How were your tomatoes this year?

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I ended up with 2 dozen tomato plants by happenstance. I normally have half as many or less. Too many tomatoes, but more varieties than usual. We had a very hot, very dry season in southern Ontario, Zone 6. I had to water a lot.
The Brandywines did well and produced a good crop, maybe about ten on each of the 3 in the tomato bed, mostly in August. Last year and the year before they each produced about 30 in all. So their numbers are down, but the fruit is bigger this year. They're working on ripenening their last half dozen big green tomatoes now, if the squirrels don't get them. The tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and tasty and make fantastic tomato potage, a recipe I found in this group years ago. Very easy, very tasty, freezes really well in individual portions. It's like defrosting sunshine in the winter months, or even on chilly fall nights.
Got one of Stokes' Health Kick tomatoes. Supposed to have extra lycopene. Looks a lot like a Roma, but much more firm. Is good in soup, but not all that tasty fresh. It's a short bushy plant that would do well in a container. I won't plant this next year.
Tried Stokes' Ultrasweet. Terrible tomato. I've never seen tomatoes crack that badly. They were rotten before they were ripe. OK flavour, but not the best. I will not plant this next year.
Before I knew that I'd have a handful of cherry tomato volunteers in the compost, I bought a Stokes Sweet Million. Interestingly, the seeds that the cherries in the compost grew from were Stokes Sweet Million seeds I'd started myself last year. But the tomatoes from the Stokes plant I bought and the ones in the compost are completely different. The ones from the storebought plant suck. They're smaller, less sweet, and, like the Ultrasweet, really prone to cracking. I will start these from seed.
I have two kinds of San Marzanos, and both are solid, sweet and tasty. I wash them and pack them into ziploc bags, and pop them in the freezer. You can run the frozen tomato under hot water, or dip it in hot water, and the whole skin slips off intact. Great for winter sauces, stews, roasts, and pan fries with meat. A bit bulky to store in the freezer, so when we have time, we cook them down 4 bags at time (about 120 tomatoes) during fall and winter, into less bulky tomato sauce and chili and the like and freeze it again in individual size portions. Very convenient when work runs late and you come home starving.
How did your tomatoes do? Were there varieties that you really liked? Any other amazing heirlooms out there that you can recommend?
Happy harvest, fellow food gardeners!
EV
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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> </head> <body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> <font size="+1">I ended up with 2 dozen tomato plants by happenstance. I normally have half as many or less. Too many tomatoes, but more varieties than usual. We had a very hot, very dry season in southern Ontario, Zone 6. I had to water a lot. <br> <br> The Brandywines did well and produced a good crop, maybe about ten on each of the 3 in the tomato bed, mostly in August. Last year and the year before they each produced about 30 in all. So their numbers are down, but the fruit is bigger this year. They're working on ripenening their last half dozen big green tomatoes now, if the squirrels don't get them. The tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and tasty and make fantastic tomato potage, a recipe I found in this group years ago. Very easy, very tasty, freezes really well in individual portions. It's like defrosting sunshine in the winter months, or even on chilly fall nights. <br> <br> Got one of Stokes' Health Kick tomatoes. Supposed to have extra lycopene. Looks a lot like a Roma, but much more firm. Is good in soup, but not all that tasty fresh. It's a short bushy plant that would do well in a container. I won't plant this next year.<br> <br> Tried Stokes' Ultrasweet. Terrible tomato. I've never seen tomatoes crack that badly. They were rotten before they were ripe.&nbsp; OK flavour, but not the best. I will not plant this next year.<br> <br> Before I knew that I'd have a handful of cherry tomato volunteers in the compost, I bought a Stokes Sweet Million. Interestingly, the seeds that the cherries in the compost grew from were Stokes Sweet Million seeds I'd started myself last year. But the tomatoes from the Stokes plant I bought and the ones in the compost are completely different. The ones from the storebought plant suck. They're smaller, less sweet, and, like the Ultrasweet, really prone to cracking. I will start these from seed. <br> <br> I have two kinds of San Marzanos, and both are solid, sweet and tasty. I wash them and pack them into ziploc bags, and pop them in the freezer. You can run the frozen tomato under hot water, or dip it in hot water, and the whole skin slips off intact. Great for winter sauces, stews, roasts, and pan fries with meat. A bit bulky to store in the freezer, so when we have time, we cook them down 4 bags at time (about 120 tomatoes) during fall and winter, into less bulky tomato sauce and chili and the like and freeze it again in individual size portions. Very convenient when work runs late and you come home starving. <br> <br> How did your tomatoes do? Were there varieties that you really liked? Any other amazing heirlooms out there that you can recommend? <br> <br> Happy harvest, fellow food gardeners! <br> <br> EV<br> <br> <br> <br> </font> </body> </html>
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*snip*

