Thirty Days from Seed to Tomato Blossom

Well, 21 days from seed planting to clear flower bud formation:

This is the variety Venus, planted on December 17, 2017, using a heat mat and a 400-Watt metal halide light.  This particular seedling emerged just 3-1/2 days from seed sowing, and buds are pronounced today, January 18, 2018.  So definitely on track to have blossoms open within 30 days of planting; then maybe 70 days from sowing to first ripe fruit.

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Update: January 16, 2017, here it is: Venus, from seed to open blossom in 30 days!

Venus micro-dwarf tomato blossom 30 days from seed

 

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Also, Domingo is the first of the three varieties in the indoor giant tomato project to put out a bud, and it looks like there’s going to be a megabloom in the works!

The other two vines, Big Zac and RW Cephei, look like they might have the early beginnings of megablooms as well.

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1-16-2018 update on indoor giant tomato project.

The Domingo megabloom is a 4X, but is looking like a dud:

The Big Zac plant, on the other hand, has developed an impressive ribbon/fused stem, with a 3X+ megabloom developing.  I trimmed back excess leaves and suckers:

The RW Cephei plant is still very healthy, but the growing tip split into 3 stems.  I removed two of them, and tiny single flower buds are developing on the remaining stem.  We’ll see if maybe a megabloom will develop on a second truss in a couple of weeks.

= = =

A few days ago, I inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi:

At four spots around each vine, I shoved a pencil about 4″ deep and used a funnel to gradually work the granules into the soil.  This should have been done at planting, or at least potting up.  But better late than never!

My big concern is that these seedlings, now 51 days from sowing, will be pushing up against the lamp within a week.  I may have to bend the vines over and start trimming leaves much earlier than I had anticipated.  There just is not room for them to grow tall.

The last batch of seeds from 2017:

Dáchtyla Mynoa (0.018 DT 2018)

Harvested November 15, 2017.  These are very sweet little morsels, but interestingly are also crunchy and can store for weeks before getting soft.  Should make an excellent drying, as well as snacking tomato!  But there are very few seeds per fruit; on December 30th, I put 136 fruits to ferment:

After four days, when a healthy looking crop of fungi had done its job of fermentation, I extracted the seeds:

Once dried, I counted 472 seeds.  That’s only about 3.5 seeds per tomato!  That’s a lot of work and time per seed, but no discrimination here – glad to share seeds of 100’s of excellent varieties:

https://www.delectationoftomatoes.com/seeds.html

I just wish I could keep up with everything – website is still very far from what it ought to be, and still more than 8,000 pictures to name and…

Good thing this is enjoyable; but it sure would be nice to have an assistant or an intern – anybody out there interested in funding an internship?

dale@gianttomatoseeds.com

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Winter Indoor Giant Tomato Contest

Winter begins and my compulsion to grow continues to manifest:

I managed to make space, about 2′ X 3′, on a shelf for three large pots with three seedlings of these three varieties: Big Zac, Domingo and RW Cephei.  This third one is growing best so far:

This project is for the Winter Indoor Giant Tomato contest which is being conducted through http://www.bigpumpkins.com.

Pots are about 2/3 full with Foxfarm Ocean Forest potting soil – the very expensive, and hopefully very good stuff.

The are getting light and heat from a 400-watt metal halide light, with a sheet of mylar fabric (space blanket) wrapped around the area to help reflect both heat and light back onto the plants.  At night when the light is off, I plug in the heating cable.  My goal is to keep the plants always in the 70-90° F range.

The 1020 tray shown contains 18 pots planted with the variety Venus, a micro-dwarf tomato variety that produces delicious, tiny orange fruits.  The first seedling is just emerging right on schedule, 3.5 days after sowing.  Here is a picture, taken on November 02, 2016, of a Venus plant in a 1-gallon pot which produced fruits intermittently over a 6-month period:

Here is the final ripe tomato of the 2017 growing season, consumed 10 days ago – a bit of a sad loss every year:

Already there are more than 300 tomato varieties on the list as “must grow” in 2017, 140 of these from a huge seed trade with Natalia Khilenko of Russia.  A couple of related short videos that may be of interest:

 

Seeds of 273 Tomato Varieties saved in 2017

So many awesome NEW (to me) varieties grown in 2017!!  A number of extremely productive varieties, several that were especially beautiful, over 80 varieties that grew to 1 lb. or more (minimum size for sandwiches…), and at least 35 that were super tasty (to my taste buds, anyhow).  Reading over the list, it will become apparent that there was a strong emphasis on growing varieties from Russia and Eastern Europe this year.

Listed below are 274 (this number subject to revision) varieties of tomatoes from which seeds (nearly 400,000 seeds in total) were saved in 2017.  Among these, 196 are herein listed by Delectation of Tomatoes for the first time, while the other 78 varieties were listed in a prior year.

