Monday, December 28, 2009

Pulled Out Four Tomato Plants

After work on Christmas Eve I pulled four more tomato plants out of the ground – Snow White(1), Green Grape, White Currant and Garden Peach.

There were about a half dozen tomatoes on Snow White(2) that were ripe enough to harvest.

One thing I didn't mention – we had our ponderosa pine tree trimmed earlier this month. Most of the tree trimmings were put through the wood chipper and about half of the wood mulch was placed in our driveway.

Then the freeze came. I decided it was more important to prepare the ground for next year. Then the rains came, it continued to be cold, etc... The gardeners took out a couple and trimmed along the “koi pond” fence for the last trash run, and I took out some for this run. The remaining Snow White(1) tomato plant nearly took up the whole green trash can. It was massive!

We've distributed some of the mulch in the back yard but there's still a pile left. We have about 10 tomato plants remaining to pull.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I've Lost Interest for the 2009 Tomatoes

Not much has happened with the tomatoes. The front yard tomatoes look worse than the back yard tomatoes but it all doesn't matter – we're pulling them all. We went through about three rain storms and there was an extended drying period. Then we were busy. The zombie plants just sat there.

Yesterday our gardener took out Mong and Old Ivory Egg. Also, he got rid of all the branches that were hanging over the “koi pond” fence. That has more than filled up our green trash can. We'll wait until they are emptied and if time permits, we'll pull out some more plants.

I actually did harvest about a half dozen tomatoes in the back yard...but because of the freeze followed by about a week of rain I've lost interest.

Here's the top 10 harvest totals for 2009:

Snow White(1): 1419

Red Currant: 1278

Snow White(2): 1110

Black Cherry: 946

Yellow Perfection: 545

Babywine: 517

White Currant: 448

Husky Cherry Red (back yard): 409

Red Grape: 370

Jaune Coeur de Pigeon: 365

Total counted harvest came to 11,155 tomatoes. It was a really good year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tomato Plants Show Significant Damage

It wasn't quite as cold last night/this morning, but it did get below freezing again. The low was 30.1 at Pierce College at 6:30 this morning.

The plant damage was obvious on all the front yard tomato plants. Even if I pull them I don't plan on doing so until the ground is more dry – and we have two more storms headed our way.

All the front yard plants have a black tinge near the top of the plants and have sagged significantly since a few days ago. If these plants aren't dead, they're close enough that any fruits to come won't be something to look forward in anticipation.

Right now we're at 11,155 for the year, but we're quite likely to find some matured tomatoes as we take out the plants.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Temperatures Below Freezing Last Night...

Today's harvest: Mong and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for 2 tomatoes.

After Monday's rain, a serious cold front came in behind it. My wife and I went to our computer user group's board meeting that night in Marina Del Rey. When we came back there was already frost on my car's back window.

At 11:00 PM last night it was already down to 33.3 degrees at Pierce College, a mile away. It got to freezing at 11:50, rose very slightly and dipped below freezing at 1:00 AM. The low was 27.0 degrees at 7:10 AM this morning. It got above freezing (32.1 degrees) at 8:00 this morning.

The temperature was below freezing for nearly seven hours and near freezing for quite a while. The weather report we heard last night indicated that tonight would be even colder. We'll see about that.

The tomatoes in today's harvest were picked on Sunday and left to mature on a window sill. They're now mature.

There's frost on the tomato plants this morning. There will certainly be damage to all of them but whether it's fatal hasn't been determined. When the damage is bad enough the plants will turn black, but that hasn't happened – yet.

This may be it for the 2009 harvest...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tomatoes In The News

Here's the latest installment of Tomatoes In The News...

MarthaStewart.Com – Outdoor Lighting: Hanging Trees

ThePacker.Com – Study Pits Bacteria Against Salmonella In Tomatoes

Kitsap Sun (WA) – Chris Smith | Rating My 2009 Tomato Crops

Garden Center Magazine – How To Prevent Tomato Seedling Diseases

Harvested Over 1100 Snow White(2) Tomatoes!

