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susan butterfly lady

Posted by helenh z6 MO (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 12:54

Good for you. That fellow that you put in his place said the same thing about heart tomatoes to someone from Sacramento, CA. My sister lives there and everything is scorched in summer even though they do all have irrigation systems.

I planted Reif Red Heart one year in a greatly improved hole. I really wanted to grow it so when it looked wilted I watered it more than my other tomatoes. I had success with it but I babied it. Last year the tomatoes I got in early produced but I had some big varieties that I got only two or three or no tomatoes from.

Kosovo not babied did not do well for me. I read the tomato forums and some of their favorites have not done well for me. My yard is in a valley and I think my garden is an ancient creek bed. I have gravel perfect drainage and dry in summer. I am trying Kosovo again because they said it was good but I think I will have to baby it to get anything.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: susan butterfly lady

Well, he tried, didn't he? LOL LOL LOL!

I don't know what I am going to plant for a heart yet. I do know that Dawn said she had not had very good luck with them in Oklahoma, and if I recall correctly, which I may not, it was because they had the "wispy" foliage and that was an issue as far as sunscald, and the plant's general intolerance for extreme heat like we tend to get here.

Still, I am one who just must test the waters, you know? I find most of the folks there to be very helpful. I just think when you have a "Dawn" around, who needs anyone else? I trust her implicitly. That said, I don't know if I am going to try a heart this year or not. If I do, I will try one of those mentioned in that thread most likely, but I've also read good things about Cour di bue.

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

There are tomatoes suited to climates and when you read the lists from people living in the East or farther north where the summers are mild, you get lists that don't work. Yes if you are an expert or go to lots of trouble, you can grow any tomato.

I think the wispy foliage makes you think the heart tomatoes are dying but it is normal for them to look that way. Reif Red Heart had plenty of foliage to shade the tomatoes but it looked like something was wrong with it. I think it is fun to try new ones and I can hardly wait for the fruit of a new one to get ripe.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Someone after my own heart - I love to try new things, Helen! There are limits, you know, like I'm not going to speed down the highway at 100 mph to see if my car will handle that speed, but gardening I will try almost anything at least once! LOL!

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Poor Susan. I saw that thread and wanted to slug someone on your behalf. I was so frustrated and couldn't even type a response because I didn't think I could stay calm enough to avoid being banned. It irritates me that people assume just because they can grow a certain thing where they live, we can grow it in here. It is rare that you would find someone from another state who has our exact pattern of daytime highs/lows, for example, accompanied by the same humidity or lack of humidity, or moisture or lack of moisture. If their conditions are not identical to ours, they cannot say if the tomato variety will do well here or not, particularly if they haven't grown tomatoes here. Tomato varieties that do well for me in a low-humidity summer won't do as well in a high-humidity summer, for example. Often, too, folks will say their high temps are similar to ours, but if I research their area, I'll see their nighttime lows routinely drop much lower than ours, maybe 10-15 degrees cooler. Well, if our nights were routinely that much cooler, then we wouldn't have a lot of the issues we have either.

I loved Mulio's response. His weather is probably fairly similar to ours, and he knows more about tomatoes than just about anyone else I can think of, and has the degree to back it up. His crosses perform better for me than just about anything else and I adore them. So, I can't remember which one he said to try, but I'd try whatever he or DarJones recommended if I wanted to try one that might tolerate the heat and produce well.

Brad's Black Heart did well early in 2011, but then the heat shut it (and most everything else) down in June in terms of fruitset. I was happy with the fruit I harvested from it, and think it would have produced a lot better if 2011 hadn't been the worst summer ever. Kosovo and a couple of others did nothing for me in 2004 and 2007 when we had all that rain and cooler temperatures and the weather was about as good as it gets here for growing tomatoes, even though the other varieties I planted that were not oxhearts did great. All planted together at the same time, same soil, same treatment, same weather. The hearts flowered some, but not much compared to other tomatoes and most flowers just fell off the plants while other varieties set fruit just fine right beside them. That was when I basically gave up on oxheart types until I decided a couple of years ago to try Brad's Black Heart.

Today I received some seeds I ordered from Mariseeds. I have been waiting forever for her new website to update, and the day it updated, I ordered ten varieties. I don't know how many of them I'll plant this year, since my seedlings already are started and ready to pot up, but I do want to try the heart I ordered. It is called (and I am not making this up) "Dolly Parton", and I imagine the fruit will have an interesting appearance. Of course, all I care about is (a) if they taste good and (b) if they produce well.

I haven't tried many hearts because none of them have produced very well. If I wanted to devote space to a tomato variety that would only produce maybe 3 to 6 tomatoes in a good year and none in a bad year, I'd just plant Brandywine anyhow. If Brandywine with its superb flavor isn't worth devoting that much space to in order for so little return, I cannot imagine any oxheart would be worth it, at least not for me.

