) Don't want to butt in ... I know there's a difference in the growing seasons. I also save my seeds, and all my tomatoes I start from seed, even the Big Beef.

(Zone 5a)

Any zone is welcome!

Well, I should have said finished with my big beeves harvest. I have cherry maters coming out of my ears!

So, jubilada, whats your plan?

(Zone 5a)

Heres the last of the cherry mater baskets 2009. This really worked well for me! Beat picken the lil boogers by hands and knees! Iput up about 40 of them off of volunteer seeds that were found in the garden.

I fertilized them with chicken doodoo tea, but regret I started doing that to late in the season!

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

You all have some lovely-looking tomato plants.

I've had a 20 x 40 foot plot in one of Palo Alto's community gardens for 21 years. I guess you'd call me an "urban" farmer. I've narrowed my tomato growing down to 10 or 11 plants per year. Tomatoes grown this year: 2 Big Beef, 2 Imur Prior Beta (a Norwegian type, bred for short, cool seasons), 3 Ropreco, 1 Juliette, 1 Great White, 1 Orange Oxheart, and 1 Striped German. The Imur, and German were new to my selection this year, and I can only say they are fabulous. I think the Imur is better than Stupice in flavor: nice and tangy. The Striped German is a huge, meaty, very tasty tomato, and the plant seems to be quite hardy (for an heirloom type). Of course, I swear by all the others, and they are in my garden each year. Since July 1, I have harvested over 240 lbs of tomatoes, and have made and frozen enough tomato sauce to last me and my husband from now until the first ripe tomato next season. In the dead of winter it's like having a spoonful of sunshine!

I save seed from all my heirloom/open pollinated types, and buy seed from a local seed company for the hybrids.

I try to do all my garden planning and planting according to the phases and signs of the moon. Yes, I'm eccentric. There is a very helpful calendar I get every year: Gardening by the Moon. They publish three versions each year, one for short season, one for medium, and one for long.

I start seeds in flats in my "greenhouse" kitchen window in early March, transplanting seedlings twice (once to 4-inch pots, once to 6-inch pots) before putting them in the ground around the first week of May.

Soil prep includes a cover crop of hairy vetch in soil that has been well amended with steer manure and compost. I never plant tomatoes in the same place two years in a row.

Plants go in with doses of vitamin B (for transplant shock), fish meal, and a tablespoon of epsom salts (for trace minerals). After a while the plants get an occasional feeding of fish emulsion.

The thing is, it's hard to believe that tomato season is almost over this year ... seems like I just put the plants in! The Juliette will probably produce through October, the Big Beef has maybe two weeks left, as do the Ropreco. The rest are ready for the compost heap, pretty much. I might get another couple of pounds from the German. It's that time of year, though, where there's starting to be morning dew, the little brown spiders are spinning their webs, and somehow or other tomatoes don't care for that too much.

That's it from here!

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

July 30, Orange Oxheart, Great White, and some Ropreco.

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

August 27, Beautiful Striped German

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

August 31, A bowl of Juliettes.

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(Zone 5a)

awesome, thats some competition! LOL!

Keep 'em coming! Lovely pics and hints!

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Jubilada - nice variety of tomatoes you got there.

I only planted Ace this year, along with some self-seeding cherry tomatoes. My harvest last week of Ace tomatoes for canning. Some small, some big. Apple included for comparison.

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Now those are good looking crops, looks like you all have shined them up for the table. Guess I better stop making the sauce and take apic of ours before we use them all. I did harvest the seed from several yesterday that were on that hugeous plant that had 40+ maters on it. Hope I get a whopper again next year.

(Zone 5a)

OH oh oh!! SHOW US THE SAUCE!!~~~

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Oh, yes, show us the SAUCE! (I'm about sauced out, quite frankly).

This morning's harvest ... 4 lbs of tomatoes (The Striped German is 1 lb), a few jalapeņos, some chiles de agua, a handful of beans, and some lovely basil. The season is winding down!

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

And my Roprecos still have a little life in them ... though the plants are starting to look pretty scraggly!

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(Zone 5a)

One of my favorite and most simple things to do with a big beef mater is to quarter it, and cut the quarters in half again. Then take some Western dressing and put that on them and top with parmasan cheese and green olives. I can make a meal on just that in the summer! YUMMM!

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Sounds mightly delish, Blossombuddy! Can't go wrong with parmesan and green olives. Maybe mayo instead of the Western dressing.

Anybody ever try making panzanella (Italian bread salad) with their heirloom tomatoes? Pretty darn good too.

(Zone 5a)

Fermenting the seed according to P. Allen Smith!

http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=1646&questionid=858

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Look, it's so much more simple than all that!

Take a tomato you like (of course from an heirloom or open pollinated sort), cut it open, squish out the seeds with some of the tomato jam into a small container, put in a little water, set in the kitchen window, and wait for one or two days until you see the layer of mold. Remove that layer (real easy), pour the seeds into a fine mesh strainer, rinse them, and then put them on waxed paper to dry out. Make sure you have a plan to identify the seeds you're saving, and then, put them into little envelopes, label them, and remember that they will be viable for at least four years. No mystery there, real easy, and it has worked for me for the past 20 years! Happy seed saving. (It's important for the ecology of the earth.)

(Zone 5a)

I just chuck them in a flat tray or a tin pan in the greenhouse and leave them there until planting time. No fuss no muss! They are dry by then and then just pick out the seeds from the dry matter.

Sometimes I will just chuck that mess into a spot in the garden, wait until they sprout and then trnsplant them.

