Newsflash! Suckers don't suck!
You know that old gardening tip for tomatoes: pinch off those suckers - they sap energy from the plant? I've even read in a book about growing tomatoes that they will NEVER produce fruit so you should get rid of them immediately. Well, I tested it out myself way back then and that was not true - they did flower and produce fruit. It just goes to show that sometimes even the most repeated garden advice can be dead wrong.
The one time I do pinch off "suckers" and even blossoms that are starting to form on my tomatoes is around the end of the season when I can see that any new tomatoes that form won't even get to a state when they can be ripened inside. My theory is that the plant can then put its energy into the remaining fruit rather than trying to make even more. I haven't put this theory to the test yet though. Perhaps this season I will. Stay tuned!
Some good info and a video about "suckers" and what they are all about is here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-tomatoes/prune-tomato-plants-zmvz15jjzsor.aspx
Didja miss me? It's only been 3 years! :)
I thought I'd get my blogging feet wet again with a nice little tomato review post. So here goes:
Lucky Tiger from Johnny's Select Seeds
I am a total sucker for seed marketing - at least when it come to the name. Name anything with tiger, and I will buy it. Dragon? Forget about it - I am so there. Golden Queen tomato, Thai Dragon pepper, Purple Haze carrot? Yep. Bought 'em all. Sometimes you get burned and the plant or the fruit is a total dud and you chide yourself for being so foolish--but sometimes, it totally works out and you find a new favorite.
That was definitely the case with the Lucky Tiger tomato seeds I got from Johnny's. At first I thought it was actually a dud because they were all cracking wide open on the vine and I thought - well, I guess that tiger is not so lucky. But them I realized that it was just my mistake in not realizing they were getting too ripe! The photo in the catalog showed them being a more golden color, but at least in my garden they are much more green with a red blush. I finally picked some and tried them and they are great! Sweet and mild with an almost green grape flavor. They are also more thick skinned, but in a good way - they almost crunch! But, they are juicy and great for salads or just eating by themselves.
Definitely going to grow them again and would recommend! Added bonus, I think they are a beautiful tomato and to me that is a great selling point. I am always on the lookout for THE most beautiful tomato. :)
So, what new varieties did you try this year? Any new favs or were you plagued by duds?
Vintage Wine - It's about time!Wow - it's been 2 years since I posted? Where has the time gone? To social media I guess. ;) Well, if there's anyone out there - spambots, this does NOT include you! (Die spambots die! etc, etc) Here is a beautiful tomato. It's called Vintage Wine and it's a medium large beefsteak heirloom. One of the largest I've got this year, which isn't saying that much unfortunately. With all the heat and rain you'd think I'd have some giants - but then I never got around to ordering seeds and the stores just did not have the heirlooms I was looking for - lesson learned! Order online if you want the weird (best) tomato varietes! The flavor is generally good on this one, haven't actually busted into one yet this year, but I recall it having a pretty good sweetness and balance. A good slicer for your tomato sandwiches for sure, and pretty to boot. Just about the prettiest I've seen. What is your favorite variety this year? (Spambots, not you! I know it would be a stupid Early Girl or some other mass produced tasteless thing anyway. :P)
Ode to Tomatoes
filled with tomatoes
light is halved
like a tomato,
its juice runs through the streets.
the tomato invades the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes its ease on countertops,
It sheds its own light,
we must murder it:
the knife sinks into living flesh,
a cool sun,
populates the salads of Chile,
happily, it is wed to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we pour oil,
essential child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper adds its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding of the day,
parsley hoists its flag,
potatoes bubble vigorously,
the aroma of the roast knocks at the door,
and, on the table,
at the midpoint of summer,
star of earth,
recurrent and fertile star,
displays its convolutions,
its remarkable amplitude and abundance,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.
These guys are Amish Gold - literally. Well, ok not exactly, but they are damn tasty! They are a cross between an Amish paste tomato and a Sungold Cherry, and they are nice and tangy and great for slicing because of their shape. I really like the longer format tomato, you get such cute little tomato circles out of them.
I will most definitely grow these next year!
Japanese Black Trifele
This fine pair are Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes. These were the ones I was most excited about this year for some reason - I'm sure it is the name. I mean, if they were called Early Boys or something, I wouldn't be interested. As they are named they have the mystique of the black truffle mushroom - or so I thought. Of course, as excited as I was about them it was pretty much assured I'd be disappointed. And yes, I was. They are ok, but I didn't think they even measured up to the Black Prince, which are so far my favorite black tomato. Ok, just to be sure, I'm gonna go cut up another one right now and taste it again...
Ok, yes, they are disappointing! Very mild and really barely any tomato flavor. Hmmm, I think I'm going to have to try them again anyway though, because I really like their pear shape and I didn't get them in early enough to let them fully ripen on the vine. Is that going to make a difference? Stay tuned.
This is a Vintage Wine tomato. It's very pretty, but the first one we had was pretty mediocre in flavor I thought. I'm pretty picky though, so anyone else might think it was just fine. As far as growing it again next year - it has decent production and medium size, flavor is as I said, ok, but it kinda makes up for that by being pretty so, yes, I'll grow it again.
Hurry up and grow little 'maters!
They're taking all the tomatoes away from us!
Well, not all and frankly only the worst ones - I'd hardly call those anemic restaurant things tomatoes anyway.
Here's a link to the current story.
Here's a link to a 2006 run of the same thing.
Think now is the time to grow your own - I think so!
Lorika in the Star Tribune!
Hurray! I'm in the Home and Garden section of the Star Tribune today!
The article is on the rise of vegetable gardening in the city.
Check it out!
Homegrown heats up
Golden Queen Tomatoes
Best. Tomato. Ever. EVER! These are seriously the best tasting slicers I have ever had. Tangy, sweet, juicy - with an almost mango like texture and hint o' tropical flavor. Mmmmmmm! Now I'm panicking though, because I got these seeds from a neighbor who got them from someone on the internet, and I don't know if I can get any more. I am trying to save seeds from them, but I've never done that before, so we'll see how that goes. Anyone got any tips?
What's your favorite tomato?