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More tomato space?

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More tomato space?

Post  curio on 4/6/2012, 6:40 pm

Here's my quandry...

with the tree damage and removal that we had in this winter's ice storm, and the partial clearing of land behind our property, I have noticed that I have an area of the back yard that is not in the "garden" area, and is in a little used area of the yard that is now receiving sun from roughly 11 a.m. until well after 4:30 p.m.
I am seriously contemplating adding two beds for tomatoes, one 3x6 and the other 3x8. I believe there would be room for a third bed but don't know for certain until and unless the other two beds are built, as I still need room to take wheelbarrows to and from the compost area.
I would need to cover the beds (probably from the top of a trellis) to keep rain off of them, as our rains tend to be cold, even in the summer.

There are some smallish shrubs and perennials that would need to be relocated, which is no problem.

My plan would be to plant primarily paste tomatoes for canning or dehydrating to make paste or sauce later on in these beds, with the salad tomatoes going into the greenhouse as planned. The only cost at this point would be the wood for the beds and probably another bag of peat moss (and perhaps more vermiculite).

Would the addition of the plants to fill this be worth the investment in time and money (if they produce well), or should I scrap this idea? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/6/2012, 6:47 pm

Jan, how much do you like tomatoes?

Sounds devine...I always want more planting space.

Do you think it is to far for you to keep an eye on?

(Is that a rescue greyhound?)

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  camprn on 4/6/2012, 6:51 pm

I am going to defer to the fabulous folks of the Northwest to advise you... Your climate is quite peculiar and as I understand it, quite a difficult task to grow tomatoes. Good luck!!

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  curio on 4/6/2012, 6:59 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:Jan, how much do you like tomatoes?
Both Hubby and I love tomatoes. We eat them in salads probably four days a week, and I use them in cooking at least 40% of the time for dinners

@AvaDGardner wrote:Do you think it is to far for you to keep an eye on?
The area is about 10 feet from the kitchen window, and is the same distance from the house as the entrance to the main garden area.

@AvaDGardner wrote:(Is that a rescue greyhound?)
Not a rescue... this is our senior citizen, CH Anthony's Allya d'Willowmere as a young dog. We have 6 generations descending from her living with us... most of them Champions also. Smile Piper, or doodlebug as she is fondly known, will be 14 years old this year.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  boffer on 4/6/2012, 7:16 pm

IF you got a good harvest, it would definitely be cost effective. Do you know something I don't know about what our weather is going to be this summer? Wink

I'm guessing that 6 hours of sun in our temperatures won't be enough without some help (hoop house etc). Will the area be getting more sun as it gets higher into summer? Could you move your cool crops to the the new beds, and put the extra tomatoes in a spot that gets more sun?

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  curio on 4/6/2012, 7:21 pm

Actually, that's about the extent of sun in our little corner of the world, due to tall trees all around us. The cool weather crops will be getting about the same amount, perhaps just a bit more.
It's possible that as the sun gets higher the amount of light per day will increase, but no guarantee.
The fact that there are no trees blocking the light for the mid portion of the day is new, as is the morning having dappled shade/sun when in the past it was deep shade.

If it's any help, there is a lilac that blooms faithfully in the same area (but would be on the lee side of the tomatoes) I could build a frame to cover the entire boxes if needed, but I think with only a 3' wide bed, it would be difficult to get that pvc to bend. What do you think? Has anyone done hoops on a 3' wide area?

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  boffer on 4/6/2012, 7:28 pm

My carrot box is 36 inches wide; I used the whole length of the PVC (10 feet). That gives nice vertical sides. The center height is 42 inches. It was my very first box, so it's over five years old with no problems.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  curio on 4/6/2012, 7:36 pm

Thanks boffer... that's good to know. I didn't want to have one snap back and give me a dental makeover.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  GWN on 4/7/2012, 12:11 pm

Hi there
I have lived on coastal oregon for 14 years and was able to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse, however I had a friend who had success using tin foil to "reflect" extra sunlight onto her tomatoes, and she was able to grow them outside with that added light.

Problem with the rains is that they tend to come from the South though....otherwize you could put little roofs over them on the north side to protect from the rains.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/7/2012, 12:34 pm

Dreaming in Shades of Tomato

The above link is my solution (this year) for tomatoes. The best sandwich-salad tomatoes are vine ripe. I still grow a few earlier tomatoes for them. BUT, my happy discovery last year was a bowl of green tomatoes on the kitchen sideboard, intended for the fry pan but forgotten.

If last season holds true, than early tomatoes do not ripen on the sideboard, they rot. Not so with long season tomatoes. This year I am growing extra Persimmon (80+ days) and the new (for me) Chianti Rose (78+) days. I have some Momotaro (70+ days) but they did not produce many green tomatoes last year so there are not many of those this year. I am growing these long season tomatoes specifically to harvest green. (Unless of course all the planets align and the PNW has a hot summer, THAN I will happily harvest ripe tomatoes.)

In addition, I am also expecting 4 to 6 huge Roma types from TSC that I am trialing for the same reason. I should have a short season roma just to see if the "early tomatoes just rot" holds true. I am making an order to TSC for some seed that I cannot find locally today (or probably monday after Passover). After reading gwinnifers post I am tempted to add Brandywine, giving it another look-see. Last time I grew one it was just like Momentaro, dropped too many blossoms to make tomatoes. But WOW Gwennifer! Makes me wonder if some tomatoes do better in Mel's Mix and some do better in old fashioned horse poo rich soil?

So I vote, start a tomato garden in your new space. Even if they do not ripen you can still have the best soups, salsa's and sauces you have been dreaming of when you plant those sprouts in hope.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  GWN on 4/7/2012, 12:46 pm

To add to Debs
Last year I harvested boxes of green tomatoes, both brandywine and san marzano and left them on shelves in the basement and checked every week or so for any rotting ones. (threw them away)
AND I was eating tomatoes right up until christmas.

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/7/2012, 12:53 pm

Wait a minute.... GWN is in BC? I get you too mixed up all the time. Sorry about that!! (San M is one I am trying this year)

(I study Hebrew when I can..no vowels....my personal short-hand eliminates vowels. GWN and gwinnifer are nearly the same name in my head....bad me, I know, I'm just saying....maybe I can keep it straight now)

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Re: More tomato space?

Post  GWN on 4/7/2012, 12:59 pm

I kind of figured it
I use GWN as Great White North, but my name is janet
I lived in Oregon for 14 years on the coast, but last year moved to bc and had tons of tomatoes
IN oregon, I did not...... I grew them in a greenhouse there.

Here we have a shorter season but MUCH MUCH hotter, and of course my sons girlfriend with horse poo.... Wink

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