The old thread, ZONE 8 Growing Tomatoes 2010, was getting really long. I started a new thread since Drthor is away for a couple of weeks. This thread is for the discussion of our current practices, but I removed the zone from the topic. It's far enough along into the season that other regions can and will have valuable contributions. Those of us in Zone 8 may very well find that practices in short-season areas that are cool would help us produce more tomatoes, more quickly.
David, Tigerella isn't a bicolor variety, it's a striped variety. A bicolor variety on one where there's a blush of reddish pink starts at the blossom end and moves upwards towards the stem end. So the same secondary color on the exterior is also found as a marbling on the interior. Varieties such as Lucky Cross Virginia Sweets, Marizol Gold and maybe several hundred more are true bicolors.
Yes, I've grown Tigerella and for me it splits with the AM dew and the taste is far too aggressive for me.
It might interest others to know that it was quickly called Mr. Stripey, which was a bad move IMO b'c so many folks and seed sites got the two mixed up; that is the large beefsteak bicolor and the much smaller Tigerella striped one. Varieties with stripes on the outside are not bicolors.
Tigerella, Craigella and Tangella were three selections made from a cross between Aisla Craig and I forgot the other one, by the Glasshouse Research Inst in England many years ago.
I've grown all three and I do think Tangella is pretty darn good.
Thanks for the clarification. I knew it had two colors, but the color didn't continue into the interior. I do have a couple of true bi-colors this year. If I can remember to order seeds, maybe I will grow Tangella this fall.
I didn't find the taste to be much the first season, but I like to give everything I try at least two years to see if changing conditions change my impressions. If it doesn't taste any better this year it will be gone.
Honey, so what did they have to say about the varity Heidi? ( smile)
Yes, I was the originator of that variety from a former student of mine from Cameroon, Heidi Iyok, and it's become very popular as a paste tomato. It's one of the few paste tomatoes I'm willing to list here and there and have done so many times here at DG.
Carolyn, who gave up on Organic Gardening many years ago, for various reasons, and same for Mother Earth News/ If National Gardening were still being published I'd be happy, but the parent company went bust, and that was that although there is a link to NG where they have special articles from back issues that they've chosen to be worthy and one of mine having to do with TOmato Diseases was one chosen.
That's interesting Carolyn. 'cause I get Nat'l Gardening emails, not sure how often, I just don't pay attention until they show up and then I read them. A lot of good hints. And they talk about new plants etc.
I'm picking my first Black Cherry and Black Plum tomatoes for salad tonight. Cinco de Mayo dinner with friends...tamales, pinto beans, chile verde, cilantro rice, salad to scatter on top of all that - with fresh limes. Yay!!!
My tomatoes are still looking good, but still very green. There are no signs of color yet on anything. It looks like Galena will be my first cherry to ripen and Jet Star or Big Beef will be the first tomato. Here are some pictures of some of my crop.
Picture 1 is Homestead. It is a semi-determinate that seems to tolerate the heat pretty well. It doesn't keep setting once temperatures stay in the high 90's but it does pretty well up to then. The foliage is heavy and fruit is well protected from sunscald.
Photo 2 is Big Beef. It has been a reliable producer for me, but does give out when it gets hot.
Photo 3 is Indian Stripe. It does well on the quantity/quality meter as you can see from this cluster of 5 fruit.
Photo 4 is KBX. It is a potato-leaf version of Kellogg's Breakfast. From what I can tell, it looks like it is going to be more productive.
I have tried Kelloggs Breakfast the last 2 years but because of mislabeling I don't know if they did or didn't do good. They did not germinate for me this year. Oh well, maybe I wasn't meant to have them.
Both Kelloggs and KBX (potato leaf version) are among my favorites from last year. Last year I planted Kellogg's and got a couple of potato leaf ones. This year I planted 4 KBX and wound up with one regular leaf. Will be curious to see if there is any difference in growing and taste.
A couple of new Black Krim's that got purchased & transplanted tonight. Hopefully they will do better than the last resident's in the HD bucket, over-watered and a slow suffocating death... White buckets new soil mix and it's first-time occupant...
I'm loving this weather (although I could do without the rain this week) So far we've had a great season..the cucumbers are about ready to be pulled and I might try and replant but I've made well over 50 jars of pickles so I might give it a rest until fall. I've had a few under producers or BER issues so I've pulled those plants already.
Wis 55 did nothing, plant looked great but zilch, strangely enough the cherry tomato in the same box is pumping out like crazy. My Bella Rosa was covered in BER, again the Early Black in the same box has had NO problems. Of my new varieties I'm trying the only ones I haven't loved or even liked have been the Brown Sugar and the Yellow Riesentraube. Both are fairly prolific but taste just isn't worth it.
Same here, Mary and Jnette, with the Kellogg's. I tried one year and didn't get many so it just wasn't worth it for me.
I have lots of blooms and pretty plants. I'm still looking for those fruits!! The busy weekend and rain have me off a bit with my spraying schedule for blight. Got to get on it tonight or tomorrow depending on the weather this afternoon. I am so envious of you folks with ripe and near ripe tomatoes!!
