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Post  Dan in Ct on 8/23/2019, 8:04 am

hammock gal, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Plant Science Day at The Ct. Experimental Station's Lockwood Farm in Hamden/Mt. Carmel on August 7th. I sat in on Dr. Abigail Maynard workshop on Growing Better Tomatoes. Walked in thinking I knew everything. walked out realizing how little I knew. Needless to say my methods and procedures are being revamped not totally but to a very great degree. She suckers put does not prune and only up to the first blossoms/flowers. She did give her 5 best producers, all heirlooms and I believe she said she gets most of her seeds from Totally Tomatoes. Here they are in order of production and the number is per plant and no, I have never gotten this kind of production from a tomato in a 5 gallon bucket, not even close. Granny Cantrell 38.4; Mrs. Maxwell's Big Italian 38.4; Mule Train 37.7; Dester 35.3; Golden Jubilee 28.4. I believe she only trials heirlooms but don't quote me. Next year will be Dr. Abigail Maynard last year at Lockwood, this was her 39th year. I was and am very impressed with her knowledge and the manner in which she conveys it. I would travel great distances to hear her talk tomatoes. Plus she also runs compost trials at the farm. She is one of my agricultural heroes.
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/23/2019, 8:56 am

Don't we love our tomatoes!  Smile  One of my favorite heirlooms is the Golden Jubilee, and it is always a heavy producer.  Yesterday I picked 5 tomatoes off one plant, and all of them were huge - one was 2# 2oz, and total of the 5 was 8# 6oz.  I did Brix testing on the largest one when we cut it for dinner, and it had a reading of 16 - a lot of sugar in that baby!

We only have 5 tomato plants this year, but still picking 1 to 1.5 gallons of tomatoes a day. Unfortunately, the Brandywine has quit producing already - we really miss those beauties!
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/23/2019, 9:54 am

A couple Golden Jubilee Tomatoes I picked this morning.

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Post  hammock gal on 8/23/2019, 10:19 am

Hey there Dan in CT! Yes, the experiment station is a wealth of gardening knowledge. That workshop must have been fascinating. I will definitely be checking out her recommendations. I have a SFG, and only grow tomatoes in it! That's how much I love them. If I could get some plants to be as prolific as those you've listed, I'd be one happy camper. Here is one that I ran across that I thought might be worth checking out. https://www.superseeds.com/products/climbing-triple-crop-tomato-80-days

Ohio Gardener, yes we do love our tomatoes! At least part of the reason is that our growing season (here, at least) is SO short. I always feel like I have to eat as many as possible during the summer because I know it's going to be a looooong wait until the next garden tomato. I'm going to have to check out the Golden Jubilee, it's one I'm not familiar with, it's definitely a beauty. For me, in another year that hasn't been great for the garden, I've been pleasantly surprised with the Orange Oxhearts. They've out-produced all the others by far. I picked this one yesterday. Not only beautiful, but huge. It weighs in at 12.45oz. Isn't it pretty?


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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/23/2019, 9:22 pm

Wow, lovely!  My tomatoes have been really non-productive this year.  Lots of cherry tomatoes, which is all that survived.  My purchased Mr. Stripey are OK, but not my brandywine...again.  And no Cherokee Purple:roll:
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Post  hammock gal on 8/24/2019, 7:25 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Wow, lovely!  My tomatoes have been really non-productive this year.  Lots of cherry tomatoes, which is all that survived.  My purchased Mr. Stripey are OK, but not my brandywine...again.  And no Cherokee Purple:roll:

It's frustrating, isn't it? I grew Cherokee Purples my first SFG year, and they produced for me, but with terrible catfacing. I had to carve so much away, that there wasn't much left to eat. This all reminds me of my multi-year struggle to grow moonflowers, which grow like weeds for some people. I tried everything, and could not get them to grow for me, ever. So I finally decided to grow flowers that I didn't have to struggle with, flowers that grew happily and without all that drama. And I think that's where I'm headed with tomatoes. Narrow down the ones I like that will grow easily and well for me. Cherries are definitely up there on the list. They're tasty and pretty much unstoppable. Drawback...you can't cut a nice, thick slice for a sandwich. The Orange Oxhearts will be on my list to grow again next year, hopefully their abundance this year is not a fluke. I figure eventually I'll come up with a list of tomatoes that are fairly reliable for me. Until then, we still have our cherries to enjoy!!! hungry
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Post  Dan in Ct on 8/24/2019, 9:08 am

hammock gal, are you able to save seeds from the tomatoes you like? Many of the seeds you purchase can be and probably were grown in very different environments and by saving seeds you can acclimate the plants and should get better productivity. I never got Cherokee Purple to be very productive but you may want to try Carbon, an All American Selection in 2005. Not an heirloom but an open-pollinated variety. But I would still grow Cherokee Purple for one of the best Tomato sandwiches ever. Sadly I grew up on Better, Big, Better Than Ever, Boys and Girls. I have yet to find anything close in production in a 5 gallon bucket than a Big Beef. The good news, my local nursery also has a vegetable stand and sells the Big Beef both as transplants and later on in the season as fresh produce.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/24/2019, 10:13 am

