Gotta Garden

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


One of my favorite summer views:

There's something about seeing homegrown tomatoes ripening on the windowsill that puts me in a good mood. Yes, I'm one of those people who pick their tomatoes at the first blush of ripening and let them finish inside. Several years ago, I picked all the tomatoes off before frost and let them do just taste difference that I could tell! Since then, I've been bringing them in and beating the birds and most of the insects who might do them harm. Works for me!

I've learned some things, as I do every year, as well as wanting to make some notes for next year, so I'm going to do a little midseason review.

The birds have enjoyed the tomato stakes and are convinced I placed them for their use. This was the first year that I've seen so much bird...refuse...on my plants. Also, when they take off, it looks like they almost kick off and set the stakes moving. Interesting, but not particularly getting the stakes in the first time was hard enough!


Has, so far, performed like a champion. Lots of fruit and no problems.

Old Thyme Tasty...and, unfortunately, Pink Beefsteak:

This would be a good What Not To Do. For the second time, Old Thyme Tasty has pulled over and broken its stakes. Sadly, it took Pink Beefsteak with it....helped, I think, by my (not) brilliant idea of tying part of Old Thyme Tasty to Pink Beefsteak. Not one of my better moments. OTT has been, to this point, a good producer but I will have to rethink how I want to grow it, if I do so next year. It's clearly a heavy vine. Part of that may be due to heavy fruiting as it got higher. I read recently (in a book I just might purchase and review) a suggestion to cut off the growing point. That might keep it from getting quite so tall, but then I'll have to think of a way to corral all of its branches. This is probably OTT's last day as I think I will just take it out and try to save Pink Beefsteak. I have this thing for pink tomatoes, sorry. And, there is just one remaining salvageable stake among them.

German Johnson:

Looking good and anticipating some jumbo tomatoes. I do like them big.

Missouri Love Apple is also loaded pretty well and so gets a favorable rating to this point.


Always a favorite and as far as I'm concerned, the only cherry tomato to grow. Now, if I could just hold off eating them until they are completely orange...what a treat, so sweet. One produces enough to munch off of every day.

Eva's Purple Ball is a disappointment to date. And doesn't look to improve. Yes, it survived having its leader chopped off and how does it reward me, you ask?? With small fruit (worthless size, in my opinion...too big to be a cherry and way too small to be a slicer...what is the point??) that is not purple, not pink just basic tomato red/orange. Blah.

Pink Caspian is a yearly favorite. It got a late start after being tortured in the pot ghetto, but is trying hard to rebound. I would plant it again (of course!) but try to treat it better.

Hillbilly is also a disappointment. Wouldn't bother again. Early torture aside, it just isn't cutting it and my space is precious (and my appetite for tomatoes even larger).

Worse yet is this one called Pink Girl. Just forget about it. Space waster also.

Funny, I visited someone' garden in July who calls these rogue tomatoes (I mean to blog about her garden...someday) which amused me. I've always called them compost tomatoes because that (other than in a few areas where I get reseeding) is where they come from...for me. This year's compost tomatoes far...most impressive. Impressive because they spring from seed to blooming plants the fastest of any tomatoes I have ever seen. I am still pulling out plants because they just won't have enough time and also because there isn't room (despite what they obviously think) for them to grow where they have chosen. Three have made the grade, so far, to save. Really, it was because by the time I made the effort to pull them out, these had nice fruit and I didn't have the heart. I have no idea what they are, but look how white (vs the usual green) the fruit is:

They're pretty good size, too. (Hear that, Eva's Purple Ball??) Well, that's all for today's tomato round up. Except for a brief pepper mention. What's with my bell peppers?? They seem to think their job is done when they have produced one (ONE!) pepper! Not so the Jalapenos (bless them)...although one (of the two I have) is covered by the fallen OTT and PB....rescue is on the way.

Did you notice my header?? I'm so proud! My daughter did that for me! That's a picture I took of some of my daffodils and she played around with it...and there you see the result! I couldn't be happier...isn't she something!


kate said...

Wow! I am impressed by your tomatoes ... I have one cherry tomato plant growing. Where do you find the space for everything that you grow? I wish, wish, wish that I had a bigger, brighter garden ... ah the joys of living in the middle of a city.

And, how you know all of your plants ... that slays me. I thought of you when I collected all of my plant tags that spill out of a wicker basket. hmmm... some 5 years' old and where did that plant go, I wonder?

Your daffodil head is beautiful... talent runs in the family!

Gotta Garden said...

Ah, Kate, how nice to come in and find your comment! It was just what I needed as I was outside happily watering/feeding plants (with earphones on listening to the radio...picture this) when I happened to glance up just in time to see Kobe racing at full speed down the road as a car is coming by!!!!! Riley, fortunately, stayed in the yard and I hurriedly took her inside. Then, I set off down the road yelling at the top of my lungs for Kobe...while behind me trailed Leo...and every three seconds or so, he would let out an "owwwwwgah" peculiar non-meow sound. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was hollering for Kobe, too. Down the road we went and then back up...I'm feeling very anxious because I am not one who likes loose dogs and guess who now has one on the loose??! As I approach my yard, who do I see??? Tail wagging wildly??? I call him and he comes out to me on the road and as he approaches, he lies down and crawls to me with his head down. So pitiful, I didn't have the heart to scold him. We came inside (all of us, Leo, too) where I proceeded to give a lecture (not that he listened....)...while Riley made sure I knew that she didn't leave the yard.