Let's catch up on the tomato harvest...

On Wednesday no harvest was done.

Thursday we had 3 back yard Husky Cherry Red, 2 Babywine, 2 Black Cherry, Snow White(2), Snow White(1) and Garden Peach for a total of 10 tomatoes.

No harvest was done on Friday. The temperature was just above freezing at daybreak. There was a very light frost on the cars. It got down to 32.1 degrees at 5:50 AM at Pierce College. Too cold to bother with the harvest!

Saturday we harvested 15 Snow White(2), Mong, Garden Peach, a back yard Husky Cherry Red and White Currant for a total of 19 tomatoes.

Sunday we harvested 2 Snow White(2) tomatoes.

Today no harvest was done because it was raining.

We've now harvested over 1100 Snow White(2) tomatoes (1110)! There's actually several hundred new tomatoes on this plant but I doubt many of them will get ripe. If the temperature drops below freezing for any length of time we'll lose the rest of the crop on this plant. Nevertheless we'll be happy for what we get between now and then.

Our Manchester Terrier has been picking off the remaining White Zebra and Green Zebra tomatoes. When we can we'll pull these plants from the ground.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tomatoes In The News

Here's the latest batch of tomatoes in the news...

Talking Retail – Tesco Launches Sweeter Tomato

Swazi Observer (Swaziland) – Tomato Project To benefit From SIPA, Neotech Partnership

Cape Cod Times (MA) – “It's The Tomato Man!”

GreenMed Journal (Mediterranean Area) – Norway's Tomato Consumption Booming

Drummoyne Village Voice (Australia) – Pick Of the Tomato Crop

Harvested Over 200 Garden Peach Tomatoes!

Today's harvest includes 3 Snow White(2), 2 Garden Peach and Babywine for a total of 6 tomatoes.

We've now harvested over 200 Garden Peach(2) tomatoes (201)! We haven't harvested a Garden Peach in nearly 2 months, but several of them are maturing now.

Also, we've now harvested over 5800 tomatoes from the front yard (5801) this year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Finishing Off November...

Monday's harvest: 2 Snow White(2) and White Zebra for a total of 3 tomatoes.

Tuesday's harvest: 2 Dr. Wyche's Yellow (one 6 ounces), Snow White(2) and Babywine for a total of 4 tomatoes.

Wednesday's harvest: 3 Snow White(2) and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 4 tomatoes.

Thursday's harvest: Snow White(1) and Babywine for a total of 2 tomatoes.

Friday's harvest: Snow White(2).

Saturday's harvest: Snow White(1), Snow White(2), a front yard Green Grape and Old Ivory Egg for a total of 4 tomatoes.

No harvest done on Sunday.

Today's harvest: 10 Snow White(2) and Babywine for a total of 11 tomatoes.

My wife cut back the Sweet 100 over the Thanksgiving break. She was afraid to completely pull it out because of other plants in the pot. In essence it has been pulled out of the ground.

The Green Grape was a real surprise. I had found the tomato along the gravel path outside of the “koi pond” fence. Apparently it had been buffeted there by the winds we've been having over the last several days. I hadn't harvested a front yard Green Grape in 2 months. I had assumed it had no more tomatoes on it.

Our November harvest total ended up to be 181 tomatoes – 163 in the front yard, 18 in the back yard.

We've now harvested 11,116 tomatoes in 2009.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Harvest

Saturday's harvest: 3 Snow White(2), 2 Babywine, White Currant and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 7 tomatoes.

Sunday: No harvest done.

Patio Princess was pulled and placed in the compost bin.

A couple of days ago I was going to pull White Currant. The plant is quite brittle. I thought that the half dozen or so growing tomatoes on one of the branches was broken, but later I checked it with my wife nearby and realized that the end of the broken branch had no tomatoes on it. And we discovered two or three growing tomatoes elsewhere and hey, there's a ripe tomato on one of the vines! So we'll keep it around.