There were an additional 66 varieties from which I was unable to save or offer seeds for any of several reasons:
– No germination
– Tag lost or mixed up
– Seedling died from cold or Curly Top Virus or goats
– Not enough seeds to offer
– Fruits were off-type
– Need further research or to name variety

There are dozens of varieties of beans, peppers, melons, squash, corn etc. that are still in the works – perhaps by early December I’ll be ready to list those as well.

Valuable information that “ought” to be included are:  Fruit Size, Flavor Class, Function, Plant Vigor, Yield, Consistency, Fruit Color, Fruit Shape, Days to Maturity, etc. – as well as detailed descriptions and pictures.  But it will take weeks or months to get all of this information together and published on the website, www.delectationoftomatoes.com.

For now, only fruit size is included with these tables.  The first table is a subset of the full list, including 86 varieties which grew to one lb. or larger.  Variety names are followed by the weight, in pounds, then in grams.  Arbitrarily and by convention, “Large” tomatoes are those that grow to at least 1 lb., “BIG” tomatoes grow to at least 2 lbs., and “GIANT” tomatoes reach at least 3 lbs.  Domingo and Big Zac include seeds from several documented GIANT lineages, including descendants from Big Zac (8.41 MacCoy 2014) and very close relatives of Domingo (8.22 Marley 2017).

* Indicates varieties that are original crosses made for Delectation of Tomatoes, selected for at least four years for largest size, and named in 2017 after giant stars.  Delectation of Tomatoes subscribes to the Open Seed Source Initiative:

You have the freedom to use these OSSI-Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this Pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.”

Table 1.  86 tomato varieties by heaviest weight; over 60 specimens grew to 2 lbs. or more.

Weight (lb.), Weight (g), Variety
3.420, 1551, Domingo
3.376, 1531, RW Cephei*
2.830, 1284, KY Cygni*
2.730, 1238, Big Zac
2.600, 1179, AH Scorpii*
2.452, 1112, Bigzarro
2.438, 1106, Bill Bean Select
2.400, 1089, EV Carinae*
2.378, 1079, MegaMarv
2.264, 1027, Yaponiya
2.150, 975, Sainte-Lucie
2.118, 961, Donskoi
2.054, 932, Pink Oxheart
2.040, 925, Westerlund 1-26*
1.980, 898, Bezrazmernyi
1.964, 891, Tamara
1.912, 867, RS Persei*
1.902, 863, Budonovka Starinnaya
1.894, 859, Nesravnennyi
1.878, 852, Russian Oxheart
1.860, 844, Chilo della Garfagnana
1.854, 841, Smith’s Southern Giant
1.828, 829, Megazac
1.728, 784, Tadzhikskyie
1.696, 769, Slankards
1.622, 736, Astana 6
1.612, 731, CW Leonis*
1.610, 730, Gigantamo
1.610, 730, Zaczilla
1.608, 729, U Lacertae*
1.582, 718, Mexico
1.530, 694, Dyvo
1.500, 680, Vinnyi Bolgarskiy Velikan
1.486, 674, Japanese Oxheart
1.472, 668, Chudo Sada
1.470, 667, Michael’s Portuguese Monster
1.440, 653, Nochnaya Svecha
1.438, 652, Smuggler’s
1.436, 651, Mont Athos
1.388, 630, Elfie
1.386, 629, Gom Bal
1.374, 623, Dark Queen
1.360, 617, Kosovo
1.330, 603, Pineapple
1.324, 601, West Virginia Sweetmeat (3.312 DT 2014)
1.324, 601, Abkhaziya Rozovaya
1.316, 597, Mule Team
1.306, 592, Yusupovskyi S Fergany
1.306, 592, Vishnovyi
1.302, 591, Volov’ye Serdtse Pobeditel’
1.278, 580, Work Release Paste
1.262, 572, Delicious
1.258, 571, Bordovyy
1.252, 568, Berkeley Tie-dye Heart
1.252, 568, Radishchevskyie
1.234, 560, Chervonnyi Gigant
1.230, 558, Summer Sunrise
1.224, 555, Kukla’s Portuguese Beefsteak
1.216, 552, Yellow Beefsteak
1.212, 550, Absinthe
1.210, 549, Regina’s Yellow
1.208, 548, Daniel Burson
1.202, 545, Casey’s Pure Yellow
1.184, 537, R Leporis*
1.184, 537, Aker’s Oxheart
1.166, 529, Minusinskyi Ploskyi
1.160, 526, Brandy Boy
1.160, 526, Rufus Carrigan’s Mexican Pink
1.156, 524, Huge Giant Yellow
1.108, 503, Joe’s Pink Oxheart
1.104, 501, Kuum
1.092, 495, Flathead Monster Pink
1.090, 494, Anzhela Gigant Ukrainskaya
1.082, 491, Chernyi Okshart
1.080, 490, Biyskiy Rozan
1.078, 489, Aker’s West Virginia
1.072, 486, Bozhyi Dar
1.058, 480, Bukharskoye Bych’ye Serdtse
1.056, 479, Giant
1.050, 476, Altayskiy Belyy
1.042, 473, Suzdal’Skyie
1.032, 468, Chernigovskyi
1.032, 468, Russkiy Razmer Rozovyy
1.016, 461, Bugay Rozovyi
1.012, 459, Super Nova
1.008, 457, Brandywine from Croatia, PL
1.000, 454, Hazel Mae

