How are Things in Your Tomato Patch?

digit(ID/WA)August 8, 2013


I had a nice bowl of cherry tomatoes out of the patch this week. Will go out and get more - this morning!

What's new out there for you???


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My cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I've got lots of green ones, though.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 11:34AM
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This year I ended up with 2 red cherry tomato plants, one chocolate cherry, one yellow bell, an early girl, and one mystery tomato that is running behind! My small tomatoes are going crazy. I have picked about 4 cereal bowls worth already. I'm afraid all I'm going to get is small tomatoes this year. My 7 year old daughter loves them and asks for tomatoes several times a day! Here's a picture of our 1st bowlful.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Our sweet-100's cherry tomatoes are going bonkers. Volunteer yellow pears are coming on very slowly, but since they are volunteering I'll be happy with whatever we get. The roma-type have been fighting blossom end rot, but we've been getting a couple nice red ones each week for the last few weeks. Our black krim-type tomato has concentric circle issues but are still fat and juicy and delicious - that is our only plant producing anything bigger than a golf ball. Early girl laughed at us and said she will be sleeping in this year.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 4:17PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

After the last 2 years of having almost all of my tomato plants reach 6-7 feet tall and 4 feet wide then all die within a couple weeks this year has to be better (fingers crossed). At least most have survived to this point and are looking good though there hasn't been a lot of harvest yet but it won't be long.

Now that the plants are again in full sun hopefully the fruit that has set will start filling out. With cooler temps this week there should be good fruit set also.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Ever increasing cherries over the last month. I think the 1st were from blossoms that set in the greenhouse :P.

Anyway, just now starting to get the 2nd size up tomatoes. The early ones are a bit ragged but .

. . they are getting there!


    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Garden tomatoes are coming along, still mostly green. Lots of blossom end rot. These tomatoes and peppers are all from containers on my porch, with a handful of beans from over by the fence. Thinking containers are the way to go. Maybe I'll just do flowers in the yard going forward.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 4:16PM
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You know, these are very "appetizing" photographs!

I have a Bloody Butcher, a Kimberley and a Buisson in containers in the backyard. The theory is that I'm supposed to do some crossing of these . . . It has been hot, the flowers are dropping off . . ! I can think of more excuses if pressed!

Anyway, all of my tomatoes are kind of puny this year. I may not have a very large harvest.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 9:37PM
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david52 Zone 6

Here, the onslaught has begun. I've filled a 4 gallon bucket four times in the past 5 days and already have one batch through the dehydrator and I'll do another batch today. I'll go out and pick another bucket today.

Its a full 10 days earlier than the usual beginning of the onslaught.

Of course, I'm gorging myself on fresh tomato salad, fresh tomatoes on toast, BLT's, and so on.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:30AM
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You all make me jealous! I've been in this house for 5 summers now and have only had a handful of tomatoes all combined. I got several plants from this year's spring swap and they all are doing great--best looking start I've had so far! Lots of green tomatoes but we're so much cooler here in Elizabeth that I'm not sure if any will make it to ripe....I'm always hopeful, though!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:21AM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Had my first ripe tomatoes yesterday. Four small Red Robins, but that was bliss. The Early Girl gave forth and I will have a BLT tonight. Plants are loaded, fruit is blemished from hail, but I don't care, I have tomatoes after a year without. Certainly not my vast assortment of favorites and new ones this year, but real homegrown tomatoes. I'm happy! :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:54PM
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I am glad I came back here late last night.

First of all, David's success this year is inspiring!

And Jali, it is great to know that you are happy in the tomato patch! I went to bed with that thought and looked at Osborne Seed catalog's selection of open-pollinated varieties . . .


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:08AM
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The cherries continue to produce by the bowlful - from each plant! Now, there is also a ripe fruit on each Goliath plant every time I go into the tomato patch. Others are doing well - I've got many, many medium-sized tomatoes.