Monday's harvest: 2 Snow White(2) and White Zebra for a total of 3 tomatoes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winding Down The Harvest...

Tuesday's harvest: Snow White(1), Snow White(2), Babywine and Patio Princess for a total of 4 tomatoes.

Patio Princess is now ready to be pulled. Also, it got down to 36.9 degrees in the morning.

Wednesday: No harvest done – too cold. It got down to 35.7 degrees and around harvest time had only warmed up to about 37 degrees.

Thursday's harvest: 4 Snow White(2), Snow White(1) and Babywine for a total of 6 tomatoes.

My wife watered both the back yard and front yard tomato plants.

Today's harvest: Babywine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More On Mudslides...

More on the mudslide threat...

Hillside Residents Fear Threat Of More Mudslides

On Thursday, the west San Fernando Valley got a light touch of rain. Of course the rain amounts would vary depending on where you were in the valley, but my unofficial estimate would have put the rain at .03 of an inch.

But...a storm cell formed over the burn area and “...caused a third of an inch to fall in a 20-minute span...” according to the article. Six homes were damaged.

Still, I'm reassured by this article. It appears that Los Angeles is taking the mudslide threat seriously. Chances are, however, that homes will be lost and damaged in the upcoming months. But there's only so much Los Angeles can do – think of it as trying to prevent an earthquake. We cannot prevent a natural disaster but we can do what we can to minimize the loss.

Here's a key sentence from the article: “In the next two weeks, crews also will clean out the Mullally Debris Basin, which can hold 9400 cubic yards of material but was filled within roughly 30 minutes Thursday night.”

What happens if this area is hit by several storm cells? What happens if Los Angeles is hit by back to back to back storms? As stated previously, we cannot prevent it. If the debris basin is filled before it can be cleared out, the next wave of debris is in the streets.

My guess is that March of next year will be a terrible time for this area due to storms and snow melt. Clearly, I don't wish for this to occur...but it's like trying to prevent the tide coming in from the ocean. It can't be done. But the city has taken serious prophylactic measures to prevent disaster.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brrr! Getting Cold In The Morning...

Friday's harvest: 4 Snow White(2), 3 Babywine, Mong and Patio Princess for a total of 9 tomatoes.

Saturday's harvest: 2 Snow White(2).

My wife watered the back yard. In the afternoon we both worked on her rose bushes in the front yard, giving them rose food and scraping out the weeds nearby. Some of them got watered.

There was no harvest done Sunday as it was simply too cold. It had gotten down to 36.7 degrees overnight and was only a couple of degrees warmer when I went outside to harvest. It wasn't worth it.

My wife completed watering the front yard roses.

Today's harvest includes 8 Snow White(2), 2 Babywine, Snow White(1) and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 12 tomatoes.

I did find a full size, adult caterpillar on Snow White(1) this morning. I'm surprised the caterpillars can survive the cold of the night. The low this morning (at 6:30 AM) was 37.8 degrees. The temperature when I harvested was only a degree or so warmer than the day before but there was less moisture in the air so it didn't feel as bad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Harvested Over 500 Babywine Tomatoes For The Year

No harvest done yesterday.

Today's harvest includes 5 Babywine, 3 Snow White(2) and a back yard Husky Cherry Red.

We've now harvested over 500 Babywine tomatoes for 2009 (501)! We've been real pleased with this tomato, I'd be happy to grow it again. I wouldn't call it outstanding, but it is quite good.

In the near future I'll be cutting down the posts to one or two a week. Posting about harvesting two or three tomatoes with nothing else to say doesn't make for compelling reading.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise

Today's harvest includes Snow White(2), Babywine and Dr. Wyche's Yellow (8.5 ounces) for a total of 3 tomatoes.

The Dr. Wyche's Yellow was a pleasant surprise. I didn't know this plant had a tomato that large on it!

