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  1. #1
    Join Date
    SW Colorado


    Ok, I'm not an expert gardener and I don't live in an area known for growing much besides beans, so my experience with tomatoes has been more of a survival story than anything.

    We used to have a big garden (5000 sf'ish), but it became more than we could handle. That and the deer could wipe us out in a night. The last year we had our garden, we had 54 tomato plants and didn't get a single tomato because the deer picked us clean.

    Then after I retired, I bought a small (8x12) greenhouse so I could try again. Now everyone agrees that tomatoes outdoors in soil is best, but without a zombie fence that aint happening. But I have to tell you, my tomatoes are the best I have had and I dream of the roadside stand down south somewhere where I might get a better one.

    I have come around to believing that the taste of a tomato has everything to do with variety as long as the plants are well cared for. So I grow a bunch of different varieties even though I only have room for 15 or so plants. I used to start a couple hundred seedlings, but I have cut way back and am only started 84 so far this year. It might go to 96 because I have a couple more varieties on hand. I give away all the ones I don't keep so I'm pretty popular now and later when they start coming in. I just ask for my 30 cent pots back.

    I am mainly open pollinated varieties (heirlooms), with a couple of hybrids. I change it up a little each year and occasionally I come across something special. For example, a few years back I planted something called "giallo de summer", a large yellow beefsteak that is my all-time favorite.

    This year I have these hybrids: andiamo (paste/canning), big beef, big zac, and some cherry tomatoes (home gardeners like these, not me). Heirlooms include a variety of brandywines, box car willy, fireworks (my choice if I could only choose one variety, prolific and yummy), giallo, kelloggs breakfast, and pineapple. The brandywines are new to me this year and replace some russian varieties.

    One of the reasons I change things up is that I am looking for plants that do well in "my" environment, which is to say hotter that most. I leave my door and ventilation completely open, and am too cheap to run a fan. Besides, you have to move a lot of air to keep the temps down. Last year I installed a solar attic fan, and it dropped my temps substantially so yields were a little different than before. I'll get it figured out.

    Anyway, I end up with a little over a dozen plants and yields are pretty significant when they start coming in. Here are a couple of pics.

    Anyway, since I have my babies planted and its a blizzard outside I thought I would talk about something besides bat disease.
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    "Back after 5 years. I thought you had died.


    Splitting my time between the montane and the mesas

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

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