Araness- I cant believe youve already pickled that many cukes! What type did you grow? Im sooo behind but from the looks of the ground and the forecast I wont be catching up this week! Im not complaining temps in the 70s and rain, this is how I remember Texas.
Kev, Im glad to see Im not the only one still planting. I have 40 some plants in the ground but there always seems like there is room for one more. Black Krim is one of my favorites.
Has any one grown Purple Calabash? My plants are small and slow growing. I got the seeds in a trade a couple of yrs ago, last year I remember the plants being small and its the same this year. Last year they never produced due to the heat and drought. I was wondering what others experience has been.
I grew Sugar Crunch, they are small and super sweet and pickle well. I have been eating cukes for several months (or close) and they are about pooped out. Serg wants to put others in but with the temps starting to climb I don't think it's worth it. I grew Calabash but didn't get a great amount and didn't really like them.
I'm going to start my fall seeds in a week or so, bell peppers are out and should have several ripe ones in another week to two...so hard to tell with them. I have one box of okra so 8 plants the one box of zuke (2 plants) which hasn't produced tons but what it has taste great. I really have to rethink the beans, we only got 12 lbs or so from 24 plants of the bush beans...do you think I can replant or is it to late?
I think you could direct sow beans anytime throughout the season, if you want to. I got a packet of bush beans by accident I usually grow pole beans or long beans. It say to sow from April to July. I know David posted that he sowed another round a week or so ago. Mine have been soaking for way too long because the soil in the garden is too wet.
I am going to sow them and the long beans, which love the heat, when the soil dries out. Tomorrow I'm going to pot up the last of the peppers for this wholesale order. Since I posted it I have to do it, lol it's too wet to work in my garden so I'm going to finish these last few plants and then I will be done.
I suppose it's harvest time in the South. Great job all. Dreaves your maters look great, and it won't be long before you taking pictures of ripe red tomato's.
I started much earlier than everyone I suppose, and was lucky with the weather. It's better to be lucky than good. I have been picking maters since April 26th. Here are a few pic's of my harvest. I have given away 1/2 of what I have pictured. I have been very impressed with Indian Stripe, and San Marzano. I have never grown before, and I must say I am impressed with the flavor. My Big Beef are amazing this year. Last year not so much. Of course the Cherokee Purple is just the best tomato I have ever consumed...ever!!...I am still waiting on Brandywine Sudduth. I saw last night one is starting to turn pinkish...and I am still waiting on my Super Plant, lots of maters just have net turned yet. I thought I planted two Early Girl bush plants, but one of the EG's does not seem to be a EG...it is much taller, and the leaves are somewhat different...It may be a Arkansas Traveler, or Mortgage Lifter...I started those two varieties, but I did not think I planted them.
Edit...Also in the first picture the two tomato's on the far left are Rutgers...I have not tasted yet. The smallish maters to the right are Black Krim. This year the Black Krim plants are loaded w/ fruit, but they so far are much smaller than last years crop.
I grew KY Wonder Pole Beans for the first time this season. First time, any season, growing beans.
I started them off under lights, and transplanted to seven, 5-gallon, free-draining buckets that are sitting under my patio cover. Then, they started exhibited some rusty leaf malady, and I started cutting those leaves away. Seems to have put that in check. I think it was from getting the leaves wet. Won't make that mistake again.
I never intended for them to stay under the cover, 'cause I knew they needed sun. But, I am amazed that they are actually producing beans where they are! At first, I decided I wasn't going to grow beans anymore because they aren't quite "neat." The vines are growing up 6 ft. stakes, and when they reached the top, I just guided them over to a stake next to them, and they started growing sort of horizontally. Well, now they're just a tangled mess, which accounts for not being "neat." And, which is why I never attempted to move them out into the sun.
But, I've been getting a good handful of beans every two days, and I'm not complaining. And, observing how they grow has given me an idea for how to use my tomato frame as a bean trellis next season. Since the beans grow behind the leaves, the trellis needs to have room behind it to access the beans easily. Another frame over the bed with walking room on the pathway behind will do the trick!
So, I guess there will be another Ky Wonder Pole Bean season. And, I can't wait to throw them into a crock pot with potatoes and onions, and recreate David's recipe!
I am so jealous of you all with your produce. They are beautiful. I hope to get my little plants put in maybe next week. It is suppose to be the last chance of frost. The dog's water dish was frozen solid this morning. Very discouraging.
Like I told you my tomato plants are very little. The smallest I have ever had. I don't know why. I started them in the sponge Riot Roots or whatever and also some others in the Roots Organic mix. I have had them under lights, very close, all their little lives. I normally have to plant them into gallon pots before setting them out, but not this year. So, I hope they grow and produce. I also used the heating mats.
I guess I should have stuck to my regular regimen. They say, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I am always trying new things, and this was one that really did not work. Oh well, I hope I can get them growing so I get something out of them before the end of the season.
Gosh jnette...other than the plugs what else is different?...when did you sow your seeds?...you say small, how small?...any pics?...how often do you water?...those rr plugs hold water...that could be a problem.