Table 2.  273 tomato varieties listed alphabetically.  Many of these are Russian varieties.

Variety, Weight (lb.), Weight (g)
Abakanets, 0.690, 313
Abkhaziya Rozovaya, 1.324, 601
Absinthe, 1.212, 550
Adamovo Yabloko, 0.488, 221
Agatha, 0.860, 390
AH Scorpii*, 2.600, 1179
Aker’s Oxheart, 1.184, 537
Aker’s West Virginia, 1.078, 489
Altayskiy Belyy, 1.050, 476
Alyi Mustang, 0.402, 182
Andrew Rahart’s Jumbo Red, 0.130, 59
Andy Buckflats Wonder, 0.508, 230
Anzhela Gigant Ukrainskaya, 1.090, 494
Arabskyi Gigant, 0.304, 138
Argentinskaya Slivka, 0.296, 134
Astana 6, 1.622, 736
Aunt Gertie’s Gold, 0.586, 266
Auria, 0.170, 77
Aussie Drops, 0.151, 68
Babushka Byka, 0.756, 343
Babushkina Radost’, 0.584, 265
Babushkino Bych’ye Serdtse, 0.946, 429
Basrawya, 0.200, 91
Bear Creek, 0.468, 212
Berkeley Tie-dye Heart, 1.252, 568
Berkshire Polish Beefsteak, 0.766, 347
Bezrazmernyi, 1.980, 898
Bezymyannyie Semonovny, 0.584, 265
Big Cheef, 0.912, 414
Big Zac, 2.730, 1238
Bigzarro, 2.452, 1112
Bill Bean Select, 2.438, 1106
Biyskiy Rozan, 1.080, 490
Black Beauty, 0.492, 223
Black Cherry, 0.026, 12
Bloody Butcher, 0.590, 268
Bodryi Ptichyi Krik, 0.430, 195
Bolgarskyi Delikates, 0.336, 152
Bordovyy, 1.258, 571
Boroda Printsa, 0.714, 324
Bozhyi Dar, 1.072, 486
Brandy Boy, 1.160, 526
Brandywine from Croatia, PL, 1.008, 457
Budonovka Starinnaya, 1.902, 863
Buffalo, 0.041, 19
Bugay Rozovyi, 1.016, 461
Bukharskoye Bych’ye Serdtse, 1.058, 480
Bŭlgarska Khala, 0.888, 403
Buzkove Ozero, 0.280, 127
Bychiy Myod, 0.820, 372
Bych’ye Serdtse Abakanskoye, 0.688, 312
Bych’ye Serdtse Kazakhstanskoye, 0.496, 225
Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye Kistevoye, 0.364, 165
Bychyi Myod, 0.820, 372
Cascade Village Blue, 0.520, 236
Casey’s Pure Yellow, 1.202, 545
Chernigovskyi, 1.032, 468
Chernyi Okshart, 1.082, 491
Chervonnyi Gigant, 1.234, 560
Chilo della Garfagnana, 1.860, 844
Chudo Gollandii, 0.200, 91
Chudo Sada, 1.472, 668
Corazon De Bue, 0.728, 330
Cosmonaut Volkov, 0.638, 289
Couer de Bob, 0.400, 181
Cuostralée, 0.804, 365
CW Leonis*, 1.612, 731
Dactyla Mynoa, 0.028, 13
Daniel Burson, 1.208, 548
Dark Queen, 1.374, 623
Delicious, 1.262, 572
Domingo, 3.420, 1551
Donskoi, 2.118, 961
Druzba, 0.942, 427
Dwarf Russian Swirl, 0.656, 298
Dwarf Stone, 0.286, 130
Dwarf Sweet Sue, 0.432, 196
Dyvo, 1.530, 694
Early Salad (F2), 0.224, 102
Elfie, 1.388, 630
EV Carinae*, 2.400, 1089
Fakel, 0.444, 201
Federiko, 0.178, 81
Fishlake Oxheart, 0.638, 289
Flashentomate, 0.039, 18
Flathead Monster Pink, 1.092, 495
Fleur de Reagir, 0.668, 303
