My Garden in The Fall, Dahlias and Tomatoes Still Going Strong

This has been a most interesting year weather wise. I am beginning to think we should call tomatoes in my neck of the woods a fall crop. Sure, I had smaller ones like the cherry tomatoes, Sweet Baby Girl and Sungold and the Compari and Sweet Carernos tomatoes give us fruit but really none of the biggest ones. Limmony , Cherokee Chocolate and Speckled Roman were next to give us something to eat. Most did not grace our table until the second week of September. Everyday, the crop was increasing as the green tomatoes got bigger and bigger. We waited with bated breath. The first of the big ones to ripen was Mello Yello. It was 2.6 pounds! The Aussies, My Love’s Pink Oxheart and the Coustralees were the next largest. Our Amish Paste put out lot of huge, paste shaped tomatoes. The only one that has not yet produced is the Cosmonaut Volkov. It started out really slow, glacially slow and has good sized tomatoes but it it October 31. I had high hopes for that one.

2014-table-of-tomatoes

On of our last harvests

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This is a picture of our Amish Paste still going strong on October 31! Amazing. We still have about 150 pounds of green tomatoes which are taking their sweet time to ripen.

Stay tuned for more wrap up posts for the 2014 season.

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The Letter of the Day is Y: “Y” is for the Tomato Yummy and Yellow Pear

Yummy

This is a paste tomato that we mistakenly grew one year. 

Apparently there was an error in seeds we got from a supplier and this is what came up. Fortunately, it was sweet and delicious and very prolific too. We picked bunches and bunches of these all season long. I will definitely grow them again. 

We were able to save seed from this. 

Indeterminate

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Yellow Pear

Kids love these little guys!

An heirloom, they grow on tall, rangy plants and bear in heavy clusters of 1 ¾ inch sized fruits. 

Mild flavored, sweet, perfect for salads or straight from the vine. 

Indeterminate

Mid-season

Mid-season

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The Letter fo the Day is U: “U” is for the Tomato, Umberto

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(also known as King Humbert) Very old Italian heirloom, listed by the renowned French seedhouse Vilmorin-Andrieux in 1885. Named after King Umberto I, King of Italy in the late 19th century. 

The plants produce unbelievable harvests of small, pear-shaped fruits. These meaty morsels have a nice balance of sweet and tart, with full Old World tomato flavor. Great for paste, sauce or for drying under the late summer sun!

Indeterminate

Mid-season

The Letter of the Day T: “T” is for the Tomato, Tumbler and the Pepper, Tabasco

Tumbler

Specially bred for hanging baskets. Bushy plants look fantastic mixed with lobelia and alyssum. Sweet, bright red fruits. We sell them in the small pots and as baskets. Perfect for someone who wants to hang it on their balcony or patio. Determinate, early

This is a picture of one I had hanging on my patio. It is planted with flowers. Who says veggies can’t be pretty?

tumbler-for web

Tabasco- HOT

Originally from Mexico—and taking its name from a Mexican state—this small, very hot pepper’s a favorite in the South and East, where the plants can grow tall and are covered with the petite light yellow-green to red fruits. Best known as the pepper that lends the kick to the namesake hot sauce from Avery Island, Louisiana.TOBASCO

Tomato Terms: What Does it Mean When I Say . . . Heirloom?

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Many gardeners agree that heirloom tomato varieties boast greater flavor than the hybrids. After all, there is a reason they’ve been around for so long. In general I agree although I’ve had some tasty hybrids such as the cherry tomato, “Sungold” and “Sweet Treats” a larger pink cherry tomato, which is fabulous. 

While hybrid plants typically yield a crop that is uniform in both appearance and timing, heirlooms produce a “mixed bag” harvest. The harvest may come in less predictably, and produce size can vary greatly even on the same plant but it is still worth the real estate that they take up. Heirlooms, especially the larger ones, can be prone to cracking and cat facing which is not their most endearing quality but beauty is skin deep in my book. I have never found a beauty queen tomato, perfectly round, consistently red that can compare with a fat, juicy, sweet slice of, say, “Aussie” or “Rose” on my BLT!

Heirlooms typically come with a story that is as wonderful as the flavor. The Amish heirloom tomato Brandywine yields fruit with an unbeatable flavor in shades reminiscent of a glass of Cabernet. Mortgage Lifters paid off a man’s house in the depression years. Nebraska Wedding is an old Great Plains heirloom whose seeds were given to newly married couples to help them start their lives and start their farms together. Amana Orange takes its name from Amana, Iowa. Paul Robeson, a Russian heirloom tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was admired world-wide, especially in the Soviet Union. 