Im wondering the same thing as Horn what did you do different, what growing medium do you usually use? After all the hype about ROs I thought it could do no wrong... However, if the dog's water was frozen it might be just as well that they are small, it doesn't sound like the temps are right for putting out tomato plants.
I start my plants the same way every year BUT this year they just started slow. This is the first time that my Market Plants are on my back deck and are not blooming, they usually always blooming by now. But given the crazy weather (cool temps and rain) in May in Texas, I'm not complaining, even if my tomato plants are a little behind. I think my first ripe tomato will be MoneyMaker. I thought it would be New Big Dwarf (in a container) but the first couple of fruits had BER and the third had a fruit worm, I'm watching the others fruit very closely.
Also, the plants in the ground, aren't blooming like they normally do. Usually, they are blooming before they are planted but not this year. Every year is different.
I did wait because it seems every year the tomatoes are too far along when I put them out. I normally just use the Pro-mix to start them. No, I haven't been watering them too much. I feel the sponges, push and squeeze them before watering.
One of the reasons I waited to start them was because last year it was so cold in June. Cold and wet the whole month. Actually the last 2 years. If you do put them out the just sit there and don't do anything. Lucky they don't rot.
No, it doesn't matter to you if your weather is cool now because you have a long season. However, even tho it was cold and wet in June last year, I did have the best flavored tomatoes that I have ever had here. Just not a lot of them. I didn't get enough to can any which I normally do. Salsa, etc.
I doubt you are giving then too much water, because then you would be seeing other problems. But if the dog's water was frozen then I don't think you could put them out even if they were big enough. I didn't realize you waited to start them but from what you posted the plants are smaller then you have experienced in the past.
No, I don't have any fresh tomatoes ripe ATM because I grow a large # of plants and can't protect them all if we have a freeze, and due to more ptressing issues I got mine in the ground later this year.
We are just trying to figure out what is causing your plants to be smaller then expected.
Jnette...soil temp is very important. I started my plugs on Jan 1st. I used the RR plugs, and the IHORT plugs. I started my seeds in my greenhouse. I use elect heaters to keep it warm inside the greenhouse. I have a laser thermometer, and I would always check the soil temps of the seedlings. I would try to keep the temps at around 60 deg. That was not always possible. Sometimes the temps would be 89 deg, and sometimes the temps would be 50 deg. The RR plugs were slower to grow than the IHORT plugs. I was worried the the RR plugs were too slow also. The RR plants were much smaller than the IHORT plants. I would say stay the course, and watch the soil temps, and you will be fine. I had the same concerns as you are having now. ... Just my opinion. I am not an expert.
I wish the original thread that that Drthor started was still available to view because I was very specific on what I did in that thread. I am just going on memory now.
Well they have been in my kitchen and on heat mats too to start with, but did take them off the heat mats, but never left my kitchen except to put them outside in the sun on a couple of beautiful days. They loved that. I could tell. They smiled.
It makes sense, Jnette, that your seedlings might have done better in Pro-Mix since it contains micro and macro-nutrients as well as Dolomitic & Calcitic Limestone (pH adjuster). I use Pro-Mix for starting things and potting up as well. But I also use plain coir with no nutrients except a small amount of potassium. I don't think the RR and I Hort plugs contain any nutrients so that could be a factor at this point. Could you start by giving the plants a diluted amount of fish fertilizer like Neptune's Harvest (about 1/4 to 1/2 of the suggested rate) and see if that helps? They may be hungry! I always end up adding some worm castings to my coir but with the plugs you would have to use a liquid fertilizer. Good luck!
I'm thinking maybe taking them off the heat mats has slowed things down. Tomatoes like warm soil for root development. If you decide to add fertilizer, go easy. Fastest way to kill seedlings is too much fert.
Bee-I was wondering about the OSU Blue. This Money Maker is from your seeds I also started commercial seeds.
My plants are growing totally different then any other year. They aren't blooming as much as they have in the past. Yes, I fertilized them...they look healthy though and I'm thankful for that.
Jnette-I don't know which RO you are using but my understanding is that some of them have amendments added so I don't recommend fertilizing those. Do you have a fan on your seedlings or are you running your hand over the top of them a few times a day. That might help make the stems thicker.
This is my first picking of tomatoes. I have Big Beef, Jet Star, and Indian Stripe. All are about 65 days from transplant. One of the Indian Stripes will be lunch, maybe with some bacon, mayonnaise, and a couple of slices of bread. It is splitting since it was already pink when the heavy rain hit last week. The extra moisture was more than the skin could take.
You can also see what happens to yellow squash when you don't pick for two days... I think they will still fry up nicely.
We ate our first Danial this weekend and for a red I liked it...we've had a great season so far and I'm trying to stick to my vow not to let it go to waste or start handing it out until I at least TRY to can/dry or freeze.
So far I've roasted for sauce, made "sun dried" cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic to freeze, made salsa and pickles.
