The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Disease-resistant tomato update

Tomatoes starting to bulk up

For the past three years, by this part of June, I've been keeping secrets from my husband. I'd come in for lunch on Mondays disgruntled and would dread walking down the tomato row. That's right --- my weekly pruning sessions inevitably turned into a game of fight-the-blight.

It's been drier this year, but based on neighborly reports, I think the real reason blight has yet to hit our farm is because I paid the big bucks for blight-resistant tomato varieties. I've been cutting off lower leaves so they don't drag on the ground, but otherwise have nothing to do during my Monday sessions except tying up stems that have grown a foot or more during the last week. Never mind the eventual yield, those pricey seeds have already paid for themselves in anti-depressant effect!

Plum regal tomato

Nasturtium flowerMost of the new tomato varieties act just the way you'd expect, but Plum Regal seems to be a little odd. I've grown determinate varieties before, but none have topped out so short --- right around knee high. To keep the plants growing, I've taken to leaving the suckers in place since the main stem seems to have already achieved its preferred height.

What's with the nasturtium? It's just another burst of happiness in the tomato zone this year! I planted our 2015 tomatoes in old hugelkultur beds, and one spot contained relatively unrotted wood that made it hard to dig tomato-planting holes. So I instead filled that gap with nasturtiums, borage, zinnias, and chamomile. It's fun to have a colorful collection of flowers in between two of my tomato plants!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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A couple of years ago when I grew many San Marzano Roma plants, I didn't even concern myself with removing suckers. I did prune suckers from my other non-plum varieties. The Roma's did just fine, and we canned and froze many gallons. Of course a side by side comparison of suckered vs de-suckered would prove the necessity of pinching off the suckers...
Comment by jen g Fri Jun 19 09:09:19 2015

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