@hammock gal wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Wow, lovely!  My tomatoes have been really non-productive this year.  Lots of cherry tomatoes, which is all that survived.  My purchased Mr. Stripey are OK, but not my brandywine...again.  And no Cherokee Purple:roll:

It's frustrating, isn't it? I grew Cherokee Purples my first SFG year, and they produced for me, but with terrible catfacing. I had to carve so much away, that there wasn't much left to eat. This all reminds me of my multi-year struggle to grow moonflowers, which grow like weeds for some people. I tried everything, and could not get them to grow for me, ever. So I finally decided to grow flowers that I didn't have to struggle with, flowers that grew happily and without all that drama. And I think that's where I'm headed with tomatoes. Narrow down the ones I like that will grow easily and well for me. Cherries are definitely up there on the list. They're tasty and pretty much unstoppable. Drawback...you can't cut a nice, thick slice for a sandwich. The Orange Oxhearts will be on my list to grow again next year, hopefully their abundance this year is not a fluke. I figure eventually I'll come up with a list of tomatoes that are fairly reliable for me. Until then, we still have our cherries to enjoy!!! hungry
Yes, it really is.  I think some of the older indeterminate (heck, maybe all of them?) don’t appreciate the heavy handed pruning that getting them into one square requires...might play around with that next year.  I feel like the first year when I was more lenient (because I didn’t know what I was doing!) they did the best...I don’t know.

Dan, I grew up on the same unstoppable but pale Bigs and Betters...


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 8/24/2019, 10:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Dan!)
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/24/2019, 10:22 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote: My tomatoes have been really non-productive this year.  Lots of cherry tomatoes, which is all that survived.  My purchased Mr. Stripey are OK, but not my brandywine...again. 
I've never been able to grow the big, long-season tomatoes, but this year I have a good spot to make another attempt at an indoor brandywine. It's already a couple of inches high. Today It goes into its permanent container in front of the south-facing slider to the master bedroom balcony. Wish me luck. I also stuck a beefsteak tomato plant out on the kitchen balcony. I'm thinking maybe I can get these guys to produce late, after the triple-digits are done. Fingers crossed.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/24/2019, 10:28 am

@Hammock Gal wrote:I figure eventually I'll come up with a list of tomatoes that are fairly reliable for me. Until then, we still have our cherries to enjoy!!!

May I join that club, please? I've been working on it for 3 years and finally doing a little better this year. okay
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/24/2019, 4:47 pm

This will be my first year ever with a cold frame...we will see.  I doubt I will try tomatoes, but many others will be given a go!
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/24/2019, 6:32 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:I've never been able to grow the big, long-season tomatoes, but this year I have a good spot to make another attempt at an indoor brandywine. It's already a couple of inches high. Today It goes into its permanent container in front of the south-facing slider to the master bedroom balcony. Wish me luck. I also stuck a beefsteak tomato plant out on the kitchen balcony. I'm thinking maybe I can get these guys to produce late, after the triple-digits are done. Fingers crossed.

Don't forget to pollinate them when they start blooming....
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/24/2019, 7:02 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:I've never been able to grow the big, long-season tomatoes, but this year I have a good spot to make another attempt at an indoor brandywine. It's already a couple of inches high. Today It goes into its permanent container in front of the south-facing slider to the master bedroom balcony. Wish me luck. I also stuck a beefsteak tomato plant out on the kitchen balcony. I'm thinking maybe I can get these guys to produce late, after the triple-digits are done. Fingers crossed.

Don't forget to pollinate them when they start blooming....
Thanks for the reminder, OG. I probably would have forgotten. Embarassed
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Post  yolos on 8/24/2019, 9:20 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@OhioGardener wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:I've never been able to grow the big, long-season tomatoes, but this year I have a good spot to make another attempt at an indoor brandywine. It's already a couple of inches high. Today It goes into its permanent container in front of the south-facing slider to the master bedroom balcony. Wish me luck. I also stuck a beefsteak tomato plant out on the kitchen balcony. I'm thinking maybe I can get these guys to produce late, after the triple-digits are done. Fingers crossed.