G. G.’s Yellow Belgian, 0.484, 220
General Kornilov, 0.390, 177
Giant, 1.056, 479
Gigant Napy, 0.552, 250
Gigant Zenta Semi, 0.584, 265
Gigantamo, 1.610, 730
Gladiator (F2), 0.310, 141
Goluboy Les, 0.070, 32
Gom Bal, 1.386, 629
Goose Creek Black, 0.562, 255
Gospozha Udacha, 0.668, 303
Grandpa’s Cock’s Plume, 0.944, 428
Granonnyie, 0.468, 212
Green Doctors Frosted, 0.029, 13
Gregori’s Altai, 0.412, 187
Gruzinskyie, 0.772, 350
Hagan Little Yellow, 0.017, 8
Hazel Mae, 1.000, 454
Herman’s Yellow, 0.760, 345
Hippie Heart, 0.652, 296
Honey Giant, 0.970, 440
Huge Giant Yellow, 1.156, 524
Indigo Black Shadow, 0.310, 141
Iosi- San, 0.468, 212
Irish Stripes, 0.376, 171
Japanese Oxheart, 1.486, 674
Jaune Flammee, 0.178, 81
Joe’s Pink Oxheart, 1.108, 503
Jutland, 0.274, 124
Kadyshevskyie, 0.400, 181
Kameliya, 0.692, 314
Kanary, 0.538, 244
Kavkazskaya Liana, 0.152, 69
Kazakhskaya Sliva, 0.504, 229
King Kong, 0.806, 366
Kitayskyi Obsypnoy Malysh, 0.166, 75
Komandor Fortuna, 0.626, 284
Kommercheskyi Rozovyi, 0.942, 427
Koralic, 0.016, 7
Korenovskyie, 0.726, 329
Kosovo, 1.360, 617
Krasochnaya Sliva, 0.364, 165
Kubanskaya Sliva, 0.542, 246
Kukla’s Portuguese Beefsteak, 1.224, 555
Kuum, 1.104, 501
KY Cygni*, 2.830, 1284
Ladoshka, 0.400, 181
Lapot’ Iz Sadovki, 0.838, 380
Lattanzio Pendulous, 0.668, 303
Legend, 0.250, 113
Leningradskyi Serdtsevidnyi, 0.756, 343
Lenny & Gracie’s Kentucky Heirloom, 0.544, 247
Lidiya, 0.986, 447
Liguria, 0.358, 162
Lithium Sunset X Indigo Rose (F3), 0.400, 181
Lithuanian, 0.992, 450
Livingston’s Gold Ball, 0.100, 45
Lucinda, 0.350, 159
Lyudmilka, 0.998, 453
Maddeline’s Vine Candy, 0.024, 11
Makedonskoye Rozovoye Chudo, 0.804, 365
Malina Treston, 0.071, 32
Malinovyi Rassvet, 0.822, 373
Marizol Gold, 0.994, 451
Marshal Pobeda, 0.600, 272
Matador, 0.686, 311
Matina, 0.098, 44
Medvezh’ye Serdtse, 0.878, 398
MegaMarv, 2.378, 1079
Megazac, 1.828, 829
Mexico, 1.582, 718
Michael’s Portuguese Monster, 1.470, 667
Minusinskiy Yablochnyy Rozovyy, 0.794, 360
Minusinskyi Nizkoroslyi, 0.930, 422
Minusinskyi Pertsevidnyi, 0.472, 214
Minusinskyi Ploskyi, 1.166, 529
Minusinskyi Starinnyi, 0.698, 317
Minusinskyi Urozhaynyi, 0.928, 421
Model’, 0.516, 234
Moldavskyie Rozovyie, 0.974, 442
Mont Athos   , 1.436, 651
Mr. Bruno, 0.388, 176
Mule Team, 1.316, 597
Nesravnennyi, 1.894, 859
Nizkoroslyi Sverkhrannyi, 0.572, 259
Nochnaya Svecha, 1.440, 653
Northern Delight, 0.652, 296
Odessa, 0.180, 82
Old Brooks, 0.496, 225
Omskyi Velikan, 0.924, 419
Orange Bourgoin, 0.142, 64
Parikmakher, 0.562, 255
Pearl’s Yellow Pink, 0.396, 180
