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

First tomato

Ripening tomato

I've had my eye on our oldest tomato plant for weeks.  (This is the one that volunteered in our lemon tree's pot this winter and which I set out in the garden on April 21, babying through cold spells.)  The plant swelled up huge fruits, then kept swelling more and more fruits, none of which changed color.  Last week, I saw the tiniest hint of red on the oldest fruit, and crossed my fingers.  But I was looking in entirely the wrong spot for our first tomato.

Stupice tomatoes

Nearly ripe Stupice tomatoWednesday morning, I caught a glimpse of orange from the tomato bed on the opposite side of the naughty butternuts.  I peered closer and saw a fruit nearly ripe!

A few years ago when we splurged on seeds for several heirloom tomatoes, I picked out Stupice as a very cold-tolerant and early variety.  Sure enough, it looks like the Stupice tomato will probably be the first one on our plate, perhaps by the end of the week.

To be fair, though, this mini-experiment doesn't prove that tomatoes started in a cold frame and set out at the frost free date ripen just as quickly as those started indoors and transplanted out three weeks earlier.  I have absolutely no clue what variety my volunteer belongs to, and I suspect it might have been the seed of a storebought tomato that made it into our neighbor's compost and thus to us.  At this point, though, I'm at the who-cares stage --- as long as I get a sun-ripened tomato shortly, experiments will fly out of my head.

Our homemade chicken waterer never spills or fills with poop.

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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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Are you sure that is a Stupice tomato? My Stupice tomatoes are larger than a cherry tomato, but smaller than a regular tomato. They are orange though, like the one in your photo.
Comment by zimmy Thu Jul 15 10:53:16 2010

The first picture isn't the stupice, but the second and third ones are. They definitely fit your size description --- a bit of a halfway house tomato, not really cherry, but not really full size.

I've been reading up on tomato ripening (more on that later), and discovered that the orangey-red color I see sometimes isn't a variety trait. It's the result of the heat wave --- when temperatures reach about (I think it was) 86 F, the color of the resulting tomato turns from red to orange.

Comment by anna Thu Jul 15 12:15:58 2010
I get my early tomato fix by planting 1 or 2 grape or cherry varieties. I just have to wait for my romas to turn red.
Comment by Fostermamas Thu Jul 15 20:12:28 2010
I probably would have chosen a tommy-toe for our started-indoors variety if I'd been planning the experiment. Interestingly, though, the Stupice (52 days) is ripening sooner than either of our tommy-toes (Blondkopfchen: 75 days and Crazy: 55 days supposedly, but not ripe yet). Wandering through the internet, the only tomatoes I can find that compare with Stupice are Sophie's Choice (50 days), Lime Green Salad (52 days), Fireworks (50-55 days), and Glacier (50 days.)
Comment by anna Fri Jul 16 07:09:28 2010

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