‘Black Cherry’

‘Black Cherry’

Endless varieties of tomatoes on the vines

by Leslie Cox

Special to The Record

August in the vegetable garden is pure bliss. So many good things to select for tonight’s dinner. Beets, carrots, Swiss chard, beans, cucumbers, cabbage, kale, tomatoes…and you will not get it any fresher than your own back yard.

Did I mention zucchini? How could I have missed it? We are drowning in it! Probably because we planted three varieties for a total of eight plants. For just two people. What were we thinking?

Good thing we love zucchini… and have been able to send a few specimens home with friends and family.

But now the tomato harvest is beginning to rival the zucchinis. Couldn’t be because I am harvesting fruits from 40 plants you think?

Thankfully, a good portion of the present tomato harvest is coming from the cherry-type plants. The others are a later-ripening variety.

‘Gardener’s Delight’ is the most prolific so far but then there are seven plants. If I do the math, I expect the ‘Sweet Million’ harvest from just three plants would be on a par. Perhaps even ahead.

Certainly there are more fruits per truss on ‘Sweet Million’ than on ‘Gardener’s Delight’.

Production has also been good on the other cherry-types I am growing: ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Gold Nugget’, ‘Yellow Pear’ and ‘Snow White’. Just not as many as I only have two plants of each variety. Thankfully. But combined with the two reds makes for a kaleidoscope of cherry tomatoes.

I wrote about ‘Snow White’ in a recent blog on my website. And it is certainly my new favourite tomato. First taste test in the garden was a taste explosion! Even John was blown away and he is not a lover of yellow tomatoes.

Further on my tomato trials for 2014 – remember my mention of the grafted Indigo Apple tomato in an earlier column? Well, the plant itself is doing quite well, although for a supposedly vigorous growth habit, mine is not very tall. Could be because I am growing it in a pot, albeit a large one.

This special tomato has been given a preferred spot with good sun for most of the day and some shade during the latter part of the afternoon. Have also been kind with regular servings of liquid fish fertilizer throughout the summer.

Fruit development has been good. Before mid-June, I spotted the very first tomato forming. End of June there were seven. By July 9 there were 30! Anticipation was running very high by this point.

Since then, not many more fruits have formed and I have yet to pick one ripe one. They are all as hard as rocks! In desperation, I contacted my grafted tomato guru.

Turns out the Indigo-series of tomatoes, the so-called “blue” tomatoes, like lots of heat. She bubble wraps her plants, leaving them open just at the top. Heavens! Like it has not been hot enough this summer of all summers!

Taste is yet to be determined but so far, am seriously considering dumping this variety next season. Space is at a real premium in our garden.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.


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