Petrovich, 0.968, 439
Phoenix, 0.516, 234
Pineapple, 1.330, 603
Pink Oxheart, 2.054, 932
Pobeda Kosmonavtiki, 0.898, 407
Pobeda, 0.402, 182
Poma Amoris Minora Lutea, 0.106, 48
Purple Cherry, 0.179, 81
Purple Elgin GWR, 0.175, 79
Purple Reign, 0.336, 152
Quiynai Huang, 0.292, 132
R Leporis*, 1.184, 537
Radishchevskyie, 1.252, 568
Rannyaya Lyubov, 0.702, 318
Red Groppi, 0.690, 313
Red Robin, 0.021, 10
Regina’s Yellow, 1.210, 549
Rozovyi Gigant, 0.646, 293
RS Persei*, 1.912, 867
Rufus Carrigan’s Mexican Pink, 1.160, 526
Russian Oxheart, 1.878, 852
Russian Rose, 0.652, 296
Russkiy Razmer Malinovyy, 0.964, 437
Russkiy Razmer Rozovyy, 1.032, 468
Russo Sicilian Togetta, 0.080, 36
RW Cephei*, 3.376, 1531
Sainte-Lucie, 2.150, 975
San Marzano, 0.364, 165
Sasha’s Altai, 0.240, 109
Serdtse Italii, 0.844, 383
Serebryanyi Klyuch, 0.874, 396
Siberian, 0.276, 125
Sibirskiy Skorospelyi, 0.606, 275
Skubi, 0.134, 61
Slankards, 1.696, 769
Slava Moldovy (Orange), 0.166, 75
Smith’s Southern Giant, 1.854, 841
Smuggler’s, 1.438, 652
Soldatovo, 0.476, 216
Solntse Moyo, 0.564, 256
Sosedi Otdykhayut, 0.118, 54
Sosulka Zheltaya, 0.154, 70
Spasskyie Iz Ryazani, 0.904, 410
Spyashchyi Gigant, 0.860, 390
Stal’, 0.594, 269
Staroobryadcheskyi, 0.978, 444
Striped Sweetheart Dark, 0.526, 239
Sub Arctic 2, 0.174, 79
Sugar Plum Fairy, 0.430, 195
Summer Sunrise, 1.230, 558
Super Nova, 1.012, 459
Suzdal’Skyie, 1.042, 473
Sweet Appertif, 0.013, 6
Syzranka, 0.702, 318
Tadzhikskyie, 1.728, 784
Tamara, 1.964, 891
Taterkin, 0.646, 293
Teschchin Yazyk, 0.620, 281
Tollison’s German, 0.472, 214
Tomatoberry, 0.018, 8
Tondio Liscio, 0.946, 429
Tsar’, 0.456, 207
U Lacertae*, 1.608, 729
Ukh, Visit!, 0.654, 297
Ukrainian Pear, 0.252, 114
Van’ka, 0.922, 418
Variegated, 0.167, 76
Verkiny, 0.794, 360
Vikulya, 0.950, 431
Vinnyi Bolgarskiy Velikan, 1.500, 680
Vishnovyi, 1.306, 592
Volov’ye Serdtse Pobeditel’, 1.302, 591
Wessel’s Purple Pride, 0.296, 134
West Virginia Sweetmeat (3.312 DT 2014), 1.324, 601
Westerlund 1-26*, 2.040, 925
Wild Thyme Purple, 0.952, 432
Work Release Paste, 1.278, 580
Yablochnyy Lipetskiy, 0.986, 447
Ya-Gigant, 0.400, 181
Yaponiya, 2.264, 1027
Yegipetskaya Lad’ya, 0.804, 365
Yellow Beefsteak, 1.216, 552
Yusupovskyi S Fergany, 1.306, 592
Zaczilla, 1.610, 730
Zagadka Doliny Roz Sertsevidnaya, 0.400, 181
Zalais Pipertomats, 0.388, 176
Zamok Shartr, 0.844, 383
Zapotec Red, 0.642, 291
Zarevo, 0.602, 273
Zeke Dishman, 0.730, 331
Zheltij Delikates, 0.300, 136
Zhenskaya Grud’, 0.400, 181
Zluta Kytice, 0.224, 102
Zogola, 0.830, 376

