I love growing tomatoes. You could call it an obsession. Tomatoes can be finicky and come with a host of things that can go wrong if not watched over carefully. Here in the lower mainland of BC we have a serious problem with late blight which has been predicted to show up in June this year. Our weather is rainy and on the cool side with some sun thrown in. It’s a far cry from our four months of no rain last year. The thirty tomato plants have been in our garden for just over a month and overall they are doing very well.
Everyone looks at this variegated tomato and asks me whats wrong with it. It’s actually supposed to look like this. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and this plant has grown a lot since then. Its sister is planted next to it but has more green than white on it.
All the plants have fruit on them now and I am pretty excited to have a harvest soon. The tomato plant above is Victoria Dwarf #1 from the Dwarf Tomato Project seeds I ordered. It’s definitely a stocky plant and is only a foot high so far. The plants range between 2-4.5 feet high so this may grow quite a bit more in the next few months.
Check out this ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ tomato. Its huge! It’s an orange beefsteak and I am sure glad I planted some of them in the garden. It was my worst seller this year. I know a few people bought some so I hope they enjoy them as much as I will be.
One of the tomatoes I am growing for a seed bank is ‘King Humbert’. Named after King Humberto of Italy, this tomato dates back to the late 19th century. These two plants are not happy. The lower branches turned brown and blotchy and I removed the affected branches.
The plants are now producing new leaves and seem to be doing better. Today I noticed the tomatoes are starting to get some colour!
I have the same ‘King Humbert’ tomato plants in another raised bed and they are as healthy as can be. Note the egg-shaped fruit forming in clusters. It is said that this is a wonderful paste tomato for cooking and it will produce its fruit all at once.
My plastic tenting over the beds during the month of June has kept any signs of late blight from the garden. I rigged up a tower of plastic that allows the rain to run down angled sides. It looks silly but its working well. I am determined to have a good crop of tomatoes this year. I only water in the morning to be sure the tomato plants go into the night dry.
Above is a tomato called Sylvan Gaume which looks pretty tame here when it first went in. I had to stake it right away as it tended to flop over. Over the last few weeks its grown like a sprawling child throwing limbs all over the place. It reminds me of a multi stemmed shrub, not a tomato. I look forward to seeing how this one progresses but may grow it in a container next year so it doesn’t crowd out its neighbours.
Okay, Gold Nugget wins the prize for being the earliest tomato in my garden this year. I couldn’t help myself. I ate the first tomato before I reached the kitchen. I couldn’t wait.