Today was a pretty warm day, getting up to the mid-90's or so.
We still have the Old Ivory Egg/Speckled Roman mystery as an open issue.
While my wife was out doing a few chores, I planted Black Krim and Lime Green Salad in the front yard. The Black Krim in the back yard came from Tomatomania while the one in the front yard came from seed. Because of the proximity of the newly planted Black Krim to the birdbath, we'll move the birdbath to a new location in the front yard. I used the cage from Gregori's Altai for Lime Green Salad and gave Gregori's Altai a new cage.
That leaves two more Lime Green Salad tomatoes and a Piccolo tomato. My wife was real excited to get three Lime Green Salad tomatoes and wants to plant them all (We grew this plant in 2006 and has very fond memories of this tomato). If she wants three Lime Green Salad tomatoes planted, that's good enough for me.
When I had finished planting Black Krim and cleaned up the front yard, my wife came home. We discussed where to plant the other three tomatoes. We'll plant another Lime Green Salad in the back yard between Black Cherry and White Bush, using the cage from Black Cherry for the Lime Green Salad and replacing Black Cherry's cage with one of the newly bought ones. Also, Black Cherry needs some new landscaping.
We both looked at the Purple Russian and she agreed that there was new growth on the tomato. I told her I was afraid to pull it because we don't know if the issue is with the tomato or the location. She agreed and thought we planted it (and the nearby Zhezha) in a bad location. Time will tell.
That leaves two left. We'll plant Piccolo next to the water meter near the curb and the last Lime Green Salad near the small tree near the curb. I believe that'll be the last tomatoes planted.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Last night we planted Aker's Plum in the backyard between Jeff Davis and Evan's Italian Plum along the south fence. It looks just fine.
I watered the tomato plants in the morning. Several of them looked a bit dry so I gave them a bit more water. The "veterans" (ones that have been in the ground for a while, like Red Currant or Big Rainbow) I only watered lightly.
Last night I told my wife "Where's Old Ivory Egg?". I remembered a clay pot with a seedling that was labeled with black marker on the pot "OIE". My wife didn't remember, but I insisted we had such a pot. I looked everywhere, couldn't find it.
This morning, while watering these seedlings, I couldn't find our Speckled Roman seedling. I called my wife over, who definitely remembers that one. We had two Speckled Roman seedlings and gave the better one to her mother, leaving us with the other. It's missing as well.
As of right now, it's a mystery.
We may be planting the rest of our seedlings today, but time will tell. The gardeners are here at the moment, so I took a break and wrote this up.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I had purchased a postal scale to get the weight of the tomato. I round it to the nearest half ounce. If it's 6 ounces or above, I record the weight.
Here's the results for Jeff Davis in July 2007...
July 3 -- Picked 1 tomato, 21.0 ounces.
July 5 -- Picked 2 tomatoes, 10 ounces and 11 ounces.
July 6 -- Picked 7 tomatoes, 11 ounces, 14 ounces, 20.5 ounces, 17 ounces, 15.5 ounces, 15 ounces, 13 ounces
July 7 -- Picked 3 tomatoes, 20.5 ounces, 11 ounces, 10 ounces.
July 8 -- Picked 3 tomatoes, 10 ounces, 14 ounces, 12 ounces
July 9 -- Picked 4 tomatoes, 16 ounces, 12 ounces, 19.5 ounces, 23 ounces
July 10 -- Picked 3 tomatoes, 11 ounces, 20.5 ounces, 13 ounces
July 11 -- Picked 4 tomatoes, 14 ounces, 8.5 ounces, 24 ounces, 16 ounces.
July 13 -- Picked 6 tomatoes, 11 ounces, 16.5 ounces, 15 ounces, 12.5 ounces, 22 ounces, 23.5 ounces
July 14 -- Picked 8 tomatoes, 24 ounces, 13 ounces, 7.5 ounces, 9 ounces, 25 ounces, 11.5 ounces, 13 ounces, 16.5 ounces
July 15 -- Picked 6 tomatoes, 12 ounces, 10.5 ounces, 15.5 ounces, 9 ounces, 12 ounces, 15.5 ounces
July 16 -- Picked 5 tomatoes, 8.5 ounces, 7 ounces, 8 ounces, 14.5 ounces, 11 ounces
July 17 -- Picked 1 tomato, 11 ounces.
