Monday, September 13, 2010
I do want to give some garden updates - if I can do so without whining about our lousy weather. I'll start with tomatoes.
I planted twelve tomato plants this year. I thought that was a generous number of plants and I'd have plenty to can and give away.
Tomatoes seem to be one thing that we always can grow well. Apparently our soil conditions are perfect for growing tomatoes. The common comment upon seeing our garden is "your tomato plants are huge"!
This year was no exception. Despite the drought and blistering heat, most of the tomato plants towered over me to six or seven feet tall. But the yield wasn't as good as expected. I did give the plants a little water but as the drought continued, I decided to save my watering for other parts of the garden. We got enough tomatoes for some canning, just not the abundance that I expected.
My mother-in-law grows tomato plants for all her girls. She planted quite a few different varieties this year. This year, I actually marked which varieties I planted so that I could know which ones preformed the best. The result of my tiny trial tomato patch are unofficial but interesting, at least to me. If I wanted to do a better trial, I would need to plant more of each variety. Most of these varieties I only planted one or two plants.
All the tomatoes were planted in one row in the back of my garden. All received somewhat the same amount of water (not nearly enough). All were planted deeply in the ground in mid-May and seemed to have good root systems. All were placed in four foot sturdy wire cages.
I rarely have problems with blossom end rot. This year I did, probably encouraged by the weather conditions but I think the soil contributed. I only had blossom end rot at one end of the garden. The first two plants had terrible blossom end rot, the third plant only a small amount and the rest of the row, not at all. I think the garden soil at that end was lacking something. My husband says it needs lime and plans to add lime this fall. I'll mention the varieties that had blossom end rot - but it may not have been their fault!
Pink Ponderosa - This tomato was huge, even despite are lack of rain. They also produced more fruit than many of the other varieties. It was only a day or so later to ripen than Bloody Butcher. In an informal taste test with one tester (me) this tomato won hands down. I don't really like raw tomatoes but this one was my pick to add to burgers this summer. Like the name suggests, the ripe color of the tomato is pink. This is on my list to plant next year.
Brandy Boy - Simliar in every way to Pink Ponderosa but didn't produce many tomatoes. Of course, it had a difficult year and maybe it would have done better with a normal amount of rainfall.
Jersey Giant - This is a large paste type tomato. It almost resembled a huge hot pepper in shape. The interior was meaty without many seeds. The one plant I had of this variety produced more than any other plant. I was very impressed.
Amish Paste - I planted this variety for the first time last year. It did so well and almost half of the tomato plants in our garden this year were Amish Paste. If you are familiar with the Italian Paste tomatoes like Roma, visualize a Roma on steroids nearly quadruple the size and you'll have an Amish Paste. Produced well, though not as well as last year. Only one plant had a slight touch of blossom end rot.
Marguerite Paste - This plant was much smaller than the others. I assume it was a determinate tomato. This was also to be a large paste type tomato but the tomatoes this year were quite small but numerous. This plant had blossom end rot very bad, as in EVERY fruit. But I'm blaming soil conditions, not the variety.
I'd love to hear what varieties of tomatoes do well, or not so well, for you. Of course, soil, climate and location can make a big difference in results - but it is always fun to learn from others!
Linked to Tuesday Garden Party