May 27, 2017

Fruiting Tomatoes and A Few Anomalies

The tomato plants are blooming and setting fruit like crazy. But I've heard our neighbor's boyfriend spraying weed-killer with a spray pump along the walkway that runs along the length of my garden on the other side of our fence. Plus it's been really windy. A lot of the tomato plants have thin crumpled burnt looking leaves on top. And Golden King of Siberia had stems with their growing tips totally curling in on themselves with flowers and leaves all curled up into a ball. I pulled on them tell they popped, but it doesn't look like I broke those stems and they seem to be growing a little straighter. Maybe.

The actual owner of the property told my husband and I separately that she would never use weed-killer because of our little one and that she realized it was a vegetable garden we had back there. Normally she uses boiling water, and or a vinegar and soap mixture to get rid of weeds which works very well indeed. Her path stayed weed free for a long time with those methods.
A tomato stem I tried to straighten out, there's flowers and leaves all wrapped up together.
Golden King of Siberia with curled up growing tip, probably due to weed killer. I managed to pull it apart a little and the blooms are now free from the mass.
The fruit on Golden King of Siberia are heart shaped. Although they have large masses of blooms they seem to only set a few fruit.
But the few fruit they do set grow to gargantuan size.
Thin singed looking leaves on the top of the plant of Dark Brandywine may be due to weed killer. The leaves lower on the plant don't look this way.
Some normal looking leaves of the same Dark Brandywine plant.
A Dark Brandywine tomato.
Pink Brandywine with it's crumpled fruit.

Brandywine has large trusses of blooms as well but most of the flowers do set fruit. They are a large variety that do take a little longer to ripen. People say this variety isn't very productive, but they have always done very well in our hot humid summers. They are my favorite tomato, their flavor is incomparable in our climate.
Black Prince is a smaller tomato that sets large trusses of fruit.
Granny Cantrell's German Red had blossoms very early but it seems to focus it's energy on a few fruits, but it hasn't dropped any blossoms as far as I can tell.
Cherokee Purple have sublime tasting fruit, but they are sensitive to large water loads causing them to crack and rot. They do best caged and grown in raised beds. Since I don't grow in beds, we've only gotten fruit maybe one year in 3 of trying. A friend who raises them in raised beds says they do well for her every year.
This is our first year growing Taxi, it's supposed to be a good yellow tomato that produces prodigious amounts of fruit.
We're growing 3 Lilac Giant plants but interestingly enough, they may have been hybridized with another variety as they are all showing different types of leaves. This one has a regular tomato leaf.
Here's what's supposed to be Lilac Giant with a distinctly potato leaf.
And here's the third Lilac Giant with a leaf pattern somewhere between the other two. They're all blooming so it'll be interesting to see the difference in fruit.
Another anomaly is all my Chocolate Stripes plants are potato leaved. I grew this out last year and noticed the same, but the fruit looks just like it's supposed to so I thought nothing of it.
Sometimes it's easy to confuse normal leaves with potato leaves as some leaves may lose their serrated edges as they get older, but here you can see even the young leaves on Chocolate Stripes is potato-ey.
I've been waiting with baited breath for the cherry tomatoes to ripen, this is Sun Gold.
Fat Cherry are much larger than Sun Gold but has smaller trusses.
Black Cherry is also larger than Sun Gold but equals it in large trusses.
The pepper plants have gained some size and blossoms are starting to form on all varieties.

The bed to the right is planted with kohlrabi, mizuna, eggplant, bulb fennel, and cucumbers. The mizuna is as tall as the eggplants and the kohlrabi is finally starting to bulb, both were started indoors and then planted out as seedlings.
I'm only growing spicy peppers this year with an eye towards canning lots and lots of salsa. This is an jalapeno plant.
An aerial view of the Jalapeno pepper.
The bulbing purple Kilibri kohlrabi, so pretty.
The cucumber seedlings were planted along the fence behind the mizuna and kohlrabi. I had to harvest 1/2 a pound of mizuna to let some light down to the newly germinated cucumber seedlings.
Hidden cucumbers.
 Cucumber seedlings are the cutest with their soft down leaves.