July 18 -- Picked 3 tomatoes, 13 ounces, 8 ounces, 7.5 ounces
July 19 -- Picked 3 tomatoes, 9 ounces, 10 ounces, 11 ounces
July 20 -- Picked 5 tomatoes, 20.5 ounces, 10 ounces, 10 ounces, 8 ounces, 7.5 ounces
July 21 -- Picked 2 tomatoes, one was 10.5 ounces.
July 22 -- Picked 1 tomato, 6 ounces.
July 23 -- Picked 1 tomato, 20.5 ounces.
July 25 -- Picked 1 tomato, 11 ounces.
July 27 -- Picked 1 tomato, 10 ounces.
July 30 -- Picked 1 tomato.
There were only two harvested Jeff Davis tomatoes that were less than six ounces in July.
I only did the math once, but tallying all this up comes to 58 pounds of tomatoes. Clearly some of the tomatoes grew as the month progressed, but it wouldn't be unreasonable at all to say that on July 1, Jeff Davis had 50 pounds of tomatoes growing on the vines.
Last night I was going to plant Akers Plum in the back but when I got home I realized I didn't have a cage for it. Normally a cage isn't all that important, but I do have concerns if it's in the back yard. The dogs may step on it.
So I looked at the front yard tomato plants and...Garden Peach has at least two tomatoes on it!
So I went to Home Depot, picked a half dozen 4 foot stakes, then worked out in a gym. I'll get some tomato cages at today's lunch break.
This morning I showed my wife how well the plants along the fence in the backyard are doing, particularly Cherokee Chocolate and Yellow Brandywine - Platfoot Strain. What's unusual about this is that the ground along the back yard fence wasn't prepped before planting. Go figure.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The ideal time to plant tomatoes is when you're pretty sure the seedling/baby plant won't get injured by frost or overly cold conditions. For us, the ideal time (assuming, of course, we're not going through a cold snap at the time) is around March 24th or so.
As you may know if you've read the previous blog postings, we have two tomato plants ready to go into the ground and several seedlings that need to get to that point. The ground will be fine for these tomatoes, that's no problem. But it's almost inevitable that some of these tomatoes won't be fully developed before our summer heat kicks in. If they're not developed enough and the summer heat hits, the plant won't fruit.
That's why timing is important!
How you plant and when you plant depends on your climate, both on a macro (large) and the micro (small) scale.
My wife and I live in the west San Fernando Valley. We have scorching summers. In general our tomato plants and tomatoes will get bigger than normal.
We live on the east side of a north/south street. There's no tree in front of our house of any significance, nor with our neighbors house across the street. In the summer, these plants get at least eight hours of sun a day, frequently at temperatures of 95 degrees or more. Our garage will radiate heat back at our container plants (we keep several of them near there) causing additional stress to the root systems of these plants. For our clay pots, we'll water the pots every day if need be. Not the plant, mind you, but the pot itself, in an effort to try to cool it down a bit.
Our backyard is dominated by a ponderosa pine in the southeast corner as well as a lemon tree in the north side of the back yard. Here our tomato plants get morning sun and in some cases there's some evening sun. But all of the plants get significant shade. That's both good and bad. There's quite a variance in the about of sun a plant will get based on where it's planted in our backyard. The ones under the lemon tree are cooler. Planting under the ponderosa pine wouldn't work, as it would be too dominant – tomato plants need sun!
Last year we planted a Speckled Roman in the front yard and underneath the lemon tree in the back yard. The back yard plant took two to three weeks longer to mature, but the tomatoes themselves seemed to do a tad better.
Our neighbor across the street has the same weather, of course, but has an entirely different situation. They plant exclusively in containers against their back fence on the west side of their property. That fence is covered with ivy. There, they get morning sun for about six hours or so. The ivy protects against the ravages of the afternoon sun and that area is noticeably cooler than our front yard in the afternoon. Their containers work very well in that environment.
In general, I think the heat of the summer makes up for a fair amount of planting mistakes on my part (for instance I really don't have to worry at all about what tomatoes to plant, they'll all work), but the plants pay for it come late July.
What's your climate like?
