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Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

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Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 5/17/2011, 2:45 am

Welcome to the first installment of Tomato Tuesday 2011!!

First off you are probably wondering what Tomato Tuesday is, right? It's simply a weekly report or update on how our tomatoes are progressing. I am going to start and I want you to join in and post your reports too. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out report (like this one!) and it is not required, but I think it wll be fun and informative to read about how other tomatoes in our region progress throughout the season. It's one of the thing we hold in common as a region.

Very easy guidelines for posting your Tomato Tuesday reports...


  • Have fun with this!
  • Report only on Tuesday if at all possible.
  • Use this same thread to post your reports through the end of the season. In other words, don't start a new thread each Tuesday. That way it will be easy to find the next week. It will be one looooong thread by October I hope!
  • If I miss a Tuesday, feel free to go ahead give your Tomato Tuesday reports. Don't wait for me!
  • Other regional forums may start Tomato Tuesday as well, double-check that you are in the Upper South forum when you post your report.
  • Refer to first guideline.

Tomato Tuesday...Week 20/May 17, 2011
Did you know that tomatoes are the #1 home garden plant in the U.S and Canada?
In our region many of us are just getting our tomatoes in our SFG's and I am one of them! I only have half of mine planted in their allotted squares. My last frost date was May 15, but the temps turned cool again, so it's always a debate whether to go ahead and plant or let my tomato starts sit in their pots for a little longer.

I grow tomatoes with canning in mind, but we like to eat them too! I am growing four different kinds this year...

WV '63 (a.k.a. WV Centennial). An heirloom, very red & meaty, indeterminate (vining) all purpose tomato. It's a newer heirloom (c. 1963, surprise!). They were developed by WVU agriculture department to be resistant to late blight. You can read more about its lineage on WVU's website. I have been growing WV '63s for over 20 years, but it is only the last three I have started my own plants from seed. These tomatoes are excellent for canning and eating. They are a gorgeous tomato inside and out...and they taste divine! Here's a couple of pics from 2010...





More images of these 'maters in my User Gallery here in this forum, look for pattipan's gallery.

Oh yeah...I haven't gotten them in the garden yet, hopefully I can run out tomorrow between rain showers and get them in!

Opalka. An heirloom indeterminate paste tomato from Poland. Great sauce 'mater, since they are very meaty and have few seeds and they can get to be 5 to 7 inches long! They are funny looking though!





I planted the Opalkas today (8 of them). I started these from seed saved from last year.

Mountain Princess. An early red determinate (bush-type) tomato. I wanted to try an early tomato and I came upon this one and am really excited to try them this year. Mountain Princess originated in the Monongahela National Forest of WV -- my neck of the woods! I started these from seeds I ordered. They were planted on May 12. We added a new 2 x 8 box to grow these in the sunniest part of our yard.

Sweet 100 -- My favorite cherry tomato and very prolific. It's usually the first to ripen, so we always look forward to that! Planted three of these this year and they went in their squares today.

So that's my tomato run-down for this Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Not a very brief report this time, but it's a start anyway. Some Tuesdays will be shorter, I'm sure.

Now it's your turn Upper Southerners, join me this Tuesday and Tuesdays to come and tell what tomatoes are you growing and at what stage are they are at in your SFG. Inquiring gardeners want to know!

Your regional hostess,
pattipan
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  HPartin on 5/17/2011, 7:09 am

I have planted 4 amish paste; 2 brandywines, 2 German Johnsons, and 1 sweet 100. Except for the sweet 100, they are all heirlooms. I hope that when my snap peas finish up I plan to put in some hybrids as well. I would like to try a yellow one if I can find it.

All my tomatoes are doing pretty good. I suckered the top off of one of my amish pastes so I am waiting to see what happens to that one. My German Johnsons are smaller than the rest and just barely fit though the first square of the netting. The rest climb up through the second square.

Two brandywines and the sweet 100 have blossoms.

