Tuesday, July 10, 2012
We are now eating tomato sandwiches for the first time this year and they are wonderful! I don't know if everyone would agree, but I know that home-grown tomatoes are the best and I truly believe organic ones have even more flavor than tomatoes that are conventionally grown. Of course I certainly can't prove it.
I do know that we are having the best tomatoes we have had since we starting gardening. We have dozens of huge tomatoes that will cover more area than a piece of bread, slathered with mayo. Many of them are larger than the palm of my hand and a few are larger than the palms of both hands.
We have several varieties. Two from Renee's Seeds, a patio variety and Chianti Rose. They were grown from seeds months ago and transplanted in two stages for (hopefully) continual production. We also have a few Brandywine tomatoes, a couple of yellow tomato plants and one San Marco, which is a meaty Italian tomato that should make great tomato sauce. The yellow tomatoes and the San Marcos are a little behind the larger tomato plants.
We did do a few different things this year. For one, I didn't pick off any suckers. I have always done this, but I am thinking the extra foliage kept the tomatoes shaded and seemed to help grow more, and bigger tomatoes.
We also heavily limed our garden last fall. I think this helped with tomato diseases. We also have used BT to prevent worms and diotomaceous earth to prevent crawling bugs and I must admit they look amazing.
One other thing--my husband found some organic Miracle Gro and he used that at the beginning of the season and that did seem to really help everything.
We also mulched and it does seem to make a difference in a season that is often too hot and dry. Even though we have had a number of challenges, our tomatoes do seem to be doing well.
You can see that I have a counter top full of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.
Our challenges. The really hot weather, not enough rain and we have had a critter of some sort that has been getting a few of the tomatoes we were trying to let ripen on the vine (also our watermelons, but that is another story). We have picked the tomatoes a little greener than we prefer just to prevent either the rabbit, mice, raccoon or opossum that has gotten about 6 or more tomatoes, so far.
I did throw out some Milorganite which is supposed to be very stinky, is organic and reportedly will repel deer and other varmints. We didn't see any more damage but I can't be sure it will last. We will have to try and outsmart whatever animal it is. Right now I am winning but it is a struggle.
Meanwhile, we have been feasting on tomato sandwiches at my house lately--and we love it!