Now that we're all the tomato seedlings are planted for the year (famous last words), how do I think they will do this year?
Here's some bullets that will indicate we will have a really good year:
1) Look back on our February 20 post of this year. Some of that compostible dirt was placed on our yellowing back yard grass, for lack of any other place to put it. The grass is completely green. A big heaping pile was placed in the "koi pond". Last year we didn't add soil and the soil level had noticeably dropped an inch or so.
There was so much soil we placed it everywhere, including the plantable area of back yard.
2) Based on the great results last year in the "Far East", I continued to dig deep holes there and in the backyard cutout. As a rough estimate, we pulled out about 350 pounds of rock and asphalt over the last five weeks or so from these two areas.
3) The plants look great. The only plant that looks like it may be struggling is Bloody Butcher.
4) The sweet peas and snap peas planted in the "koi pond" this last winter will add needed nitrogen to the soil.
And some bullets that indicate we'll have a mediocre year:
1) Sure we dug some deep holes in the back yard, but it took extra time. The seedlings got huge in their containers. Could they be root bound? Some plants looked to be at least 18 inches tall. That can't be good. Granted, all these seedlings are four to six inches above ground when planted, but we think planting tall seedlings isn't as "safe" as planting smaller seedlings.
2) Some of the larger seedlings had black spots on their leaves. One long seedling had a black bruising in the middle of the stem.
3) Lots of beefsteaks were planted somewhat late. If we hit 110 degrees in late June (like 2008) or early July, the flowers will sterilize and we'll end up with little to no harvest on these plants with longer maturation cycles.
The seedlings look great...but we say that every year. But they really do look great! We think the compostible dirt has really helped the garden overall. Not just the tomato seedlings but the back yard grass, the irises, roses, etc..
I suspect our count for the year won't be that high. As mentioned, we planted a lot of larger tomatoes this year. From memory: Giant Syrian, Omar's Lebanese, Big Zebra, Delicious, Big Bite, Amana Orange and Pineapple are a few of the plants that can produce tomatoes over one pound. We got over 2700 tomatoes from Matt's Wild Cherry last year in the "koi pond", but this year we planted it in a pot. We won't get 2700 tomatoes from this plant this year.
My guess: We're more dependent on the weather this year than on other years. I'm going to guess a total of 7000 tomatoes harvested this year. But we will harvest more pounds than last year.
I'm excited for this year's harvest!