And that is my Tomato Tues. update. Smile

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  dixie on 5/17/2011, 8:13 am

I'm kinda on the border of upper and middle south, but wanted to comment on the Opalka tomato. It is a huge tomato and we also use it for a slicing tomato. Sometimes the seeds are hard to find and the ones I bought last year were not Opalkas, but a small to medium size tomato, very disappointing.
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 5/17/2011, 11:46 am

@dixie wrote:I'm kinda on the border of upper and middle south, but wanted to comment on the Opalka tomato. It is a huge tomato and we also use it for a slicing tomato. Sometimes the seeds are hard to find and the ones I bought last year were not Opalkas, but a small to medium size tomato, very disappointing.


Dixie,
I wish I would have known that! I saved enough Opalka seed and these WV'63's to start a nursery!

Also, reading your post reminded me that I totally forgot to start the seed for tomato seeds you sent me!! The envelope got wedged between all my other seed packets. Phooey. They'll still be good for next year, I'm sure.

pattipan
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/17/2011, 1:15 pm

PP, go ahead and start a couple. Get started on a hoop house if you don't have one, or make some cover, set it out in July for a fall crop, I keep hearing many southerners do this, rather than expect fall tomatoes from their summer plants. I'm going to try a couple.

This is a great idea you had btw, I was late getting the Lower South one started and someone was kind enough to get the ball rolling for me!!! Guess it's pretty popular!
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 5/17/2011, 5:04 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:PP, go ahead and start a couple. Get started on a hoop house if you don't have one, or make some cover, set it out in July for a fall crop, I keep hearing many southerners do this, rather than expect fall tomatoes from their summer plants. I'm going to try a couple.

I might give it a go! Now where id I put those seeds...

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/17/2011, 10:35 pm



I built 3 new 4'x8' trellis frames this year. I have 48 plants in the ground total. Because they are concentrated, I'm using the plastic mulch to avoid fungal diseases. There is a soaker hose underneath.

I have ...
12 Brandywine
12 Jet Star
2 Husky Cherry
2 Juliet
3 Black Krim
3 Cherokee purple
5 Dixie's Sweet
5 Knob Hillbilly
4 Porterhouse

My plants seemed to stall this year because they were a bit long in their plastic pots. I was late putting them in the ground. Because of voles, I pulled the old beds, screened the soil, and rebuilt them with wire bottoms.


Last edited by Squat_Johnson on 5/17/2011, 10:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarity)
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  walshevak on 5/18/2011, 5:08 am

Wow, those are some serious trellises.


Kay

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/18/2011, 9:21 am

Sorry for imposing on a regional report that isn't mine but I have to say, Squat J's garden looks like my kind of playground. I thought I was looking at a home-made swing set for a minute.

Love it!
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  jazzymaddy on 5/19/2011, 10:56 am

Sorry to hijack your thread, but is there one of these for mid south? I can't seem to find it.

Thx
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/19/2011, 2:01 pm

Jazzymaddy

New thread for Tomato Tuesday Middle South
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  acara on 5/19/2011, 2:47 pm

I suddenly feel very inadequate after viewing those trellis ....

Very nice work on building those
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/19/2011, 3:11 pm

Thanks for the compliments. I feel obliged to share the link to the instructions.

I added a second bar across the bottom, but otherwise here's where the idea came from...

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/3367/build-an-a-frame-tomato-trellis
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Tomato Tuesday/Upper South -- Week 21

Post  pattipan on 5/24/2011, 10:25 am

Tomato Tuesday/Upper South --Week 21

Yeah! I've got all my tomatoes in now!

I ended up planting 10 Mountain Princess, 8 Opalka, 12 WV '63, 3 Sweet 100. I was out taking pictures of the garden this morning, I'll post some pics later. I'm going to try and take photos every week. It will be my photo journal of tomatoes in the SFG.

The Mountain Princess tomatoes are looking so happy to be planted in their sunny box along the fence. Now to be patient for the first blooms...then for the tomatoes forming...then for the ripening...then EATING! Is this an exercise in patience or what???

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 5/24/2011, 4:35 pm

Here's the photos of my tomato plants as of May 24, 2011.

I planted the indeterminate tomatoes semi-horizontal. Meaning that the root ball was centered deep in the square and the stem is buried at an angle toward the trellis. Hope that makes sense! I did this last year and it worked great. It makes it easier to work the plant the first time through the trellis. The plants look short, but that's because a lot of the stem is buried.