A surprise in the patch this year might be Gary O Sena. No, I haven't been able to harvest a ripe Brandywine OTV nor is my trying Pantano Romanesco proving out . . . I've had one nice big Gary O Sena tomato, however. It was great!

This is the 2nd year to have a Gary O plant in my garden and the one last did did fine. I was impressed that it avoided most of the splitting problems I had in 2012 and still ripened quite a few fruits.

I was "trying" to do better with the 2013 plant. I am sure that I was cheating a little by leaving small green fruit on the Gary O plant when I set it out. My tomato starts are nearly 3 months old by the time they go in the garden. I try to remove any developing fruit at that time, to give the plants more time to grow before putting energy into that early fruit. Giving Gary O a little head-start wasn't wise.

The big rambling plant grew but the leaf cover didn't protect the fruit well from a scorching July sun. They not only were scalded but one split badly - all while still green!

Tossed those and the 2nd crop is coming on nicely. I also gave a plant to my neighbor. His often do a little better than mine!! He is a very neglectful gardener but his garden is in a much more protected place than where I grow my tomatoes - nearly 20 miles away. (I never intend to grow my tomatoes next to his . . . it isn't competition that I look for out there in the garden. ;o)

Anyway, his Gary O Sena is loaded with fruit! He has one that is nicely ripe! I know that having big ripe tomatoes isn't anything special for some of us near the end of August but this Brandywine x Cherokee Purple cross gives me a taste of what might be possible in a better tomato growing environment! Keith Mueller said somewhere that he mainly intended this cross in the interest of flavor but it seems that this "near-heirloom" may be a good choice where those 85 days-to-maturity "real-heirlooms" would fail to ripen before frost.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:04AM
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I tried 3 varieties of heirlooms and a few early girls. The heirlooms haven't done as well as the early girls. The problem was caused by us. Apparently uneven watering caused splitting and then most have green shoulders due to excess sun. The heirlooms are worth the problems that the newer varieties don't have just because of the taste. They are so good! Good enough to try again!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:01AM
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david52 Zone 6

We're getting a soaking rain today, NOAA estimate 1.5 inches possible, so yesterday I picked anything with a hit of red so they won't crack from the sudden moisture. That took two hours, boxes and boxes.

Its been a bizarre year - my ox hearts only got 2 feet tall - instead of the usual 6' - and have been bearing ripe fruit for two weeks now, they usually don't ripen until mid september. My dozen or so 'Vorlon' (stabilized cross between Cherokee Purple x PrudenâÂÂs Purple) are out-producing the rest of the garden and are already past their peak.

Seems planting them a foot apart ***may*** have staved off the worst of the disease onslaught, but the plants are much, much smaller with smaller yields, but I'd guess that the end result is the same production / linear foot.

I'm also getting hit with the "blotch disease", where the fruit is some molted yellow/red combo - they look edible and so on, but the taste - blerk.

My, um, *scientific* trial to see if the disease resistant Goliath will fare better than Thessaloniki is a wash, they both did pretty well.

Steve, what was that yellow one? I lost the labels.....

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:12AM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

The grow list for 2014 already has the staple varieties on it. I have tomatoes that's all I'll say. I'm spoiled. Two of the Super Sioux plants were obviously determinates -- hence, not SS -- but romas. I've never grown a roma in my life for a reason. Tasting a real homegrown tomato is worth the work, but I just can't jump up and down about Early Girl and Super Sioux, and certainly not Roma. My seed box runneth over and I slobber looking at it. Then Tatiana posts pics of a red cherry with "an acidic" bite. Must have!! Add another to the seed box, or another dozen or so. I'm an addict. But the BLTs have been pretty good, despite my expectations.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:58PM
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Posted by david52 z5CO
. . . Steve, what was that yellow one? I lost the labels.....

You must be thinking of Casey Jones . . . I'm renaming it. Casey called it "Casey's Pure Yellow" but it sure looks like it has an orange interior and orange on the outside, if it is fully ripe. Maybe, "pure yellow" means something different. I've got lots of them ripe!

