Fall tomatoes

Brian_M2(z7 NC)August 13, 2008

Is anybody going for it? I've had pretty good luck with 2 varieties that didn't have much disease this year, Cherokee Purple and Green Giant (thank you, nctomatoman!), and I have suckers from these started. I've never tried to see how far things can go into the fall, tomato-wise...anybody else trying this?

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How late can they ripen up your way?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 7:59PM
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I will be rooting some cuttings this weekend to get a nice fall crop this year. The only years I don't do this are when I have bad disease issues. This year only a few plants are suffering so I have plenty of healthy stock to choose from. If you snip a long stem that already has blooms on it you can usually get fruit going right from the start.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 9:27AM
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Brian_M2(z7 NC)

@ don_licuala - Considering that I'm usually able to keep a gardenia in my front yard blooming until Thanksgiving (with a tarp on a few frosty nights), I think this is a doable thing. I hope to have tomatoes in October, at least.

@ trianglejohn - I had only one plant have a complete meltdown, these other two varieties have really held up, particularly Green Giant (I like it's potato leaf too). I've never been a big fan of green tomatoes, but these are really delicious, and supposedly open-pollinated. Are you putting any fall crops in, other than tomatoes?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 10:51AM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

Every few years, up a against a south-facing stucco wall, I've been able to gather up until Thanksgiving--sometimes a week or two beyond.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:25AM
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There is no reason not to expect harvest up to frost, but it has been my experience that the size and quality go down as frost date approaches. They are still better than store-bought. I have tried in past years to cover plants to keep frost out, but since I would pick the large and close-to-ripe tomatoes already, I never seem to delay the inevitable hard frost long enough for the remaining fruits to properly develop. Now I opt for pulling the plants out and hanging them upside down in the garage and picking as they ripen. I've picked my last ripe one as late as mid-December.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:51AM
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brian m2 - I usually get a decent cucumber harvest from vines that sprout from spring sown plants (fruit that I never saw to pick, so it rotted and self sowed). This year I'm gonna try some more green beans - just because. And I often try these little husk tomato things from South America, they are like tiny orange tomatillos, taste like kumquats, hate the heat but like cool fall weather. I build a temporary greenhouse (called a hoophouse) in the garden during the winter where I shove all my large tropical potted plants. One of these years I'm gonna plant some summer crops in that space so that they can overwinter or at least last into late fall.

My yard is old tobacco field/farm land so the ground is full of diseases that affect tomatoes. I can usually get decent t'maters, eggplants and bell peppers, but potatoes and hot peppers fail every year.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 4:51PM
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Brian_M2(z7 NC)

@trianglejohn Speaking of hoophouses, I want to try that with citrus. I've seen people with lemon trees growing in the ground in Five Points; they have the metal tubing (looks like bent conduit) in the ground in an arch over the trees, then they put plastic over this framework for the winter. Raintree has dwarf lemons, limes and blood oranges...a boy can dream. Also, according to a recent column in the N&O, somebody has a citrus *orchard* in their yard in Cary. This is waaay off topic, but I'd like to get the skinny on that.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:45PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

There's a guy up in VA who has an incredible setup. if you're interested in that kind of thing i'd hang out on the cirtrus forum- you're sure to get some advice!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:22PM
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OT for sure but I have to say, I attended a lecture where that guy in Cary showed slides of his yard. It was amazing! He only grew citrus and every 5 years or so he got a bumper crop of tangerines and oranges. Most years he had to harvest fruit early because of predicted frosts. He provided NO heat. He only covered fruiting trees with bed sheets and such on the really cold nights.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 9:31PM
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