growing tomatoes in the garden
Tomato garden tour video for mid-June 2020 is what’s on today’s post. I want to do tomato garden tour videos every couple of weeks, so you can see what’s growing. I’m growing tomatoes in Tennessee zone 7A, and it’s way different from growing in S Florida!
Growing Tomatoes in Containers
Growing tomatoes in containers is what I have to do in my garden. I explain why in my first tomato garden tour done at the end of May. I find that it’s working pretty well for me. The shade is my biggest enemy when it comes to my gardening. That’s why I have three gardening spots in my yard — no one place is big enough.
Growing Tomatoes in Tennessee
I have to say, it’s much different from S Florida. Instead of two short seasons, I have one long season (mid/late April to mid/late October).
Here in Tennessee it’s frost which defines my seasons; in S Florida, it was the heat and humidity (not to mention hurricanes). It’s my first summer garden here in East Tennessee, and I keep getting told that it does get really hot and humid. However, late last August when we moved here, we had record heat and humidity.
What they call heat and humidity here was nothing more than late Spring weather in S Florida.
Growing tomatoes (peppers and other assorted veggies) is different here. You’ll see from the difference between my first tomato tour and this one, how much it’s grown. In just two weeks!
The biggest problem I have here is the shade in my yard. The trees I so loved in the fall are the bane of my gardening existence now. Which is kind of ironic since in S Florida I had to use a shade cloth.
Tomato Garden Tour Video
I made this tomato garden tour video on June 14th, 2020. The previous tour was on May 30th. I can’t wait to film my next one, somewhere around the end of June — I’m sure I’ll have many more tomatoes to show you.
Just wait until you see Vorlon — that plant is outgrowing stake after stake. I’m beginning to wonder what else I can do for this plant. And it’s growing in a…7 gallon container I think — or maybe 10 gallon. Either way, I never thought it would get this big in a not-so-big container.
All this being said, here’s my tomato tour video for June 2020. Hope you enjoy it, and keep a lookout for my next tour! (And if you want to see more garden tours in general, check out my YouTube channel.)
It’s just past the middle of April, and so it’s time for garden updates — and this time, I have a video showing the plants and the tomatoes! So it’s not just photos, but lights! camera! action! 😉
But first, I said I’d talk about Juliet, Cherokee Purple and Husky Cherry Red (since I didn’t cover them in my last update).
The Good and the Bad
Let’s start off with the bad and work on up to the good. Cherokee Purple…may you rest in peace! I’m afraid the salt damage that most of the other plants kind of shrugged off was Cherokee Purple’s death warrant. Alas, it’s not a variety that can handle excessive sodium well. I had to just pull it out, and put it out of its misery.
Juliet is next on the list; the plant is not doing great (as you will see in the video), but it’s certainly not at death’s door. And unfortunately (kind of), it’s still setting tomatoes. You’ll hear why I say that in the video.
Husky Cherry Red is doing fine, aside from being targeted by birds! Apparently they love the sweet cherry tomatoes that the plant produces, so I had to wrap the plant up in insect netting. But at least now I get to eat the tomatoes instead of the birds beating me to them!
As for all the other plants — I’ve had ripe tomatoes to eat this past week — yum! Not all the plants have had fruits ripen as yet, but it’s mostly the big beefsteak tomatoes that are hold-outs. Then again, they are growing some really good sized fruit, so they can be somewhat excused. 😉
So, here’s a video walk-through of the tomatoes. Keep in mind some of the salt damage that I have had. We’ve also had some days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit already, and then weather that is somewhat cooler than normal. I don’t think the tomato plants quite know what to do!
Anyway, hope you enjoy the walk-through. Meanwhile, my second wave of seedlings (Rapunzel, Indigo Cherry Drops and Loxahatchee) is almost ready to get potted up for the last time before heading out to the garden for their final planting. More on them later!
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!
I went out a little while ago to check on the tomato plants. The weather has been quite unsettled lately, so I wanted to check and make sure everyone was doing OK.
I brought my camera out with me, and I shot a few pictures of a few of my tomatoes-to-be. Some are (I think) getting ready to ripen, others are “newborn”. Normally I would have had something ready to eat by now, but we’ve had a colder than normal winter so far. And when the weather is cooler, the slower the tomatoes mature.
Celebrity is the first of the tomatoes I got my photo op with. It’s actually Bush Celebrity, but has been acting a little more like an indeterminate of late; guess it’s due to the weather. The tomato in the photo gets a bit larger each day, and I know one day it will be ready to pluck. Nice shape, though, and blemish-free.
Next up is Husky Red Cherry. The two tomatoes in the photo have looked like this for the last month now; no size change. It’s only been in the last day or two that I think the color has barely started to change — it’s not quite so green as it had been. Lots of tiny new cherry tomatoes, but these two are the closest to being grown. If they don’t do anything soon, I may consider a doll-sized green tomato pie…
Patio has finally quit growing (the tomato that is) and so I’m waiting for it to start changing colors. Then again, it may (again) just be the weather. This particular plant has been less than generous with its flowers and fruits, although I am seeing a bunch of new flowers just starting to be formed.
The last for the day is the newborn Tigerella tomato. Just about the size of a blueberry, it’s the first one on this heirloom tomato plant. Lots more blooms, though, so hopefully production will start ramping up.
Like I said, with the weather unsettled, the tomatoes aren’t at their best. I’ve even had to bring in most of the seedlings that I had been hardening off, to wait for better weather. Well, growing tomatoes in South Florida in the winter isn’t a whole lot different from growing in the spring further north. At least, not this year.