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Thread: Tomatoes

  1. #1
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    04-23-02
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    Tomatoes

    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.

    don"


    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    10-21-01
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx.
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    My veggie garden patch has dwindled down to an area too small to do justice, plus the trees impinge on the sunlight. When I had our farm, I wrote here several times about tomatoes grown on it. We produced many bushels each year until the bane of Texas veggie farming, stink bugs, caught up with us each year. Below is a thread which discusses some of my efforts, that would be vastly different from high altitude growing of CC. He is probably in a zone 4 growing area, while we were in zone 8+. My favorite variety, Donna, was a French hybrid variety, that was perfect for my soil and climate, but it is not sold anymore last I checked. Story is that some AH bought the patent rights to the variety and stuffed it for some unknown reason!?! The small varieties, Sungold & Matt’s Wild Texas, are wonderfully flavorful and prolific...a must choice. The black varieties, especially the Black Krim are really good too. I see some “black” maters in the photo above.

    http://www.crackerbarrelphilosophers...ghlight=tomato
    ...............
    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.... There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." 
~~ Daniel Webster

  3. #3
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    Thanks, those were fun threads to read thru. I remember most of those guys. I really like the way the search feature provides a list of related threads. I don't remember it always being like that.

    I noticed your comments about growing season and pests. I started seeds a couple of days ago and will put the seedlings in the greenhouse when they get big enough to transplant to 4" pots. First vine ripe fruit is 4th of July if we are really lucky (ussually within a week after), and plants finally freeze mid November. So i extend my season to about 200 days.

    I have had very little problem with pests. Occasionally a horn worm which I pick off, but mostly aphids, and most years I don't have anything. Spiders like the greenhouse.

    As you correctly pointed out, the trick is figuring out which varieties like your climate. I should mention that my plants get their final transplant into tree pots (3 gal?). I use the same potting soil as our local garden center (a jewel for our little community) and I overfeed with chicken chit based fertilizer from walmart. I have drip system but I prefer to hand water when I'm around.
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    "Back after 5 years. I thought you had died.

    don"


    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.

  4. #4
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    10-14-01
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    I used to grow them and other veggies in my greenhouse hydroponically several years ago, but for some reason I don't remember quit doing that.
    The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    Gardening is a pita and it wouldn't take much to get me to quit. Thats why we scaled back to just tomatoes but I'm not ready to give them up yet. No way I'm going back to weeding, my back wont take it. But, springtime lifts my spirits still so I keep it up.

    I knew an old guy in Phx who was afflicted with growing orchids, and had a REAL climate controlled greenhouse. Thats commitment.
    "Back after 5 years. I thought you had died.

    don"


    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    10-21-01
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    My idea of a perfect meal includes sliced homegrown acidy tomatoes with fresh black-eyed peas, cornbread, fried field corn and salmon croquettes. That’s worth dying for.
    ...............
    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.... There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." 
~~ Daniel Webster

  7. #7
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    10-21-01
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I used to grow them and other veggies in my greenhouse hydroponically several years ago, but for some reason I don't remember quit doing that.
    I’ve never had what I think of as a good tomato that I knew was hydroponically grown...pretty but bland. Were the ones you grew tasty?

    When I owned my farm and had a huge greenhouse that would have been ideal for hydroponics, I was always warned off because buying the materials was an invitation for visits from the drug enforcement guys suspecting a marijuana operations. The county tax guys were bad enough.
    ...............
    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.... There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." 
~~ Daniel Webster

  8. #8
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    10-22-01
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    I haven't grown my own in years---and I miss that but my back and time does not permit me that joy any longer.
    I buy all my vine ripened tomatoes from my Amish and Mennonite friends, some of whom are now growing heirloom varieties and I gravitate toward them. A day without at least one tomato is a day without sunshine for me. I will often eat them like a peach, tomato in one hand, salt shaker in the other, leaning over the sink to keep my shirt clean
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill

    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner

  9. #9
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    Tomato skins ruin the eating for me, peach fuzz even more. I take the time to get a good peel before eating raw unless too small. PITA.
    ...............
    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.... There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." 
~~ Daniel Webster

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wacojoe View Post
    I’ve never had what I think of as a good tomato that I knew was hydroponically grown...pretty but bland. Were the ones you grew tasty?

    When I owned my farm and had a huge greenhouse that would have been ideal for hydroponics, I was always warned off because buying the materials was an invitation for visits from the drug enforcement guys suspecting a marijuana operations. The county tax guys were bad enough.
    It has been so long ago I really don't remember about the taste. It was just a fun thing for me anyway.

    I never worried about the DEA. I don't think the purchase of hydroponic supplies is probable cause for a search warrant.
    The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible - Arthur C. Clarke

  11. #11
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    We have an abundance of hydroponic supplies in Colorado now. However, indoor grown pot in soil has the highest wholesale price, followed by hydroponic and finally outdoor grown. Cannabis is big business here and there are financial benchmarks, law firms, banks, and everything you can imagine to support an industry. Retired judges even look forward to arbitration boards as they explore a new legal frontier.

    That is another thread for another day someday down the road.
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    "Back after 5 years. I thought you had died.

    don"


    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.

  12. #12
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    10-22-01
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    All Over
    Posts
    29,738
    My wife's father was a gardener in Indiana. He had seven acres under glass. In the dead of winter he grew mostly bib lettuce and started tomatoes. They were grown in soil and tied up, growing to about 7' in height. The tomatoes that came off those vines, IMHO was not fit for human consumption---there was no flavor to be found

    The crazy part was that he also raised field tomatoes in the summer---and the family didn't like them

    It took me a couple of years to fix my wife
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill

    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner

  13. #13
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    I'm planning on hitting the farmer markets in the area.
    **************************************************
    Retired April 17, 2019

    Life’s too short to drink cheep booze and argue with stupid people.” Mickey Thompson

  14. #14
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    04-23-02
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    Ok, an update. Ended up only planting 84 seedlings this year. 14 of those I keep. The others were no problem to give away this year. Things are in their final configuration, and in a couple of weeks the plants will be tangled in the trellises.

    Some time lapse photos
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    "Back after 5 years. I thought you had died.

    don"


    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.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    10-21-01
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx.
    Posts
    17,289
    What varieties?
    ...............
    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.... There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." 
~~ Daniel Webster

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