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Tue May 12, 2015, 07:20 PM

Tomato List '15

Mr. Stripey
Cherokee Purple
Black Krim
Lemon Boy
Mortgage Lifter
Sun Gold
Arkansas Traveler
Green Zebra

California Green Bell
Red Cayenne

Italian Basal
Cinnamon Basal
Swiss Chard

Redskin Potatoes
Yukon Gold Potatoes

Other plants of note that I am working with now (native wildflowers)
Michigan Lily
Sweet Black Eyed Susan
Ohio Goldenrod
Sky Blue Aster
American Ginger ..... a must for woodland gardens .... fights off garlic musturd

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Reply Tomato List '15 (Original post)
Botany May 2015 OP
NRaleighLiberal May 2015 #1
GreatGazoo Jun 2015 #2
Botany Jun 2015 #3
GreatGazoo Aug 2015 #4
Botany Aug 2015 #6
NRaleighLiberal Aug 2015 #5
Botany Aug 2015 #7

Response to Botany (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2015, 07:43 PM

1. Nice list - best luck for a wonderful garden this year!

I am having my typical mix of this and that with multiple "projects". I will post mine sometimes later on. My projects are growing all 36 newly created released Dwarf growing varieties from my project in straw bales; my dehybridizing work on Blue Jay pepper and Orient Express eggplant, and the rest of the 40 bales planted with everything non-tomato, pepper and eggplant. Just loving it!

Nice mix of varieties.....report back on your results. If you like Mr. Stripey (the big yellow/red swirled heirloom), I should send you seeds of the same size/colored one I created from an accidental cross of Brandywine with a neighboring variety - Lucky Cross. It has the flavor of Brandywine - it is my favorite of that sort. Always nice to see my baby (Cherokee Purple) on a list!

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 03:39 PM

2. I grew 7 of those two years ago as part of a mix of about 16 varieties

I am experimenting with low input techniques -- looking for 'smarter, not harder' learnings and methods. 2 years ago, in addition to easy crops (potatoes, beans, onions) I targeted tomatoes because they are the legendary Divas of the garden -- demanding our care and attention and rewarding us richly when it all comes together. I thought tomatoes would give me the most visible feedback about what where I was cutting too many corners. And they did.

From your list I did:

Mr. Stripey
Cherokee Purple
Black Krim
Mortgage Lifter
Sun Gold
Green Zebra

I transplanted to holes that were dug 18 inches deep by 12-16 inches wide and then backfilled with about 12 inches of a mix of the loam that came out of the hole and aged organic compost. I had a bamboo bar on trellises at 6 feet and then trellis-clipped the plants to lines as they grew. They were on drip tape and soaked regularly with stored rainwater. I'm a tomato novice (so perfect for my experiment in naive gardening) so the plants were perhaps, equally on their own...

For me: Sungold produced 100+ salad tomatoes of nice taste and texture. Mortgage Lifter was a nice slicer for burgers or big salted chunks in a salad. The plant got bigger than I expected. Would have done better with more space and maybe a tall cage. Brandywine was similar but wow a taste winner. Lived up to its own hype and was a delicious beast of a tomato. My plant got big quickly at one point, as the fruit was filling out, it cracked near the base. My pruning and supporting experience was nil. Tried to save the side that broke off and got some small Brandywines off that side but I will some day grow Brandywines again.

Green Zebra was real good. Nice taste. A nice tomato for color and to mix on small pizzas. Kind of tart and acid so it pops against any cheap white cheese.

My Cherokee Purple and Black Krim were mediocre. I have had not good luck with black tomatoes in general.

This picture was taken to show the issues particular to each variety in the experiment, so not a beauty shot. Poor size on many of these which I think was due to 1) crowding the plants -- I spaced all plants the same, didn't give more space to bigger ones. (the row was planted from earliest to latest which means the plants get progressively bigger but the spacing didn't), 2) lack of available nutrients when the plants were peaking and their growth was exponential (more compost ?), 3) poor pruning skills, and 4) inconsistent watering.

I think what would have helped mine was more top quality compost, more consistent watering/soil moisture, and more space and support for the bigger plants.

Good luck and hope you will share updates! Happy gardening!

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Response to GreatGazoo (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 8, 2015, 09:39 AM

3. Couple of things on tomatoes ..... I am in the plant biz

a wheat straw mulch helps to keep the roots damp

epoma organic fert is wonderful ..... it makes the mycorrhizae happy and does not burn the plants

you can tell if the plants are happy if the leaves have a slight blue green color

prune the plants to promote good air circulation around them

if the conditions were right to produce other tomatoes you should have the conditions to
produce cherokee purple or black krim tomatoes

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Response to Botany (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 11:59 AM

4. I used the Espoma Tomato Tone that you rec'd

I have plants that are 8 feet tall and still putting buds on, no blight, no yellow leaves. One plant, a volunteer, is rooted between a driveway and a gravel bed, has 6 major stalks and has already produced well over 100 sungolds with no sign of letting up yet. That plant got only top / side dressing.

Others went in the ground at one farm with a mix of the Tone, compost cow manure and a little side dressing of Espoma Tomato Tone every two weeks and one of those was so heavy with fruit it cracked at the base but still has no signs of weakness.

Worth every bit of the $15 and I still have 80% of that bag for next year.


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Response to GreatGazoo (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 06:08 PM

6. Glad I could help

BTW by this time of year lots of lower and older leaves will be turning yellow then
brown ..... their little chloroplasts have rolled over and are no longer doing their
photosynthetic thing ...... just cut off those leaves.

nice planting mix: you might can add some silica sand and a professional growers mix
to your planting beds later this fall or late next winter & early spring ..... do not work the soil if it
is wet and you have clay soils. If you are bored you can add some espoma plant tone and
put in a cover crop of winter rye too ...... which you can turn under next spring as a "green manure."

BTW what is the best tomato you have grown this year?

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Response to Botany (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 05:51 PM

5. spot on, of course!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 06:09 PM

7. after 30 years I have picked up a thing or two

Black Krim best for 2015

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