Dozens of tomatoes have been full-sized but green on the vine for three weeks or more. Finally, the first ripe tomatoes of the 2018 growing season ripened and were picked this past week. With ambitions to save seeds from nearly 600 varieties, I have been anxious to get an early start on seed saving.
These are the first varieties to produce ripe fruits:
Totushka (Тётушка, from Russia ) – a compact, dwarf determinate variety. The plant in a grow bag produced a ripe tomato two days earlier than the plant in the garden; but the plant in the garden was much more productive. Days to maturity was 48 from transplant, 102 from seed.
Bison – among the “extra early” varieties started from seed on March 15th. Shortly after planting, the seedling suffered from severe drought stress (watering was missed somehow) which seemed to force it into early blossom formation (just a hypothesis). Photos below taken on May 30th and July 13th. DTM: 58/120.
Red Alert – a very early, determinate variety. As with Totushka, the vine planted in the main garden was significantly more productive than the vine planted in a grow bag. DTM: 50/122
Utyonok (Утёнок, from Russia) – A dwarf determinate variety that, like Totushka, produces almost all fruit with few leaves. This is my third year growing Utyonok, and as previously, this has been one of the first to ripen. This year, the plant was one that struggled from the start and I was surprised that it survived to bear fruit. DTM: 48/121.
Maddeline’s Vine Candy – A small, orange cherry tomato; history and details are described on the website:
DTM: 48/108, picture from last year.
Koralik – a variety from Poland, translates to “Bead”; small, red cherry tomatoes, extra early; DTM 43/94. Grown by my cousin in Arizona from seedlings I raised, so no pictures; my Koralik seedling nearly died from heavy browsing by goats and is still in recovery mode.
Babushkino – From Russia, Бабушкино translates to “Grandma’s”, very tasty, small round red; DTM 63/105
Americke Pyramidni – Perhaps not true to type, need to research; DTM 61/105
Appetitnyi – From Russia, Аппетитный translates to “Appetizing”, and is indeed quite tasty, with a distinctive, lively flavor; DTM 61/101
Emerald – Offtype, red fruits; will see if it’s worth saving; DTM 61/101
Sungella – Beautiful and delicious little orange tomatoes; DTM 60/100
Black Cherry – Fabulous flavor, picture from 2017; DTM 51/120
De Barao Chorniy (from Russia, Де барао чёрный translates to “Black from De Barao); DTM 63/105.
Ditmarsher – Quite a distinctive growth form, sprawling along the ground with almost no seeds; would be excellent for planter boxes; picture of loaded plant is from 2016; DTM 61/101 (43/94 for my cousin in Arizona)
Now for an update on the dreaded Curly Top Virus.
I should know better than to take a chance with not completely covering seedlings with row cover fabric – see lessons learned in 2014 and 2016:
On June 15th this year, I removed two plants which were obviously dying from CTV, Drug (Dzhan) and Polesskiy Gigant Tarasenko:
I was hopeful that this would be the end of CTV this season – alas, it was just the beginning. Two weeks later the count was at 45; then 71 a week after that; then this past week, I quit counting at 90 seedlings dying – so discouraging. Even a Big Rainbow vine – part of the giant tomato project in the high tunnel – succumbed to CTV. A once vigorous plant, nearly 18″ tall, replaced here with a very-late-to-germinate Mammoth Cretan seedling:
Someone claimed a special formulation of Chitosan will cure and/or prevent virtually every known disease or physiological problem with tomatoes, including viruses. As a trained scientist, I am very skeptical about grandiose claims (skeptic = “show me the evidence”), but I remain curious enough to give it a try – you just never know when someone might stumble upon a cure for CTV. So we sprayed seven infected plants with the formulation.
Not a hint of any positive effect as far as reversing or curing the disease. This is just anecdotal evidence, of course. Anybody out there willing to try this or any other claimed CTV in a large-scale, rigorous field study with large sample sizes, appropriate controls, etc.? Hypothesis: Chitosan protects tomato vines from developing Curly Top Virus disease, even after infection. If only I still worked for a research university and had financial support to investigate such questions… My solution is to go ahead and invest several hundred dollars for row cover fabric and the means to keep the vines covered at least until late July.
Update on megablooms and developing fruits – please see revision to my previous post on this subject:
Non-tomato stuff –
I am trying to grow giant pumpkins this year, with two vines growing and taking over the garden. I am unable to keep up with burying vines or with protecting the growing tips from intense heat, with many days over 95°F the past couple of weeks. But I have pollinated about 6 pumpkins and am trying to decide which to keep and which to cull; this was the first to pollinate on June 30, but it will be a cull:
I am growing some tall sunflowers and some gourds (long and dipper). Here’s what the structure looks like:
The parent of these was 170.5″ tall (see:
I am hoping to exceed that! I am also growing large-headed sunflowers.
Following are a couple of pictures of my favorite Cauliflower variety, Purple of Sicily, taken two days apart. Hopefully I will be able to harvest seeds from it this year. I will cover the head with fabric to prevent cross-pollination with other Brassicus varieties, though I realize that most varieties in this group are largely self-infertile. We shall see.
Just something “cute” – White Scallop squash, aka White Pattypan, conjoined twins:
And I have plenty of interest but not a lot of time for flower seeds, such as bleeding heart:
So many more…