". . . trouble ahead, a lady in red. Casey Jones you better, watch your speed . . ."


Here is a link that might be useful: Casey' PY on the TomatoBase

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:38AM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Steve, thought you might be interested in this feature of Keith on a KC station. Glad to see him getting some well-deserved attention for his breeding efforts. They even mention Gary'O in the piece.

Here is a link that might be useful: KC tomatoes

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:56PM
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That's great, Bonnie! Thank you!

Keith once answered a GW question for me . . . about carrots, of all things. I think these people are doing a great service even if it is just for their own entertainment. I don't really like the idea of being so dependent on the seed companies for their hybrids and admire others' success with all sorts of heirlooms!

I don't have any experience with Gary O's parents: Brandywine and Cherokee Purple. Maybe, one of these first days, I can get myself to a farmers market in a community where they can be grown just so that I can say "oh yeah, they are wonderfully tasty," with some sort of dismissive wave of a hand.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Have harvested a couple of unexpected huge Purple Dog Creek tomatoes. All 3 of them were over 2 lbs. - the first time ever for me. The taste was great and it'll be on the 2014 list.

Another great standby is Thessaloniki. Picked 24 today from one plant. Nice to finally pick red ones.

Most of my Vorlons have BER, but a few nice ones have slipped by unaffected. Nice flavor.

Mortgage Lifter and Mrs. Benson have been great producers. Most of my harvest has been a few weeks late, and now it's time to can and freeze.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Last year, I tried the Florida Weave in the tomato patch. It was a "modification" on the technique. I had 2 rows of plants in a bed and it didn't work well. Getting between the plants to harvest was difficult and even sunlight had trouble penetrating one row to reach the 2nd - north/south alignment.

The fruit also had trouble with sun scald but that is a risk of pulling plants up & up & up, again.

This year, I used my 3' beds for the tomatoes and not the 4' beds. I "intended" to use the Florida Weave again but never got a roundtuit . . . Now, the slugs are back! That was a primary reason to get away from the "sprawl" in the first place!! The d**n things especially like the early-ripening yellow varieties.

There are folding cages that I am going to look into . . . Staking just takes too much time for 4 or 5 dozen plants and storing the cages takes too much room. I could toss them up on the neighbor's rockpile and hope no one notices before spring . . .


    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:45PM
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david52 Zone 6

I've been using t-pots holding up cattle panels now for years - it looks like it should blow over, but they never do.

And 'weave' - might be better termed as stuffing wads of stem and foliage through the holes in the panels.

I do get a bit of sun scald - I think its a combination of the sun shifting on its axis, as well as pulling up the foliage.

Here's a pick of last year's garden......

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 10:07AM
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That looks great, David!

It really does!

I'd hate to compare it to the "sprawl" in my garden. There's one area near the sprinkler pipe that I just barely get to! I'm either gonna be walking on cucumber or tomato vines soon . . .


    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Posted by TomatoZ 5b

Have harvested a couple of unexpected huge Purple Dog Creek tomatoes. All 3 of them were over 2 lbs. - the first time ever for me. The taste was great and it'll be on the 2014 list. . . .

An 85-day tomato! I can only wish, TomatoZ . . .

Today and yesterday we've had some showers. The thermometer hasn't hit 70ðf on either day .

So, is this neck of the woods headed into the Big Cool Down? Nope. The Weather Service predicts 2 days next week will have 90ð afternoons!


The peppers can't do much, they are stunted from the cool spring. The melons may be just about played out - we will see, but they've done pretty darn good so far. This may be, however, the opportunity for me to enjoy a vine-ripened Brandywine tomato! I have an OTV Brandywine that has a good number of green fruits on it. Thanks David!

We are moving into mid-September. The days-to-maturity go completely out the window when the nights begin to drop into the 40's. Doesn't look like it will be happening yet.

The Pantano Romanesco tomato plant in my garden is also thanks to a gardening friend. It is in the same "big plant, loaded with green fruit" condition.