Tomatoes For Container Planting

Some tomatoes are more ideal for containers than others although you can put any tomato in a pot. Just be sure to make it a big pot. It will be constrained by the size of the pot. Determinates, meaning they grow 2-4 feet, are good choices. It will have plenty of room to grow and the pot won’t require as much watering due to it’s mass. A half wine barrel size is perfect. For those with small spaces that can’t accommodate a pot of that size, there are a few tomatoes that will grow quite nicely in a smaller pot than that just mentioned. Or you could try a hanging pot. One note: don’t expect to pick enough to put up 25 quarts of tomatoes. You will have enough to put into your salads and meals and if it’s a cherry tomato, enough to share with your friends. Below are few that I recommend:

 Better Bush Small, compact bush for patio, deck, or balcony containers; fruits to 8 ounces, with old-fashioned tomato flavor; from 3 to 4 feet tall; requires staking. Indeterminate, hybrid VFN, 68 days to harvest.

 Bush Early Girl Small, compact plants with top yield of 6- to 7-ounce fruits and very good flavor. Determinate, hybrid VFFNT, 54 days to harvest.

 Early Wonder Compact plant produces round, dark pink fruit to 6 ounces; full tomato flavor, great taste. Determinate, open-pollinated, 55 days to harvest.

 Patio Perfect for container gardening or limited space. Vines are extremely compact, yet produce medium-sized, deep oblate fruits that are smooth, firm and flavorful. This was a nice tomato and had surprisingly large fruits for a plant this size. Determinate, 70 days

 Mountain Princess  This early tomato from West Virginia has been grown for generations in the mountain climate of the state. Bright red and mildly  flavored, the 8 ounce fruit is round, smooth and solid.  A good short season variety that is also very productive. First introduced in the United States by Heirloom Seeds. Determinate, 68 days

 Season Starter Always grow the first tomato on the block with this super-fast determinate variety! It sets huge yields of juicy-sweet 6 oz fruits. Resistant to cracking, they hold on the plant very well after ripening. A great choice for northern climates, where the growing season is short. Determinate, 60 days

 Green Grape  – Personal Favorite These are the first, fully ripened green cherry tomato. You don’t expect them to be as yummy as they are when you bite into them. Fruits are delicious, juicy and sweet. They turn a lovely golden green when ripe and are wonderful straight from the vine. Mix with Sweet Million and Sungold cherry tomatoes for a rainbow  salad. Use in a large container planting on your deck. Determinate, 70 days

 Hundreds and Thousands  Hundreds Yes. Thousands? Not really, but you won’t go short of tomatoes with this variety. A single plant in a 13” basket produced a very impressive 504 fruits from the start of August until the end of September. The sweet, mini-cherry fruit measuring just 15 mm in diameter and are very flavorful. 

 Tumbler  Specially bred for hanging baskets. Bushy plants look fantastic mixed with lobelia and alyssum. Sweet, bright red fruits. Determinate, 45 days

 Polar Beauty  Developed in Alaska for colder climates, it bears small to medium-sized oblate tomatoes with a good, full tomato taste. Short, bushy plants are productive. Determinate, 63 days.

Siberia This might be the earliest tomato ever – only 7 weeks from transplanting to table. Capable of setting fruits at 38 F on sturdy dark green plants. The fruits are bright red, 3 to 5 oz. and bunch in clusters. Also good for a patio. Determinate, 48 day.

Bushtsteak This surprisingly compact (20-24”) plant is just loaded with large, flavorful tomatoes. Well-suited for a patio, small garden and containers, the dwarf plants offer big meaty fruit (8-12 oz.) and early maturity. Determinate, 65 days

Cougar Red  This is a new red tomato that has been grown and tested for cool summer temps with a short growing season. This meaty, medium sized fruit is good for home processing. The flavor is a good mixture of sugar and low acid. Plants of Cougar Red are vigorous and semi-determinate

Glacier Extremely early, cold-tolerant, high yielding special strain of tomato plant. Begins flowering when only 4” high. You can expect 2 to 3 oz. fruits with outstanding flavor for such an early tomato. Semi-determinate, 45 days

 

Pictured is a green grape cherry tomatoImage

 

Whew! Tomato Transplants Are All Done, 6500!

Took me almost four days but they have been relocated to their own little patch of heaven, a 3.5 inch pot! Better yet, I got the website up and updated with all of my 2013 varieties, all 161 of them. My peppers have been updated too, 41 varieties. If you are interested in tomatoes and peppers, check it out. There is a lot of info on how to plant them and grow them to great heights. Plus, you will be amazed how many kinds and colors there are.

the website address is:   http://www.thetomatolady.com

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

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Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

After an initial watering from the top, we bottom water so as not to encourage damping off. They will wick it up from the bottom getting right to where it needs to go – the roots.

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

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Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

This is a shelving rack with ordinary fluorescent lights hovering just above flats full of tomato plants. The lights need to be close to provide light and warmth otherwise the plants will get leggy