THE high value crop of the backyard garden, bursting with red, juicy flavor. High value, not only because of yield, but because the quality is undeniably over the top compared to store bought specimens. Tomatoes rarely go on sale either, which also adds to their value in the garden.
This is my first year of enjoying mostly success. The past has been full of disease, low yields, broken vines and sour fruit. I have learned a ton about pruning, vertical growing, aphids and watering. This year I stuck to just a few of the basics; cherry (sweet 100’s), grape, beefsteak and roma’s.
My cherry and grape tomatoes have taken off, reaching 10 feet high and still growing. Though the bottom foliage is browning badly, the tops are healthy and the production is abundant. The grapes are large, looking more like baby romas. The cherries are not my favorite in flavor, probably will not grow them next year. Plenty for snacking, roasting for pastas and giving away. I am going to try this recipe soon too, looks like a good one to freeze and have on hand for easy meals.
Beefsteaks were not as successful. I only averaged 4 per plant and not looking too promising for a future crop. I am sure the aphids hurt things, as well a watering issue I had earlier in the season that lead to the tops cracking on every single beefsteak. Beefsteaks do not grow as fast as the cherries and grapes, so they are suffering from lack of sun. Next year I will plant them in front of my cucumbers and melons so that they get more sun mid season. The flavor is great from what I have, but they go bad fast because of the cracking. I hate putting tomatoes in the fridge, ruin’s their flavor, so we have to eat these fast. I made this curry twice last week, oh, it was good!
I have high hopes in canning my roma’s as well as making salsa (with fresh tomatoes) and marinara. The birds are playing in them and they kept falling over for a while until I got them properly staked. There seems to be a good amount of green fruit on the 6 plants I got going, I just started getting red ones. Next year I am going to get more of these handy dandy Ultomato cages to keep them better under control and make more isle space so that I am not constantly stepping on them.