The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

First Tomatoes

June 14th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in garden

Tomatoes love big cages

Tomatoes love big cages

May 2009, with eight inches of rain, was the sixth wettest on record here in the District of Columbia. There were times we weren’t sure we were going to have a harvest this season. The eggplants are still a bit stunted. We’ve seen rot on the squashes. But the tomatoes have not been deterred. It looks like we’ll have a bumper crop.

 We’ve settled on heirloom tomato varieties that we like especially well for flavor and that seem to thrive in our hot, humid summers: Cherokee Purple, a dark, blotchy tomato that is particularly juicy and dense with flavor; Dr. Carolyn, a golden cherry tomato, very sweet; and Roma tomatoes that produce scads of fruit for canning. Last year we also grew the famous Mortgage Lifter tomato. The legend behind the name is that the man who developed this big, very red tomato had so much success selling it that he was able to pay of his mortgage. But in our garden it seemed highly susceptible to infections. This year we opted for a resistant variety offered at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
Tomatoes like lots of room for air circulation and plenty of room to grow, at least three feet between each plant. We plant ours with plenty of home-grown compost, mulch them with a thick layer of straw, the surround them with big cages made of concrete reinforcing wire, five feet tall. We don’t do any other kind of fertilizing and water only as necessary,  meaning not very often at all.
Note: tomatoes will root from anywhere on the stem. So if you have a tall seedling, set it in a deep hole or trench with just the top few inches exposed. It will grow plenty of roots this way and reward you with lots of fruit.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Your comment may have to wait for approval to be published to ensure that we don't accidentally publish "spam". We thank you for understanding.


There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.