Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Over for 2014

It's over for 2014.

The tomato plants were pulled last Saturday. They were meant to be pulled the prior Saturday but the gardeners didn't show.

I didn't harvest at all during the week but I did pick off a few tomatoes before the plants were pulled last Saturday. Sunchocola, which looked pretty darn good and strong three weeks ago, got the fungal disease. The top of the plant looked like it had spider webs on it. For what it's worth the Sunchocola plant also had a couple of hornworms on it, though that's not related to the fungal disease.

Our total harvest for the year ended up at 6904 tomatoes. Here are our top ten harvest totals for 2014:

Orange Paruche -- 1250
Sunchocola -- 1015
Matt's Wild Cherry -- 683
SunGold -- 666
Sugar Snack -- 333
Husky Cherry Red(2) -- 332
Husky Cherry Red(1) -- 245
Evan's Purple Pear -- 189
Black Cherry -- 153
Indigo Rose -- 139

We added a lot of compost in preparation for this year. The plants started out strong but more importantly we were very pleased with the taste of this year's crop. However, most of the plants "hit the wall" relatively soon. Why?

Well, one never knows. For instance, it could have been a weak year for seedlings...but barring a few tomato plants that didn't seem to be the issue. The soil was prepped moreso than in other years. But there were two factors overriding everything else: This was the hottest year on record and we got very little rain during the prior winter.

This record's record heat is consistent with how our plants seemed to peak and die about two to three weeks earlier than before. That is clear. But what about fall and winter rains? We're warming to the opinion that the rains in the fall/winter affect next year's crop. We're beginning to believe that rain brings worms up to the top of the soil, depositing worm castings where the tomato plants can later use it.

2013 was our worst harvest year on record. In that year we had little rain the prior fall/winter and I did not prepare the soil like I did in the fall of 2013. And it showed. In 2007 I could find plenty of worms in our front yard. This year I don't think I saw a single worm anywhere in our growing area.

Our plans for 2015 will involve prepping the soil similar to what we did late last year. That means we should acquire compost in the near future. But if we have a low rain amount during the next fall and winter, we may not plant tomatoes for 2015. Or we'll scale back and try to not "fight nature" as much as in prior years.
 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Harvested Over 675 Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes This Year!

Wednesday's harvest includes 3 Husky Cherry Red(2), 2 Matt's Wild Cherry and SunGold for a total of 6 tomatoes.

No harvest Thursday. The weather got noticeably warmer, getting up to 95 degrees.

Today's harvest includes 10 Husky Cherry Red(2), 3 Matt's Wild Cherry, SunGold and Husky Cherry Red(1) for a total of 15 tomatoes.

We've now harvested over 675 Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes this year (677)! Right now it looks like Matt's Wild Cherry will hold off SunGold for third place on the 2014 harvest total. Also, we've now harvested 325 Husky Cherry Red(2) tomatoes this year.

It got down to 54.7 degrees this morning but it is supposed to get hotter than yesterday.
 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September 2014 Tomato Analysis

Let's take a look at the September numbers from top to bottom...

2011 -- 768 tomatoes
2010 -- 717 tomatoes
2012 -- 700 tomatoes
2007 -- 647 tomatoes
2014 -- 372 tomatoes
2008 -- 204 tomatoes
2013 -- 199 tomatoes
2009 -- 181 tomatoes

This year was fifth out of eight years. That has been fairly consistent throughout the year.

My original estimate of 550 tomatoes was far enough away to be a miss. The adjusted estimate of 400 was good.

German Orange Strawberry and Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red were pretty productive for the month of September. SunGold started fairly strong while Matt's Wild Cherry got a second wind toward the end of the month.

We're down to five plants now, four in the back yard and Sunchocola in the front yard. Sunchocola is getting a lot of blooms but we're due for a heat wave very soon.

However, I'm getting bored with the remaining plants. I'll keep 'em around for a bit but they may not make it to the end of October. We'll see. Because of that I won't make an estimate for October.
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harvested 650 SunGold Tomatoes This Year!

Last Tuesday's harvest includes 2 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, 2 Matt's Wild Cherry, Porkchop(1), SunGold, Husky Cherry Red(1), Husky Cherry Red(2) and Sugar Snack for a total of 9 tomatoes.

Wednesday's harvest includes Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Matt's Wild Cherry and Husky Cherry Red(2) for a total of 3 tomatoes.

Thursday's harvest includes 2 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Porkchop(1) and Matt's Wild Cherry for a total of 4 tomatoes.

Friday's harvest includes 2 Matt's Wild Cherry, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Indian Stripe and Husky Cherry Red(1) for a total of 5 tomatoes.

