22 October 2011

unusual year for tomatoes

If anyone had told me back in early September, with the summer we had, that I'd be picking 'Sun Gold' tomatoes in the rain on 22 October, I would have said, "Awwwww, go on with ya!" Except I would have believed the rain part.

However, I'm cooking down a few more tomatoes for the saucepot this afternoon. It's been a great year for 'Sun Gold.'

A few months ago, Ken Druse talked with Steve Bogash, Penn State Extension regional horticulture educator, who is known in vegetable circles (eh? what's that?) as Mr. Tomato. Last night B and I listened to the podcast with great interest. A few takeaways:
  • Who knew? Tomatoes like a slightly acid soil, somewhere between 6.2 and 6.8. Better yields with that pH. Most garden soil is pretty neutral. Don't lime the soil where you'll be growing tomatoes!
  • Favorite reds/pinks: 'Big Beef' from Park's Seeds; 'Brandy Boy' and 'Bush Early Girl' from Burpee.
  • Favorite yellow cherry: 'Sun Gold' (when he said that, B turned to me and smiled); however, it has a tendency to split, which is our experience.
  • Favorite yellow grape: 'Solid Gold,' which doesn't split, and which Ken Druse grows and loves.
The tomatoes that did best for us this unusual year were 'San Marzano' and 'Sun Gold,' both small varieties. We did our usual heirlooms, and they produced very few edible fruit. We bought one that was supposed to be early and had a horrible name: 'Sophie's Choice.' Isn't that awful? She limped along until the wilt took her away. Good riddance. We had lots of rot this year. Very disappointing.

But I'm not complaining this afternoon, with a nice pot of tomatoes cooking down on the stove.


  1. Wow, they're gorgeous!

  2. Such pretty tomatoes! I had a bumper crop, but somehow failed to get as many harvested as I should have.