The temperature got down to 41.5 earlier this morning.

We've now harvested over 100 tomatoes for the month (102).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Double Digit Harvest Days Are Behind Us For 2009

Sunday's harvest: Snow White(2) and Babywine for a total of 2 tomatoes.

On Saturday I mentioned to my wife that I think our double digit harvest days are over this year. I had pored over Snow White(2) and while there are a lot of growing tomatoes on this plant, there were few mature ones. As you can tell by this harvest, that proved true.

Today's harvest: 2 Snow White(2) and Patio Princess for a total of 3 tomatoes.

I stapled the loose fence on the west side of the “koi pond” back to their fence posts Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Harvested 400 Back Yard Husky Cherry Red Tomatoes!

Today's harvest includes 6 Snow White(2), 4 Snow White(1), 2 Babywine and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 13 tomatoes.

I took out the Husky Gold tomato plant.

We've now harvested exactly 400 back yard Husky Cherry Red tomato plants! And the plant looks quite healthy for this time of the year.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Harvested Over 5700 Tomatoes In The Front Yard

And today's harvest includes 5 Snow White(2), 3 Snow White(1) and 2 Babywine for a total of 10 tomatoes.

We've now reached over 5700 harvested tomatoes in the front yard (5707).

Not much else to wife watered the back yard on Wednesday. A couple of the staples that I put in over the weekend to support the fence on the “koi pond” have come loose already.

Short of that we're just winding down...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Harvested Over 11,000 Tomatoes For The Year!

Today's harvest includes 7 Snow White(2), 2 Babywine, Patio Princess and Husky Gold for a total of 11 tomatoes.

In spite of our modest harvest total, we did reach over 11,000 harvested tomatoes for 2009 (11,006)! And while we've passed the official 2007 totals, I believe the 2007 total ended up to be equivalent or more than this years total.

For starters, I stopped counting the 2007 harvest on October 4. On that day my wife and I started a three week honeymoon. So 23 days of the harvest were lost. Also, some of the plants continued on after we got back but the harvest wasn't recorded. A Husky Cherry Red continued producing all the way until a January frost finally got it.

So in 2007, using only 33 plants, we harvested 10,990 tomatoes by October 4. While I haven't done an official count, probably 10,000+ of those came from the front yard. Why so high? In March of that year I dug out the soil in the “koi pond” (thus the moniker -- when it was dug out it looked like the beginning of a koi pond) and the “corner office” and replaced it with new dirt, compost and mulch.

So we'll never know the true amount of harvested tomatoes for 2007.

But the fact that we're comparable with the 2007 totals shows this to be a very good harvest year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We've Passed Our 2007 Harvest Numbers

Today's harvest includes 8 Snow White(2), 3 Snow White(1) and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 12 tomatoes.

We've now passed our 2007 documented tomato harvest of 10,990 tomatoes for the year (10,995). More on that tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tomatoes In The News

Gant Daily (PA) – Tips To Prevent Late Tomato Blight Next Year

Common Ground (Canada) – Preserving Your Tomatoes

Beaver County Times (PA) – Experts Say Winter Should Kill Tomato Blight

Harvested Over 1000 Snow White(2) Tomatoes!

No harvest done on Monday.

Today's harvest includes 19 Snow White(2), 2 Snow White(1), Sweet 100 and Patio Princess for a total of 23 tomatoes.

On Sunday I re-stapled the fence in the “koi pond” where it had been pulled down by the wind and Snow White(2).

We've now harvested over 1000 Snow White(2) tomatoes (1016)! The plant is still going strong although the amount of tomatoes have started to thin out a bit.

My wife watered the rest of the front yard yesterday.

We got new windows installed over the weekend. We're loving it! The house is more temperate and it's much quieter at night.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pulled Four More Back Yard Tomato Plants

And today's harvest includes 18 Snow White(2), Snow White(1), Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Black Krim, White Currant, a back yard Husky Cherry Red and Patio Princess for a total of 25 tomatoes.