I will try to describe the flavor of today's lunch tomato after lunch. It is difficult to say from my bacon & tomato yesterday. Many people say that Indian Stripe (and Cherokee Purple) have a "smoky" flavor. That would be hard to separate from the flavor of the bacon... They are fairly soft, and crack with last-minute moisture. Doesn't seem to affect the flavor. They are not particularly tart, and have some sweetness.
Maybe I can do a comparative test later, and have a better description and some comparison.
This is the first major 2012 tomato harvest. Rain, thrips, fungus, viruses, katydids, birds = plant disease and rotting or damaged tomatoes. Todays harvest yielded 2 1/2 gallons of bad tomatoes to the chickens.
Many, probably 30 - 50 % of the tomatoes in the photo have some kind of damage. Of the 70 tomato plants I have going I doubt I will get as much canned tomato products as I got from last years 40 plants.
There is enough at least for some home made salsa tonight...fresh from the garden cilantro/coriander, jalapenos, onions, garlic and tomatoes. And maybe one of last years dried Bhut Jolokia just to add a little kick to it.
The nice thing about salsas and canned tomato products is that you don't have to have whole, perfect tomatoes. That is a nice sized haul. Shame that you had to give so many to the chickens, though. I'm only picking a few per day. Did pick the first pink German Giant today. Fermenting some seeds from the first Indian Stripe to plant for the fall crop.
dreaves wrote:The nice thing about salsas and canned tomato products is that you don't have to have whole, perfect tomatoes. That is a nice sized haul. Shame that you had to give so many to the chickens, though. I'm only picking a few per day. Did pick the first pink German Giant today. Fermenting some seeds from the first Indian Stripe to plant for the fall crop.
How many days do you ferment including the day you start? Today I washed and cleaned seeds from JD's Special C-Tex I started fermenting last Saturday. The seeds look very good.
I also plan to save fresh seeds this year form:
1. Yellow Chello, a nickle - quarter size yellow cherry on a PL plant.
2. Indian Stripe
3. Black Krim
4. A Chapman mystery cross that is a little larger than a golf ball.
5. Brandy Sweet Plum, quarter size cherry on PL plant.
6. A nickle - quarter size cherry that grows on a micro plant that came from a pkt of Rambling Red Stripe seeds'
7. A volunteer large red cherry that came up in a pile of wood shavings cleaned out from the hen house.
8. Purple Russian
9. A volunteer from last years Phoenix or Top Gun, a 3-4" tomato.
10. Eva Purple Ball, I bought seed this year but like to have my own.
11. San Marzano Giganta lll, Used all my bought seed this year so will have to save my own.
12. Southern Night, Black slicer on a PL plant. Used all my bought seed this year so will have to save my own.
Trock, why do think you had more damage this year? You listed the culprits but Im wondering if you have any idea why they were worse this year. Also, do you have any pictures of the fungus/dieases you had on your plants or fruit? I have found a lot of underreporting in our area, so many diseases are thought not to be here but they are, people just don't report them.
I have had an issue with what, I think is fungal stem rot. I keep hearing it's only in CA but what my plants had looks just like it.
1lisac, In a word, RAIN. Rain is great for trees and grass but it never seems to come at the right time for gardening. My gardens do better when the foliage stays dry. I like to water the base of plants when they need it and never get the foliage wet.
eehh I grow 26 different types of tomatoes and these were just picked and dumped in a bag so sorry couldn't narrow it down. As to the green shoulders, yes, for the varieties that I grow that is typical of several blacks as is the cracking. Many blacks, such as Black Krim are known for their radial cracking. The vertical happens as well and isn't an issue as long as we pick and us or don't have a lot of rain.
1. Sun scald - we're in the triple digits now. This one is easy to fix, yesterday we bought a 10x20 shade structure for a hundred bucks.
2. Somebody's eating my 'maters. Sucking holes. I thought it was birds but covering them has not stopped the problem. I think it's the milkweed bug. I'm going to spray some insecticidal soap this morning. I hope that does it. If it's not the milkweed bug, anyone know what might be the culprit? Image below
3. BER...the Black Plum and San Marzano especially. Other plants, like Hungarian Heart and Cherokee Purple, in the same bed do not exhibit BER issues. I'm guessing some varities are more prone to it than others. I've read and read and read about BER and there seems no significant consensus. I'll add some of this powder the nursery sold me saying it will help prevent BER. It didn't when I added it a few weeks ago. I'll try again. Sure Start from E.B. Stone "Contains Blood Meal, Feather Meal, Bone Meal, Dried Chicken Manure, Bat Guano, Alfalfa Meal, Kelp Meal, Potassium Sulfate, Humic Acids and soil microbes including mycorrhizal fungi." IIRC, BER presents when the plant cannot uptake calcuim...so I need to add something that allows that. Comments?
4. Branches drying up. Is it natural for some branches to die off as the plant matures? Do you folks trim and prune as the plant matures? I have been just letting them go - - let nature take its course, but am interested in what you tomato growers do.
Thanks for helping with this stuff - and sorry about this long post. This year is my first real push to get this tomato growing figured out.
