Sunday, February 06, 2011


I am not pleased with my tomatoes. Well, actually I'm pleased but know they could be better.

Early last spring I found a partial package of Yellow Pear seed dated 2004, six years old. I decided to plant the seed to see if they would germinate and they did. I transplanted them and two other varieties to the garden. A friend gave me one plant. I asked the variety but she couldn't remember, perhaps a Big Boy.

All of the tomatoes did well except the gift which set only three fruit. We had far more than we could use and gave away several pounds. One Sunday afternoon we picked twenty-two pounds and drove around the neighborhood giving them away. During late summer both Julie and I took tomatoes to work and gave them away.

22 pounds of tomatoes.
Twenty-two pounds of tomatoes.

Over the course of the summer several tomatoes volunteered in the garden. I selected three and moved them to pots and set the pots in the ground in a garden bed. Near the end of the summer before the first frost I dug up the pots and moved them to the utility room where I moved them to larger pots. The south wall of the utility room is glass, seven feet tall and 10 feet wide. The tomatoes get plenty of sun but the environment isn't ideal.

Winter tomatoes.
Tomatoes growing in the utility room.

The plants have done OK but not extremely well. One set fruit, another blossomed but didn't set and the third set a few large fruit and stopped blossoming. I began working with them to encourage fruit set and they did much better. We've picked tomatoes, have more to pick and have several green tomatoes as well as continued blossoming.

I'm going to research greenhouse varieties for next winter. By fall I'll have an attached greenhouse completed. As for these three tomato plants, I'll care for them until I can transplant them into the garden. They should do well this coming summer.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Tomatoes as perennials. Well, why not?

2/07/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

AC, there are two types of tomatoes. Determinate and indeterminate. From wikipedia: "Tomatoes are also commonly classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate, or bush, types bear a full crop all at once and top off at a specific height; they are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole field at one time, or home growers interested in canning. Indeterminate varieties develop into vines that never top off and continue producing until killed by frost. They are preferred by home growers and local-market farmers who want ripe fruit throughout the season. As an intermediate form, there are plants sometimes known as "vigorous determinate" or "semi-determinate"; these top off like determinates but produce a second crop after the initial crop. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, although some determinate heirlooms exist."

I've raised indeterminate tomatoes in containers, moved them inside for the winter and then planted them in the garden the next spring and let frost kill them in the fall. They produced tomatoes for over 12 months.

I've done the same with bell peppers.

2/07/2011 10:13:00 AM  

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