The last 2 summers have been warm to hot and run late. I don't know if I can count on this. I doubt if I will ever have more than one of what is purported to be an 80 day tomato. Still, having one big, loaded plant . . !!!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:56PM
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david52 Zone 6

The harvest this year continues to be bizarre with the heat. General process is to pick ripe and almost ripe fruit, bring it into the greenhouse, wash it all off, then put it in trays lined with newspaper to ripen up, - that can take 3 - 5 days - then eat or process.

This year, my greenhouse is running a steady 100F. I bring the tomatoes in, they ripen over night, and actually start to cook if they're in the sun. By day two, I'm throwing some of them out.

So I'm now trying to leave them on the vine as long as I can, but they ripen up there as well way too quickly for me to deal with them all.

Hopefully, the weather here has broken, and we're back to days in the 70's, nights in the low 50's, and soon into the 40's.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 8:02PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

We only planted Black Krim tomatoes this year, our favorite. We've been picking and eating them a few at a time over the last several weeks, and only a few have been stolen by the squirrels. Now finally getting enough to can! Will spend part of today doing that, as we stay inside during another expected rainy day.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 9:39AM
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We lost about 1/2 our tomatoes from severe splitting due to the torretial rainfall here. Not complaining though considering what others have lost here in Colorado. Still had enough to whip up tomato soup base to freeze. I have a delicous recipe for that if anyone is interested. Makes a wonderful base for pasta sauce, chilli, etc.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I for one would like to know that recipe!

My sauce "recipe" is just whatever is easily at hand, pretty much. Since it varies from batch to batch, I will be sure to list the ingredients on each bag before it goes in the freezer. Some of the sauce combo's make fairly good soup - with the addition of a little cream & cheese, especially.

I have picked the 1st OTV Brandywine. It needs a day or 2 to ripen.

These are not quite ripe either.

Actually, last year was the 2nd year for Gary O Sena in the garden. I mixed up the saved seed (or plant markers) and had a terrible time, between my garden & the neighbor's, getting the sorted out for a couple of years. Anyway, I finally went back to the original packet of seed (thank you, Jali) and started over again in 2012.

These 4 are all an ounce on either side of a half pound and that's about where all of them come in at in my garden. Just a real nice tomato! There's a link to information about them, below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tatiana's TomatoBase

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:05PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Glad you got your Gary'O sorted out. We've all had seed mixups and it is frustrating. Gary'O is a magnificent tomato. I have another Keith tomato to try next year that sounds wonderful -- Grinch Cherry, a green when ripe cherry. He's doing some of the best breeding work out there, along with Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:31AM
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After the huge rainstorms here last week, our tomatoes seem to be recovering. The cherries and slicers that are just getting ripe are bursting their seams from all the water. We have blossom rot on some of the roma-types again. It would sure be nice to have some warm weather to give all the gardens - and the people - a little more time to recover before it gets cold.

Silver lining - while cleaning up after the storm, we found that the string beans seeds we planted on 8/1 had perfectly ripe beans ready for harvest!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:05PM
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It was a real mess that spring, Jali. I had extra plants and so replaced what the frost had killed and it was mostly my fault that they died. They were either the tall ones pressed up under a too short bucket or, I put a big pot over them. With drainage holes uncovered . . .

My tags that year were "tree tags" and I dropped them over bamboo stakes. A windstorm came right after the frost and blew some of them away! Also, I probably left 1 or 2 & plunked down a replacement plant beside a wrong tag . . .

Green beans? Yeah, I got 'em now, too. But - they are from a 7/15th sowing. I just started picking those Jade greenbeans this week.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 3:47PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Glad you got some green beans to ripen out of that absurd storm, GLiz. My heart just aches for everyone that got so much of that danged storm.

Oh, Steve, we've all done something like that at one point or another or to varying degrees. Frustrating, but kudos for getting it sorted out.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 11:28PM
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