We pinch leaves, add dirt hi up the stems where possible to allow the plant more root support, needed calcium - I plant next to cinder brix, or have some soft limestone rocks that get a home next to my maters, but calcium slo release, have you tried greensand? And good luck.
Mary, I have experienced and read that all Roma types are quite susceptable to BER- I would guess that your high temps may be drying up stems, but have no real info to make that statement. Here in WA our tomatoes are just starting to take off due to the night temps just getting up there where they should.
Ya'll know I gave away all 100+ of my tomato seedlings, except for the 4 I kept for myself, right? Well, my friends are coming in with mixed bag reports.
Two (including me), have lush tomato growth almost 6' tall, but very few tomatoes. I think it's too much nitrogen in the soil, although one said they didn't add any fertilizers, just their regular load of topsoil and manure. I do have blossoms at the very top of the plants, and have been shaking them every day.
I visited another grower this week, and his 4 RBs are full of lush greenery with lots of fruit set on all the plants. He hauled in organic hummus, organic cow manure, mulch, and 10-24-10 granulated fertilizer. So far, so good.
My neighbor two doors down showed me two of the largest, most perfectly round heirloom tomatoes I have seen in a looooooooong time, from his garden. He's growing a whole row of my plants...
Finally, my neighbor across the street showed me these yesterday morning (see the pic). Yes, they truly are that big -- all of them. And, I visited her yesterday evening to see for myself. Her small bed of Miracle Grow garden soil (roughly 2' x 8') that sits in full sun all day long, has about 3 or 4 of my tomato plants that are LOADED with HUGE fruits! I mean huge! Go figure???!
And, not one of these growers kept track of which variety they're growing...
Well my season is winding down...my poor plants are bushed (hee hee no pun) I might get another 40/60lbs but I think that's it. After adding up out notes we had 19 plants out of the 24 that we counted, two plant were pulled due to funk, two cherry tomatoes that we don't weigh or count in the overall total and one that we didn't pull but never set fruit. I had been bragging about my 150 lb + haul when the DH stopped me with a WTH look and ask me where I got that number...I pulled out my notes and did the math. LOL he then goes to a drawer and pulls out HIS tally sheet from the first of the season and added another 70 lbs. (end total should be around 260-280 lbs) Soo guess we had a good season..I've put up 3 batches of salsa (36 jars) roasted tons and made sauce (we ate that before it could be frozen or canned) and have frozen 45 16oz Foodsaver bags in the freezer. This is our first year to freeze or can and I know if the winter I'm gonna love it but atm I'm pretty sure I never want to see another Ball jar again!
I'm doing a batch of Hot & Sweet bread and butter style pickles today as well as I'll roast some tomatoes and make spaghetti sauce to freeze tonight.
My okra is just coming in and I'm loving the red color, visually it's stunning and the taste is great. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get high enough production to pickle some but we love grilled okra so it's not looking great. My melons are looking great and I can't wait!
This isn't Red Burgundy (unless they have messed with the name..which we all know seed companies do!) it's..Hill Country Heirloom Red. It's beautiful! Taste Great and prolific..did I mention I love how it looks? :) Here's a picture I pulled offline cause I'm to darn lazy to go outside and take one.
Outside, I know I will...and my Dad has requested when I come to Alabama for Thanksgiving I bring a sample of everything so I'll enjoy being able to gift him with it. He's a country boy at heart and my late mother wasn't..in any sense of the word. My SM is a much better cook so I know she'll enjoy having pickles, tomatoes, salsa, corn, beans, okra and spaghetti sauce to play with.
Nix on the maple trees...but the milkweed bug has lots of hosts around here - like sunflowers and butterfly bush. I don't have either at the moment but the bug first presented on a sunflower plant that was beginning to bloom in my garden. It's gone but the bugs may have remained. I dunno for sure what's poking the hole in a tom fruit but it's hitting just about every bed. Two large containers, one Black Sea Man and one Stupice, have been untouched but they are around the side of the house in the east garden, which is mostly barren at the moment.
Just picked today, Marianna's Peace – been watching this baby grow for about a month. Picked it today, needs a little more ripening on the counter but if I wait too long after blush, the lose the fruit to environmental or pest issues.
The scale tops out at 1#, we think this baby is probably about 2#'er. No taste test yet, this is the first fruit from this plant.
And an unusual zucchini I'm trying for the first time, don't remember the name right now.
VERY nice looking tom RDP. It's art ain't it?? Happy to hear you like the MP, I'm anxious to try it for taste. So far, Black Sea Man and (very surprisingly) Silver Fir Tree tomato are favorites around here. Hungarian Heart is a close 3rd.
Lots of BER on the roma's. I'm picking up some sulphur tomorrow. A friend says it will lower the pH, which is pinging around 7 now, and the lower pH will allow the plant to take up certain nutrients, which it cannot do with the pH at 7. so I hear. Any comments?
They sure look cool in the sunlight, was hoping the pic would do it justice. Oh MP is a wonderful tasting tomato, curious to hear how you like it when you try it.
