2008 Garden in Review–Tomatoes
First, we had a REALLY bad start with cool weather for at least a month longer than usual. I don’t think this was a typical year. I didn’t know of anyone with “too many” tomatoes.
I planted 3 vining tomatoes with a trellis. Well, I thought they were 3 vining varieties. Turns out I mixed up some plants somewhere along the way, and I ended up with two Sweet 100 plants (which I intended) and one Roma (which I thought was a Better Boy). I planted these alongside my cucumbers. First, the Sweet 100’s were HUGELY prolific, and took over the entire trellis. Certainly DID NOT need two! Fortunately, they didn’t compete with the low-growing Romas. I harvested more cherry tomatoes than we could eat (the Sweet 100), and the Roma produced pretty well too.
In the future, ONLY ONE Sweet 100, give it plenty of room–3 or 4 squares and an entire trellis (unless I want to faithfully prune it).
Growing several Roma and trellising them might be a fantastic option. They were definitely firmer (when I made sauce, or salsa) than the other varieties. They didn’t take up a lot of space, and if I was faithful at tieing them up, could have been kept to one square.
I planted 6 plants in 32 square feet (4×8 bed). Roma (D), Champion (D), Celebrity (D), Better Boy (I), and 2 Super Fantastic (I). Maybe because I was wanting TONS of tomatoes, I preferred the indeterminate varieties. I felt like they grew and grew and produced and produced. If only the season had been longer, I think I would have realized my dream of more tomatoes than I knew what to do with.
My Roma here struggled–some blossom-end rot and yellowing leaves. Still, I got a fair amount from this plant. They ripened faster than the one in the other garden.
Instead of a trellis, staking, or caging I built a huge contraption that WAS AWESOME! I used PVC and nylon netting laid horizontally to create three layers of support. This worked so well! Very little of my fruit was on the ground (none for the indeterminate plants–the determinate never got past the first level). In the end, the PVC was not stable enough. It ended up tipping to one side. Next year I want to build this again but with aluminum pipes.
On my first harvest, I picked 15 pounds of tomatoes. I would estimate that I got a second round of 15 pounds, and two smaller harvests of 5 pounds each. So I probably grossed 40 pounds of tomatoes. It made 2 batches of salsa (36 pints), and 2 batches of sauce (2 quarts)Sadly, I threw away 15 GALLONS of green, frozen tomatoes. I covered them, but the weather was just too severe.
In the future, I am tempted to grow all indeterminate varieties. I was really pleased with both the Better Boy and the Super Fantastic.