Saturday's harvest includes 8 Matt's Wild Cherry and Husky Cherry Red(1) for a total of 9 tomatoes.

I pulled out Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Indian Stripe, Porkchop(1) and Sugar Snack. The gardeners threw them away. I gave the gardeners all of our remaining tomatoes.

We're down to five plants...

No harvest on Sunday.

Monday's harvest includes 4 SunGold and Matt's Wild Cherry for a total of 5 tomatoes.

Today's harvest includes 5 Matt's Wild Cherry, 4 Husky Cherry Red(2) and 3 SunGold for a total of 12 tomatoes.

We've now harvested exactly 650 SunGold tomatoes this year! SunGold still resides in fourth place on the harvest list but could make a comeback.

Some of the Sunchocolas are maturing but look "wobbly" at the moment. We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, there's another big heat wave coming. That will wipe out the second wave Sunchocola tomato blooms that have been increasingly appearing...
 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Harvested Over 650 Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes This Year!

So let's catch up on things...

No harvest on Tuesday. But Tuesday only got to 100.4 degrees (that's bad enough). The prior three days were over 107 degrees.

Wednesday's harvest includes 5 Michael Pollan, 2 Matt's Wild Cherry, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Porkchop(1), SunGold and Husky Cherry Red(1) for a total of 11 tomatoes.

Thursday's harvest includes 3 SunGold, 2 Matt's Wild Cherry, Sunchocola, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Husky Cherry Red(1) and Michael Pollan for a total of 9 tomatoes.

No harvest on Friday.

Saturday's harvest includes 6 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, 5 Matt's Wild Cherry, 3 Michael Pollan, 2 SunGold, Sunchocola, Husky Cherry Red(2) and Sugar Snack for a total of 19 tomatoes.

Sunday's harvest includes 4 Matt's Wild Cherry, 3 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, 2 Michael Pollan and Indian Stripe for a total of 10 tomatoes.

I pulled out seven tomato plants on Sunday. These included Michael Pollan, Captain Lucky, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye(1), Pineapple and Speckled Roman(2).

There are nine remaining plants, four in the front yard and five in the back yard. The strongest remaining plant is Sunchocola.

We've now harvested over 650 Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes (651)! Also, we harvested over 100 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red tomatoes this year (102).

The Matt's Wild Cherry totals in relation to SunGold have been interesting. Originally, SunGold was out in front but was passed by the hard charging Matt's Wild Cherry. Matt's Wild Cherry was comfortably in third place behind Orange Paruche and Sunchocola but well over 100 tomatoes in front of the fourth place challenger, SunGold.

Then SunGold got a second wind after Matt's Wild Cherry went into recovery mode. Day by day I'd harvest SunGolds while Matt's Wild Cherry lay idle. I'd harvest several SunGolds a day, nothing dramatic. But day after day the SunGold totals began creeping up to where it was approaching the third place total of Matt's Wild Cherry. At that point (a week or two ago) Matt's Wild Cherry appeared to wake up while SunGold was running out of juice. SunGold got to within one tomato of Matt's Wild Cherry (639 to 638) but could not cross into third place. I started harvesting Matt's Wild Cherry again while SunGold appears exhausted. Now Matt's Wild Cherry has a nine tomato lead, 651 to 642 for SunGold.

Today's harvest includes 2 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Matt's Wild Cherry, Husky Cherry Red(2) and Sugar Snack for a total of 4 tomatoes.
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pulled Out 8 More Tomato Plants

Sooooo let's catch up on things...

Friday's harvest includes 3 Sugar Snack, 2 Blue Beauty, 2 Michael Pollan and Dr. Wyche's Yellow for a total of 8 tomatoes.

Saturday's harvest includes 2 Sunchocola, 2 Husky Cherry Red(2), 2 Michael Pollan, SunGold, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Black Cherry, Husky Cherry Red(1) for a total of 10 tomatoes.

I took the cages off of the tomato plants I wanted to be removed. As I was completing this chore the gardeners arrived. They threw away German Orange Strawberry, Bread and Salt, Speckled Roman(1), Blue Beauty, Black Icicle, Persimmon(1) (not Persimmon) and Black Cherry.

I gave away a lot of our harvested tomatoes to the hard working gardeners.

Sunday's harvest includes SunGold, Sugar Snack and Michael Pollan for a total of 3 tomatoes.

I pulled out Evan's Purple Pear, missed by the gardeners.

Today's harvest includes Pink Berkeley Tie Dye(1), Pineapple and Michael Pollan for a total of 3 tomatoes.

We've now harvested exactly 75 Pineapple tomatoes and exactly 75 Michael Pollan tomatoes!