Black Plum Paste
Olga's Round Yellow Chicken
Italian Market Wonder
Yellow Brandywine – Platfoot Strain
Lime Green Salad
Evan's Italian Plum
No mention of Evan's Italian Plum on the Internet.
Lime Green Salad
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Husky Cherry Red
Lime Green Salad
Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter
Snow White Cherry
Red Yellow Cap
Black From Tula
Old Ivory Egg
First off, people are amazed that I count tomatoes. “You count them??? Don't you have anything better to do?”
It's really not time consuming. You pick 'em, and place them all on the kitchen counter. Then you count them and record the amount and date on 3 x 5 cards. I got challenged to make a database with the results, so I transferred the 3 x 5 card results to electronic form. Not time consuming at all.
Several numbers jump out. Snow White's 1771 tomatoes is amazing. The tomato is about 3 or 4 times larger than SunGold Cherry and doesn't have the cracking problems of SunGold. The Garden Peach total was in reality two plants, but then again, they were crowding each other.
As mentioned previously, the Husky Cherry Red total of 1116 is tremendous given the small stature of the plant. Red Currant (388) was constrained by being in a container – we may double or triple that with this years plant.
Another impressive number is 160 Mr. Stripeys. That's a lot, considering this was a beefsteak tomato. We had several over a pound.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
SunGold -- 1791 tomatoes.
Snow White -- 1771 tomatoes.
Red Pear Italian -- 1218 tomatoes.
Garden Peach -- 1197 tomatoes.
Husky Cherry Red -- 1116 tomatoes.
Black Cherry -- 535 tomatoes.
Jaune Flamme -- 479 tomatoes.
Red Currant (in a container) -- 388 tomatoes.
Green Zebra -- 247 tomatoes.
Health Kick -- 234 tomatoes.
Red Lightning -- 207 tomatoes.
Green Grape (in a container) -- 203 tomatoes.
Mr. Stripey -- 160 tomatoes.
Speckled Roman (front yard) -- 156 tomatoes.
Noire Charbonneuse -- 137 tomatoes.
Kellogg's Breakfast -- 121 tomatoes.
Snow White (in a container) -- 109 tomatoes.
Heart of the Bull -- 109 tomatoes.
Roughwood Golden Tiger -- 107 tomatoes.
Box Car Willie -- 101 tomatoes.
Jeff Davis -- 74 tomatoes.
Omar's Lebanese -- 64 tomatoes.
Purple Calabash -- 62 tomatoes.
Patio (in a container) -- 56 tomatoes.
Mortgage Lifter -- 56 tomatoes.
Speckled Roman (back yard) -- 53 tomatoes.
Cherokee Purple -- 52 tomatoes.
Black Krim -- 52 tomatoes.
Taxi (in a container) -- 47 tomatoes.
Bush Big Boy -- 36 tomatoes.
Gargantua -- 31 tomatoes.
Homestead -- 15 tomatoes.
Mr. Brown -- 6 tomatoes.
Pink Ping Pong -- 0 tomatoes.
May 2007 -- 98 tomatoes.
June 2007 -- 1259 tomatoes.
July 2007 -- 6154 tomatoes.
August 2007 -- 2806 tomatoes.
September 2007 -- 647 tomatoes.
October 2007 -- 26 tomatoes.
Total: 10,990 tomatoes.
We stopped counting when we went on our three week honeymoon in October.
As mentioned earlier, Husky Cherry Red continued producing until January, putting us somewhere over 11,000 picked tomatoes for the year.
Kimberly – Planted April 8. Looked great right out of the chute. Later on, some of the leaves got a lighter color, but nothing severe. Looks good, but it's only been in the ground for 15 days.
Salisaw Cafe – Planted March 23 from seed. Probably the best looking plant we have from seed so far. The plant is about to take off, though it'll be slower because it's sitting underneath a lemon tree.
Stupice -- Planted April 6. Looks good and has some new growth but hasn't risen much.
Sioux – Planted April 3 from seed. Plant looks good, has grown and gotten some breadth. We're going to cut back a bush to get it some more late afternoon sun.
Black Krim – Planted April 6. I'm surprised that my wife wanted this in the back as opposed to Black From Tula, which we haven't grown before. Nevertheless, the plant looks healthy and has grown.
