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Bumper Crop

Don’t let anybody tell you that heirloom tomatoes just don’t produce very well.


Mostly Pink Brandywine, couple of Cherokee Purples in there too.

This is just the last couple days worth, off three plants. We’ve gone through a couple of bowls full doing tomato sandwiches, bruschetta, chopping them over spaghetti, Kevin’s putting them in his salads…now they’re starting to pile up a bit as we run out of the usual methods. Kevin swears he’ll make salsa or sauce or something tomorrow.

There’s still probably a bowl worth ripe on the plants, I just haven’t gone out to bring them in yet. (When I get really ambitious, I have one potted tomato that has run its course and needs to be sent to the compost heap and replaced with petunias or something. Given the heat recently, I am not all that ambitious.)

It’s been a heckuva year for tomatoes—one of the Brandywines, trained over an arch, is really quite a glorious thing, and I’m probably going to do that every year now—and even the notoriously finicky Cherokee Purple is producing a bumper crop.

Incidentally, they are all upside-down in the bowl because America’s Test Kitchen determined in multiple trials that a tomato stored upside down—or with tape over the stem hole!—lasts two or three days longer than stored upright. Turns out that the air and the bacteria and whatnot that lead it to rot get in primarily through the hole left by the stem, so by placing them stem-side down, you get a couple of extra days on your tomato. How awesome is that?

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.


Tomorrow I plan on dicing up some of mine and putting them on homemade pizza. This year was mostly a test to see if the location I picked would work for tomatoes, only one Cherokee Purple with a handful of Lowes hybrids, but you have inspired me, and I'm hopeful next year to start several heirloom varieties from seed.

I have good luck with Brandywines, although they're supposed to be tricky to raise, so I may just be very lucky with location and climate. "Homestead" has done okay (not amazing) and "Black Krim" did really well for me last year.

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It's the heat, I'd guess. Mine stop doing anything when it cracks a hundred degrees and just sit there.

Thanks for the tip about upside-down tomatoes!

Hmm. Now I want to cook that meatballs and chopped tomatoes thing I have...

This has been an incredible year for tomatoes! Hate this weather otherwise, but it's wonderful for tomatoes.

after last year's miserable crop, we're looking forward to record-setting production this year. We're a little later than you are, being up Nawth and all, but one tomato bush (yes, it's beyond a plant now) has at least 25 tomatoes on it, and the grape tomato varieties are too numerous to count.

My sisters have all done the tomatoes thing. Salsa, tomato paste, tomato purée, sliced tomatoes. They almost had it under control. Then the zucchini came in.

America's Test Kitchen is awesome. I've improved how I do so many things because of them.

Those tomatoes look fantastic!

Thank you for your handy hint - that is, indeed, very cool!!
Gorgeous crop you've got there, lady. Mmm.

(Shame nobody's interested in cooking or gardening posts, eh? ;-)

It was recently revealed that tomatoes are carnivourous. They are, of course, Solanaceae, which are on average more poisonous than not. The family includes Deadly Nightshade and the potato, whose berries are distinctly poisonous. When they were introduced to Britain, the poor would not touch them because it was obvious that berries from that family must be poisonous. Tomatoes contain insecticide in their green bits, and exude insecticidal gases, with the idea that insects will fall to their roots and fertilise them.

On the other hand, breeding tomatoes to have no green bits on the fruit is alleged to be responsible for the poor flavour of commercial varieties. 20% of the energy to form a tasty tomato is said to come from chloroplasts in the fruit rather than from the rest of the plant. So the odd green streak is the residue of the flavour forming bits.

The EEEEVIL uniform ripening gene

Coverage at NPR about how that horrible mutation took over the industry.

Fortunately, most heirlooms seem to lack it.

This is probably the dumbest question ever, but you live near me and I wondered: How often do you have to water your tomatoes to get 'em to do this?

I have rotten luck with tomatoes. I suspect that we've got fusarium wilt in our soil, but other times I think my once a day watering isn't enough.

Deep watering: more at one time, less often.

Thank you for the awesome tomato-saving info.

Also, you can freeze them whole, on cookie trays, and then bag them when they are frozen. When they thaw, they completely mush, and you can just pick out the skin, and boil the mush to glory in the winter. Ta dah. :)

Whoever said that? We have 40 plants and get well over 200 tomatoes a season!

That picture is a prime example of why people live in climates like yours (I certainly can't think of many other reasons to put up with that kind of heat [g]).