Friday, June 11, 2010

Tomato Knowledge in Hindsight* - Up-dated!

*Things I Would've Done Differently

In years past I lived under pine trees too big to adequately describe and grew cherry 100's as best I could. I was happy with my lot but didn't learn a great deal about tomato cultivation.

Last year we moved to a house that had 27 tomato plants in full swing and merely reaped the harvest of someone else's hard work. I learned to stagger the plantings so they didn't all ripen at the same time. ("So, how's that working out for you there, C?" Not so great due to the transplanting fiasco, remember?.......yeah ......thanks for mentioning that!)

This year everything that started out so very fine has hit a downward spiral and largely due to my incompetence. Let's revisit.

1. The transplant fiasco I have already posted about.
2. I mixed up a solution of soap and oil to rid the plants of aphids with a disastrous result..
3. I staked with poles but not securely enough to keep the plants from sagging once the tomatoes grew in size, BIG MISTAKE there.
4. I attempted a mostly organic pest control and have lost a great number of fruit due to the plant sag to earth.
5. Early Blight is rampant out there and most of the green leaves are gone which:
6. has cost me the shade needed to keep the tomatoes from bleaching out before they ripened.

So, next year I shall do the following:

1. Stagger plantings BETTER
2 Cage every plant and support the cage with the stake.
3. Plant fewer Cherokee Purples which, while they taste fantastic, are heirlooms, fussy and not the best for sauce. Great fresh though
5. Spray every 10 days for pests. I DON'T CARE if it isn't organic.... I don't do this to feed to bugs of Louisiana, darnit
6. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the stem near the ground. Wives tale? perhaps.
7. And this one is really going to test me...... remove half the fruit that sets.

So, while I can't complain that I haven't been harvesting a lot of tomatoes, I confess to having lost probably a third of what was out there due to the issues I listed above. I am leaving you now to release the chickens, set out the hoses in the lower garden and return to continue peeling and freezing tomatoes. I have close to 40lbs in the freezer now and lots more to come.

Once I harvested them all I shall begin to make sauces and can chopped tomatoes for the pantry.

And since Heinz catsup is >$2.00 a bottle, I may NOT make my own. (well.... maybe a tiny amount to see what it's like!)

Morning Up-date: I just returned from watering all the Lower Tomatoes and am so pleased to report that the new green growth above the Blight appears to be gaining in strength. There may be hope yet for half of the plants yet.

I harvested yet another gallon of romas and these have friends out there beginning to turn so it's going to be a big harvest. The cherry 100s show no sign so slowing up and the razzleberry tomatoes are so pretty. We haven't eaten one yet but will at lunch. Check back for a report!

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