Monday, August 18, 2014

SOME NOTES ON TOMATOES

I've been vegetable gardening for 28 years.  One of my greatest frustrations has been the
relatively short season for tomatoes.  In the past, I could count on eating my first ripe tomatoes
sometime in July.  The last of the tomatoes would depend on the timing of the killing frost in
October.

Last season I experimented with two varieties of storage tomato: "Long Keeper" and
"Golden Treasure".  The Long Keepers did not keep very well and had an off taste that
didn't win any advocates in my family.  However, the Golden Treasure tomatoes kept
very well and actually tasted reasonably good.  "How well did they Keep?" you ask.
We served them in a salad on Christmas Day.  Now that's what I call a keeper.

This year, I was looking to extend the season in the other direction.  I started an early
variety called "Glacier" even earlier than normal.  Having a "sun shed" helped nurture
the young plants.  The seedlings where planted out in the garden on May 1, four weeks
early.  I set up a low plastic tunnel for the first three weeks to protect the tender plants
from frost.  

At every step along the way the Glacier tomatoes responded well.  The end result was
ripe tomatoes on June 8, 2014.  I'm a happy guy.

Glacier Tomatoes in June

Speaking of low tunnels, I came up with an innovative way to use my galvanized hoops.
I overlapped the four foot diameter hoops and lashed them together so that I could
support a row of low growing (determinate) tomatoes.  It has worked out fine and looks
great.
Low tunnel hoops put to work supporting tomatoes



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