Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Tomatoes

In recent years our tomato crop has ended just as it was getting started.  The name late blight is a misnomer here as the crop is ruined by it just as the first tomatoes are starting to ripen.  This year this scourge past us by and we have been enjoying fresh tomatoes for more than two months.  The remains of our plants appear dreadful but the plants continue to produce ripe fruit.

Two separate events conspired to kill these leaves.  Some unknown to us wilt first appeared on the lower leaves of the two plants next to uncovered soil.  Once underway it spread to other plants.  Pruning out the diseased leaves was likely futile as the nasty spores fell from the sick leaves on to the healthy leaves when disturbed.  This wilt does not harm the fruit but it does make sad looking plants.

Our September frost was light and patchy.  It ended the top leaves of the nearby squash and took out the mid section of the tomatoes.  Here the frost pours downhill and swirls around obstacles killing here and there while leaving some places untouched.  The frost was not severe enough to damage the actual tomatoes.

These unusual events have allowed us to compare the four different varieties of tomatoes planted.  These Ferline's are the best of the lot.  The tomatoes are rather small but are the most trouble free.  Their catalog description identifies them as having been developed to be disease resistant.  We find that description accurate.  Italian Goliath's came in second here.  They are the most robust plants and their fruit is larger but we have experienced some problems with diseased tomatoes.  Better Boy comes in next to last.  The large tomatoes split at the top providing a route for rot.  Uneven water supply causes these splits but since we do not have any control over the rain or lack of it, we simply discard either the top half or the entire tomato.  These large slices do completely deliciously cover a sandwich.  Siberian was a loser for us.  Plant growth habit featured multiple tops that could not be controlled  by pruning.  These tomatoes were small and unpleasant.  This variety will not appear here next year.  We will need to find a replacement.

The end of the season can be a sad event.  Our tomato harvest spanned more that two months and was bountiful.  We will with no regret wait for next year's harvest for our next fresh tomato.

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