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Will I need a step ladder? (The saga of the tall tomato)


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#1 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 05:12 PM

Well, it is almost August and I seem to have a problem... I have run out of room for my Opalka paste tomato's to climb! I built this trellis to seven feet tall, and now the plants have breached the eight foot mark! I only have two red ones almost ripe, so how far will they go?

Those crazy Tomatillo's have pretty much blocked access around their cages to get into my tomato's. They now require me to step over the fence, or duck under this bee laden bush. I appear to have a million of these things, so I hope I like them! They are odd, one bush has a ton of smaller tomatillo's and the other one has a couple dozen, but they are huge. Odd, because I grew them from seed!

Posted Image

Here is one of my Opalka's that is almost ripe... I have some huge ones, and some that look like Jalapeno's. I do think these will be my sole tomato next year if they taste good. They really like to climb a rope as the branches seem to drop down and are easy to "lock" into each other to keep it on the rope.

Posted Image

My Tangerine Dream peppers (seen in the above photo in front of the tomato's) are going great and are loaded with peppers. The green ones seem to taste good, just like a bell pepper really. I can't wait until they all burst into orange!

My rings of corn and butternut is working out great. The corn is very happy, and I have a bunch of ears popping up everywhere and the squash has filled the middle. It even works well as I keep sticking the vines back into the corn rings when they escape!

My cucumbers (which were planted in left over tomato cages) have also worked great. They filled the cage, and are working their way down the outside. Taller cages would be nice. I think I am going to take all my left over cages and make them about 8 feet tall. Then I can use them for the tomatillo & cucumbers.

As for my bush beans, I have already canned 28 quarts with no end in sight. With 460 feet of beans, I am sure I will have more! I also having great luck with my hot peppers and herb's. I have managed to fill a large quart jar with dried (but not crushed) basil. That will be great when it comes time to make my sauce!

#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 05:25 PM

Nice looking Garden, those are some really nice looking tomato plants!

#3 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 06:17 PM

That garden looks great! I can't imagine tomato plants that tall! We planted mostly Romas this year for sauce. You'll have to let us know how the Opalkas turn out, they look much bigger than the Roma. It doesn't help that the tomatoes are small this year because of high temps and little rain.

#4 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 06:28 PM

Wow, that's impressive.
You have a green thumb.

I wish we did.
I gotta go get a pic of "their" (wife and girls) tomato plant.

You'll see what I mean.

#5 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 06:39 PM

Yep, you most definatley have a very nice crop going there.
Here is ours.
I'm hoping to get 1/8 of a BLT out of this years harvest.:smile1:

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#6 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 08:42 PM

Thanks guys! The garden did not look anywhere near as good before I pulled four wheel-barrows of weeds out! (and that just made it to the corn!) It had really gotten away from me this year, my bean patch is a dang mess! The tomato's and peppers had grass clippings down, so the weeds were only in the path and edges, but still! It looks really awesome on that half of the garden, but it took about four hours!

Anyway, the tomato's are really doing well this year. I have 8 of the Opalka's and 8 of the Roma III's (wait, I have 9 Opalka's... I planted an orphan in between the rows because nobody wanted it!) It's not a good test of size against the Roma's, partly because the Roma's have morning shade until about 10:30-11:00 because of a tree. On top of that, I know the Roma is a "Determinate" plant and will only get "so" big. I have to assume, the Opalka, being an heirloom, is a "non-determinate" plant and will grow as far as it can go. The Opalka's do seem to have a bit more blossom end rot than the Roma's, but it is still there. As for size, it's hard to tell. I have some freakishly huge ones, and some that are tiny. Some look like light green Jalapeno's, some like banana peppers, and then these huge wedge shaped things like in the photo. Everything I read on them push them to the forefront of the line when it comes to paste tomato's. Very meaty, few seeds, and a very sweet tomato. If you start your tomato's from seed, they are easy enough to get a hold of. Mine came from these guys => Tomatoes: Paste Varieties

I am torn between growing just these next year, or buying lots of seeds and putting in maybe 4 types. My (purely awesome) trellis system is set up in 4 batches of 4 plants, so putting in 4 breeds would be easy. There is even room on the far end where I planted one in between the legs of the two trellis's. I may place a store bought cherry tomato there next year. Although.... Tomato Growers have some awesome cherry breeds too! I mean, it's only a couple bucks... I could buy a package to get just one plant! LOL

Sherwood.... if these keep growing, they may make it up there to Ontario all the way from Connecticut!

#7 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 08:57 PM

Yep, you most definatley have a very nice crop going there.
Here is ours.
I'm hoping to get 1/8 of a BLT out of this years harvest.:smile1:


:bigrofl:

You might, depends how thin you slice em :D

#8 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 08:58 PM

The garden looks great Firefyter. I can't get over how tall the tomato plants are.

#9 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 09:32 PM

Those are some awesome green thumbs you've got!

My maters are doing OK, but not like that. The corn is all in tassel and about 7+ ft. Need to get hilling the potatoes.

#10 broken2 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 09:35 PM

Yep, you most definatley have a very nice crop going there.
Here is ours.
I'm hoping to get 1/8 of a BLT out of this years harvest.:smile1:



Are you sure that's not one of Charlie Browns tomato plants! LOL

#11 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2011 - 09:44 PM

I forgot to mention... the tallest tomato plant you can see in that photo, I seriously can not reach the top of the plant!

Also, special note needs to go to what you can just make out if you look close in the photo with the large tomato. This year, I also started a 12 pack of Marigold's from seed. Right now I have a nice basketball sized plant between every tomato plant. I copied and pasted something I just due up on the net to explain why. Did it help?? I don't know, but the plants are the best I have ever seen them, and the flowers really look nice hiding under the tomato's. I will try to grab a photo of them.

"Annual Marigolds can be used anywhere to deter Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. They are also known to repel harmful root knot nematodes (soil dwelling microscopic white worms) that attack tomatoes, potatoes, roses, and strawberries. The root of the Marigold produces a chemical that kills nematodes as they enter the soil. If a whole area is infested, at the end of the season, turn the Marigolds under so the roots will decay in the soil. You can safely plant there again the following spring."

In addition to them, I also have a large planter of Basil: In the sprit of companion planting, I figured it can't hurt!

"Basil: Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Do not plant near rue or sage."

Edited by FirefyterEmt, July 27, 2011 - 09:56 PM.

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#12 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted August 30, 2011 - 09:32 PM

Well, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, I can now claim that I have a "70mph wind tested tomato trellis" She stood strong, and all my plants made it! (Well, not the corn... but that is not a supprise!) All my tomato's have made it and did not fail, the trellis is un-touched. At one point, we had rain and wind hitting the side of my wife's Suburban so hard and fast that you could stand behind it and see a "slip stream" like a smoke / wind tunnel where the rain went over the truck.

As for the tomato's, I have managed to can 24 quarts of sauce and hope to make more soon. Right now our power is still down, and may be for days... Today, four days into power loss, a good friend (who just got his power back) let me borrow his generator. So I just now have running water, the fridge, and some lights. I don't want to waste the propane canning stuff, so I need to wait.

#13 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted August 30, 2011 - 10:00 PM

Glad to hear both you and the 'maters are still standing. Hope the juice comes back on soon

#14 dstaggs OFFLINE  

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Posted August 30, 2011 - 10:21 PM

My maters are tall, but has been so HOT that blooms fell off as it was too hot to set. Now they are blooming again.

#15 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted August 31, 2011 - 05:01 AM

I still haven't seen a tomato on my plants.




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