Tomato Time!!

We have been away for a glorious 2 weeks of sun, sand, sailing, hiking, playing, splashing and NO TV or INTERNET in beautiful Cape Breton!!  Other than Wifi in the odd restaurant and the radio, we have been unplugged and oblivious.

And we loved it.  Even the kids – we borrowed 2 extra kids to keep ours entertained and they didn’t even seem to notice how disconnected we were in the “stiff tents” that we lovingly escape to with our extended family every summer. For the first time in a long time, we all came home sun kissed, rested and fulfilled.

Thankfully while we were away, my mother came over to tend the garden, picking what was ready and diligently keeping our weight records for us – I have a lot of work ahead of me tallying for August – but that will have to wait because….WE HAVE RIPE TOMATOES!!!

And I am a tomato junkie of the highest degree, as are my girls.  As I write I am eating a bowl full of beautiful fresh ‘maters with basil, cukes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, oh my, my, my….yum!

This gallery contains pictures from throughout the summer of various planting methods that we are experimenting with.  We don’t have great luck with big tomato yields because we live on a windy hill and are susceptible to blight.  We are trying containers, big and small, on the raised deck and the lower patio, raised beds, rows with red film, interplanting with black film and with different herbs and flowers.

Results to date:

Planters: Early on, the plants in the planters on the deck took off but over time they have been hit worse by the wind and lack of moisture.  They are still producing in the big planters though slower than in the garden proper but the smaller planters have succumbed despite extra epsom salts, persistent watering when required and suckering off sick leaves.  I think the extremely hot days and cold nights have hurt them.

Red Plastic:  First of all, this stuff does not block weeds – it lets the sun in and the weeds simply grow up underneath the plastic.  Initially the slowest method, these plants seem to be have the most fruit and least amount of foliage.

Black Plastic: By far the best weed blocker and maintains moisture the most evenly.  There is a more proportional ratio of leaves to fruit than with the planters, but to date we have not picked any ripe fruit from them.  This could be because we planted a later variety but they are definitely behind the same variety in the red film bed.

Raised beds: These are the largest, healthiest plants.  They took the longest to form fruit, but have not struggled as bad during wet spells and as long as they have been watered (more often than in the rows), they have not been bothered by the heat either.

There is no clear winner yet between the red and black film or the raised beds, but planters on the raised deck have been voted out of practice next year.  We will keep a few on the lower, more sheltered patio because they are very convenient, but they will only be placed in larger planters. Time will tell!

The Stars:

Here are a few photos taken by the girls of our treasures – hands down taste favourite is the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes – no competition… second place so far goes to Mennonite, followed by Gold Dust, Alaska and then Scotia.  We are waiting for Subarctic Plenty, Black Plum, Big Beef and Lemon Boy to ripen up to compare. What are your favourites?

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The winner – Sun Gold!!

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Runner Up to date – Menonnite

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From top right to bottom left: Menonnite, Gold Dust, Scotia, Alaska, Black Plum (not ripe – wee hands picked by accident…), Sun Gold.

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Tonight’s “snack”!!! Stay tuned – we are just getting started on the Tomato-Geddin’ fallout!

 “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” ~ Miles Kingston

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11 thoughts on “Tomato Time!!

  1. Those look tasty! I have lots of green toms in the garden but none turning yet. I can’t keep some of the massive ones from toppling I’ve tried sticks but what I’d love are tomato cages but sadly they don’t sell them in the uk.

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  2. Love it and WOO HOO!! I too am a tomato addict. Just can’t bring myself to eat a store-bought tomato just yet, though I know in a month or so I may have to resort to them. Can you believe I am still picking tomatoes from my garden? And peppers and eggplant? That is a solid FOUR MONTHS of fruits. I am solidly sold on raised beds packed with organic matter. Mulched only with compost/mulch or other organic ‘sprinklings,’ everything thrives there with minimal supplemental watering (one good morning sprinkler soak every 2 weeks).

    Black plastic is great. I use the large contractor trash bags which are easily drug around and placed where needed to kill grass underneath the walking paths (ours is nutsedge grass). As long as it’s managed, grasses stay out of the raised beds of fluffy, rich substrate.

    Your garden looks simply amazing. If there were a prize for the calmest, prettiest, most functioning garden, you would certainly get it!

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    • Wow – thanks so much for that Shannon, I t just turns out how ever it wants to each year – I just facilitate it! My compost pile is cooking along great this summer – the beds will gets all kinds of lovely organic treats this fall and again next spring. We have so many organic farms around, it is never tough to find extra compost when we run low! My favourite part of the garden, next to the weed barriers of course, are the flowers to be sure. BUT my favourite veggie to eat are the tomatoes hands down! I must have gobbled 5 pounds today during my beg clean up and weeding session (only the second for the summer, not bad!) I can’t believe your ‘maters survived with all the rain you guys had this year, well done!!! Happy eating for a free more months!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Picked and Planted – August 5th-29th | Nova Scotia Roots

  4. Pingback: Tomato Taste-off! | Nova Scotia Roots

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