Don't forget to pollinate them when they start blooming....
Thanks for the reminder, OG. I probably would have forgotten. Embarassed
Why can't you plant at a different time of year in order to get the big tomatoes.  Plant in fall or winter like they do in Florida.?????????
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/24/2019, 10:22 pm

@Yolos wrote:Why can't you plant at a different time of year in order to get the big tomatoes.  Plant in fall or winter like they do in Florida.?????????
That's the plan. I know I'm pushing it a little, but I figured the little bit of heat we have left shouldn't hurt them before they start blooming. If this doesn't work, I'll try again in late winter.
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Post  Dan in Ct on 8/25/2019, 7:21 am

Scorpio Rising, I am not complaining about The Girls and the Boys. I do enjoy the taste and they are the comfort food taste I grew up with. I don't think my dad in the over 20 something years he grew in the same spot, no rotation had few if any soil borne disease problems because of their resistance. I just wanted it out there because of my tomato palate I may not be the best to judge an heirloom tomato contest.

Good luck with your cold frame. One year I read a couple of Eliot Coleman's books about extending the season and was psyched to give a couple of ways a try but then The Crazy Half Acre happened. The Crazy Half Acre is on the north side of a slope surrounded by trees that are on the neighbor's properties. The best gardening area unless you wish to grow moss is in the front yard on the north side of the house. It is the reason I originally started gardening in 5 gallon buckets, another is I am often contrary and finally at the time it seemed fun and easy. Mix top soil with manure at 2:1 and plant something. 

Around September 15th the sun will not clear the trees to give sunlight to the front yard until after 12:00 - 1:00 and then just barely and only for a short time before it begins to dip down below the trees once again. Then to get the sunlight back I have to wait until the leaves fall off the trees, by then I am below 10 hours of total daylight, not necessarily sunlight and below 10 hours of daylight growth slows. Plus I don't think I would wade through knee deep snow to harvest lettuce or any other green, carrots or beets maybe. Would be nice to have a cold frame in the spring for the backyard before the leaves arrive to harden off transplants. Sigh! If this sad gardening tale brought a tear to your eye don't be afraid to go to my Go Fun Me page and help Dan get more sunlight, isn't it all about harnessing solar energy anyway. My dad called me son.
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Post  Dan in Ct on 8/25/2019, 7:35 am

I made a mistake on the Granny Cantrell tomato it was 46.7 lbs/plant not the 38.4 lbs/plant I listed. There wasn't a tie with Mrs. Maxwell's Big Italian. Now I hope Mrs. Maxwell's Big Italian isn't upset.
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Post  hammock gal on 8/25/2019, 8:38 am

@Dan in Ct wrote:hammock gal, are you able to save seeds from the tomatoes you like? Many of the seeds you purchase can be and probably were grown in very different environments and by saving seeds you can acclimate the plants and should get better productivity. I never got Cherokee Purple to be very productive but you may want to try Carbon, an All American Selection in 2005. Not an heirloom but an open-pollinated variety. But I would still grow Cherokee Purple for one of the best Tomato sandwiches ever. Sadly I grew up on Better, Big, Better Than Ever, Boys and Girls. I have yet to find anything close in production in a 5 gallon bucket than a Big Beef. The good news, my local nursery also has a vegetable stand and sells the Big Beef both as transplants and later on in the season as fresh produce.

Dan, yes I'll be saving seeds from the Orange Oxheart this year, and if anyone would like some, I'd be happy to send them. And thanks, I've added Carbon to my list of tomatoes to try. As far as the Boys and Girls go, years ago I had an Italian landlord in the city, who had a small yard, but the entire space was given over to his garden. His wife complained she couldn't get to the clothesline because he had planted tomatoes under it. If I remember correctly, he had 289 tomato plants. They were his babies and he loved them the best, but he also grew zucchini, peppers, basil, grapes, asparagus, eggplant, etc. And I remember most of the tomatoes being Big Boy, Early Girl, and Jet Star, if memory serves. Almost daily, I would get a bushel basket of produce on my steps. Glorious! I think I may follow his lead, and add one of each of those to my trials and see how they do. It's one thing to want to grow the beautiful heirlooms, but if they don't do well, it's just an exercise in frustration, and life's too short for that. I want tomatoes!!! drooling hungry
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Post  RJARPCGP on 8/26/2019, 8:07 pm

My family has been at this property for 18 months now. flower
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