There. I admitted it. They say that's the first step. I don't, however, think I'm alone in this.
For some reason the quest for the perfect tomato, or better yet, bushels of perfect tomatoes, seems to be a pretty common theme among gardeners and I'm right there with them. My home veggie garden is certainly a great improvement over how I used to grow tomatoes, but I'm not satisfied there. Nope, I'm a greedy gardener too.
And it might be genetic, because it turns out that my mother is too. So the two of us are sharing a plot at the community gardens at the local YMCA. I'm a huge proponent of community gardens so I'm happy to be involved anyway, but I'd be lying if I said that's why we ponied up a whopping $25 for the 4-foot-by-8-foot plot. We just want more tomatoes.
The community gardens at the local YMCA. Each large bed is divided into three plots.
We worked in a lot of compost and composted manure but I think we probably should have worked the soil a little more because it's not the best. The little Alaska nasturtium in the corner (a leftover I had) for some reason decided to just bloom a billion little yellow flowers and might have burned itself out just doing that.
We're hopeful that we'll do well at the community garden because it's located in absolute 100% full sun and 5 miles farther inland than either of our home gardens (which stay much cooler into summer because of the influence of a rather frigid Lake Michigan).
Interestingly enough, we also planted some of the same varieties of heirloom tomatoes, unknowingly. And my mom was anxious to try something she'd read about: enclosing the tomato cage in thick plastic to help retain heat (the top is open so it doesn't fry). So we ended up with a little experiment that we weren't intending: which plant will produce more tomatoes and which will produce first. They were purchased from the same source (our master gardener's heirloom plant and herb sale) and planted on the same day. We're treating them identically in every other way.
Two of my tomatoes (top) are living their unhoused existences with just basic tomato cages around them, but my mom's is living in it's little plastic enclosure. Any guesses if it will make a difference?
When I went out there earlier this week to water, I would say the plant in the plastic looked slightly larger than my "control" plant. They had the same amount of flowers and looked the same otherwise.
I have five tomato plants growing at home (heirloom varieties Black Cherry, Snow White Cherry, Paul Robeson, Black Krim and a grafted Japanese Black Trifele) and three at the community garden (heirlooms Legend, Delicious and a grafted Brandywine/Super Marzano). The grafted tomatoes are an experiment all in their own right but we'll see if they are worth all the hubbub.
It will be interesting to see how this little tomato experiment ends up. I don't care as long as we end up with so many tomatoes I'm begging people to take them off my hands. That'll be the day.