Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the rains came....

When the weather forecasters began babbling about 4 - 8" of rain coming this week, I knew that anything left in the garden would likely be either flattened or just wet to death.  Thank heavens for raised beds! With our gawd-awful, clay soil, this kind of tropical downpour is just a disaster... the ground doesn't dry out for DAYS.  Anyhoooo, I'm writing to rave about my favorite tomato variety.  Yep, tomato... in September, actually October by the time you read this.

This photo shows the "second flush" of growth and fruits now on my Whopper tomato plant. It provided pounds of lovely tomatoes all summer and then  flagged at the beginning of August, as tomatoes here generally do.I pruned it back severely and gave it a hearty dose of TomatoTone and a couple tablespoons of epsom salts.  Bingo!  Back it came with a nice batch of new growth... and some lovely fall tomatoes.  Notice the ripe tomatoes and the nice, large green ones coming on fast?

If the rains don't bother it too much, we'll be enjoying fresh garden tomatoes into October.  Not bad, eh?

This is the little two-tomato harvest that I picked Tuesday, September 27... and that we enjoyed in a salad this evening!  Honestly, I think the fall tomatoes are meatier and tastier than some of the earlier harvests.  Tomatoes do fine in our dry, sliiiiightly cooler September weather (or what was dry until today - before 5" of rain arrived at the farm).  No cracking or cat-facing.  Love it! Love it!

Gardeners were doing a lot of complaining that this was a "bad" year for tomatoes and that the plants gave up early.  Some varieties are short-season, but I think this Whopper shows that tomato longevity and productivity are characteristics that we, as gardeners, can greatly manipulate by correctly pruning and fertilizing to re-energize the plants.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, this is very interesting. How far down did you prune the tomato plants? It's too late for me this year but I want to keep this in mind for next year.

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  2. Hi, Wren! Almost missed your comment! I pruned it back about 2/3 of the way. Seriously. All the wild overgrowth (Whopper is indeterminate, so it just sprawls and sprawls), right back to a few main stems with nice new sprouts forming. Pulled all the old stuff out of there, cleaned up, fertilized, remulched and it's STILL producing tomatoes (they do get smaller)and it's now October 13th!

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  3. PS. The real key is to do this about mid-July, so I wasn't sure that pruning this heavily in late August would work, but there was really nothing to lose, so "off with it's head!"

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