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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mid-July Tomato Tour

I decided to post about my tomato adventures. It's more for my own record keeping than anything. Because of my awful clay soil, I've always container gardened my tomatoes. Last year I planted them in mostly 5 gallon planters. This year I've gotten some larger tubs to compare how big the plants grow.

No ripe tomatoes here YET! I have spotted some green tomatoes which always gets me excited. Here are what will likely by the first ripe tomatoes of the season. These tomatoes are from a Glacier plant.
I had poor luck with early tomato plants this year. I tried on 2 separate occasions to plant Bloody Butcher tomatoes (store bought starts). They both died. I'm trying not to take it personally. It was really a last minute decision to grow early tomatoes since I realized I only planted main season tomato plants. Next year's note to self will be to include at least one early variety. Last year I grew Oregon Spring and I will try those next year since they were bred at Oregon State and should be great for our climate. I found the Glacier tomato at the Farmer's Market and thought I would give it one last try. Though with the weird weather we've been having, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the main season varieties are on the heels of this early variety.

The other tomato this is quickly setting fruit is the Black Plum Cherry. This one is also a store bought starter that took the place of my Chocolate Cherry (planted from seed) that refused to grow for me this season. This Black Plum Cherry plant is by far the largest plant of all my tomatoes and is doing well despite being in a 5 gallon container. It's quickly setting fruit and I'm excited to have some cherry tomatoes for snacking and salads!

Here's the majority of my tomato plants in tubs. These varieties include Ananas Noire, Green Zebra, Glacier, Paul Robeson, and a San Marzano. In the back of the larger tubs are another San Marzano, Black Plum Cherry and a couple Roma plants. I was really disappointed that I didn't get any sauce tomatoes last year. I may have over compensated this year. But hey, you can't have enough sauce and salsa right?

Here's a few more. The two outer plants are Sun Gold Cherry plants. Why do I have two you maybe asking. Well my original purchase was the one on the left. However, it looked like it was trying to die. It was tiny and feeble looking. I covered him up with bubble wrap and in my panic, I bought another plant (on the far right). It looks like all he needed was TLC because he's quickly outgrowing the larger starter that was bought later. The tomato in the middle is a Paul Robeson.

This raised bed contains 3 types: Kellogg's Breakfast, Cherokee Purple & Pineapple.
Since I'm a relatively newbie gardener, I don't have a lot of experience. Last year I grew Green Zebra and loved how pretty the fruit were (green with yellow stripes), how great the fruit taste with low acidity and how productive the plant was. This is must for me. I tried planting a Black Zebra but it died. Maybe next year. I also love the dark or "black" tomatoes for their smokey taste. I tried Carbon and Paul Robeson last year. I loved both decided to grow only one. A fellow gardener shared some Paul Robeson seeds so it won. I also loved the Cherokee Purple. I've been growing this one for a couple of years now. I was disappointed in my Brandywine plant last year. It wasn't very productive at all.

That's my tomato experiment. I'm always on the lookout for new and must have varieties. What types of tomatoes are you growing and what are your tried and true?

**Linking to Jami's Garden Party**

11 comments:

Chef Penny said...

Those are some great looking varieties! We have been eating tomatoes for some time now but we are in Florida. I love the container idea!

Doc said...

Holly,
Very nice looking tomato crop. I love growing them each year although this time I just grew four varieties....Roma, Chocolate Cherrie, Big Boy and Willamette. Where did you get your black tubs? They are the perfect size and the black probably heats up pretty nice.
Doc

Cindy@OldTimePickers said...

You have quite a variety of tomato plants. I usually stick with the basic ones. And your statement...'But hey, you can't have enough sauce and salsa right?'...I agree!

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

Your tomato plants are looking good! I am in SW Washington state, and the weather hasn't been great for growing hot-season crops like tomatoes. I am growing all my tomato plants in the ground and under plastic this year, and so far it is working pretty well. I am going to keep the plastic on all season, if I can, and if they don't outgrow the space, which they very likely will. Last year my Brandywine didn't ripen due to the cold weather, but I brought them inside and ripened them indoors. This year I only planted one plant of them, although I love their flavor, because they take a long season to mature and it appears this summer is going to be cold like last year. I plant San Marzano's every year--they are very productive for me, and I hope they are for you as well. I am trying Purple Cherokee this year for the first time, so we'll see how they do.

Charmcitybalconygarden said...

You are going to have so many tomatoes! That is really awesome!

~Holly~ said...

chef penny-Thanks for visiting! Awww....I have tomato envy!!

doc-Thank you! Oh, you'll have to tell me about the chocolate cherry. I had 3 plants grown from seed but non of them tolerated the transplant outside. Boo! I was looking forward to tasting them. Black tubs were from FM. Yeah, I love that they're black vs the blue ones!

cindy-Thanks for stopping by! Last year I tried to plant romas and san marzano but none of my plants did well. I didn't get any saucing tomatoes. I ended up buying tomatoes to make salsa. It was sooo disappointing. I think I may have over compensated just a little....but that's ok. I'm totally ok with that! =0)

athena-It's always challenging to grow warm weather crops here in the Pacific NW. Glad you're able to plant yours in the ground. Our clay soil is awful. I'd have to ammend a LOT! So it's all containers for me. I hope your tomatoes do well this year and you enjoy the CP. It's very tasty!! =0)

charmcitybalconygarden- Thanks!! My neighbor thinks I'm crazy for growing so much. She asked me last year, "what do you do with all the tomatoes?" (and last year I had only 6 plants). I told her I could live on tomatoes!! You can always can what you don't use.

Allison at Novice Life said...

Wow they look great! This is the second year in a row our 'maters aren't looking so great either and I am so disappointed :(

Rowena... said...

Ooooh...Paul Robesons! That is one that I've always wanted to try but either the seed companies were out or I was sidetracked by something else. This year I have cherokee purple, omar lebanese, san marzano and a generic-type cherry tomato - all started from seed. I think next year I'll have to rotate crops so not sure where or how much of the varieties will grow. Looking forward to your thoughts on those Robesons!

Mac said...

Whoa, that's a lot of tomatoes and nice varieties. I'm growing Chocolate Cherry now, it's a good tasty salad or snack fruit.
You're going to be super busy in putting up all those sauces and salsa this summer, I'm at the last 2 pouches of last year's tomato sauce, hopefully maters turn red soon.

~Holly~ said...

Allison-Sorry about your 'matos!! Don't give up though!

Rowena-I grew PR last year along with Carbon (another black tomato). I loved the smokey but slight tart taste of the PR. It's a treat! I wonder if we can ship seeds from the US? I could always send you some. Here's a post from last year and a pic of the inside of the PR. I got quite a lot of fruit from one plant. I'll be interested in seeing you post about the Omar. I've heard good things about it!

Mac-You tease me with Chocolate Cherry talk! I'm hoping it's a good tomato year. Last year was dismal. I ended up BUYING tomatoes on sale for making salsa (which I love) and didn't make any sauce.

Rowena... said...

Forget about sending seeds across the pond...customs almost always nab it, and they send it right back (within the time span of 3-4 months!). I've had some seeds from Japan arrive in my mailbox, but they were just lucky I guess.