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Car and Air Shows and the Haunting of the Ugly Tomato

| 6/24/2014 3:51:00 PM

Rosedale GardenThree years ago I ordered seeds for some heirloom tomatoes. One was my standard Cherokee Purple, a couple that I hadn’t grown before, Rutgers and a dark variety of a Brandywine. Each year I like to try an heirloom I haven’t tried before, seeing if I would like it better than the Cherokee Purple. So far, none have beaten it on my taste tests.

I started my seeds that February, so by the middle of April, they were ready to be put out in the garden. I pulled all of the leaves off except the top set, dug a deep hole and put some Epsom salt, a time-released fertilizer and some of those moisture retention crystals from a plant source in the bottom of the hole. I put the plant in the hole so that only about an inch was above ground. I back filled around the hole to about an inch below the surface, so that I had a little pond around the plant to hold water. Next I put newspaper down and a thick layer of sawdust and wood chips mulch down around and on paths.  Before I could get hooligan cages around them, Levi laid down in one of my little ponds containing a plant. After straightening up the plant, a heavy duty hooligan cage made of concrete wire was placed around each plant.


bad tomato

As the summer progressed, the tomatoes grew and started fruiting, except one, the Brandywine. It just kept growing and growing and grew out and over the top of the cage. Finally it started putting on fruit, only these were oval shaped. A description not matching the packet they came in. As they got to the size of a large egg, they started changing color to red, again not a description on the package. All that trouble and it wasn’t the tomato I ordered. Apparently the germination rate of the seeds was great, as 70 percent of my plants were this non-heirloom variety. Well, they are a good salad-size tomato, I thought.  After the first ones ripened, I pulled several off the vine and took them to the house. I washed one and bit into it, nasty, no flavor, and a lumpy texture like a very over ripe watermelon. 

bad tomato

7/9/2014 10:52:53 PM

Dave we had 2.49 inches last night, the wheat farmers barely got the crops in. There is a pretty tomato in the compost that I'm keeping a close eye on. First sign that it's that tomato, I'm pulling it up and taking it for a ride out in the country. I've just about given up on having more than late tomatoes and some squash and cucs. Thanks for the warning about pig manure. Bet that was funny with a yard full of tomato plants. I was debating throwing out some cantaloupe seeds, think they'll ripen before frost? Thanks for visiting and commenting.

6/28/2014 7:23:29 AM

Mary, it seems like you are being plagued with the tomatoes from hell. It must have been some kind of tomato used to cross breed stamina into a hybrid tomato. This experiment went terribly wrong. I'd try drying them out and burning the suckers. Maybe fire would be hot enough to kill the seeds. ***** My tomato story was several decades ago when I was a young lad of twenty something. Reading about composting and natural fertilizer, I ran across an article about using manure to increase the nitrogen in the soil. I lived in a city that had a large stockyard area that farmers brought their stock to be sold to the meat processor companies. A large pile of manure and straw mix was always by the stockyards and anyone was allowed to take it for free. I decided what a great natural way to feed my lawn. So I load up a load and brought it home to spread on the lawn. I suspect it must have been pig poo as the tomato seeds went right through the animal and soon I had hundreds of tomatoes growing in my lawn. The neighbors thought it quite humorous. That was just one of my many gardening learning experiences. ***** The rains continue here. We got another 1/2 inch of rain yesterday with more high winds. This June has been filled with wind storms. It's been really difficult to get any gardening done. We're down to 109 days until frost which is still time to get some squash and pumpkins planted with plans for getting the fall garden bed ready for planting. The star of the garden this year still is the potatoes. They have not been affected by the winds, rain, hail, or even the neighbor's lawn service weed spray. My Urban Ranch tomatoes got a pretty good whiff of the weed spray and are looking poorly. I'm seriously thinking about replacing a couple of them with the last of the tomatoes I grew from seed. What a difficult year of gardening this has been. ***** Have a great day in the garden.

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