growing tomatoes experiment
I’ve had a bit of a setback on The Great Tomato Experiment; 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 Raspberry 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!