Okay, I’ll admit that this summer was a terrible one for growing tomatoes, and no, I can’t make claims that my garden was immune from the sting of Tomato Blight! But you know what, I still had more than enough homegrown tomatoes to enjoy and share with friends in spite of the widespread disease. This entry is a recap of the past season’s tomato production.
Most of the tomato transplants were started from seed but I did purchase a few seedlings to add to my home grown tomato plants. So I don’t know if the imports were the source of the contamination or if the blight found its way into my plot from neighboring gardens.
Looking Back at the Summer’s Heirloom Tomato Harvest
In total, there were about a dozen heirloom tomato varieties growing in the garden last summer, and they were all trained on a new trellising system designed to handle anything the vines could pile on. The plants looked pretty promising at first, and then slowly declined as signs of tomato blight began to appear and spread.
I allowed the disease to run its course and didn’t make any futile attempts to control or eliminate it. Some plants suffered more than others, but all of them yielded fruit regardless of how sad and pathetic their vines looked.
A number of the tomato plants seemed to rebound slightly as the summer progressed, and others like Matt’s Wild Cherry barely seemed to notice that the blight had come calling. Overall, I’m sure the production was reduced but I was still handing out plenty of tomatoes to grateful coworkers.
Looks can be Deliciously Deceiving with Heirloom Tomatoes
It didn’t take family and friends long to realize that the saying about beauty being skin deep applies quite nicely to heirloom tomatoes. Those very strange looking, dark-colored tomatoes with the rough green shoulders were passed over initially in favor of the normal looking bright red fruits.
But those “ugly” tomatoes that looked like they weren’t even fully ripened quickly became the most sought after of all the varieties that I grew last summer. I’ve always liked the dark heirlooms such as Black Krim and Carbon, but the Amazon Chocolate tomato has just moved towards the top of my personal favorite’s list.
Matt’s Wild Cherry was the small fruited tomato variety that I raised in the garden this summer, it was extremely productive, and stood up well to the tomato blight, but I’m still searching for a cherry tomato variety that compares favorably to Sungold!
Those New “Cage-Free” Tomatoes were a Huge Success
The tomato trellising system was a big success and I’ll definitely be setting it up again next summer. The only improvement that I may toy with is using a slightly lighter gauge wire that is a bit easier to stretch tightly from one end to the other.
If you missed the details about this trellis and the video that I created about its simple set up, you can catch up by visiting the post titled; “New Tomato Trellising and Training System.” If you’re tired of the cages, towers, and other support devices, this trellising system comes highly recommended.
It hasn’t been that long since I picked the last juicy, vine-ripened, heirloom tomato, but I’m already looking forward to next season and making plans to grow an even better crop. I’ll be fine tuning the list of varieties and searching for new tomatoes to trial in the garden.
And hopefully the next time around that tomato blight will be nowhere to be found!
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