You might go to the website of Duck Creek Farms or The Tomatoman's Daughter and see what oxhearts they offer. I would assume that neither one of them would sell plants that don't produce well, at least in their part of the state, so any oxheart variety they sell might be a good one for you to try in central OK.

I'll let you know how the Dolly Parton tomatoes do. If I post a photo of a gaudily-dressed tomato with bright red lipstick and big fake eyelashes, you'll know which plant it came from. (And I love Dolly Parton the singer, so I sure hope the tomato named for her is as charming and lovely as she is.)

Another thing I've noticed is that among the OK and TX horticulturalists/writers/TV show hosts/radio show hosts who grow vegetables and discuss growing them, you never see a single oxheart variety on their list of recommended varieties for our climate. I think that we all know why--because they focus on proven varieties for our summers that give a good yield.

I know I'm probably wasting space with the DP tomato, but you don't know if you don't try, and I have a little space I can afford to waste. I'd love to have the space to try a dozen oxhearts a year, but with as much effort as it takes to turn brick-hard red clay into great garden soil, I just won't give that kind of space to a tomato variety type that so far has show low productivity here.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: The Dolly Parton Tomato


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Guess I missed a good fight, huh? I'll have to go look that up. I grew Kosovo in a container one year and I think I got 2 tomatoes. I have seen hearts growing in the garden at Baker Creek and they seem to do fine in that garden.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

I learn so much on this forum. I had no idea that Dolly Parton had fake eyelashes.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

You probably didn't know she had eyes either, did you?


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Carol, Go check it out on the Tomato Forum. I only saw it the day before Mulio commented. I felt like Susan showed incredible restraint.

Larry, lol lol lol. I love Dolly Parton, having listened to her music way, way back, even when she was still performing with Porter Wagoner. I have wanted to grow "her" tomato ever since Barbara Kingsolver mentioned it in her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle".

One thing that would be fun if I was insane? To plant a tomato garden one year that consisted only of tomatoes named for people. How cool would that be? Think about it....you could plant Dolly Parton, Abraham Lincoln, Julia Child, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Paul Robeson, etc. I could put their names in big letters on surveyor's stakes right beside them and look at the odd expression on people's faces as they tried to figure out why I named all my tomato plants! Either they'd decide that I was stark raving mad....or brilliantly eccentric. It makes me smile thinking of that sort of silliness.

Dawn


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RE: susan butterfly lady

I'm very glad to see you're growing a heart, Dawn, and look forward to a report on how it does for you.

Thanks for all the support, but that same "expert" tends to respond in similar fashion to most everyone in various forums on GW.

It's good for me to encounter that tact to remind me how responsive, knowledgeable, and amicable everyone on our forum is to new people and any inquiry for that matter.

I had thought about Brad's Black Heart, too, Dawn, but I haven't totally committed to trying a heart yet anyway. I have plenty of tomatos to grow this summer without adding another.

Larry *chuckle", I doubt that her eyelashes are the 1st thing people think of when discussing Ms. Parton. I'm sure it's her vocals!

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Susan, 'Ya dun good.' LOL

Funny because I have corresponded with him several times, both on another forum and in private email and he has always been nice. I think he lives in NE Arkansas, and let me tell you about NE Arkansas. The first time I went there, and we were driving down the road, I kept asking my husband what was wrong with the trees. I said, "Why are the bottom of the trees black?" He took another look and told me that they were just wet. Two feet up the tree, and they were wet. Where I grew up in southern Oklahoma you could probably dig DOWN two feet before you found any dampness on the tree. They grow rice there! During the winter the fields have standing water and the water fowl are all over them. The ground around DH's home was gumbo clay with a bluish tint. The places that I have been, in that area, get very hot, but nothing like the blast furnace that central and southern Oklahoma have. It's not just about temperature here. Susan, I think the experts came to your defense.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

I had to go check it out :) May be we should invite him here in July or August to check out the difference!


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RE: susan butterfly lady

You guys are just too funny! And, yes, Carol, the experts did respond with some good information, for which I am grateful. I can't imagine standing water in NE Arkansas - wow! I have never been that far East in Arkansas so I had no clue. What a wealth of info everyone is here.

Lisa, we might scare people off of growing tomatos here, or even moving to our wonderful state, lol!

Susan


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RE: Heart Tomatos

As you suggested, Dawn, I checked out both Gary's site and Lisa's. Gary didn't have any hearts listed, but he hasn't put up his 2013 list yet, and his 2012 list didn't include any hearts.

Lisa had

Camp Cousin - a X between an Oxheart and Principe Borghese, 3-4 oz red clusters, produced abundantly summer 2012 during heat/drought.

Dinner Plate - large red, late maturing, flattened heart-shaped is how Lisa describes it. Don't know if it is really considered a heart.

Oxheart

Amish Paste

These are the ones that Lisa grows in Oklahoma and apparently have done very well for her.

Opinions?

