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My Pink Ponderosa is a large beefsteak, and Marglobe (mine are old style, no resistance) larger than those appear to be. Neither split that I can recall. Those don't really look so bad to me, but if cracking bothers you, you probably won't like the CP, either. Hope you find some you do like, maybe Celebrity, or Early girl?
My Maintenance man said.. "Hey, you got any more of those tomatoes? I want one of the ugliest one you've got" LOL I cracked up.. He is hooked already.. I am trying to talk him into growing heirloom tomatoes next year.
Yeah thats right, especially in the north. Most years we have a very long, warm but not too hot season. First tomatoes ripen around christmas time, they keep going until may/june. Texas weather cant be that bad either though I imagine?
S.E. Texas weather is actually VERY challenging for growing tomatoes. Many people try and give up.
We have essentially a 4 month season -- March 8th -> July 15th. We have to plant when there is still a great risk of overnight frosts and then the blast furnace kicks on in May, and the gulf coast keeps evening temperatures in the high 60's or low 70's and very humid, which makes the pollen in the flowers clump. If you haven't got most of your tomatoes set by mid-April, chances are slim you'll get anymore.
Then in July, the daytime temps are in the 90's which denatures the pollen in the flowers. It is almost a given that at least one tomato plant will give 1 or no tomatoes per year. For some people who start a bit late or start with plants too small or fertilize insufficiently that fully half of their tomato plants never mature fast enough to set fruit before the heat kicks in.
If we had overnight temps in the mid-50's and daytime temps in the low 80's like you do, Texas would the tomato capitol of the U.S. ;)
That does sound like a challenge! Keeping tomatoes warm in cool weather with glass houses etc is not too hard, but keeping them COOL in hot weather cant be easy! Do you start a second crop in autumn then? What is your winter season like?
Today is the first day of daylight saving. Its 6pm but sure doesnt feel like it! Yesterday I put my first 4 tomato plants (of about 160) in the ground in a very sheltered position behind my tulips and irises which are currently in full bloom. We could still have another overnight frost, but Im hoping we wont. Overnight lows are around 45 so Ill wait another 3 weeks untill the big plant out.
August to mid-September is really rough on tomatoes here in south central Texas. This is heat zone 9 and the plants can't set fruit. The nursery people advertise new plants to set out, but I just let my plants rest - sort of a "siesta" - and they will resume production as soon as the temp is consistently below 86 degrees F. The plants look awful (!) with the base sections having dried up leaves and the vines sprawling out up and over the cages in all directions. But the fruits are as tasty as ever - and they keep coming until hard frost. Some years that may be nearly January. It's also easy to root cuttings and set them out in August for fall/winter production.
The heat here kills tomatoes as well...so I'm looking for other times of year to stretch the growing season. We're 9b, so eventually the weather causes uncontrollable spider mites, which drains the plants so the heat overwhelms them. I'm going to try some odd varieties this year, to see if I should go further into the heirloom direction, or further in to the modern direction...I guess time will tell!
I vote heirloom direction. There will be a variety to suit your local conditions, the trick is in finding it.
Im trying a bunch of NZ heirlooms this year (as well as my usual big selection of heirlooms from all over the world) so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Taupo, Russian Red, Potentate, Dr Walter. Are they availble in the US? They are the varieties commonly sold in the shops here, the variety isnt so great. I get most of my seeds through trades with DG and Tville members.
Season is progressing nicely, some of the early plantings are taller than I am by now, the last of my late plants went in yesterday. Lots of green tomatoes but no ripe ones yet.
I'm starting a very few seeds this week. Occasionally winter is over at the end of Feb. but the last time I had snow was March 8, 1994. I'm using early dwarf heirloom varieties and will line them up on the south side of my house in pots around March 1. The sun heats the brick wall and I'll have covers handy as well.
Lena I got some Russian Red seeds on your recommendation. I'll start them around mid Jan.
We have had plants year round in local nurseries here. The trick is, to keep them going when we get our 1 to 2 weeks of frosty / light freeze weather in Feb. If I can get them really rooted in the ground now, I can usually cover them and lose some upper greenery, but things will sprout back out again at the lower levels. The ones I plant in the spring, I lay sideways in the gound to develop more roots before we hit the high 90 degree temps, which in sand, sizzles the roots. I have some Russian Red seeds I'm getting ready to start in planters.
Compost and mulch, mulch, mulch will help with the cooling. We are in middle Alabama and our summer heat is deadly to tomato plants and the humidity spreads every kind of fungal disease which makes growing heirlooms a challenge. Adding as much compost to poor soil as you can will help develop deep root systems (where the soil is cooler) and mulch protects them from hot sun. Never use black plastic mulch and water with drip only once or twice a week for about an hour. You can even add a very light layer of shade cloth over the top of your garden for even better results. I don't know if there are heirlooms which are particularly suited to a certain area, we can have mixed results from year to year with the same tomato variety depending on rainfall and weather conditions.
Have you had a spider mite problem in your area of the south? I get them terribly, to the point of every season ending with spider mite season. They are uncontrollable, I've even switched locations and bought all new tools.
I hope the Russian Red grow well for you, Twiggy and Mary. I have never tried them in pots. I have 4 tiny Russian Reds that self seeded so Ive moved them out of my beetroot row and let them go for it along the fence. They are very sturdy looking little plants. As usual Iv'e ended up with a lot more plants than I had planned for.
Good luck to you all with your seeds. Nice pic cpgmar.
Hmmm, no spider mite problems and haven't heard of many other folks with the problem. We use Neem II which is a neem oil and pyretherin combo which should clear it up. The mites are smothered by oils so I would think it is the best bet.
Thanks! there are more photos on our website www.tastefulgarden.com