Friday, October 7, 2011

Tomatoes as the season ends.

Learned a lot about tomatoes and their needs. I found the short term hybrids can take full sun and heat, and turn out a bountiful crop. If you let them wilt, it seems to stop or impair their ability to grow large. Most of the crop from the short season hybrid were smaller than medium sized tomatoes, but larger than and sweet like cherry tomatoes. While prone to leaf blight, it seemed hardy enough. It wasn't a tall plant and a standard size tomato tower would work fine.

The Beef Steak long growing season tomatoes are still struggling to ripen. When they say long season, they mean it. The biggest problem for the Heritage Beef Steak was dropping buds that didn't pollinate. I tried to shake, vibrate, toothpick, artist brush, and just do nothing at all as attempts to stop it. Turned out to be due to heat. Once we had steady temps in the low 70*s, tomatoes popped. So many hit at once it was amazing. These late season tomatoes will be brought in at the first sign of real frost to finish ripening on the window sills. Next year the Heritage plants will be located under the big Maple. Shade should help remedy the blossom drop problems. It did produce one HUGE tomato while the other blossoms were dropping. This tomato pollinated inside the tomato tower and was shaded. It made excellent BLTs. As the season progress, the early season plant gave way to the Beef Steak. Using one huge planter seemed to work well as both plants grew to the needs of the other. Next year the heritage will be in a tall tower and pruned back as needed. It really became a monster.

The sweet hybred tomatoes made excellent spaghetti sauce. I admit to cheating and using a few Romas from the store to make enough sauce (I like large batches I can freeze). The carrots that started the season disappeared as did the onion I transplanted. The tomato plants didn't like them and ate them. The Red Bell peppers are finally turning colors. I have two yellow, and one orange. Another lesson learned. Start everything with lights early indoors and transplant to outdoors after first frost. The Basil was GREAT! I have the variegated indoors with the oregano and chives. The sweet basil bushed really nice, and the African basil made the best spaghetti sauce of them all. Bob brought over a food dryer and I'm making Basil herb packs. All in all, a fun and rewarding experience.


kkdither said...

I have a pile of tomatoes on the cupboard, many are green. I pulled the last of them inside yesterday and took out the vines. It was a great day to be outside.

I only got a couple of spectacular cucumbers before mildew or some kind of rot got to the vines.

My pepper plants produced enough peppers to burn the insides of a small army.

The basil: I was pretty disappointed with the strong pungency of what I grew. I should dig and take inside the bush, it is a beauty, but I don't know about adding any more of it to my cooking.

I have a deep rust/magenta mum plant that has grown to godzilla size in full bloom right now. Beautiful! I love the fall, but hate to say goodbye to the garden.

OrbsCorbs said...

Only two types of tomatoes survived for me: beef master and rutgers. The beef masters are the largest plants. One is still flowering! I got a few huge tomatoes from these earlier, but now everything is monster sized and green. The rutgers have given me some small to medium sized tomatoes. I just pulled two ripe ones today (and a third, green one fell). I give away almost all of my tomatoes.

My tomatoes went in way too late this year. I have a micro-climate here and I can plant in mid-May. That's the plan for next year.