Friday, August 13, 2004

Tomatoes: They're What's for Dinner

I was informed yesterday by Tony our neighbor that my tomatoes were ripe. I have to wonder how closely he's been monitoring them because he seemed to know the status of each plant.

Well, he was sort of right. All the tomatoes are heirlooms, and it is hard to tell when they are ripe. Both the Purple Cherokee (Cherokee Purple?) and the Brandywine are the types that are ripe when they are a sort of undetermined muddy color. Some of the Cherokees looked like they were getting mushy so I decided I'd better pick them. Picked three of them and a Brandywine.

Verdict: Good but not great. The Brandywine probably wasn't completely ripe and the Cherokees were mushy and a bit lacking in flavor. They had gotten majorly scorched a few weeks ago w. the 100+ degree weather, which was surely a contributing factor.

I have one other plant that is supposedly an Old German, but I think it must have been mislabeled. Old Germans are supposed to be striped and large. These tomatoes are smallish (although plentiful) and I have a suspicion that they are going to be yellow or orange when ripe.

I'm still in the trial-and-error phase with tomato gardening. Next year I am going to plant some if not all hybrid tomatoes like Celebrity, Champion, or Better Boy. For one thing, you can tell when they are ripe, also hybridization was done for a reason, I need to remind myself--to breed for tomatoes that will be disease resistant, flavorful, attractive, and a host of other reasons. I think this whole heirloom craze is a bit overrated. It's true that one of the best tomatoes I ever had was an heirloom, but I think they do not produce as many tomatoes and are a bit more prone to problems.

I will re-evaluate when the season is over to see if I can get good ripe tomatoes out of the Purple Cherokee and the Brandywine.

On a sidenote, the tomatoes growing in the raised bed in the back were pretty much of a disaster w. the exception of the Sungold cherry. It did pretty well and the tomatoes were good, considering I'm not much of a fan of cherries, but I still think production was on the low side. The Black Krim and Legend did almost nothing. Each has about half a dozen small tomatoes. The Black Krim got blossom-end rot pretty badly and the Legends are small and sort of dry and mealy. Legends, BTW, are supposed to have been bred esp. for the PNW, so I think there is either a problem w. the location, soil, watering technique, or all three.


Post a Comment

<< Home