Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tomato Update

Weeks since I updated on the garden, but first I'll do an update on the tomatoes.

The Orange Berry cherry tomatoes are ripening. The few that I had on the allotment ripened first, but have very poor yields due to the excess rain we had (and are still having). But, hey, I got a few and everyone said I wouldn't harvest anything!Each Orange Berry plant (at home in containers) has set about five trusses with about 8 fruits per truss.

They are colouring quickly and today I removed most of the foliage to make them ripen a bit faster. I probably wouldn't do this if they were in a greenhouse or at the allotment, but here at the apartment they look a bit untidy on the balcony so I'd prefer to get them ripened and removed.

The Orange Berry's were sown on 3 March. My opinion is that I might plant a couple next year, but probably not because of yield or ease of growth. They are somewhat sensitive to the salt content in the soil and suffered initially from purpling leaves because of mineral deficiency and then yellowing leaves because of the too much salts from the tapwater. Finally they succumbed to powdery mildew.

This tomato really needs good ventilation and to be watered with rainwater and not tap water.

Orange Berry Cherry tomato

The Ildi tomatoes, sown on 11 March are doing amazingly well. They have heavy trusses of fruit and very extensive growth. They are the tallest of all the tomatoes I have grown this year. They are very vigorous with strong basal growth and don't seem to be affected by the same issues as the Orange Berry. So far there is no powdery mildew and the leaves haven't shown any signs of purpling. There is some yellowing to the lower leaves, but it's not nearly as pronounced as on the other variety. I'm looking forward to seeing how these trusses of fruit ripen.

Ildi tomato

The Red Pear is also a moderately vigorous plant, but a poor bearer. Despite having flower trusses that are similar to those of the Ildi it has more limited trusses of around 8 fruits per truss. They are heavy and definitely pear shaped. The plants set about 5 trusses each, and the basal growth was poor. I'll have to wait and see how it tastes before dismissing it as a replanter.

Lieven's F2 (Ida Gold x Whippersnapper) which I got from Patrick is an awesome little tomato! The one I have is determinate and a low growing bush form. It is absolutely covered with tomatoes. So far this one seems a keeper. I hope that it's a reproducible cross!

Lieven's F2 tomato

The Carrot-topped Tomato is another keeper. The plant is also low growing and has set heavily with large tomatoes. The feathery leaves managed extremely well with the high winds we've had this season and the plant suffered virtually no wind burn at all. One of the fruits has windburn but considering the carnage amongst some of my other plants this one is definitely a winner.

Carrot topped tomato

The other varieties I have in pots are:

Black Pineapple
Black Prince
Gardener's Delight
Costoluto Fiorentino

The Tigerella has set a few fruits and the Gardener's Delight has several trusses. The others are still a little way behind. The Black Prince and Black Pineapple are very strong plants with very firm stems. Quite different to the bendy-stemmed cherry tomatoes. I don't expect much from the Costoluto Fiorentino as I think it really has to be in a greenhouse to protect it from the elements. The Tigerella and Costoluto Fiorentino were sown on April 15, so almost a month after the cherry tomatoes. I don't have photos of these because it's just started to rain!

Unfortunately all these varieties were on the balcony when we were battered with storms so they suffered quite a bit of wind damage. They're doing their best, but they need more shelter. I had three currant tomatoes from Patrick too, which have been placed at the allotment. Since yesterday they are covered in portable greenhouses so it will be interesting to see if that makes a difference to their production.

Next year I think I will use pots for propagation for all of my tomatoes but I'll use the portable greenhouses set up at the allotment to house the tomatoes in. Any varieties that I grow at home will need to be dwarf or determinate varieties that will fit onto a staging against the wall. I'd love to hear recommendations of any varieties that fit these requirements.


..Vertine? said...

wow, you must *love* tomatoes! They look very lovely. I threw away my tomato-lants in a stressed out period..... next year I will try again... I am the only one eating them here, not tomato-lovers here.

Maggie said...

I have never been able to grow tomatoes, I do not know why but I just cannot grow them, I am ok with most other veg and fruit but these elude me, they always end up withered, black spotted or rotten.

Gardening Express said...

I hope your costoluto fiorentino grew well!