I've been bitten by the tomato bug (thanks to some of the gracious plant swappers at the spring RU) and managed to harvest a few nice heirloom and hybrid tomatoes this last month. And now I was hoping to hear from some of you (who I know are quite good at growing tomatoes) about how your tomato harvest went this year, specifically~~
1) Overall results of your crop and if it was poor, why? If it was abundant, why? If average, why? Any secrets/tips to share?
2) What is your favorite/best tomato for Salads, Sandwiches and/or Sauces?
3) What tomato variety was a particular disaster/wipe-out/disappointment?
4) What was your earliest tomato? Do you grow tomatoes for a continuous harvest through a long season?
5) Please don't forget to show us pictures of your tomato garden or your harvest, too!
I think it will be interesting to hear from all of you about specifics for successful tomato growing in our region...
Not a horrible year but not a good one either.
The nights were just too cool for a great crop I guess.
We lost about 10% of the plants to a fungus but the survivors gave us a steady crop just nothing to write home about.
I don't have all the names in from to me but Melissa's Russian tomatos, the sweet salad and the Black Seaman did and tasted about the best.
I have read a lot about the Black Cherry (on the Tomatoville website). And everyone seems to like it. And the Brandywine. I will want to try that Cherokee Purple next year, too. I haven't heard about the Black Seaman and will check it out. We liked our Marmande but we only got a few from the vine.
Today I am creating a new raised bed for tomatoes in a really sunny place. Layering chopped leaves, mushroom compost, straw and newspapers and will let it cook through the winter. That will make a big difference in what succeeds next year. And I'm reading the threads from the DG Tomato forum (and the Tomatoville site) to find out more about good varieties to grow around here. There sure are a lot of tomato growers/fanatics online!
I know Melissa grows so many different kinds of heirlooms and it would be interesting to hear about her crop this year...
These are my new stick tripods for my tomato vines. We just got them up about a week ago (a little late and messy) but hopefully we will get a few more tomatoes to ripen yet this fall if it says sunny enough...
Doug's strawbale gardens were *awesome*. I learned so much by looking at how he put them together. The plants were huge and healthy, even at the end of the summer. I just wish we got more sun - that's our downfall. We'd have to plant them right by the sidewalk for them to get full-sun, and it would look weird on our lot. Our neighbors wouldn't like looking at it in front of the house, and neither would we. LOL
I'm going to ask my next-door neighbor Mandi to try some gardening experiments. She's a gardener, loves veggies, and best yet, has abundant sunshine in her back yard.
Just read through your strawbale gardening trials and found it fascinating. I remember reading Ken'ts first posts about it last year (before there was a forum dedicated to Strawbale) and then I forgot about the method, so thanks for reminding me. It looks like from your serial that it's good to have some kind of bank boards around the bales for maximum good effect. Is that right?
Then, as I recall, someone somewhere plants out their bales with a spade full of planting mix in each planting hole. I suppose this is necessary when you're on the fast track (impatient to plant), especially when the bales don't have time to decompose initially...I'm going to have to do more research...
We worked this morning on layering some lasagna beds. We made them 3 ft wide by 12 ft long and will build some bank boards around the beds, especially since you had success with them in your trials. We are waiting for the leaves to fall to layer in chopped leaf mould into the beds. So far we have cardboards, straw (I don't know what kind, I'd better check that out), mushroom compost, some 10-10-10 fertilizer, and will wait now for a good fat layer of chopped leaves and then some more compost, etc. I don't know it all the layering is worth it if all I have to do is lay out some straw bales and plant them, though! Oh, well.
Someone said that the tastiest tomatoes are grown in pure leaf mould beds but I don't know if that's true or not. I do believe that the type of growing medium does influence the taste, but I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe the balance of nutrients...?
Kim, I feel for you about the sun issue! Our best sun is in the front yard and our neighbors are getting a little fed up with my growing experiments going on for all to see (because mostly they are failures!). I did have 2 more trees removed from our back yard this morning, so maybe that will help. (I had 12 trees removed earlier in the summer, but it didn't make much of a difference.) I am making the new lasagna gardens at my sister's house nearby and she has loads of sunshine (but 3 black walnut trees to avoid, always something!)
How lucky that you got to stop at Doug's on the way to the Fall KY RU. Must have been fun to see the trials, and Bardstown is such a pretty place.
Tonight we are having omelettes made with the tomatoes and basil from the garden. So fun to have the different heirlooms to taste test!
Would like to see more pics of different gardens. Lots of ideas here! t.
I didn't use any planting mix in the bales, after the Ammonium Nitrate treatment Kent describes the bale were soft/mushy enough to just spread apart and stick the plants into the bales and push back together. I am very pleased with the results.
I will definitely do this next year, just lay the fresh bales out sooner and let nature decompose them for me.
My tomatoes died off a little early this year. I had some white little bugs on the underside of the leaves that did some damage before I figured out what the problem was. Of course the rabbits didn't help out when they ate my 2 red brandwine plants. I wasn't that impressed with black krim but atkinson and market wonder did great. Also, caspian pink produced good size fruit. I also planted 1 tommy toes (cherry tomato) and the hybrid beefsteak ( very big but not many maters).
I saved seeds by covering the buds with a wedding veil like cloth. The problem I have for next year is that I'm cutting back to 12-15 plants compared to almost twice that many this year. Which to choose?
Here's one of the grandkids collecting tomatoes.