Susan

I am not fond of this new GW format with text centered on each line. Makes it difficult to read right now, but maybe I'll get used to it,


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RE: susan butterfly lady

re: new format. I am not seeing any centered lines. Hmm. I do like the new update! It's a little prettier.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Lisa, I love the new format. It's clean and easy to read.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

They must have straightened out the text because I'm not seeing it either now. Yeah!!! It's perfect now! And, yes, I like the brighter graphics.

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Susan, I am glad you can straighten people out.

Carol, I do to know Dolly has eyes, they are very large, sorta bug eyed and saggy. I am sure it is from all that straining to produce such a lovely voice.

I live in western Arkansas, south of Ft. Smith and southeast of a town in eastern Oklahoma called Rock Island. We dont raise rice here, we raise ROCKS. There has been enough rocks shipped out of this area to build a fence around Texas. They are also hauling them out to build I- 49. This place should be a lake by now, but the rocks keep growing faster than they can ship them out.

Larry


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Susan, Of the ones Lisa listed, the one I think would do best here is the plain old Oxheart if you want to grow an actual oxheart type. The Camp Cousin sounds interesting, but I cannot picture an oxheart crossed with the tiny Principe' Borghese tomatoes that I grow every year for sun-dried tomatoes. I wonder if it retains the oxheart type flavor? I don't eat Principe' Borghese fresh (too bland) but they are great once dehydrated.

I'm surprised Gary['s tomato list isn't posted. He must be too busy growing stuff to be on the computer. If Gary doesn't grow oxhearts, I wonder if it is because he hasn't found them productive enough in our heat?

Larry, I didn't know rocks grew! Rocks are one thing we don't have on our land, except down in the creek. I'd love to have some rocks, especially if they were large flagstone types. In Fort Worth when we dug out the land in the back yard to level it for a pool, we found lots of large, flat flagstone type rocks here and there in the soil. I piled them up and, later on, when we put in our first lily pond, I had enough rocks to put a nice stone edging all around it.

I am grateful I don't have to dig out oodles of rocks in order to have nice garden soil though.

Dawn


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Yes Larry, there is a lot of difference from NW Arkansas to NE Arkansas. Some places in those eastern areas are around 300 feet above sea level, and in the NW you could be on a 1700 foot mountain. There is a big effort in South American to use rock dust in the garden to re-mineralize the soil, so if that helps, then you should have very rich soil at your house.

I have very good soil in my garden, but there are places in my yard where we hit solid limestone at 3.5 feet. We became aware of that very quickly when we were trying to install a new septic tank. We had a backhoe with a pick, breaking rock, and a 2nd backhoe dipping it out. It got expensive really quick although they only went down deep enough to install a low-boy tank, and the top is still at the surface.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Dawn, what do you think of the Amish Paste? I know you didn't say anything about it, but I wondered for a couple of reasons.

First, I checked the Sunrise Acres web listing of the plant they will be selling this year, and they also include Amish Paste. So, that makes two sources for this heart variety.

Secondly, Amish Paste has a shorter DTM (about 70 days) as opposed to Oxheart, with an 80 DTM. I'd rather try an earlier heart than a later. I know it's only 10 days, but that can sometimes be a deciding factor on whether I would get any harvest or much harvest at all.

What do you think? Anyone else grown Amish Paste?

Sunrise is also growing Dinner Plate, but it has a longer DTM than either of Oxheart or Amish Paste. I don't want to have to baby a plant thru the summer heat before it produces anything at all.

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

" I don't want to have to baby a plant thru the summer heat before it produces anything at all."

Then I wouldn't plant a heart.


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Point taken.

Susan


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Susan,

Amish Paste (too juicy and seedy to use as a paste, though, so is more of a fresh eating type despite its name) did well for me in rainy years like 2001, 2002 and 2004. It didn't do well in hot, dry years. I thought it produced well enough at the time, but after a few more years of growing many more heirloom types, I realized it wasn't all that great of a producer by comparison.

After I stopped growing it, I looked back and tried to figure out why it was a good producer one year and a poor producer the next, and figured out that it did well in years when I could put tomatoes in the ground around March 7th due to an early spring warm up. It also did well in springs where the weather stayed mild for a long time....like in 2002 when we still were having nighttime lows in the 40s through the end of May., and when we had tons of spring rain that continued well into June. It did almost nothing in the significantly hotter and drier 2003, 2005 and 2006 and I stopped growing it.

GIven that your space is limited and so is your time since you spend so much time taking care of your daughter and grandchildren, I believe an oxheart would frustrate you tremendously.

There are lots of heirloom types I won't grow because they set poorly in our heat and I don't want to baby them from March or April through August on the slim chance they'll set fruit in September and then it will ripen before frost. That is too much of an investment of space, time and water for what could be a poor harvest, IMHO.

If we ever have a normal wet, mild spring again with flooding rains, that would be the year to try an oxheart type. We have no reason to think this will be one of those springs, since just the opposite is forecast.

Dawn


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RE: susan butterfly lady

Okay, you have convinced me. I will wait for a better weather outlook to grow a heart.

Thank you for all your input on this issue everyone! I do appreciate it,

Susan


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