Ever since I built my greenhouse, I’ve been growing a large number of tomato plants. Now, after two years of terrible returns things have gotten a lot brighter, well more of a red then bright, but much more colorful then past tomato harvests. You see I’ve been hit with Blight the last two years, and it ruined the whole patch, killing hundreds of plants. This year I have resorted to using three types of blight prevention: Deconil Fungicide and Dragoon Dust as well as a good spraying of Epsom Salt and Miracle Grow mix. The result ? A lot of tomatoes !
I started picking the tomatoes green as soon as they were large enough. I would then set them in my window sills till they ripened, at which time I would take them to my mothers home from processing. Mom has been working with the rest of the family to covert all of the bounty into spaghetti sauce, and so far they have kept up with the harvest.
I tried to narrow my focus with the types of plants grown this year, and I do not remember planting yellow tomatoes, but they have found there way to the table anyway.
I also had to share this very humorous photo I got just in the nick of time. Sandy told me to look at how fast the tomatoes were flying off the table. The bowl that was holding the cherry tomatoes was half empty. That’s when I decided to ask little Rob if he had anything to do with it. He replied by showing me his shirt full of cherry tomatoes.
I stopped by Sandy & Davies house to return a hydraulic jack I had borrowed, and just like any other time I visit, I had to check out their garden. My niece led the way into the tomato patch, where she sampled, and declared ready, many of the cherry tomatoes that were growing.
I usually plant a few Red Alert cherry tomatoes in my garden, simply because they ripen sooner then the larger slicing tomatoes. Sandy is far more devoted to the cherries then I, and she even visited a commercial greenhouse to purchase these plants ( I usually start of all the tomatoes and peppers for the whole family in my greenhouse).
I planted Waltham Butternut squash hoping to repeat the success I had last year, but the plants are doing poorly. Sandy’s plants are doing great though, and I often find myself wondering why our two gardens behave so much differently. I guess it’s got a lot to do with water and soil. My garden is sometimes too well drained, but Sandy’s garden tends to retain a good amount of moisture. Her garden also enjoys some shade from a row of trees nearby, where my garden is exposed to the direct sun like an ant in the Sahara desert.
The Swiss Chard in both gardens are doing great. The colors alone are worth planting for, but having this plant be edible, and good for you is an extra bonus.
I couldn’t believe how well the celery plants were doing. These are the same tiny seeds that grew so slowly after I planted them 11 weeks before the last frost. They are nearly as tall as the zucchini plants in the row beside them, and it’s pretty amazing to see one of the harder to grow plants do well. I still need to work on my gardening skills with eggplant, kohlrabi, and pak choi, but I’m getting better every year.
As I was looking around the tomato patch, I realized that I may just achieve my goal of “too many tomatoes”. I’ve been dusting the plants religiously every 7 days per the “Dragoon Dust” directions, and there is no sign of Late Blight. There are plenty of green tomatoes, and in many different varieties. Each year I seem to pick out new types which I favor, and I’ve slowly built a collection of plants, many of which I can identify by looking only at the leaves.
San Marzano is one of the few varieties I’ve started with my first year that I continue to grow. It is a paste tomato with a great deal in common with Roma tomatoes. The plants always seem to give a ton of effort, and I’m always surprised with how many veggies one plant will bear.
Not long after I acquired a taste for San Marzano, I found myself as a huge fan of Brandywine and Cherokee Purple. Both tomatoes are of excellent quality as sandwiches slices go, and the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the ripe color of the skin. Brandywine are usually red or yellow, and Cherokee Purple carries a dark purplish tone.
Since I often enjoy learning about other cultures, I tend to enjoy veggies which have originated in some other corner of the globe. The Red Lightning tomato is from China, and the color is mostly red, with vertical bands of yellow which somewhat resemble lightning strikes. The plants never disappoint, and the colors always make me smile.
Red Alert tomatoes are nothing if not consistently the earliest of my tomatoes to ripen. Since I’ve found a few greenish tomatoes that were pilfered by an unknown animal, half eaten and left in the walk way, I figured I better pick these nearly ripe tomatoes, and let them finish up in this plastic container in a window sill. The water in the container was used to wash off any dust left over from the war on blight. Before placing the container in the sill, I drained all the water out.
They should ripen in a few days, and not long after become a welcome addition to my daily salad.