Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Tomato Patch...or, Never Grow a Tomato whose name you can't pronounce

We have a (young, large) dog. She likes to dig*. And chew. We planted a tree in the back yard, and put a small fence around it to protect it from her. As soon as a limb from the tree grew to within her grasp, she grasped it. And broke the tree.

So, we bought another tree. And the hubster built a better fence around it.For the last nine months or so, it's been a grand arrangement.

We also have a small, suburban yard, so gardening space is at a premium. Thus, the space inside the tree cage has become the tomato patch.

As I've mentioned previously, I started most of my plants from seed this year. Fresh tomatoes are the crop both my husband and I are most looking forward to. (I knew I got started late with the seeds, so I bought three tomato plants to tide us over, and planted those in the garden). I purchased seven different varieties of tomato seed:

Amish Paste
Arkansas Traveler
Black Krim
Cherokee Purple
Lime Green Salad
Mama Leone
Tonadose des Conores

Some are good for pastes and sauces, some for sandwiches, and some are cherry tomatoes. There are orange ones, red ones and green ones. I stopped myself at seven varieties, but if I had room, I'd plant as many different kinds as I could. I love fresh tomatoes!

I digress.

For the most part, the seedlings are coming along--just not as fast as I'd like. It's akin to the saying, "A watched pot never boils." But three of the varieties--Mama Leone, Lime Green Salad, and Tonadose des Conores--have been somewhat of a challenge.
See that speck of green near the center of the photo? That's my Lime Green Salad seedling. (For scale, those two larger pieces of green to its right are sprigs of Bermuda grass). It's the largest of the three trouble-makers. I don't think the Tonadose des Conores or the Mama Leone are going to make it. Luckily I have another seedling of each, still growing in cups indoors, but I'm loathe to transplant them. The first transplants were the healthier ones when I first moved them.

It's a little demotivating.

Maybe some types are just more difficult to grow. I've researched the TDC and Mama Leone online, but haven't found any planting or growing info specific to those varieties. The TDC is supposedly an endangered cherry tomato from Italy, but I found some websites that refute that (also, I found that sometimes it is called Tomadose des Comores). Perhaps it's just not a very hardy plant, or maybe it doesn't do well in Oklahoma wind and heat--though it hasn't really even gotten hot here yet; today was the first day it reached the 90s.

At any rate, the hubster and I (but especially the hubster) are anxious for tomatoes, the sooner the better. I may have to give in and buy some more plants, to make sure we have a good crop. It will limit the variety (unless I buy hybrid plants, but I really want to stick to heirlooms), but it will give us more tomatoes. It will also give me more time to research the TDC and Mama Leone. I can freeze the seeds I have left, and hopefully next year I can: a) start the seedlings indoors early enough; and b) have a better idea of how to keep them growing.

Live and learn.

*For those of you with dogs who dig, we've tried several suggested remedies, and found that the best thing to do is keep your dog's nails well-trimmed. This has helped tremendously with our girl. We use a dremel tool on her nails once a week. Here is a good explanation of how to do it.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Thanks for you post a few days ago. I just found it? Anyway, on tomatoes, I gave in and bought about six plants from Home Depot last season. They produced very, very well but died in the first frost.

    Since I'm a garden noob, I'm still learning what grows for several seasons and what doesn't. If you have to "cheat" and buy some plants to get you going, I say Go For It. At least until we learn how to do it ourselves, right?