Early Tomato Update
Early Tomato Update
August 22, 2009
We can report good, and mixed results at the same time. It's been a generally lousy year for tomatoes--reports from all over are bad. So on the good side, the early plants continued to be significantly larger and more vigorous than my plants planted mid may, right up til now. They're very prolific with fruit, and are fantastic tomatoes. Like others I've had a terrible tomato year with all those later plants--not much fruit, very late ripening.
On the mixed side, we didn't actually get tomatoes off the early planted plants until the second week in July, and not a huge amount then. By early August, they were starting to ripen in goodly amounts, and since then they are great producers. Again, the later-planted plants aren't. But relative to the year, and other tomatoes this year, and by all the stories I've heard from others, the early planting was a qualified success--much better than others, BUT no tomatoes by the beginning or even middle of June.
August 15, 2009
For me, the EarthBox experiment was a bust. The tomatoes planted in them were not so great (see above caveat about the year, however). The zucchini didn't fare as well as they do in the ground. And the watering is not the snap claimed. The watering basin seemed to need to be filled about every other day, for the plants not to dry out--lots more work than drip.
In the end, I think there's just not enough root area in them for normal tomatoes, zuchinni, and other veg that throw pretty good roots. Perhaps they're a solution if you have an apartment, or a small patio, or no other place to put vegetables, but as an alternative to a garden, or raised beds, EarthBox is a non-starter.
June 16, 2009
The three early plants are physically much larger and further along than those planted in May, and there is lots of fruit on them, in various stages of ripening. When I looked yesterday, three small Early Girls were ripe, so I picked them. That's just under 90 days from planting in mid-March, and will no doubt be between a month, and a month-and-a-half earlier than my plants put in at the normal time. So qualified success--again amount and length of crop yet to be determined. Refinements next year will focus on trying to get that almost 90 day maturity down a couple weeks in that early period (early girls are supposed to be something between 60-70 days)
June 1, 2009
Our early tomato experiment shows some promise so far, if not perfect success. I was able to find Early Girl, of course and Stupice as early varieties, and planted them the end of the second week of March--not quite as early as I'd planned, but still two full months before I normally plant. I did not preheat the soil with black plastic, but did create a small compost pile under each of the three test plants. I planted them with about half the stems covered, in the 'trench' method. Three 2-litre soda bottles filled with water as heat sinks went around each plant.
In the ensuing weeks, we had a cold snap, though not a hard freeze, and some rain. I covered a sparse frame around the plants with clear plastic for about two weeks during that time. I mulched fairly heavily, both for heat retention and weed suppression, and watered a bit less than normal, every few days. I've yet to try the red tomato mulch so cannot report on that.
Still to be determined is quality and amount of fruit, and length of tomato production by the plants.