Growing Tomatoes – Part 4 – Tomato Envy

I ripped out 3 of my tomato plants earlier in the week.  The Broad Ripple Currant, the Sweet F1 Hybrid and the Baby Red Pear  were all looking pretty much dead, so all came out and I can give that part of the bed a rest before I plant garlic.  Of these 3 the only one I would bother growing again is the Broad Ripple Currant, the other 2 weren’t prolific enough or interesting enough to justify a repeat performance.  The Broad Ripple Currant had the distinction of being my first tomato this year and supplied a reasonable amount of fruit before giving in to our variable weather and my erratic watering.  The other thing the variety has going for it is the kids loved it.

For anyone unfamiliar with these varieties all are small tomatoes:  Broad Ripple Currant is a tall growing yellow currant sized tomato. Sweet F1 Hybrid is a relatively short (mine grew to about 1 metre) bushy plant with red currant sized fruit and Baby Red Pear is a very tall growing plant with a cherry sized, pear shaped tomato.

In a different climate Baby Red Pear may be worth growing as the fruit were nice but it really didn’t like the heat at all, most of the foliage died on our first day above 38 (100F) degrees.

The other thing to note is that my garden never gets full sun and it may be that these varieties would perform better in full sun, or indeed in a slightly cooler climate.  For instance Purple Russian is certainly performing better for my father than for me.

Both came from the same packet of seed and both looked like good seedlings when they were planted.  The pathetic looking one (unfortunately mine) gets  about 5 hours sun a day.  The thick luxuriant one (my fathers) gets full sun and a cooler climate (they are about 4 degrees cooler, on average, than Melbourne).  I think my fathers probably also gets more food – I do need to add more organic matter to my beds but they are not so depleted that it would make this much difference.  His are also mulched a lot more thickly than mine.  It would be interesting if anyone knows which of these variables is most likely to impact on the plants performance.  I started writing this thinking it was the sun but the more I think about it the more I think it might be the mulch protecting the root system.  I have since upped the levels of mulch on my other plants and the blackbirds have helpfully moved it away from the tomato plants and spread it all over my lawn, grrrrrr….

Not all my tomato plants look quite as pathetic as the Purple Russian.

Of my other tomatoes the one that is currently looking the healthiest is the Black Cherry which is one of the youngest plants and also co-incidently (?) is the one which I used the tomato rings on.   I have been really happy using them I have to say, but more on that and the veggie cage which I am finally using in a post to come.  The plant has a few dying leaves but is both happily growing and setting fruit which is all one can ask for really.

I gave all of my remaining tomato plants a prune, feed with fish emulsion and a water earlier in the week –  hopefully that will prolong the crop well into Autumn.  The Rouge de Marmande is already rewarding me with new shoots.

This entry was posted in Tomatoes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Growing Tomatoes – Part 4 – Tomato Envy

  1. Frogdancer says:

    I’m planning on pulling out a few tomato plants this weekend as part of my general garden clear-up.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    I’m starting to think about sowing tomato seeds now. I have deliberately left it later than I usually do. My biggest dilemma is choosing which ones to grow – I have so many packets of seeds! I don’t expect to have any problems with excess heat…

    • Liz says:

      There are just soooo many varieties aren’t there – I was having a think about what I will grow next year and one seed companies list ran to about 30 varieties. Hard to choose….

  3. We are more likely to have our tomatoes suffer from lack of heat rather than too much of it.

    • Liz says:

      Some years that happens to us too – less so in Melbourne than where my parents live but sometimes Melbourne forgets to warm up, last year was a bit like that. This year though it has been a lovely summer – not even I can complain.

  4. KL says:

    I am new into gardening so I can’t tell from my experience what helps tomatoes. But, I can tell you about one of my friend – she is an expert gardener and has been gardening for a long time; she grows lots and lots of tomatoes – so much that she has to make sauce, freeze, etc; her recipe for success is – extremely healthy soil (her soil is so nice, fluffy, full of organic matter that you put your whole hand inside; she double digs and she has a huge pile of compost to use) and then mulch it using grass clippings, leaves, etc.

    • Liz says:

      Yeah, I think I need to spend a bit of energy of developing my soil. I’m already planning on how to care for the bed I want to plant next seasons crop.

  5. kitsapFG says:

    I have shade issues too in my garden and am working to remedy that by a tree removal project about to get underway. I have the double whammy though of also having a cool climate which is NOT a good tomato growing region. I have to work with what I have though.

    • Liz says:

      Its difficult isn’t it. Because my parents live in a comparatively cooler climate there are some years in which they get an awful crop because it simply doesn’t get warm enough – last year was like that. Shade is a pain isn’t it. I really must have another word with my neighbour about those damn eucalypts.

  6. Leanne says:

    YOurs are looking better than mine, but I suspect my problem is not enough attention. I just haven’t had to the time to get out there, must do something about that.

    • Liz says:

      Actually I think sometimes I give them too much attention and am too aware of every little issue. For all my whinging I’ve actually produced about $75 worth of tomatoes (based on Woolworths prices for non organic produce – mine is organic but I find it easier to find the non-organic prices) which when you think about it aint too bad.

  7. Lrong says:

    I am learning too… good soil is probably the key…

  8. Andrea says:

    I’m a little envious of your Dad’s tomato bush too, amazing difference between the two and for you a little dissapointing after all your hard work. When you do remove yours have a good dig down into the soil maybe that will tell you the problem,maybe dry?

  9. leduesorelle says:

    Last season we grew our tomatoes in full sun, and some extra seedlings in an area that got partial sun which did not do as well. I’m wondering if it’s a sun and water problem rather than heat…

    • Liz says:

      I do think the full sun makes a big difference, with some varieties more than others. We had about 3 varieties in common this year and that one was by far the biggest difference between the two plants – unfortunately I can’t really change the sun situation so it would be easier if it was something else. Eventually I’ll work out the best varieties for my garden – I suspect Purple Russian wont be one of them though….

  10. Tony Allen says:

    Lovely photos! I can’t help but notice that you’re using an improvised cord (the black one) to keep the stem of the plant in place. Just last week when I hit on the market, I came across a good thread-like thing ideal for plants. I’m not sure, though if there’s a specific ‘tightness’ when you tie them , or you just based than on your personal judgment.

    • Liz says:

      I cut up my old tights and use them as ties. You want the plant to be held fairly firmly in place but with enough flexibility to allow the stem to grow. My father uses gardening twine and I have friends who use cut up t-shirts, it doesn’t matter a great deal as long as it holds the stem in place without damaging the plant.

      • charlotte says:

        I notice you use/ cut up Thick Black Opaque Tights …are they your own …[or donated] if so , what denier are they ..?

        • Liz says:

          They were my own but as for denier I couldn’t say – I don’t think it matters much though. Having said that about 50 denier would probably be perfect – stretchy but not too stretchy.

  11. mac says:

    Beautiful harvest, I can’t wait to start our spring-summer garden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *