If you have never eaten a garden fresh tomato, you have never really eaten a tomato at all. There is nothing that can compare to a tomato grown at home. Plus when you grow your own you can grow varieties that are not carried in the stores. Home grown tomatoes are a superior product to commercial tomatoes. First of all they have personality. Color, texture, blemishes, meatiness, juiciness. I’ve never meet a commercially grown tomato and thought, “Wow, that tomato sure has a lot of character!” So do yourself a favor, and grow your own!
Here are the varieties I grew in 2013:
- Fox Cherry
- Super Sioux
- San Marzano
I had a total of 8 tomato plants in 2013. In terms of yield, some did well like the Fox Cherry (45.83 lbs), Super Sioux (46.9 lbs) and Persimmon (99.61 lbs) while Brandywine (6.86 lbs) and San Marzano (8.14 lbs) were my lowest yielding tomato plants. I had a total of 207.14 lbs of tomatoes in 2013. In terms of taste, the Persimmon tomatoes were my favorite. They were great sliced on a piece of toasted sourdough bread with lettuce and mayo. I wish the Brandywine had done better. I got a few late season tomatoes off the plants but they were just so slow going. I think they may have not done so well because of their placement in the garden.
Here are the varieties that are currently in my 2014 garden:
- Fox Cherry
- German Pink
- Persimmon (2)
- Sun Gold
- Striped German
- Cherokee Purple
- Super Sioux
- Hillbilly Potato Leaf
- Black Krim
- Big Rainbow
- Volunteer 1 (growing out of the compost)
- Volunteer 2 (growing in Bed #3)
I started all the tomatoes from seed and bought several new varieties from Seed Savers to get a good mix of tomatoes. I also am trying to place my tomatoes in different places than where I planted last year in order to avoid disease. Crop rotation will also help me avoid my problem with horn worms last year. Horn worms give me nightmares… let’s not talk about them while my tomatoes are still in their delicate youth. We might have to talk about them later in the season if they make a comeback. Yuck.
I have a few tricks when planting tomatoes. First of all when I transplant them I try to dig them in as deep as possible. I remove the lower leaves leaving at least the first two rungs of leaves above ground. The stem of the tomato that is below the ground can sprout roots creating a stronger and hopefully healthier plant. Also I throw a few crushed up egg shells in the bottom of the hole for calcium. This is supposed to help with bottom rot. I also amend the soil with my compost and E.B. Stone Organic’s Tomato and Vegetable Food.
With tomatoes in the ground, I know summer is just around the corner!