Carbon – Planted April 6. See Black Krim.
Black Plum Paste – Planted April 8. Looks good.
Polish Pastel – Planted April 8. From what I remember, it looks similar to the rest. May be a bit wispy, but nothing that's an issue.
Purple Russian – Planted April 6. Plant was wispy and pale when we acquired it, though it did well for a couple days. Since then, though, it's regressed. The plant's leaves don't look good and it's not supporting itself well. Last night, I noticed strange holes around the plant, like they were wormholes or something. They weren't there when I watered it earlier in the day. Cutworms? My wife checked and couldn't find any.
We may lose this one. We're watching it closely.
Zhezha – Planted March 23 from seed. Planted started off just fine but has since regressed as well. Broken leaves and no new growth in a while leave me concerned about this. This plant is still smaller today than the Tomatomania plants planted two weeks ago.
Like Purple Russian, We may lose this one.
Arkansas Traveler – Planted April 6. The every-other-day sprinkler is hitting this plant and several of the next ones. Plant looks okay so far, though.
Olga's Round Yellow Chicken -- Planted April 6. This plant may be slightly behind the other Tomatomania plants but still looks good and healthy.
Golden Jubilee -- Planted April 6. Plant has grown since planting, though it may have gotten a tad wispy in the process. Still looks like a good one.
Painted Ukrainian -- Planted: April 8. When planted, this one looked a lot like Purple Russian, very long, pale and wispy. This one is doing better than Purple Russian and seems happy.
Kellogg's Breakfast – Planted April 9. Looks good and healthy, especially for having only been in the ground for two weeks.
Italian Market Wonder – Planted April 9. This plant had the best color for the first week of it's life in the ground, but seems to have lost some of that since it's grown. Looks a little wispy now, but it's fine, healthy and growing.
Yellow Brandywine – Platfoot Strain – Planted April 14. I told my wife that this plant looks like it will be our “Jeff Davis” of last year. Big frondy leaves, good dark green color and growing. Looks good and looks like it'll get real big. Only trouble – we unexpectedly found Jeff Davis on Sunday.
Black Cherry – Planted April 14. Looks small right now but it's also next to Yellow Brandywine. Otherwise, it's fine.
Lime Green Salad – Planted April 27, 2008.
White Bush – Planted April 14. Looks good, good color.
Cherokee Chocolate -- Planted April 14. Looks fabulous for having only been in the ground for nine days. I think it's as big as Radiator Charlie, if not bigger.
Pierce's Pride – Planted April 21. Looks fine for two days in the ground.
Jeff Davis – Planted April 21. See Pierces' Pride.
Aker's Plum – Planted April 25, 2008.
Evan's Italian Plum – Planted April 15. Long, pale and wispy like Purple Russian and Painted Ukranian. Still wispy, but it looks like it's grown just a bit.
So far in our front yard is:
Piccolo – Planted April 27, 2008.
Lime Green Salad – Planted April 27, 2008.
Aunt Ruby's German Green – Planted March 22, looks good and strong. Appears to have started to “take off”.
Green Grape – Planted March 27, good color but looks a little thin.
Blue Fruit – Planted April 3 from seed. This plant is the furthest behind but it looks like it'll make it. The question is, will it get large enough and fruit before the searing summer kicks in?
Gregori's Altai – Planted April 6 and already growing. Looks good.
Black Krim – Planted April 26, 2008.
Garden Peach – Planted March 1, looks good and taking off. If I looked closer I may see tomatoes on it.
Chocolate Stripes – Planted April 3 from seed. Looks better than Blue Fruit at this point but the same questions remain.
Husky Cherry Red – Planted March 1, looks good and strong. And as I found out this morning, there are tomatoes growing on it.
Red Currant – Planted March 1. Amazingly, this plant is about four feet tall and we're not even out of April. Dozens of tomatoes on it for sure (granted, it's a small tomato even for a cherry tomato). If I looked closer I'd probably say there's over a hundred on it. But for now, let's just say it's going like gangbusters.
Lime Green Salad – Planted April 26, 2008.
Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter – Planted March 29. The plant is starting to get some breadth, if not much height. Looks like it's about to take off.
Snow White Cherry – Planted April 6. See Radiator Charlie.