My wife watered the front yard tomato plants yesterday.

Yesterday I turned the dirt in the “corner office”, preparing for a winter garden.

Today I took out four tomato plants in the back yard – Red Grape, Italian Ice, Turkish Striped Monastery and, sorry to say, Yellow Perfection was pulled as well.

I count 18 tomato plants still in the ground.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Harvested 1400 Snow White(1) Tomatoes!

And today's harvest includes 8 Snow White(2), 4 Snow White(1), 2 White Currant and a back yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 15 tomatoes.

Snow White(1) has reached 1400 harvested tomatoes for 2009!

On Friday my wife watered a portion of the front yard.

Today my wife took out the Black Krim tomato plant in preparation of planting a winter garden in the “corner office”. There was a tomato left on the plant that needed a day or two of ripening so it was placed on our kitchen window sill.

The back yard harvest has now reached over 5300 tomatoes for the year (5301).

We ended up harvesting 866 tomatoes for the month of October.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Cold Again; Back On The Workout Routine

Today's harvest includes 7 Snow White(2), Snow White(1), Babywine and Old Ivory Egg for a total of 10 tomatoes.

It's cold again! It got down to 39.4 degrees this morning – right when I was harvesting at 7:20 AM. And there was just enough of a breeze to take away your body heat. Not good when you're wearing shorts. I wasn't particularly thorough with today's harvest.

I forgot to mention that when we were moving things around to store our air conditioner a couple days ago, I moved Patio Princess. Apparently a small caterpillar fell down from the plant. Yesterday morning I found a caterpillar on Italian Ice.

On a personal front, I was happy to complete my workout routine again. I had fallen off the wagon due to the bad air from the fires two months ago. I'd slowly build up again and then something else came up, etc... I wanted to work out when I was out of town at a conference, but that didn't happen.

So I completed 20 minutes/5 minute cool down on the elliptical for a burn of 335 calories and more importantly, 30 minutes of rowing for a burn of 390 calories. Toward the end of my rowing routine someone took the other machine and asked “How do you do it?”. That made me feel good. Now...I have to maintain it. Let's see if it happens.

Then the “2nd shift” started. After a shower and dinner I had to do stuff for out accountant, two clients, our computer user group, NetBook research and other assorted emails. I was going to move some files into a file cabinet but files were flopping around everywhere and spilling – I hit the wall.

Back to the tomatoes – Snow White(1) is inching toward 1400 harvested tomatoes (1396), Snow White(2) is headed toward a 1000 harvested tomatoes (971), Babywine is inching toward 500 harvested tomatoes (487) and overall we're heading toward 11,000 harvested tomatoes for the year (10920).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Develop Software!

Today's harvest includes 7 Snow White(2), 2 Babywine, Snow White(1), Black Krim and Dr. Wyche's Yellow(10 ounces) for a total of 12 tomatoes.

I forgot to mention in the last post that Old Ivory Egg got pushed around as well during the windstorm. It didn't fall but it does have a lean to the south.

Last night we took out an air conditioner in preparation of having our windows replaced. The problem wasn't taking out the air conditioner, it was finding a place to put it. We're out of room in our house!

The harvest went pretty quick today. The windstorm, while died down some, was still in existence and took away any body heat.

No back yard tomatoes were harvested today.

We've now inched over 10,900 harvested tomatoes for the year (10910).

A side note for the tomato lovers – I have a career as a software developer. Today I received a mention in the F1 Technologies blog. The mention can be found here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Today's harvest includes 15 Snow White(2), 5 Snow White(1), 2 Dr. Wyche's Yellow (8.5 ounces, 10 ounces) and Husky Gold for a total of 23 tomatoes.

