Friday, August 7, 2015

Year of The Tomato

Ok, So I consider myself a pretty good gardener. Ive learned so much since planting my first garden in 1999 (16 yrs ago) and can identify most any  garden bug or fungus. I know how to fertilize organically, keep bugs at bay, and reduce the chance of fungal disease ..

I can grow almost anything with success...

Except a Tomato.. The prize of Summer.

Now when I lived in the Midwest, growing a tomato seemed so easy, you threw the plant in the ground, pretty much ignored it, and then went out and picked TONS of tomatoes.

And then I moved here. For 9 years I have been trying to grow tomatoes with very little success.. Between minimal sunlight ( we live in a holler between 2 ridges so get about 6 hours of full sun, the minimum for gardening), the humidity, and giant downpours in the summer months, My plants either just didn't put on fruit or died quickly from some type of blight. I tried every year. One year I planted around 80 plants, and I don't remember how many I picked, but trust me it was nothing to write home about.

This year I picked a new location. It was totally last minute. I had Robb till 3 strips about 20 ft long. put down some weed barrier, and planted about 35 tomato plants. I noticed this area did get quite a bit of sun compared to my other locations,,about 7 hours.
The soil in this location is awful. It is extremely acidic, rocky, and in need of some serious amending. I did add a little chicken manure and compost.

Add , to the sunny location, and very very hot and Extremely DRY summer...and that is the equation for TOMATOES!!! I have no other explanation. This location only gets about an hour more of sun. I do think it being so dry ( we have had pretty much no rain this summer) has helped  too.

               I even picked a 2 pounder, Biggest Tomato I've grown yet!

I can't tell you how many I picked, a couple hundred pounds atleast. I was picking near 20 lbs every other day at one point.
I've been canning up Salsa and Tomatoes non stop. What a treat it will be once the Snow flies!

My husband and I have been having tomato tastings ( kinda like wine tasting, where you try it and talk about the flavor, except we are usually barefoot and wearing  overalls ,haha)
Because If you haven't had an heirloom tomato, you just haven't experienced  the amazing flavor a Tomato can offer.. really, I'm serious.

Our favorites???

 From Left to right: black Vernassiage, Wagner Blue, Solar Flare, Indigo Apple, Natures Riddle, Cherokee Purple, PorkChop

I believe Robb really liked the Solar Flare Tomato. I vote On Indigo Apple, the flavor is like NO OTHER, and the yield is awesome

What's your Favorite Heirloom Tomato??

The Cool Family


  1. Oh Wow your tomatoes are looking amazing and what a selection :-) so pleased you have finely been able to grow them. Until yesterday I didn't realise just how many different brands there were available I went to our local yearly flower show which is a huge event and I found a wonderful couple of produce all there own vegetable and flower seeds and I bought 2 different sorts of tomatoes to plant for next year he had about 40 different varieties. Your enjoy yours, dee:-)

    1. Oh , I know, so so so many to choose from!
      I get a lot of mine from (Baker Creek)

      Not only do they have a plethora of color for tomatoes, but for all veggies!

  2. Your tomatoes look great. We grow a lot of tomatoes every year. I make pasta sauce, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes out of them. I still have a few jars left from last year. Your so right it wonderful to be able to just pull a jar of tomatoes out of the pantry during the winter months

    1. what kinds do you grow Michelle? I didn't do many paste tomatoes this year which would be better for sauce, but can not resist all the colors these heirlooms offer!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Fiona! they are so pretty , aren't they ;)

  4. Tomatoes LIKE a more acidic soil so that helped too. What a bonanza you got this year. Congrats!

    1. Hey Kris, I did not realize that! I know broccoli, blueberries love acidic soil, but don't think I knew that about tomatoes :D

    2. Yup - 6.0~6.5 helps them absorb nutrients. My container garden is 7.0 so I add some vinegar to the watering can to help compensate, get it nearer to 6.5.

    3. coffee grounds can help with acidity too, and add nitrogen :) I have to be super careful with them,, as we have really acidic soil.

  5. My favorites are Cherokee Purple and Black Krim. I plant my tomatoes with a couple of crushed Tums, a little bit of Epsom salt and lime. I've had success every year.