My after action report
This is my first time gardening in St. George UT. we have a very long growing season, but two very hot months where we see temperatures occasionally above 110 and often above 100. I planted 9 tomato plants in raised beds on a drip system.
Here's the varieties I planted:
4 x Shady Lady hybrid, determinate bush type
2 x Green Zebra
1 x Mortgage lifter
1 x Black Krim
1 x Cherokee Purple
Store bought plants purchased from a local nursery and home depot, got them in the ground in May, which was late for my area.
The hybrid plants produced a good amount of red tomatoes, but stopped setting anything during the hottest months. Oddly enough, even though they were determinate plants, once temperatures cooled off again they started setting a second round of fruit. the plants were pretty ugly by then however.
The best producing heirloom for me was Black Krim, but this isn't saying much. I got maybe a dozen tomatoes all year.
Second best was Green Zebra, third was Mortgage Lifter, last was Cherokee purple with 0 tomatoes produced. Best tasting was the black Krim and mortgage lifter.
I think my failure with the heirlooms stems from my late planting. The plants produced huge vines, but very little fruit. I also had a big problem with pillbugs eating the fruit next to the ground. I let the plants sprawl and the pillbugs where a big problem. I lost a lot of nice fruit to them. I'll cage them next year to keep the fruit up off the ground. Does anyone have plans for sturdy tomato cages?
One of the determinate plants had it's leaves curl up, turn leathery and then die. I replaced it with a cutting from the mortgage lifter, but it didn't produce anything.
On the bright side, I didn't have any BER, and very little disease. I did have an aphid problem with my squash plants, but the tomatoes where pretty robust. I just wish that they had produced tomatoes...
I think next year I'm going to do an assortment of cherry tomatoes. I hear that they produce well no matter what circumstances.
Given the success of the determinate hybrid tomato plants, I'm also considering doing two rounds of determinate plants first in planting in early spring, and then again in the summer when the heat comes on for a fall crop. what's your favorite heirloom determinate varieties? are there any Pink, black, green, varieties?