Mountain Princess. These are my early heirloom determinates. Those little pots along the back of the box are rooting strawberry runners. There's also four eggplant sharing the box and two empty squares. Probably will plant basil or flowers in those.






Opalka Paste. I discovered one BIG disadvantage to a 4 x 8 box, with the trellises up. I cannot reach two of the squares in the center back! So the trellis on that side is off until I see that my nasturtiums come up in those two squares.



WV '63. There are four more of these a nearby box not shown.



Sweet 100. I planted three in two squares and they'll share a trellis with Dragon's Egg cucumbers. I had to buy a six-pack of them...gave three away and I just couldn't bear to throw one away! I may regret doing this. I'll have to keep up with removing suckers, I'm sure!



That's it for now...
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  kjenkins82 on 5/24/2011, 11:46 pm

I've got all my tomatoes outside now except for 3 Mortgage Lifters that I started from seed. I want to get them out, but it's been too windy/rainy to harden them off. After the crazy storms that rolled through tonight, I know it's just as well! I have my Cherokee Purple, Carbon, Yellow Pear, Sweet 100, Arkansas Traveler, and Better Boy tomatoes all in 7 gallon Smart Pots. The plan is to string them to a trellis but with all the bad weather I haven't installed the trellis yet and the plants are getting pretty big. It's on my to do list for this weekend for sure! I'll post some pics of the finished product next Tues. I also have 4 Romas and 2 Celebrity in buckets with cages. Both of these plus the Sweet 100 and Yellow Pear have lots of green tomatoes. Unfortunately C.P. and Carbon have had blossoms that dry out and drop off and no fruit forming yet. Not sure what is going on but the new blossoms and top growth look healthier so I have my fingers crossed. I'm also trying to propagate from branches I suckered today using rooting hormone--anyone had luck with this?

Happy tomato Tuesday everyone! Smile

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 5/31/2011, 1:05 pm

Tomato Tuesday/Upper South --Week 22, May 31, 2011

It's 92 degrees today! That is unseasonably HOT for this time of year in West Virginia. The tomatoes love it, but I tend to wilt in this kind of heat.

I have tomato blossoms! Well, on my cherry tomatoes anyway, but it will soon be little sweet, juicy tomatoes, so I'm happy just thinking about it. Maybe I'll even get a couple before the lettuce bolts. There is definite growth on all the tomato plants and I'll take some pictures to share when the shade goes over the garden. My Mountain Princess bush tomatoes have shown the most growth and I can see the first buds forming, so they will be blooming soon too.

It really is amazing to watch the progress of the tomatoes weekly like this. Although I confess I am checking on them daily as well. Since there are no weeds to pull, that's what we SFG'ers tend to do -- growth monitoring and bug patrol!

So...how are your tomatoes growing today?
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  kjenkins82 on 5/31/2011, 10:20 pm

This weekend we put up 2 side by side trellises, each 6 feet long. I'm stringing my plants this year and have one done and one left to do when the plants get a wee bit bigger. I gave them a little extra space (5 plants on 6 feet) since they are in 7 gallon Smartpots which are pretty wide.



Here's a close up of the yellow pear. It has 7 or 8 tomatoes on it but still totally green. Kind of hard to see the string because it's also green but you get the idea.



The Sweet 100 has several green full size tomatoes too. Carbon has 3 cute tiny babies but nothing on the Cherokee Purple yet.



I have some determinates in containers too which are pretty loaded with green tomatoes. The most impressive is a leftover Roma that I plunked in a half bucket of Mel's mix. It has 11 big tomatoes on it already and lots more blossoms! The ones in actual planters with twice as much MM have maybe half the tomatoes. Go figure. Overall I am pleased with the progress and anxiously awaiting the first hint of red. My money is on the Sweet 100 but we'll see! Very Happy

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/2/2011, 2:20 am

Kjenkins, those Smart Pots and your trellises are so cool looking! And I'm sure they'll even look better with ripe tomatoes! I am just getting blossoms on my Sweet 100, so you'll be seeing red first, I'm sure. hungry

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/2/2011, 2:27 am

Here's those pics as of June 1 of my tomatoes:

Sweet 100...



Mountain Princess...



Opalka...