I stopped growing pastes because they do get BER too often, even when you do everything right. Viva Italia is a hybrid that does well without very much BER. I've started growing hearts instead of pastes. They're all meaty and much better tasting imo.
If you like black and hearts try Brad's Black Heart. It runs neck and neck with Black Sea Man here for taste! Actually I think BBH won out last year! Like RDP I, too, have switched from pastes to hearts for sauces. Amish "Paste" is the only "paste" I will grow and it isn't even a real paste, it's an oxheart! I've grown all on your list Ray, except Russian 117 and Wes failed last year. This year I am growing Anna Russian, Danko, and Wes from your list. In addition I am also growing Anna Maria's Heart, and Brad's Black Heart. I must say that I think Kosovo is one of the best of the red. I didn't grow it this year because I didn't have enough space with so many varieties but I think I should have made room for it somewhere!
Bee - It's funny, you and I have really been the only ones singing the praises of Viva Italia. I'm really surprised it's not more popular. I'm not growing any so far, but I'm sure I'll sneak a few in here or there. I'll keep an eye out for your report on Monica.
My plants are growing like crazy, blooming and setting fruit. I picked my first ripe tomato a few days ago it was a Money Maker (I grow these every year, they are extremely dependable) This plant was started from seeds that Bee saved. It was not the first tomato to set but it was the first tomato to ripen. Thank you, Bee!
Congrats everybody! Looks like a good year ahead if we can all keep the disease at bay! I have been noticing a lot of cat facing on some of mine. Just 1-2 per plant here and there. Guess it was from the cool weather we had earlier after I set out the plants. Isn't that what causes cat facing? I can't think of anything else it could be as I usually don't have that problem. I also noticed BER on a couple of little ones and I just went ahead and picked those off and trashed them. Makes me mad to have to do that. At any rate, DH asked me if I'd make some fried green tomatoes for him and I think I have a couple I can spare tonight, lol! I usually make him wait until I get at least ONE red one.
Lillians Yellow (heirloom) has been slow to set fruit but she's finally coming around. She's a slow one anyway but the plant looks great. Some of the leaves are the size of my hand. Cherokee Purple and Better Boys look wonderful and the Costuluto does too. All the little ones (Sweet Million, Sungold, etc) doing good too.
Thanks bee...my mason bees have shown up!! Yippee Skippee. My first year with a mason bee house and it's been up since about Jan. Just notice the mud daubed holes and saw a bee enter an [apparantly] empty tunnel. yayyy.
MaryMcP wrote:Thanks bee...my mason bees have shown up!! Yippee Skippee. My first year with a mason bee house and it's been up since about Jan. Just notice the mud daubed holes and saw a bee enter an [apparantly] empty tunnel. yayyy.
Here's the beginnings of the mud daubing, the bee did not show up while I was out there so no pic of the bee in action. DH attached the bee house under an eve that faces east, which is the recommendation [I think].
tubes facing out. 1/2" will be too big. I've read that some folks use plastic drinking straws - so that gives you an idea of the size of the tubes. The tubes in this one are made of cardboard I think. There's instructions on-line for building your own. You could just drill out a block of wood.
Gymgirl- if you can get to YouTube there are mason bee house cleaning shows that can show you why tubes ought to be of paper, it has to do with needing to keep bugs that hurt your bees out of the bees nests, and paper is simplest to clean.
My 30 minute or less bee tubes , sunflower or dry goldnrod stalks,thin phillips screwdriver or clotheshanger wire, ball of twine, cut stalk to length , tweak pulp from stalk (start to make them hollow) bees finish if they like. tie together with twine. Bees don't care if that is round or square.
By the way if you happen to get entirely hollow stalks you can stuff em at one end with paper or pulp from the others, I don't go far with that because we all figure out a million do's and dont's for ourselves,Meaning I presume any of you that decide to do that would know that as soon as you saw or noticed the all hallow stalk.
kevcar59; Well then use trimmer square cord if you like that's near!!
Yesterday I talked to someone who bought a half dozen of my tomato plants last spring, asked her how they did and she said they failed to ripen on the vine. She would pick them and they would ripen on the counter. She told me she watered every day, without checking the soil moisture. Could it be over watering? Thanks for any input.
We are having fantastic weather the temps are great, I'm very thankful after last year. I can't believe how many tomatoes are setting. I've grown tomatoes for years and never had this many tomatoes on the vine at once. All colors sizes shapes it's so much fun, all at varying degrees of development.
Mary I'm going to Google your above issue. When I pick green tomatoes at the end of the season I wrap them in newspaper and put them in a dark cabinet to get them to ripen. A gas (the name escapes me at the moment) gets the fruit to ripen. I think they didn't wait long enough. But I'm interested enough to check it out.
Lisa, I Googled too, before posting. Mostly it sounds like over watering can do it. She told me she watered daily, but did not check the soil for moisture so that may be it. I suggested she get a moisture meter. She replied that she has one. I asked if it was serving as an art sculpture or what? She then said she uses it at the office for the indoor plants. I don't know why she did not wait for the fruit to go blush on the plant, she insisted "...they never ripened on the vine" Who knows??