The real story is how the tomato harvest has essentially died. There's not much left to harvest, though the Sunchocola plant is making a comeback. Whether there will be fruit from this comeback remains to be seen.

The other story is the heat. Wednesday's high (mentioned in a prior post), 99.9. Thursday's high, 100.4. Friday's high, 103.1. Saturday's high, 106.4. Sunday's high, 107.3. Blistering heat.

If Sunchocola had blooms, they would all be sterilized by now. But Sunchocola doesn't have a lot of blooms at this point and may still produce a second wind.
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harvested 325 Sugar Snack Tomatoes This Year

Today's harvest includes 2 German Orange Strawberry, 2 Blue Beauty, 2 Husky Cherry Red(1), 2 Sugar Snack, Pineapple, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Porkchop(1), Bread and Salt (6 ounces), Speckled Roman(2) and SunGold for a total of 15 tomatoes.

Bread and Salt and the German Orange Strawberry were good tomatoes, the rest was ordinary.

It got up to 99.9 degrees yesterday. A heat wave has arrived and records may be broken this weekend. On another note, the .08 inches of rain on September 8 broke the previous record of .07 inches of rain on September 8, 1982. Tell your friends!

We've now harvested exactly 325 Sugar Snack tomatoes this year! Not too bad for a container plant.

It looks like I won't be hitting any imminent milestones so I'll start to combine multiple harvest days in a single post.
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Harvested Over 300 Husky Cherry Red(2) Tomatoes This Year!

Today's harvest includes 6 German Orange Strawberry, 3 Blue Beauty, 3 Husky Cherry Red(2), 2 SunGold, Sunchocola, Bread and Salt, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye(1), Matt's Wild Cherry, Evan's Purple Pear, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Husky Cherry Red(1) and Sugar Snack for a total of 22 tomatoes.

The Bread and Salt tomato and the Sunchocola tomato were pretty good while the rest was unremarkable.

It looks like my inital estimate for this month's tomato harvest of 550 will be too high. A better guess now that we're 10 days into the month is a harvest of 400 tomatoes.

It looks like we'll have a heat wave kicking in this weekend.

We've now harvested over 300 Husky Cherry Red(2) tomatoes this year (302)! Both Husky Cherry Red plants keep chugging along.
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Harvested Over 625 SunGold Tomatoes This Year!

Today's harvest includes 8 SunGold, 6 German Orange Strawberry, 4 Sugar Snack, 2 Evan's Purple Pear, 2 Husky Cherry Red(1), 2 Husky Cherry Red(2), Bread and Salt (8 ounces), Blue Beauty, Speckled Roman(2), Black Icicle, Persimmon(1) (not Persimmon) and Dr. Wyche's Yellow for a total of 30 tomatoes.

Today's Bread and Salt was the star of the show while the rest was rather ordinary.

I got started a little early today and may have missed some Sunchocola tomatoes to harvest. I was going to pull out Speckled Roman(1) but the trash pickup came too soon. So I left it in the ground.

This morning's air had a crisp fall feel to it. It was refreshing!

We've now harvested over 625 SunGold tomatoes this year (631)! SunGold is about to pass Matt's Wild Cherry in total harvest for the year. This should happen later this week.
 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rain!

No harvest Saturday.

Sunday's harvest includes 11 German Orange Strawberry, 6 Evan's Purple Pear, 3 SunGold, 3 Persimmon(2) (not Persimmon), 3 Husky Cherry Red(1), 3 Husky Cherry Red(2), 3 Sugar Snack, 2 Speckled Roman(1), 2 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, 2 Aunt Ruby's German Green, Pineapple, Speckled Roman(2), Black Icicle, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Solar Flare, Black Cherry and Beauty King for a total of 45 tomatoes.

After the harvest I pulled out 4 back yard tomatoes -- Solar Flare, Beauty King, Neves Azorean Red and Persimmon(2) (not Persimmon). Later on in the day I determined that Speckled Roman(1) can go but it hasn't been pulled yet.

No harvest today. But there's an explanation...

My alarm went off at 6:15AM. I got up and heard a noise I was unfamiliar with. Can that be rain?!?! So I looked out the front door...and it was pouring rain! After 10 minutes the rain had basically stopped but it was too wet to harvest. In taking a look at the nearby Pierce College Weather web site, they got .06 inches of rain between 6:10 AM and 6:20 AM. Not much, of course but for a 10 minute span that's not bad. And in Southern California, we'll take anything. And our Monday sprinklers went off at 6:22 while the rain was still occurring.

Anyway, this "storm" only dropped .07 of an inch so far, but WE WILL TAKE IT, THANK YOU!

To give you an idea how surprised we were about this rain, we had a couple pieces of clothing on a clothesline outside drying overnight...