Red Yellow Cap – Planted April 6. My wife was very concerned about this one, noting damage at the stem. I'm happy to report that the plant appears just fine, and is growing.
Black From Tula – Planted April 6. Lots of breadth, if not height as of yet, but fully healthy.
Thessaloniki – Greek tomato plant put in the “koi pond” in honor of our neighbor across the street. In terms of height and breadth it may be marginally behind the others but still falls in to the strong, vigorous category.
Paul Robeson – Planted April 6 and looks good. See Snow White Cherry.
Big Rainbow – Planted March 15. It's about 18 to 24 inches tall, doing a slow rise, but looks good. Is it building to a crescendo or just slow? This plant takes a long time to mature. Time will tell.
Jaune Flamme – Planted April 6. Of the plants in the front planted on the sixth of April, this plant got the quickest start. Others have caught up to it in height and breadth but it's still a happy plant.
Zhezha (in a container) – Planted March 22 from seed. Looks good, but seems a bit slow if it's going to mature in 69 days. Seemed to have a bit of a growth spurt a couple of weeks ago, hope it continues.
Micro Tom (in a container) – Planted April 6. Novelty tomato. Looks like you need to feed it with an eyedropper. It has grown a tad to get it off of the ground and has a new bloom or two. Normally I'd take these off but this plant is so tiny (it can fit into the palm of your hand, it's about the size of an egg) I'll let it be.
Red Robin (in a container) – Planted April 6. Another novelty tomato but not as severely small as Micro Tom. Looks like it hasn't changed size at all since planting, but my wife noticed a tomato on it, so it must be doing well.
Prairie Fire (in a container) – Planted April 6. Looks good and healthy and has grown, but I'd like to see it less thin than it is. It's way to early to worry, just a note to keep an eye on it.
Taxi (in a container) – Planted March 15. Looks fabulous. Great green color in the leaves. Has five tomatoes on it and two of them are significant, maybe an inch in diameter.
Patio (in a container) – Planted February 26. Has a few tomatoes on it, with one of a significant size, about ¾ of an inch.
Last Sunday, my wife and I went to visit her mother. We planted their tomatoes in the 95 degree heat of San Juan Capistrano (very unusual weather for this time for this community). Trouble was, when we looked at Patio after we got home, it looked like it got fried in the direct sun.
We've moved it so it can “hide” behind Taxi in the heat of the late afternoon sun, gave it some extra fertilizer and some water. Later on, I used shredded paper as a mulch on this and other container tomatoes. The plant has recovered a bit, but I can't say it's fully recovered.
Given to us late, it produced about 15 tomatoes, if memory serves. I remember having to jump on my shovel four times just to break the ground. It got watered on every day.
Well, the plant did the best it could under the circumstances...
Bought and planted late. Planted in a poor area. The sprinklers hit it with water every morning.
Still, we got a few, reasonably good tomatoes out of this plant. I'd try it again under better conditions.
Good tasting tomato that fooled me.
Everything I read indicated that this was a red tomato. Ours came out orange, similar to Kellogg's Breakfast. Taste was similar, too, though smoother and not as bright. I wonder if this was another mislabel...
Kind of an odd tomato. The tomato was very similar in size and striping to Red Lightning. Not good, not bad, just not very memorable taste.
Buster, our Manchester Terrier, liked to pick this one off the vine before it was ripe and eat it, play with it, or whatever.
This plant did a little better underneath the lemon tree than the front yard plant. The shade delayed the ripening, but in this case I think it's a good thing. Similar pastel-like colorings as the front yard tomato, but not nearly as vibrant as the ones we grew in 2006.
Determinate medium-sized tomato that turns bright yellow (thus the name) when ripe. I call it “fire engine” yellow because when it's ripe it looks like it's polished. When it ripens the color seems to change by the hour.
Delicious lemony tomato, but you have to eat them right away as they don't last long. That's okay, eating three or four of these tomatoes in one sitting is no problem.
I don't have much memory of this one. I do remember that there were a couple days I really liked it, but that's all. We are growing this one in the ground this year.
A tomato that seemed to duplicate what we got from Husky Cherry Red. At one time, we decided not to get this for this year, but we did and we've even put it in the same pot. Go figure.