We had windstorms during the afternoon and evening hours yesterday. The wind knocked things around, as you can imagine. Green Zebra(2) was knocked to the ground, but it had a lean before the wind. Our green tarp on top of our new patio cover ripped from the corner tied to a rope. Unused metal tomato cages were tossed around. Our fence on the west side surrounding the “koi pond” has more of a sag because several of the staples came out of one of the posts where the fence was held. That's why I found more ripe Snow White tomatoes – the two plants had slightly moved, exposing different areas.

We've now harvested exactly 5600 tomatoes from the front yard this year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Harvested A 15 Ounce Tomato Today

Today's harvest includes 6 Snow White(2), 3 Dr. Wyche's Yellow (15 ounces, 11 ounces), Snow White(1), Black Krim and White Currant for a total of 12 tomatoes.

While one Dr. Wyche's Yellow was expected, the other two were a surprise. A 15 ounce tomato this late in the season? I'm happily surprised!

We've now harvested over 800 tomatoes for the month, over 400 of them (404) are from one plant, Snow White(2).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tomatoes In The News

And here's our latest batch of Tomatoes In The News:

New York Times – Tomato Salad With Turkish Tahini Dressing

Dallas Morning News – Tomatoes Grow In Rain Gutters

KPBS – Seeking Out The Tastiest Tomato: From The Garden To The Plate

Brisbane Times (Australia) – How To Grow The Perfect Tomatoes

The Winfield Daily Courier (KS) – Tips On Tomatoes

Brisbane Times (Australia) – Ripe For A Revolution

Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI) – In Season: As Frost Hits, Don't Miss Those Green Tomatoes

More Snow White(2) Tomatoes Are On The Vines

And today's harvest includes 15 Snow White(2), 2 Snow White(1), 2 back yard Husky Cherry Red, Black Krim and Old Ivory Egg for a total of 21 tomatoes.

I'm noticing some new tomatoes coming from the blooms of Snow White(2).

I watered a portion of the front yard yesterday but none of the the front yard tomato plants were watered.

Also, I've now verified that Turkish Striped Monastery can be pulled.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Harvested Over 900 Snow White(2) Tomatoes!

I didn't harvest on Saturday. The gardeners came and pulled out Silvery Fir Tree and Jaune Coeur de Pigeon for me.

Today's harvest includes 23 Snow White(2), 4 back yard Husky Cherry Red, 2 Snow White(1), Italian Ice, Yellow Perfection, Green Zebra(2), Old Ivory Egg, Babywine and a front yard Husky Cherry Red for a total of 35 tomatoes.

We've now harvested over 900 Snow White(2) tomatoes (921)! The harvest is picking up for this plant again and there's still plenty of blooms on the plant. Snow White(2) may continue producing tomatoes until the end of the year. It looks quite healthy.

Another plant that looks healthy is the back yard Husky Cherry Red. There's new growth and new growing tomatoes.

Italian Ice, Yellow Perfection and Turkish Striped Monastery can be pulled. I thought that Turkish Striped Monastery had tomatoes on it but on closer inspection they appear to be tied to Garden Peach.

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Back Yard Tomatoes Harvested Today

And today's harvest includes 14 Snow White(2), 2 Babywine, Mong and Silvery Fir Tree for a total of 18 tomatoes.

What's notable in today's harvest is there were no back yard tomatoes in the bunch. I found a ripened tomato on Green Zebra(1), but it had just enough of an open crack in it that I put it in our compost pile.

Originally I couldn't find any Snow White(2) tomatoes. But I looked in areas I normally don't look and kept finding two tomatoes here, two tomatoes there.

You have to trust me on this but it's actually a bit difficult to harvest from this plant. The plant is quite bushy. It's traveled up the chicken wire fence and completely down the same fence. So it's twice as thick in spots as compared to Snow White(1). And it's hard to move branches this late in the season without breaking them. There are areas that aren't as explored as others and I tapped that today with good success.

Italian Ice actually has one more tomato on it, so it will be spared. Yellow Perfection has a tomato ripening on the vine and when that is harvested, it will go. Silvery Fir Tree and Jaune Coeur de Pigeon are ready to be pulled.