I watched an interesting video on growing more food in a smaller space. Set in the 80's it showed a gardener in Canada growing all sorts of varieties very efficiently in her small almost tiny urban plot. It is Halifax gardener Carol Bowlby and here's a link to her youtube video.

We have a much larger garden than Carol, but since I would like to grow more variety of foodstuffs I found it very useful. The cucumbers will eventually clamber onto the fence and as the kohlrabi, mizuna, and fennel get harvested and pulled they'll give more light to the cucumbers. Then beets, lettuce, and carrots will replace the harvested plants probably in June.

The 2 bush bean beds will finish in July and will get replaced with Brussels sprout seedlings. The beds were inoculated with Rhizobium which helps beans and peas to fix nitrogen from the air, so the nitrogen levels in these beds should remain at least the same for Brussels sprouts who are notoriously heavy feeders. Between the Brussel sprout seedlings will be direct seeded Asian greens and lettuce.

Four varieties of melons were seeded and planted down the middle of the tomato beds. I planted the two rows of tomatoes in each bed at least 3 feet apart which should give the melon plants enough light as they get going. Ginkaku melon did excellent grown this way in the pepper bed last year, ironically I've only had one of that variety germinate and will need to reseed and hopefully get 2 more plants. Each melon plant is planted 5 feet apart in their row.

The only other thing to plant for the summer garden is the winter wax melon, which keep very well with their waxy covering and we find them delicious in soups and stir fries.

Hope everyone in the states is having a safe and good Memorial weekend. It's been stormy for us but still peaceful. And sorry for the extra long post.


Shaheen said...

Ah thank you for the link, I could not remember the name of your blog and could not come by and repay the compliment. Your garden plot is looking amazing with all that vegetation growth.

Weed killers in gardens are terrible idea, I hope he has not used it and is so, it does not impact on your lovely garden.

Your tomatoe plants are beginning to bulge, long may they continue to grow and ripen. Mine as you may know as still little tiddlers except for three that have started flowering. I am growing kohlrabi too, but it is so nice to see yours in progress.

Phuong said...

Hi Shaheen, My husband thinks​ it was another neighbor ​who's been spraying, he found a long strip of yellow dead plants when he was weed eating with the string trimmer outside the fence. It must have happened recently, so we'll see how the plants cope in time.

I think your garden is lovely, your squash plants look big and healthy. Tomato plants are so quick growing once the weather warms up and it's still early in the season.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

My experience with Cherokee Purple is the same as yours. They are great when we get them, but that isn't very often. I've not had luck with Brandywine either, though it sounds like I should since our climate is much the same. I know that not all Brandywines are the same, so I wonder where you got your seed? It's too late for this year but I might give them a go next time.

I'm growing a potato-leaf tomato called Captain Lucky I grew last year. I had one seedling with regular leaves this year and I pulled it. It will be interesting to see how yours do.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
My source for Brandywine is Ferry-Morse, they used to be out of Kentucky before being purchased by a conglomerate. I have 2 packets from 2015 if you want one of them, they've both been opened. The original seed packet that started it all was from 2011 and finally stopped germinating.

Sue Garrett said...

What an incredible number of tomatoes. Such a shame that you have the weedkiller damage. It may be useful to find out which chemical they used as it may affect how persistent the stuff may be and whether you should compost the plants when the fruiting is over.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
That's a great idea, I'll be asking them when I run into them. It must have just happened because my husband didn't notice the dead patch last week. And luckily the pepper bed is on the other side of the garden.

Your tomato plants in the greenhouse look great, and your fruit and berries are looking amazing. It's good that the late frost didn't affect their blossoms.

Darren @ Notes From the Allotment said...

That's a great selection of tomatoes, Phuong. I hope they ripen up nicely for you. I'm only growing three varieties this year, all allegedly blight resistant, as we have a real problem with phytophthora in our muggy summers.

Phuong said...

Hi Darren,
Blight must​ be terrible at the allotments. Blight usually kills our bigger tomato varieties in August, in drier years the smaller tomatoes might limp along till September.