If you would like to try any of these varieties, please see:
https://www.delectationoftomatoes.com/store/c2/Tomatoes.html

For those not yet listed, a “generic” option is available here:
https://www.delectationoftomatoes.com/store/p2/Generic_-_not_yet_profiled.html

And just send me an email with your selections, dale@gianttomatoseeds.com

THANK YOU for your support for the preservation and propagation of heirloom seeds from around the world!

Here are 34 batches of tomatoes now fermenting for seed extraction, with only 66 more batches to go (then on to peppers, beans, corn, etc…)

Giant Stars and Tomatoes

Admittedly a huge stretch, but why not?  Reach for the stars, maybe hit the moon…

As I’m working on stabilizing several crosses I’ve made among giant tomato varieties over the years, it’s become time to assign variety names to them.

Here is

RW Cephei

Yes – named after a hyper-giant star, descended from a cross I made on July 27, 2014. This specimen now measures to 3.27 lbs.(185.0 X 146.4 X 116.2 mm, 21.5″ circumference), though I’m going to put my best guess at 2.94 lbs., as most of my giant tomatoes this year have had significant hollowness in most seed locules – why, what causes this I do not know!  Any ideas?  This specimen will go to the local weigh off on October 7th, after which I will post the actual, certified weight. Original cross was between Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013) – the parent of Dan MacCoy’s world record 8.41 MacCoy 2014 – and Brutus Magnum, from 6.25 Meisner 2011.

[Update 10-07-2017: on 10-04-2017, this tomato measured 192.0 X 167.8 X 115.5 mm (L X W X H), which, using formulae described a few years ago here (search “Estimating Tomato Weights”), yields an estimated weight of 3.866 lbs.  It also measures 22.5 inches in circumference.  But because of moderately deep lobing, I’ll estimate 3.65 lbs.  We’ll know for sure in about 12 hours!  There is also a Domingo that ought to just break 3 lbs. – I’ll give it a 3.08]

And

Westerlund 1-26

Westerlund 1-26 (3.698 DT 2015)

Westerlund 1-26 (3.698 DT 2015)

This one is from a cross I made on August 01, 2014 between Bigzarro and Delicious (6.51 Meisner 2011).  Several growers have remarked that this line produces huge, healthy vines with thick stems and many tomatoes in the 2-3 lb. range.  Of course getting to 5+ lbs. requires heavy pruning and thinning, along with special techniques which I largely have not yet employed in my tomato growing.

Several more star names are in queue to use for giant tomato crosses, once they show real promise.

Saturday September 23rd was the first weigh off event of the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers, which included a new Utah State Record pumpkin (1,974 lbs. by Matt McConkie) and squash (1068.5 lbs. by Gordon Tanner), but not a state record tomato 😦  My submitted tomato, Domingo (2.80 DT 2017)(4.95 Lai 2016), was second to Ralph and Jauna Laub’s Big Zac (2.920 Laub 2017)(5.39 Reinhart).  Full results at: http://www.utahpumpkingrowers.com/2017/results_2017.html

Change of topic, or at least sub-topic –

Today, after more than two months of pedal-to-the metal tomato harvesting and processing for seed saving, I finally feel that I’m over the hump and am in the home stretch.  I only have about 93 varieties left from which I need to save seeds, out of 325 among over 700 vines.

Here is a sample of a day’s work, processing tomatoes for fermentation and seed extraction.

And one of 211 pictures taken:

Slankard’s (1.468 DT 2017)

Slankard’s is just one of dozens of fabulous tasting tomatoes I’ve sampled this year, by the way.  I’ll need to summarize that information within a few weeks, as I still have HUNDREDS of batches of seeds drying on plates – actually every plate I have is full, as I just cannot keep up with packaging this time of year:

Trying to get this 2017 seed saving project finished up as soon as possible – seeds packaged and inventoried, germination tests completed, 5,161 new (2017 to date) pictures named and organized, descriptions transcribed, histories researched and information posted on the website…

So, it rather goes without saying, any support you are able to provide for this massive project of preserving and propagating heirloom seeds from around the world (close to 3,000 total varieties in inventory now, including 2,000 tomato) would be greatly appreciated – something for something at:

http://www.delectationoftomatoes.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

And of course let your gardening friends in on this excellent source for a wide variety of garden seeds from around the world!

First Ripe Tomatoes of 2017

 

Now that the dust has settled from the spring and early summer planting season, my tally shows that I have planted 878 tomato vines of 426 varieties in 6 locations.  My goal, some day soon, is to plant in only one location, and also to LIVE at that location.  This itinerant farmer business is SO inefficient…

In spite of a number of setbacks this Spring (including the death of more than 700 tomato seedlings), tomatoes are finally starting to ripen in Utah County.  I am becoming convinced that advertised DTM’s (Days to Maturity) are only ballpark estimates, and are perhaps valid only under nearly ideal conditions:

  • Roots of seedlings are never allowed to be restrained, as happens in plug trays or when left in small pots for more than two weeks
  • Soil temperature is never allowed to fall below 55° F or so
  • Daytime temperatures include at least 6-8 hours in the 70-85° range every day; nothing over 93° though
  • NO sitting in cold, wet water
  • Excellent soil – good tilth, lots of organic matter, trace minerals, good nutrition, proper pH (6.5 range, give or take a few tenths)
  • Appropriate watering – roots need oxygen, so not too much water; and around here, well and irrigation water are often too alkaline for top performance

Some formula for cumulative heat at the root level might be a very good prediction of DTM, still dependent upon variety, of course.  A well managed greenhouse or high tunnel would be an excellent strategy for getting early tomatoes.  Some day…