Sound like a good plan juhur7, let us know if it works. For best results, have some mud handy for them to daub in.
Thank you Honeybee it was on the tip of my tongue/finger.
Mary-when I googled it, it said that over watering and temps below 50-55* can cause them to not ripen. I know they take much longer to ripen in cool areas. They ripen noticeably faster here during the summer then during the spring. I don't know what your temps were there, at the time, but I think over watering could definately be an issue. I don't water that often even during the summer.
Let's face it we have all wondered why tomatoes take soooo long to ripen. On that note, I found a very ripe tomato, on my New Big Dwarf, almost too ripe. My youngest son said it tasted great! The only one he didn't like was Early Girl. I knew I grew Heirlooms for a reason. : )
Had the first tomato of 2012 today. I didn't pick it - it was on the ground. I don't know whether or not it's ripe because I always grow "red" tomtoes and this one is kinda redish/orange and is from a volunteer plant that survived several freezes this past spring. It was so determined to survive, that I didn't have the heart to pull it up! I suspect it's mother was "Early Girl".
I have another volunteer that is quite short and bushy. Looks as though that one will have green shoulders. It's fun to let a few volunteers survive, although I have never had one that produced fruit so good that I would want to save it's seeds.
Despite 100+ temperatures, my tomatoes are doing pretty well. If it rains, I think we'll be in trouble with cracking, and mine are about at their peak. I picked some absolutely HUGE Cherokee Purples today. A couple were a bit shy of fully ripe, but I wanted to get them in the house before the rabbits or birds got them and before tomorrow's 106-degree weather did any more damage. I'll sacrifice a couple of days outside ripening for a pretty tomato. I plan to roast and freeze a few this Saturday anyway. I also have been picking some Sun Sugars...first year I've tried those and oh, shut the front door, yummy!! Melt in my mouth golden goodness! I think I like them as much or more than Sun Gold.
Bee, I've never cared much for Early Girl, despite it being, well, early. I'd rather just wait another week or so for a really good tomato I guess.
For now, I'll keep on my twice weekly watering schedule and hope for the best with what's still on the vines. Good luck everyone!
Jan, my garden does get some late afternoon shade! We're kinda fortunate that we located it where we did with some trees/woods southwest of the garden. With the heat, I'm not sure anything much will pollinate for the later season though. Things tend to slow down here.
Bee, Have you ever tried Cherokee Purples? I am an acid-loving tomato girl myself, but I do love me some CP's. They aren't real dark purple, mostly on the top. The bottom is deep red and the top is still greenish until it gets ripe and then it turns. I'll try to post a picture tonight or tomorrow of the huge one I picked.
Naw, my taste buds are changing. I am not nearly as restricted as I once was. I don't like the 'black' tomatoes yet, but I was very pleasantly surprised with the 'Sungella' we tried(orange plum'. Cherokee Purple seems to be a hit with many folx and I intend to plant some nex season, and from what I hear I had best find an oxheart tomato to try - a pink probably. Chuckl, I'm makin a list.
►Pruden's Purple (which is my 2nd favorite, after Momotaro...), large, meaty, juicy like a watermelon (not runny juicy...), more pink than purple
►Black Krim - totally purple-black with greenish-black insides. WONDERFUL!
Kitt, I haven't tried the black ones yet. I go to the true farmer's markets around here...typically the ones that are only open once a week with local growers who really know what tomatoes they are selling. I make a list of the ones I buy and then note the ones I like and consider growing the next year. My cousin grew the CP's a few years back and I've been sold ever since. It was just an heirloom I had not gotten around to trying yet. Some years I've grown heirlooms and not been particularly thrilled with the yield per plant although the taste is fine. I just hate to sacrifice the space for so few tomatoes. Fine for an experiment now and then, but I've really got to love it to grow it.
I still need to try Black Krim again; when I tried about 3 years ago, we just had a bad tomato year.
I understand, my daughter whom I live with 3 or 4 days every 2 months gave me a spot to garden when I come home- neither of us has any timeand it took raising a bed to get much to grow that needs attention. We like our raised bed, but I stuff it full like a flower basket, and she gets vegetables- not sure if she eats them or uses them as counter ornaments, chuckl. She stays after her DH to not surround her garden with iron ornamental stuff, nor paint the cinder brix nor lay tile around them, chuckl, but last year was as scary for us in Texas as it is in Colorado right now- the fires got within a mile of the house before Calif stepped in and helped our worn out firefighters, we are keeping an eye on the trees that are still dying- tho the blasted sweetgums seem to love the weather- hasn't slowed em down a bit. Where I travel I see the droughth really heavy and this year most of the country across the USA is showing extreme dryness. So, I am collecting and gathering what I see as well. I like your method of choosing your fruits to grow, chuckl
Brad's Black Heart and Black Sea Man are two other "black ones" that have become favorites. I include these every year. I am trying Cherokee Chocolate this year which is supposed to like Cherokee purple. It is the first one to form a tiny tomato so far!! I didn't have as much luck last year with Black from Tula which many people really like as well. I understand the Black from Tula does even better in the south in terms of flavor.
