Great Tomato Experiment, Revisited

I’ve had a bit of a setback on The Great Tomato Experiement; I ran into a stretch of bad weather, followed by what I think was possibly an overdose of potassium.  As a result, all three plants are in sad, sad shape.  In fact, so sad that I am starting over!

What Will I Do Differently?

First, is that I have come across some nice 17-gallon containers, and I’ll use them instead of the 10-gallons I had been using.  I’ll sterilize and re-use the 10-gallons for some other tomatoes I have coming up for the summer (including two mystery tomatoes).

I’m going to add sphagnum peat moss and perlite to each of the containers.  I’ve found the original mixture I used compacted a bit too much for my liking.

I’m going to add the main dose of fertilizer to the soil before planting, then mix it in well.  I found with my raised bed tomatoes that when I did this, the plants grew more vigorously compared to the ones where I added the fertilizer as a side-dressing in the beginning.

Finally, I am using a different tomato variety.  For some reason, Pineapple doesn’t seem to like my growing conditions (I have a 4th plant that I am growing in the ground in another part of the garden).  It’s growing fairly well and putting forth tomatoes, but it’s not as vigorous as I would hope.

And the New Tomato Variety Is…

I have chosen Big Raspberry as the new tomato variety for The Great Tomato Experiment for the following reasons:

  • Big Rasperry is a potato-leafed plant, and I find that tomato plants with potato leaves generally fare better in my garden.
  • The tomatoes don’t generally  get large (maybe 9 ounces), so if I can get a tomato of this variety over 1 lb using the giant tomato techniques, it will be an accomplishment.
  • The plant is productive, but not necessarily tall.  So if I can get the plant over 6 feet using the world record tomato techniques, it will be a visible  accomplishment.  Especially since I am growing it in a container!
  • Finally, I’m choosing Big Raspberry because it’s an earlier tomato compared to Pineapple.  Since it’s already April, I need to play catch-up before the worst of the South Florida summer heat arrives.

If you’re still wanting to experiment along with me and can’t locate Big Raspberry, a good second choice might be Prudens Purple.  In fact, I would have used Pruden’s Purple as my first choice for this test if I hadn’t already had some growing in the garden.  My other choice would be Caspian Pink.

So, I planted my seeds today.  I planted 5 so I could choose the best 3 for the experiement.  The other two…well, I’m sure I can find someone in my neighborhood who might like a couple of plants!

So, while the first part of the experiment failed, I still have an opportunity to continue.  Onward!

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