"did" is past tense... Mine are still growing. I'm in Central Illinois, but the tomatoes got an extremely late start due to being planted in July. They were plants the store was selling off because they didn't want to transplant them in to bigger pots. We're just now starting to get red ones. I didn't think we were going to have any plants this year, moving in the middle of the summer.
We're working on putting fence posts in the ground to make a mini greenhouse for the really cold nights. It works, but it's a lot of work.
Puckdropper
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wrote:

Tomatoes just north of San Francisco, had a very bad year. Cool temps during the summer. They and the cucumbers are just starting to produce. I've seen nothing of the early ripener "Jaune de Pech", the "green Zebra" has produced a few tomates. The "Stupice" was the first to ripen. Then came the "Striped German" and a couple from the "Mortgage Lifter". Zip from the Brandywine and the Rose. It has been an odd year north of San Francisco.
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Tomato problem:
I'm entirely new to gardening, and am doing it indoors under fluorescents beside a North-facing window - the only direction available to me.
Two store-bought tomato plants, Better Boy, Window-Box-Roma, produced 1 and 3 small fruits respectively, when they were only about 12 inches high. Better-Boy even produced with a bent/broken main stem, and it's tomatoes tasted absolutely super!
Since then, no flowers or fruit despite all kinds of fertilizer, misting, flooding, withholding water. (They did go nuts after I added Miracle Gro, and moreso with Fish fertilizer, but no flowers; They began growing (3+ feet) right into the fluorescents, But no flowers.
Peppers (California Wonder) treated identically, having produced nothing previously, now have dozens of new buds and flowers each.
Should I just chop/toss the tomato plants? They (and the peppers) are blocking-out a LOT of light to my herbs.
Please advise
Don H.
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Sounds like too much nitrogen (fish emulsion is something like 5-2-2); try a 0-10-10 or some other low-nitrogen fertilizer (or don't fertilize at all, if they seem to be growing OK - at the moment the last thing you need is bigger plants).

