Friday, July 4, 2014

Ripeage, Stripeage and Sexy Sets!

The tomato jungle is in full swing and I adore wandering through the rows assessing and seeing the 'firsts'! The first sprig of colour showing through all the dense green foliage. The masses of bloom sets. The plump, heavy branches laden with glorious heirlooms! Ah, what an awesome way to kick start organic tomato growing!
We use certified organic composted manures to nourish these soon-to-be giants and though we could use fish emulsion too, the need has never presented itself. Rich, healthy dirt :)  The seeds to grow these beauties are sown annually no later than January.  Open pollinated, save your own seeds with most of these varieties - oh yeah!!
These are our covered fields and they house beets, lettuces, kale, radishes in between the vining tomatoes on non-walkways. Once those early crops finish they are rotto-tilled and kept sassy clean ;) Each tomato plant (we house 800 approx in each) is lovingly suckered and twined around tomato twine and reach the sky! Well, almost ;) They get up to 12-13 ft and are tossed over the steel beams and then grow downward! A sight to see seen this fall.
Heavy laden branches with the big first sexy sets of toms!
RIPEAGE! Hello beauty! The first sprig of colour peaking through...
Huge masses of sets with this particular variety which is a total winner! I call him simple 'lemon' but I think it's 'plum lemon' to other collectors. Prolific, prolific, prolific (and popular!)
STRIPEAGE!! The infamous Green Zebra. I've grown many a stripey's and this one's flavour and lime green colour is a very, very popular fav! 
I've done the over 100-200 varieties heirloom tomato trip, but decided to render my addiction down to 40 or so total on farm. A good two dozen are home in the covered fields, the rest grow in the outdoor fields. I found a lot of the varieties to be very similar and some we're very delicate, and not suitable for my climate and some with no disease resistance at all. I still find myself trying at least one or two new ones each year! (Psst..I'm a total sucker for the big heart shaped, Russian, Ukrainian and Polish types.)  It's been well over a decade now of growing and selling these Heirloom Tomatoes and I dare say I don't ever see myself slowing down!