Anyhow, here are the earliest ripening varieties of 2017

60 days: Maddeline’s Vine Candy, Orange Bourgoin, Утёнок (Utyonok)

61 days: Black Cherry, Hagan Little Yellow, Малина Трестон  (Malina Treston)

69 days: Голубой лес (Goluboy Les), Gladiator (hybrid), Indigo Black Shadow, Канары  (Kanary), Маршал Победа (Marshal Pobeda), Скуби (Skubi), Слава Молдовы (Slava Moldovy)

70 days:  Tomatoberry, Sub Arctic 2, Aussie Drops

74 days: Jaune Flammee, Китайский обсыпной малыш (Kitayskyi Obsypnoy Malysh), Командор фортуна (Komandor Fortuna), Низкорослый сверхранний (Nizkoroslyi Sverkhrannyi)

I am not at the farm every day, so these are just estimates.  Lots more to come.  There are several thousands blossoms that have recently set fruit, following a few days of cooler weather (highs below 95°) and storms 7-12 days ago.

Orange Bourgoin:

Goluboy Les:

Indigo Black Shadow:

Perhaps the most unusual blossoms I have ever seen on a Monica (F2) plant.  This is a determinate, Roma-style tomato, and I’ve been trying for four years to get this stubborn variety to produce seeds.  Blossoms seem to have leaf tissue for sepals, and the sepals are mostly fused.  The reproductive parts are tiny, not at all like a typical tomato.  Oddly, there are a couple of fruits growing on this vine.  But I don’t see how most of these blossoms could possibly get pollinated.

To date, the most impressive megabloom has not been from among the 48 tomato vines that are part of the 2017 giant tomato project in the high tunnel.  It’s from one of my new acquisitions from Russia, Серебрянный ключ. which transliterates to Serebryanyi Klyuch and translates to Silver Key.  All I know about this variety so far is that it has regular leaves and my source reports, “Medium tall vines, fruits are large, red, round and flattened with thick; meaty and tasty flesh.”

It remains to be seen whether this impressive 8X (or more) megabloom can set fruit in hot weather and nobody there to hand pollinate it several times.  (PS – blossom dead four days after this photo)

One megabloom that DID set fruit was a 4X on a Ранняя любовь (Rannyaya Lyubov, First Love) vine:

And another 7X blossom that is in the process of setting fruit on a Tamara vine:

4 days later:

Tamara 7X 8-02-2017 D rev

Updates about the 2017 Giant Tomato Project will be made to that Blog post shortly:

https://delectationoftomatoes.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/giant-tomato-project-2017/

I spent several days tying up tomato vines that were, in some rows, a solid jungle-like tangle of tomato vines.  With recent rains, many of the vines had put down roots in the pathways – variety shown here is Joe’s Plum, but there were many more:

And anyone who has gone swimming in tomato vines knows how dirty your hands can get.  I use a rough rock for scrubbing my hands under running water to remove the glue-like tomato vine residue.  Loop ties on wrist are known as “Tu-It Ties” from the Klipon company in New Zealand.

Among the 59 late, small tomato seedlings transplanted on July 7th, only one (Yellow Out Red In) died.  Here’s what this patch looks like, just 25 days after transplanting:

Most of these have blossoms, or at least buds already.  Since I don’t plan on installing supports for these vines, I’m trying a new way to label them – attaching plastic tags directly to the vines using a hole punch and a loop tie:

Coincidently (or not), the most impressive blossom at the smaller garden in Utah County is also on a Serebryanyi Klyuch, a developing 4X megabloom:

This large 2X blossom on an Abkhaziya Rozovaya (Абхазия розовая; Abkhazia pink) vine also shows some promise:

Also on July 29th, I transplanted a late-late batch of 16 tomato seedlings to replace varieties that had perished.

The healthiest among these  is Dark Queen.  This seedling is just 34 days from seed sowing indoors:

Here’s what’s left of my 2017 hot pepper project; hot pepper plants REALLY dislike cool weather:

And a few other items:

Blossoms Anasazi Blend runner beans vines:

Three varieties of corn planted on July 13th; Hopi Purple, Joseph’s Landrace Popcorn, and Seneca Sunrise:

Cucurbits planted on July 13th –

Squash, Hopi Pale Gray:

Squash, Striata d’Italia (yes, this is just 19 days from seed sowing – the warmth and summer rains make a huge difference):

Melon, Yubari King (not expecting $100 per melon, but that would be very nice…):

Watermelon, Klondike:

Watermelon, Densuke did not germinate, but here is a struggling Hokkaido watermelon seedling planted a month earlier, which may be the same variety:

And Japanese Giant Red Mustard greens – very flavorful:

Now poised to have the work of harvesting tomatoes for seed saving dominate my life for the next four months…

 

 

 

Late Start with Replacement Tomato Vines

At least 70 tomato varieties that I planted in March and April perished due to cold weather and inadequate care – mostly damping off disease.