Tomatoes and peppers are perennial in tropical climates (where they came from), and so you should be able to grow them all year if you want to (they are probably getting more light from the fluorescents than the window, so your location doesn't matter a whole lot). So if you can get them to flower you shouldn't need to toss them.
It does sound like you'll need to grow them some place other than where your herbs are, though. Too many plants, too little space. That's usually the situation. Heh.
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Thanks Jim. Triple Phosphate (0-45-0) sounds like the ticket, but some said to just use epsom salt (formula non-standard, but which has the benefit of being something I already have.) Someone else said "Coffee Grounds" but a quick Google => that coffee grounds are very high in Nitrogen, so I'm glad you mentioned that I have too much of that already!
Don
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Well, it is 0-0-0 but that's only because those three numbers only hit 3 of the nutrients, not the other dozen or more things which plants need.
Epsom salt provides magnesium (only). So it is apples and oranges compared with something like triple phosphate - you might need both, or neither, or just one. Won't harm anything, at the recommended dosage, though.
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Ack! I'm only now finding this... (Oct 13) 'need to find a better way to track relevant activity here!!
Anyhow last night I finally found a store which carries the "Triple Super Phosphate whatever" (I was on the verge of trying TSP, but I couldn't find that either)
$7 for the smallest package however, and reading the fine print (everything is fineprint now adays, or maybe I just need new eyes?) it is to be "Worked into the soil ... AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE PLANTING." -Oops.
Anyhow they (McLendon's Hdwr) also had "Liquinox 0-10-10 No Nitrogen BLOOM (etc)", a liquid to be applied with water @ 1 tablespoon/gallon, under $4 for a quart. I'll apply it next watering cycle and see. But I am wondering if pollination can occur this late in the year regardless: the only bugs remaining are a few disoriented Fungus Gnats who attack my computer screen;~/
Incidentally I moved the wildly-growing peppers and tomatoes (now almost 5' tall, in 3-4 gallon buckets, 2-3 per) to the floor and hung a new fluorescent light just for them, but lost about 70% of the pepper flowers in the move. And I thought I killed the tomatoes. I still don't know if any of the pepper flowers will produce, (? pollination), but the tomatoes recovered nicely despite another major broken stalk, and several branches that I chopped before they could cause more stalks to break.
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You're lucky I'm in southern England, I have five plants growing on my balcony with lots of flowers and green tomatoes on them, we've had a bad summer and they started very late. I'm just hoping that the weather will let them survive long enough to mature, they're a mixture of different breeds from my dads' greenhouse, the cherry tomatoes have done well.
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I'm still working on it here in zone 10. I made up my mind to try tomatoes in mid June, which is about 3 months late. Got some Ace hybrid seedlings, they came up so good I tried Beefmaster too, a few weeks later. Problem here is not enough full sun, although they fruit with as little as three hours.
I'm pleased with the Ace hybrids, small 2 - 5 ounce fruits, but they don't crack, but the lower leaves get eaten up too much by bugs. The beefmasters do crack, especially when they ripen. Both are very tasty.
This was my first year growing tomatoes, and I had some problems. I grow in containers, 8-12" pots, with saucers. I poke a hole in the saucers near the bottom, and put a 1/4" barb in, and a tube to an overflow collector, about 2 gallons for a half dozen pots. The larger 12" saucer tubes don't get clogged as often as the smaller ones do, two or three times a week. I reckon because the bigger saucers are also higher, they develop a little more water pressure.
When I put the beefmasters down in July, I used more and heavier cloth at the bottom to prevent soil and nutrient loss. This worked OK except in the case of the one I got a 4' high plastic trash can for. I put a cloth, then gravel, another cloth, then wood chips, another cloth, then the soil, and plants. Also had a couple perforated 1/2" tubes clear to the bottom. The problem was that it drained too slowly, resulting in nematode damage. I finally poked another drain hole about 6" over the bottom, which results in OK drainage.
Most of the year I watered twice daily, but have gone to once a day the past few weeks. Getting lazy.
Problem with the Aces, not the beefmasters, is bug damage to the lower leaves, they get eaten. I spray with Malathion lightly, probably should do it every other day, at 1 teaspoon of Ortho 50% per gallon of water, and a teaspoon of Miracle-Grow Tomato Food. Lightly means two or three presses of the sprayer per plant, keeping it moving. Maybe 2 months ago, I tried a much stronger mix of Malathion, and both the Aces and Beefmasters leaves died. More grew eventually, but it seems like too much Malathion is not a good idea. Even the light application of Malathion seems to hurt the Aces bottom leaves, but more grow on top so I don't sweat it.
Started some seeds, Ace 55 by Stover, 2007. Nearly 100% germination. I tried an automatic hydroponic ebb and flow setup, just a 15 gallon tote box with a big kitty litter tray above, aquarium air pump, and a tiny fountain pump to occasionally fill the top tray. Got a couple 20W flourescent tubes over it, growing well. Got a half dozen compact flourescent 23 Watt bulbs, and as many 30 Watts for later. I have a dozen 16 oz cups with paper towel liners, soil perlite vermiculite filled in which the seedlings grow. Got lucky, the 1/16" hole I poked for drainage in the tray lets the pump fill to the 3/8" overflow holes in 45 minutes. It's a 12 watt pump running for up to 6 one hour periods a day, so there's little power lost there.
I'm wondering about mounting a 4" fan on top of the tray blowing down to enhance drainage. maybe a second fan to aerate the leaves and stems.
There were some caterpillars, but some Ortho bait seems to have eliminated them.
An automated hydroponics system looks like the way to go, it can water the plants many times a day, produce faster growth. You still need to check it once in a while, but it saves a lot of labor where rainfall isn't an everyday occurence.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Oh, my god.
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Billy

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The No Child Left Behind Act is working presactly as designed.
Charlie
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And it is so Darwinian.
--
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Billy

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Billy wrote:

Hey, you live by evolution, you die by evolution.
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On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 05:19:53 -0400, EV wrote:
I had my worst year ever. I had 30 plants, I only got enough tomatoes to produce a gallon of sauce. My tomatoes developed some sort of wilt which killed the plants early. I'm in Massachusetts.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

In addition to a poor growing season this year, mine also started wilting and dying which I blamed it on the ash/oak chips I added around them. (The others didn't.)
I am removing all those chips after our first frost and bringing in all the horse manure I can get hauled to replace the nitrogen that I was told was taken from the soil. Since the chips were added half-way through the season, I am not sure that they have had enough time to pull that much nitrogen from the soil.
Maybe, I'm blaming the wrong thing. The stupice and sun golds have held up best and are still healthy, but they are on the fringes of the chips where the chips weren't so deep.
???
Glenna

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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

I planted half of my tomatoes tightly with green beans, trying to shade out any weeds. The beans produced wonderfully from June through August but at one end of the row the leaves started to curl and dry out, in a leathery fashion. Then the tomatoes started to show the same problem. Some of my tomatoes in this row never did set fruit, otherwise they are just starting to produce more fruit than we can easily eat. However it is mid 40's to high 30's at night and tonight we are expecting our first, short may it be, real rain. I probably should go harvest those that are red, right away, and the green ones, on my next day off.
The Stupice was the first to set fruit for me but other wise it wasn't very productive. The Striped German did the best, and it was a good producer last year as well.
I can't blame the parsimonious tomato harvest completely on the leaf curl, as other gardeners in this area have related to me their difficult year in the garden with crops not developing as usual. The Peche Jaune tomatoes that are supposed to be earlier ripeners, only recently, just did produce a few tomatoes.
Next year I think I'll plant the Peche Jaune, Green Zebra, Marmande, Striped German, San Marzano, and Brandywine in pairs, as well as one or two cherry tomatoes.
Oh yeah, the bird house gourd is out of it's gourd, so to speak, and requires constant attention or its' rampant growth will take over the world.
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Billy

