Sunday, June 19, 2011

Field of (Tomato) Dreams!

We've gone big on tomatoes this year.  With the help of our little crew we've got almost four  hundred plants in the ground!  All of them we started from seed in our little sun room.  We've got a wide variety: heirlooms like 'Brandywine', 'Opalka' and 'Black Krim', proven Prairie winners like 'Manitoba' and 'First Lady',  paste tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and some of the low acid goldens.  We've got about twenty in the hoop house, which appear to be thriving.  The field tomatoes are, well, a little wind whipped, a little soggy.  Yes, we got more rain last night, along with some awesome lightening and rolling thunder.

All the tomatoes were planted in long rows, with the width of the tractor's rototiller between them, for ease of weed control.  One person dug holes every foot or so, one person came along with a wheelbarrow of compost and amended each hole, one person came along with a bucket of bone meal and threw about an eighth of a cup in each hole (that's to supply calcium, to prevent blossom end rot).  Then, a couple of people came along with trays of seedlings, planted and back-filled the hole.  Then, until they ran out, we put collars around the plants, to ward off cutworm.  We ran out of the collars (largely old cans) about half way through, so some little tomatoes are left to their own devices.  We already see a bit of cutworm damage: a plant seemingly cut off at soil level.  We still have a mornings' work to put tomato cages on as many as we can, until we run out of those.  These are closely planted, we may end up with a hedge of tomatoes, but that is okay!  I just want tomatoes, lots and lots of tomatoes!  I'm really serious this year about canning a lot of tomatoes, sauces and salsas, plus we need a good supply for our CSA families and to sell at the Farmers Markets!  Now, if only we would get a little sunshine and heat!


  1. Hard to beat a Black Krim or Black Cherry for flavour! :)
    Have you ever grown Amish Paste? I'm finding mine to très wimpy! The San Marzanos are outpacing them big-time. Sheri

  2. that's so many tomatos! but also so fantastic. My 24 tomatoes doesn't look nearly so much anymore. Last year I had 5 plants and like you, wanted to freeze more this year so went a little crazy with the planting. Hopefully we all get some sunny weather soon because everything is looking a little waterlogged at this point.