So, thank you, thank you for bring some calm and nice thoughts into my world!

Okay (now you'll regret leaving!)....everything here is crammed together. The tomatoes grow right next to daylilies. I have reached a point where I think I have run out of new places to plant tomatoes (unless I pot them...which I was going to try this year, but just didn't get around to it), I am going to dump lots of stuff (this fall) on the areas where they are now....and try them there again next year...even though I know you're not supposed to do that. But, when they reseed, they come up in the same area, so, I'll try it...but I may be moaning next year!

Hmmm, maybe I am OCD?! One of my little compulsions! Well, really, though, you flatter me because I am not so very strong in my plant Latin! Common names stick with me, maybe because I find them amusing. I do enjoy knowing what things are. And, I have lots and lots of plant tags in bags and containers that I thought I would organize into a spreadsheet (hasn't happened) fact, down by my feet right now are a few I notice that I might as well throw away...they have died!

I love hearing about your garden and I think city living must bring its own can probably walk to things!

Well, I suppose I should return to the task at hand...time gets by me.

Annie in Austin said...

The window sill photo is great - love that mellow glow on the waiting tomatoes. You and Carol/May Dreams have such good results with German Johnson - that picture makes me jealous!

Now that you've got the livestock corraled, Gotta Garden, you can catch your breath and snack on a tomato!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Michelle said...

The header is gorgeous! Very talented daughter you have!

Carol said...

I agree that the little yellow cherry tomatoes, like Sungold, are the best and sweetest, although I've grown Sugary in the past and it is quite sweet, too.

German Johnson, as Annie noted in her comment, is one of my favorite old time tomatoes.

And finally, I also harvest my tomatoes a little early and let them finish off inside. Then you lose less tomatoes that split open in the hot sun or get pecked by birds or rabbits.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I had a micro cherry tomato show up last year, out of the blue, in the midst of my coleus and camilla bed. It was great! This year we branched out to heirlooms, but production is slow. Last year I picked my first cherry volunteer the middle of June, this year it was the last week in July.
Rogue tomatoes are the best, but those heirlooms are always so tempting with the cute names and colorful varitations.

Julia said...

I've been picking my tomatoes early too and have wondered if they might lose taste, so I'm glad to hear they don't :)

lisa said...

Cool mid-season review! One of these days, I'd like to try tomatoes "on purpose" again like this, instead of just late season impulse buys. That windowsill looks very inviting, wonder how many crows crash into it coming after those tasties? Your daughter did a fine job with the header, BTW!

Entangled said...

I've had so much trouble with tomatoes cracking after our recent rain that I'm thinking I should let them ripen indoors too.

But your Eva Purple Ball doesn't sound anything like mine. It's one of my favorites - not so much for the flavor, which is just average, but they're the best-looking tomatoes I have. Mine are somewhere between baseball and softball size with perfectly smooth pink skin over ruby-red flesh.

Gotta Garden said...

Hi Annie: I did enjoy a tomato (or two)! This year has been better for some than others. I think today I will take out a few more, the crowding issue, falling down, etc. Next year, I hope to put more thought into it...I'd like several paste tomatoes to make more sauce...

One of the things about German Johnson is when you slice it, it is nice and great for BLTs (in my opinion)!

Thanks for the nice words!

Hi Michelle: You are so sweet to notice! I will have to tell her, although she does visit on occasion, so maybe she will see your comment. I think she is! Thanks!

Hi Carol: So nice to see you! Your garden looks to be producing wonderfully! Each growing season, I realize the things I've, if only I could remember them! (Maybe this blog will help!)

Hi there TOLAM! You remind me that this year, for the first time, I think, I didn't have a cherry tomato reseed...anywhere...very unusual. Enjoy yours! How early your tomatoes can be! Early July would! Can't imagine June...that would be wonderful! Well, the rogues are pretty amazing...just in my way, of late...I do, too, like the choices with heirlooms. I once thought I would have an heirloom tomato seed collection...and then thought, how silly is that...either plant them or be done with them! Thanks for stopping by!

Well, Julia, it works for me! More for me! Lol! I hope you think so, too!

Hi Lisa: I hope none (crows)! I haven't seen any/heard any/found any, so maybe that's promising. We do have a screened porch (the doorway is open) and birds do find their way in there...and seem to have a hard time finding there way out...once, a hawk was in there! I took the broom to shoo him out. I didn't realize until later what/who he was...big claws...very small head!

Thanks for noticing! She worked hard on it (wanting it perfect). I thought it was great at many points along the way, but it was not to her satisfaction. Now, I have to. hopefully, convince her when she is next home to work on a picture for my new blog header!

Hi Entangled...Hmmm, I wonder if I have some misnamed thing?? Yours sounds much better. I have been even more disappointed with it than I said (ha!). Today, I'm thinking it is one of the ones that problematic...and just that one! It is next to my Sungold and for the first time ever, something is bothering all the years I have been growing Sungold (nine years?), I have never had anything bother them! I blame it on Eva! (or Non-Eva, whatever!) Thanks for letting me know!

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