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Just three tomato plants, but all did great! First was a Roma, then Beefsteak and a Supersweet 100 cherry tomato. I cannot recommend enought the Supersweet 100. I was pulling a pint or more a day off of this plant for most of the summer, and it is still producing! Terrific tasting cherry tomatos. This plant is huge!!! It is easily nine ft. high and has expanded in every direction. I think next year a little pruning is in order.
-Tim, Southern New Jersey
size=+1>I ended up with 2 dozen tomato plants by happenstance. I normally have half as many or less. Too many tomatoes, but more varieties than usual. We had a very hot, very dry season in southern Ontario, Zone 6. I had to water a lot. <BR><BR>The Brandywines did well and produced a good crop, maybe about ten on each of the 3 in the tomato bed, mostly in August. Last year and the year before they each produced about 30 in all. So their numbers are down, but the fruit is bigger this year. They're working on ripenening their last half dozen big green tomatoes now, if the squirrels don't get them. The tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and tasty and make fantastic tomato potage, a recipe I found in this group years ago. Very easy, very tasty, freezes really well in individual portions. It's like defrosting sunshine in the winter months, or even on chilly fall nights. <BR><BR>Got one of Stokes' Health Kick tomatoes. Supposed to have extra lycopene. Looks a lot like a Roma, but much more firm. Is good in soup, but not all that tasty fresh. It's a short bushy plant that would do well in a container. I won't plant this next year.<BR><BR>Tried Stokes' Ultrasweet. Terrible tomato. I've never seen tomatoes crack that badly. They were rotten before they were ripe.&nbsp; OK flavour, but not the best. I will not plant this next year.<BR><BR>Before I knew that I'd have a handful of cherry tomato volunteers in the compost, I bought a Stokes Sweet Million. Interestingly, the seeds that the cherries in the compost grew from were Stokes Sweet Million seeds I'd started myself last year. But the tomatoes from the Stokes plant I bought and the ones in the compost are completely different. The ones from the storebought plant suck. They're smaller, less sweet, and, like the Ultrasweet, really prone to cracking. I will start these from seed. <BR><BR>I have two kinds of San Marzanos, and both are solid, sweet and tasty. I wash them and pack them into ziploc bags, and pop them in the freezer. You can run the frozen tomato under hot water, or dip it in hot water, and the whole skin slips off intact. Great for winter sauces, stews, roasts, and pan fries with meat. A bit bulky to store in the freezer, so when we have time, we cook them down 4 bags at time (about 120 tomatoes) during fall and winter, into less bulky tomato sauce and chili and the like and freeze it again in individual size portions. Very convenient when work runs late and you come home starving. <BR><BR>How did your tomatoes do? Were there varieties that you really liked? Any other amazing heirlooms out there that you can recommend? <BR><BR>Happy harvest, fellow food gardeners! <BR><BR>EV<BR><BR><BR><BR></BLOCKQUOTE></FONT></BODY></HTML>
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snipped-for-privacy@getthe.net writes: [snip]

We have similar experiences so I'm thinking at least part of my problem has been our strange anti-tomato weather this year.
[snip]

When mine finally started growing, it took over its world. A month ago I didn't think there would be much in the way of fruit on it, but there are many, many with significantly large ones compared with how it looked for a while. The granddaughters will be amazed at what is there now.
The luffa finally started blooming more than one blossom a week and has many small (read "small") fruits on it. There won't be any sponges this year, but now I know that they will grow and produce. I planted the two plants in front of the chicken house and one of the vines starting twining under the roof so part of one is inside, just left it there for now.
For both, this year has been encouraging since neither every made it past 6-8 inches high before. Even more encouraging is that these I started from seeds whereas before I bought plants. Trouble is that I won't have all that beautiful soil from under the chicken roost to plant them into the second pots next spring; that was true gold. However, I suspect they will do almost as well, especially if I plant them again in the chicken yard. :-)
Either the luffa or the gourds will provide ample shade for the chicken house!
Glenna
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

I plan to start sowing green manure (plants to prepare the soil) in the garden, just soon as the garden is mulched. I don't know if it will take hold as the plants along the fence are in shadows already. A couple of rows further away from the fence the peppers and tomatoes are still getting sun on the upper third of the plants.
I probably mentioned it before but we only had one day that reached 100 F this year, last year we had thirteen.
The garden is finally producing more tomatoes, through the rains, than we can eat.
Talk to you soon,
--
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