Posted by: locaphile | May 12, 2012

Tomatoes 2012

The tomato plants are out and planted today, two and a half weeks ahead of last year.  They are big, robust plants that I planted maybe a little (too?) early this year on February 26th.  I may have been overcompensating for the late start last year (April 6th).  My rationale was that the end of February was the theoretical six weeks before our last frost date (mid-April).  The actual last frost date (fingers still crossed) was April 7th this year.  Just in time too as the tomato seedlings were exploding out of the 10 cm pots under the grow lights.  The grow lights couldn’t be raised any higher so on April 8th the plants were potted up into gallon pots and sent out to the unheated greenhouse.  It does not seem to have done them any harm, they are big and happy and starting to bloom already.

This past week we had our yards of composted bark delivered and proceeded to mix the soil-less mix we use in the tomato containers to prevent tomato blight.  Mixing composted bark, mushroom manure, perlite, and home made tomato fertilizer we filled 29 containers for this year’s tomato crop.  The containers range from large galvanized steel garbage cans with drainage holes punched in the bottom to reused black plastic pots to old steel buckets whose bottoms have rusted out.  The pots under the eaves get spider web trellises of hemp cord to help the indeterminate tomato plants grow upward.  The two webs on the southern and eastern exposures will support walls of tomato plants that get lots of sun, little rain and give the house a lovely shade as they grow up and over the windows.  All the better to see the ripening tomatoes….

The tomato varieties for this year are a few of old and a few of new: Angora Super Sweet, Azoychka, Black Cherry, Black Ethiopian, Boxcar Willie, Costoluto Genovese, Cream Sausage, Hillybilly, Orlov Yellow Giant, Paul Robeson, Purple Russian, San Francisco Fog, San Marzano Redorta, and Red Tumbler.  They are paste, slicer, salsa, “gourmet” and “heirloom” varieties some of which are said to be good producers in a cooler, coastal climate.  Regular, long-season tomatoes seem to perform well here so it will be interesting to see how the cool season varieties (Black Cherry, Boxcar Willie, Orlov Yellow Giant, Paul Robeson, Purple Russian and San Francisco Fog) make out.  I have dreams of making salads and sandwiches, red and yellow salsas, roasted tomato pastes, delicious tomato sauces, and whatever else seems like a good idea at the time.  It will be hard to wait for the first ripe tomato and the following tomato glut but I know it will be worth it.

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