WV '63...


~~~~~
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/9/2011, 4:50 pm

Tomato Tuesday - Week 23

I wasn't home on Tuesday this week, but took these pics Wednesday evening...

What I thought I bought were Sweet 100's, but these are grape tomatoes! Maybe Juliets? As I recall, there were some of them in flats nearby. I am disappointed. Tomorrow I'm going to the greenhouse and see if they have some actual Sweet 100's.




Mountain Princess 'maters have really bushed out this week! It's going to get crowded in this box very soon. Lots and lots of buds -- oh ye!


Opalkas. All the plants have buds now.


WV '63s are budding too. Soon will be tall enough to work through the first trellis spaces.


I have been watering once a day. Both our rain barrels are empty. Sigh. Spotty rain showers possible today. 90 temps in early June are unusual for us, wonder what the rest of the summer will be like for the tomatoes? The Mtn. Princess tomatoes are an early type, 68 days. Let's see...I planted them on May 12 and the 68th day will be July 19. Maybe with this heat, I'll get a ripe one sooner?

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/14/2011, 12:23 pm

My tallest tomato is a Dixie's Sweet. It is about 4' tall now (front row, second to the end). I am very happy with how everything is progressing. I have fruit on several plants now.
My goal when putting down this red plastic/mulch was to prevent fungal diseases. So far so good, but I found that when a Tobacco Worm feeds on your plants, there is an OBVIOUS trail of droppings. I was able to see them when they were only 1/2" long. I picked about 30 off on Saturday, and only a couple remained Sunday. I sprayed off the plastic, and Monday I couldn't find any droppings.
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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/15/2011, 11:22 am

@Squat_Johnson wrote:My tallest tomato is a Dixie's Sweet. It is about 4' tall now (front row, second to the end). I am very happy with how everything is progressing. I have fruit on several plants now.
My goal when putting down this red plastic/mulch was to prevent fungal diseases. So far so good, but I found that when a Tobacco Worm feeds on your plants, there is an OBVIOUS trail of droppings. I was able to see them when they were only 1/2" long. I picked about 30 off on Saturday, and only a couple remained Sunday. I sprayed off the plastic, and Monday I couldn't find any droppings.

Lookin' good! Your tomato box look so tidy compared to mine. Are you going to plant anything else in the box with those tomatoes?

I used the red plastic mulch under my eggplant. It is an excellent deterrent against flea beetles. I couldn't believe the difference! Now I am battling earwigs, which I think breed in the nice moist Mel's Mix.

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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/15/2011, 11:47 am

Tomato Tuesday - Week 24

I was out of town yesterday, so I am late for my tomato report again, but I took some photos early this morning.

Mountain Princess. Wow, these plants are getting bushy! The suckers branch out almost horizontal. I actually removed some of the lower ones so they wouldn't grow through the fence and open gate. They are covered in bloom and I have tied them to the stakes now.



Opalkas. A hard & windy thunderstorm last Saturday knocked these and the WV '63s tomatoes over. Didn't break any of them, thank goodness. I loosely tied the plants to the trellis until they are tall enough to work through.



WV '63



Mystery grape tomatoes. I couldn't find any Sweet 100's left at the greenhouse last week. Lesson learned, start your own from seed to be sure you're getting what you want. Oh well...as long as these grape tomatoes taste good, I can live with them.


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Re: Tomato Tuesday/Upper South region

Post  pattipan on 6/21/2011, 11:50 am

Tomato Tuesday - Week 25

Mountain Princess. It would neat if I could do a time-release video of my tomatoes growth. The Mountain Princess would definitely win -- not in height, but in branching and blossoms.


Last week it seemed like I was looking at blossoms, but today we have tomatoes!


Opalka. These seem to have the slowest growth of all my tomatoes, but they all have two sets of blossoms now.


WV '63. My what big leaves you have! I know I trimmed off the lower leaves just last week. One thing I noticed about these WV '63s in this 2 x 8 box is that the lower 4 plants are much bigger than the upper 4. I worked in a little more compost around them, we'll see if it helps.


Mystery grape tomatoes. You can't see them very well in this picture but there is about two dozen or more grape tomatoes on these plants. They will be ready soon!!!


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