So on May 29th, I replanted two seeds of each of those 70 varieties.  The extreme heat has been just about as rough on them as were the cold and wet conditions of a couple of months ago.  I transplanted one seedling each of those varieties that survived in Cedar City; but the deer and rabbits promptly destroyed about half of those.

So over the weekend, I planted what I had left, 57 varieties, in my sister’s garden in American Fork.

These are laid out in a 6X11 grid, 22″ from neighboring vines – very tight, but that’s all the space that was available.

In the other spots, I planted hills of Densuke watermelon and Yubari King melon seeds.  I’m very curious to see whether they live up to their claim of outstanding flavor!  And I only WISH I could charge $100+ per melon…

At Fumarole Farm, there are some moderate disease and bug problems, but overall, the plants are doing well in the 5-gallon buckets:

Contenders for first ripe tomato of the season include:

Utyonok –

Ditmarsher –

and Forest Fire –

 

 

Plants in the Ground for 2017 Season

Update on Fumarole Farm project

Financially I am not able to install electricity (solar, wind turbine or otherwise), Internet service, greenhouses, a way to filter or distill the extremely hard water, amendments to the dense alkaline and salty clay soil, or protection for my seed inventory out in the harsh desert 30 miles away from where I live.  But this is what I can do for now.

Water barrels, a 275-gallon caged water tank, dozens of 5-gallon plastic buckets, around 60 tomato and pepper seedlings, and transportation of barrels of fresh water from my apartment.

We spent a long time scraping up very old sheep manure from the desert floor several miles away from the hot springs, then mixing it with potting mix that I purchased, filling buckets, and transplanting.

Buckets are inside of a goat corral (minus the goats) with the hope that the fence will keep out some of the local critters, and maybe even dissuade some of the local yahoos (of which there seems to be an abundance) from stealing what is not theirs.

Since Fumarole Farm has turned out to be a very risky place to plant, none of these tomato and pepper varieties is needed for seed production.  The first tomato variety to produce blossoms here was Ditmarsher.

Main Tomato Project

For the main tomato project for seed propagation, more than 600 seedlings died before we could even get them in the ground, or shortly thereafter.  Here is a picture of some of the cenotaphs, so to speak:

These are labels from the 12 prized giant tomato seeds that never emerged – see previous blog post.

Why did so many seedlings die?

  1. I was not personally there to take care of them
  2. I cut corners by adding bagged “top soil” to the potting mix, which may have introduced some disease
  3. We set freshly potted up seedlings in full sunshine when it was 65-70° F rather then moving them back indoors
  4. Seedlings were exposed to cold, wet rainy conditions with soggy cold soil – a perfect recipe for rampant damping-off disease
  5. I was more than a month late getting the high tunnel constructed; but once it was, the losses dropped off dramatically
  6. Pepper seedlings were transplanted directly from plug trays into the south bed of the high tunnel; about 4″ of fresh horse manure (but it was free…) was broadcast and tilled in, leading directly to about 50% mortality of seedlings
  7. In addition to the horse manure, about 1/3 of the pepper seedlings were transplanted directly into raw, fresh, urine-laden goat manure; 100% of those seedlings promptly died.

Note to self: Don’t even THINK about transplanting peppers into the garden until at least the first week of June, and NEVER use fresh, urine-soaked goat manure, at least not at this concentration.

The main tomato patch is located in Pleasant Grove on the same piece of land as the high tunnel and the giant tomato project.  Here are a few pictures showing installation of drip tubing and transplanting.

Many hours of repair work required to get the drip tubing in decent shape again.  The first seedling to produce blossoms in this main project was Biyskiy Rozan ( Бийский розан ):

With the hundreds of lost seedlings, on May 29th I made a final attempt to be able to save seeds from 70 tomato varieties that were no longer represented in the main tomato project.

May 30th:

Yesterday (May 8th), I potted up the 96 seedlings that emerged; hopefully the other 44 will germinate soon.

With warmer weather now, I am hoping for a far better survival rate.  But where to plant them??

I had some extra seedlings that I could not sell, so I potted up about 40 tomato and pepper seedlings into larger pots of various sizes and placed them outside my apartment window.  Here they are on May 27th:

And here they are 13 days later, most of them already outgrowing at least the 1-gallon pots:

The first blossom, as well as the first megabloom of the year, was on Rosella Purple – a dwarf version of Cherokee Purple (and no, I’m not expecting this to become my first 3-pounder of the year):

In a couple of weeks, once I determine which seedlings are likely to survive, I will post an updated list of all the varieties that are going in the ground this year and are likely to produce tomatoes for seed saving and sharing.