(Zone 5a)

ergo...tin tray with my giant hot house maters.. starting to rot down already...e-yuk! and stinkola!

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Yuk, indeed. Looks like you'll have a mess of tomato seeds for next spring!

My seeds have been saved, dried, stored in envelopes, categorized, and shared with friends. They're at the ready for next season's planting.

Now I'm about beefing up the soil and planting cover crops. Hairy vetch where the tomatoes will go, and fava beans everywhere else. Garlic and onions go in early November. Chard and kale and broccoli already planted. Then I will rest until mid-January, I hope.

Had a very good tomato season, harvesting nearly 300 pounds. Best in about 5 years. Who knows why. The Juliette tomato is still producing, and I'll leave it in until the first frost. The rest, well, they're in the compost pile.

Until the spring ...

(Zone 5a)

You sound very tomato minded! LOL!

Yano, one tomatoe I would realllly like to try is that little guy called a Cherub. Man, I tasted those for the first time and oh yum!

They are like a cherry mater but have a pointy end and are so sweet! Melts right in the mouth they do!

I got cherry tomato seeds up the kazoo... Need to pack those up...they are dried and last years...

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

We are having the last of ours this evening as our favorite BLT's. That will be the end of the fresh sliced maters for this season.

(Zone 5a)

Im going to the grocer... I saw them there.. what the hey, will try to extrude them after I eat a few of course...I have not seen seed. Hopoe they still have them and I hope they dont hybridize off weird! They sure are good!

But first its the cafe!

(Zone 5a)

Ok, Im back, got some cherubs... I will probably riase them off in hanging baskets in 2010.

The cherries I grew this year worked well in the baskets and so labor saving in picking! Only trouble is, is where I had the baskets hanging.. they dropped maters and I am sure I will have volunteers to clean up on the spring. I may as well do both if that is the case

So my 2010 lineup for maters is gonna be
1) cherubs
2) cherry
3) big beef
4) the giant mater I got from the hothouse that I have no clue as to the name of so for the sake of giving it a reference, will just call it the Jurassic mater.

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Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

Today I planted Hairy Vetch in the locations where I plan to put my tomatoes next year.
This is my tomato lineup for 2010:
2 Big Beef,
2 or 3 Ropreco Paste,
1 Juliette,
1 Norwegian (Imur Beta Prior),
1 Great White,
1 Orange Oxheart,
1 Striped German, and
1 Prudens Purple.

Also put in my fava beans today. Friday will plant garlic (usually around 110 cloves), and onions. The chard, kale and broccoli are growing already. So, my winter garden will be in, and in the meantime, I've got lots and lots of tomato sauce for the winter. Whew! Time for a break!

No frost yet here in California. Some beautiful weather in the Bay Area lately, in the 70s. Of course, we need rain ....

(Zone 5a)

Jubilada, jolly good list there! Looks like you are gonna be busy!

(Zone 5a)

So anyone else joining us here in the 2010 Tomato Tourney?

Im marking my planting dats for:


Sow 2/11, 2/25, 3/10 indoors for setting out 4/19

This message was edited Jan 20, 2010 9:27 AM

Palo Alto, CA(Zone 9a)

I'm in!

Plan to start seeds last week of Feb. or first week of March, and set out plants last week of April-first week of May.

Have added two new ones to my lineup: Zapotec (a large Mexican heirloom) and Federer (a long--6-7 inches, they say) paste tomato.

Hasta la primavera!

(Zone 5a)

Si!

Pocono Mountains, PA(Zone 6a)

Blossombuddy, do you put 1 plant per hanging basket?

My cherry tomatoes were good last year. Black Cherry was my favorite. My regular tomato seedlings had lots of trouble (but I learned lots of things not to do this year) The few plants that survived got hit with frost before any tomatoes were ripe.

I had cherry tomatoes in nursery pots and some in a window box. The window box was too small, but the pots worked well. I didn't have room for a regular veggie garden, so I used containers.

(Zone 5a)

I put three cherry maters per basket.. or one for each space between the hanger wires.. some might have 4!

The cherry maters I did last year were not really meant for hangers because they were the trailing kind and not the bush type, but I got plentyof maters off of them and it worked for me. They were straggly looking, but I dint care. It served my purpose.

So therefore I do recommend a bush mini of some description, but either way.. no problem. YOu will probably get more maters per plant using a bush variety though!

I planted some of mine in straight horse poo...the dung was composted so the fertilzier value was pretty rung out of it from the start and then later was doig the chicken poo tea thing. I also used THRIVE.

Baskets need regular fertilizing.

Pocono Mountains, PA(Zone 6a)

Thanks! I will have to find some more hanging planters.

(Zone 5a)

You might try your local nurseries.. the mom and pops might have some that they woul dbe happy to give away or maybe sellf or a cheap love donation!

Pocono Mountains, PA(Zone 6a)

I will have to check the nurseries, but I doubt that I will find any generous souls around here. I asked at a local place-a bakery and plant place-if they had any pots that they didn't want or any pots for sale. They quoted me a price for cracked, used pots that was more than twice the price for new ones at Walmart and Lowe's. This is an odd area, there are many local people who are born and bred in the area and never even visited New York City or Philadelphia. There are also weekenders from the New York City area. Local merchants overprice their wares for the weekenders. I visited a couple of nurseries, but they have the same plants as the big box stores for 2-3 times the prices. Selection is typically limited to pansies, big boy and big girl tomatoes and Burpee seeds.

I keep my eyes open while walking the dog in spring/summer. I found a lot of empty nursery pots that way. I have had some luck at the salvation army store and discount/dollar stores as well.

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