Last summer was not a good one for experimenting with blacks since it was so rainy and tomatoes rotted on the vines. I will give it another chance next year. I am growing Prudens Purple for the second time as I only got one tomato last year. The original stalk got broken and it took awhile to produce. I don't put it in the same category as the other blacks because it is more pink than purple but it is supposed to be fantastic so I am really looking forward to trying this one. This year's plant is nice and strong.
Agreed, Gymgirl!! Nice description of the Momotaro. Right on!! Momotaro, Sunsugar , Sungella are the only hybrids I plant. I think this is my 4th year for the Momotaro. The first year I saved seeds not realizing it was a hybrid. I grew it out and the offspring also produced the sweetest tasting tomato. I then ordered a regular packet since the original plant was purchased. I think I may go back to my saved seeds since they were so good!! LOL
Sun Sugar is an orange cherry - very sweet. I also do not like tough, crunchy skins. Therefore I prefer the heirlooms because the hybrids have been bred to ship and require tougher skins to handle the journey. The heirlooms are more tender so don't ship well. That is why it is hard to find them commercially - most can be bought at local farmer's markets.
I really love yellow and orange tomatoes along with the black. Some people find them too mild but if you like sweet maybe these might fit your parameters. Some great yellow or orange ones are Jaune Flamme (more the size of an egg but delicious and super for drying as well), Dagma's Perfection, Gary Ibsen's Gold, Jubilee, Hugh's Yellow (very large beef and sweet), Kellogg's Breakfast, KBX (potato leaf Kellogg's Breakfast which some say is even better) and Earl of Edgecombe. I am growing some new ones this year: Orange Minsk, Sunray, Amana Orange (supposed to have sweet, tropical flavor), Golden Cherokee, Marvel Striped (bi-color with yellow, red and orange); Mr. Stripey (golden yellow with reddish pink stripes, Orange Russian 117, and Great White which is supposed to be more a cream color and very sweet! Will let everyone know at the end of the season how they tasted.!
For red I can't remember what is sweet because I like a robust flavor. But in going over my lists I see that Sandul Moldovan (large red beefsteak) has a high sugar content. I grew it for the first time last summer but it was difficult with all the rain and tomatoes rotting on the vine. A friend is growing it for me again this year so I will be able to try it again.
I have a notation that Hillbilly, a bicolor was very sweet and is a beautiful tomato to look at when sliced.
Also check out Crnkovic Yugoslavian (large beef) which has the notation: 1-2 lbs., almost never cracks; rich, somewhat sweet.
You say you like tangy for canning. What varieties do you recommend that are "tangy". One of the tangiest I have ever tasted is Azoychka and that's yellow! Came as quite a surprise the first time I tasted it but yummy. Brad's Black heart has a wonderful tanginess too and being a heart is great for sauces as well as slicing.
I find that the oxhearts have a nice flavor as well as being great for sauces. I got that tip from Carolyn and have tried a lot of the varieties she lists. I would love to hear what you varieties you consider to be sweet.
It's sorta similar Lisa. It's what happens when it's had time to do it's thing. Usually I catch them when the top is fuzzy, but this one was hidden. So it had a combo of gray mold and just plain rot. Gray Mold will speed up that process...even before it's ripe on the vine. I tried to get a pic of the "ghosting" but as I removed it, half slid off and splatted on the ground. You can see sorta what ghosting looks like in pic 5 on the right side. Luckily, I've only lost about 10 fruits to GM so far. Bummer on that one because it was BIG!
The tomatoes were starting to flood in last week but now we are socked in. Cool, overcast and drizzle all day. Ripening has slowed down. But I won't complain because everywhere else is scorching. Good people weather, bad tomato ripening weather. Hopefully we get the sun back soon.
"Viva Italia" always do well for me. They don't seem to be so prone to getting blossom end rot. I gave a basket of these to my neighbor yesterday.
I grew "Monica" as my main crop this year. Although the individual tomatoes are large, they have proven to be very prone to blossom end rot. I've had to throw out more than half the crop. I've started giving them more water to see if the next round of tomatoes they set will be free of BER. If not, I will not grow these again.
Did try Caltrate, calcium pills ,they are water soluble, food grade supplement,and you can feed them to you plants either way; root is best ,at the beginning of the bloom process though.
They are a little expensive but since some of us take them anyway(me for one) and they go a long way,I thought I might throw the idea your way.Didn't work on my melons , but did on a couple of tomato plants,failed once there also that I recall.. as to out of many times.
O.K. sounds good where you are,I get that about aged horse manure nothing better we agree there for sure.
I meant OX-CAL , really I asked somebody across the room if it was the other and got a yes, forgive my senility for not making sure.
I don't want to jinx myself with any curses and have only had BER trouble one year.it was hot, rainy ,and humid.
There is a place not far from here that sells that,a great many people aren't thrilled with the place from the reviews,it aint aged enough. HEY all I can say future plan, and go your own way.I'd be so happy!!! if I could haul it myself to even have that at all.!!
This years commercially added enriched garden soil is what I am using.