Pictures of Tomatoes, etc.

On November 20th I mentioned having 13,366 pictures still to name.  In the past four weeks I’ve made a concerted effort to name pictures, despite so much else going on.  This morning I counted 9,990 still to name.  That’s 25% named in one month.  That’s progress, but I could do much better – more discipline, more intensely focused, few distractions, less sleep…

I have also been adding or updating varieties to my website, such as Tsindao:

It took me well over an hour to name and edit pictures, research history, compose description, and upload everything to this page on the online store.

Let’s say it takes one hour per variety and I have 2,500 varieties to list.  That’s 2,500 hours, or about 312 days of work at 8 hours per day.

That’s 6 days of work for an entire year.

That’s assuming I have nothing else to occupy my time devoted to the business – tasks such as preparing seed orders, responding to emails, planning for next year, processing seeds from hot peppers (many hours still to go…), organizing seeds, writing descriptions, uploading to website, database work – not to mention the hundreds of hours that go into raising and harvesting everything for seeds.  Or that maybe I need to do other things with my time, talents and energies…

Just saying – I’m getting lots of unsolicited advice, as well as some criticism about how I should improve my website; maybe hire someone?  But with whose $??  For those who can look past the shortcomings, I do appreciate your patience and understanding!  And please do point your gardening friends to:

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite in Winter:

Spanish Spice


Sweet Crunch Orange


Monkey Face


Brazilian Rainbow


Ga Sangwa Kinnit


Peaches and Cream

peaches-and-cream-1-014-dt-2016-k-rev peaches-and-cream-1-332-dt-2016-g-rev


lucinda-0-254-dt-2016-j lucinda-0-254-dt-2016-b





Amazon Chocolate


Ispanskiy Gigant


New Jersey Champion


Maddeline’s Vine Candy


Masca Sarga




Chocolate Stripes


Malakhitovaya Shkatulka


Old Time Tennessee


Dakota Black


Barely the tip of the iceberg.  With over 3,000 total varieties in inventory, few of even the major seed companies carry such a rich diversity of garden seeds.  Yet in one hour they bring in more $ than does Delectation of Tomatoes in an entire year.  Aggressive marketing, or reputation/word of mouth – which is more effective?


Last Batch of 2016 Tomato Seeds Processed

Today I packaged the last of the seeds harvested from tomatoes in 2016 — nine batches from fruits picked on or about October 11, 2016.  Here’s a picture from one of those batches, Letneye Solntse (0.332 DT 2016).


Some “authorities” claim that seeds are no good if saved from green tomatoes that are allowed to ripen off the vine.  I have proven this wrong several times, with germination rates around 80%.  No, I’m not talking about tiny little immature green tomatoes.  If the fruits are full-sized or close to it, they will likely ripen fully over several weeks and the seeds will mature during this process.  A picked tomato is a living, metabolizing organism.  Although it no longer receives nutrients from the vine (including water, thus wrinkling is expected), a tomato still strives to fulfill it’s evolutionary purpose: perpetuate its DNA into the next generation.  Unfortunately, this phenomenon of seed off-the-vine seed maturation seems to be much less the case for peppers, melons and especially squash.

Where I reside, it’s been too chilly for much fermentation to take place, so I used a heating mat of the sort used for seedling propagation.


tomato-seed-processing-final-batch-of-2016-c-rev tomato-seed-processing-final-batch-of-2016-d

Now for some analytics from 2016, hopefully not too boring —

• Attempted to produce seeds of 476 varieties, including 20 or so tracked lineages of Big Zac, etc.

• Among these, I got ZERO seeds of 89 varieties

• Among the 387 varieties from which seeds were saved, 172 are new to Delectation of Tomatoes; that is, this is the first year I will be able to offer seeds.

• This will bring the total to about 1,630 varieties of tomato seeds for sale

• Total number of tomato seeds saved: 252,055 (an estimate of course, based on adding up the total number of seeds from each of 650 batches of tomatoes from which seeds were saved)

• Estimated number of hours it took me to produce this many seeds: 2,252 (this does not count the hundreds of hours spent on the computer: processing pictures, researching varieties, writing descriptions, filling seed orders, working on website, etc.)

• Potential income per seed: 10 cents

• Likely proportion of seeds that will be sold:17% (based on five years of data)

• Expected gross income for the year (seed sales were 90% of income this year): well, I’ll leave that math problem for you.  Keep in mind, the minimum wage in Utah is $7.25 per hour.  And I don’t get paid overtime.  And I get zero benefits (of the monetary kind, that is).  And yes, business expenses (there are plenty) have to come out of this.

• Perspective – trend is positive!  In the past three years, business profit has risen steadily from being on par with an average citizen of Burundi to that of Tanzania.  Fortunately, my food budget is quite low, since I grow most of what I eat!

And some have wondered why I don’t just buy my own land for this business, or hire someone to manage the website, or hire someone to weed and harvest, or…

Perhaps I really am insane…

And maybe I’ve said too much here – it would not be the first time…

So please do encourage your gardening friends to visit

At least maybe we can boost that 17% number by a few points?








Pepper, Melon, Corn and Bean Seeds Harvested in 2016

This was an especially good year for peppers (those that survived the seedling stage anyhow) and corn in the garden in Kanab, Utah.  Deer wrecked havoc on the melons, though with covering fruits with perforated bags, we were able to harvest seeds from 42 varieties.  Earwigs and other pests devastated most of the bean seedlings, so we only managed to save enough seeds from 11 of the 55 varieties we planted.  The list of tomato varieties for 2016 was published in a previous blog post on October 31st.

At last count (today, 11-20-2016), I have 13,366 pictures (of about 50,000 total) still to name and process, along with more than 2,000 descriptions to write, including researching histories.  Some day I will catch up, maybe…

All seeds can be ordered from:  DT Store – Everything Else

So here are the non-tomato varieties from 2016:

PEPPERS, 85 varieties (of 150 planted)

7 Pot Barrackophore
Aji Dulce
Alma Paprika
Amish Bush
Ancho (from Mexico)
Biquinho Iracema
Black Hungarian
Black Night
Bolivian Rainbow
Carolina Reaper
Chapeau de Frade
Cherry Bomb
Chilhuacle Amarillo
Chocolate Beauty
Corno di Toro Giallo
Donne Salis
Etkezesi Paprika
Fatalii, Red
Friariello de Napoli
Full Moon Orange Thai
Ga Sangwa Kinnit (also listed as Kaa Sangwa Kinnit)
Garden Salsa F3
Giant Marconi
Goat Weed
Golden Treasure
Habanero, Long Peach
Habanero, Peruvian White
Habanero, White Bullet
Hawaiian Kona
Holy Mole
Jalapeño, Yellow
Jamaican Yellow Scotch Bonnet
Joe’s Big Blocky
Kpakpo Shito
Macska Sarga
Mako Akokɔsrade
Mammoth Giant Jalapeño
Maya F2
Mayan Cobanero Love
NuMex Eclipse
NuMex R Naky
Orange Sun
Peperone de Sinese
Pero Yellow
Picante Calabrese
Portugal Hot
Prik Kee Noo Suan
Red Congo
Red Thai Hot
Ros de Mallorca
“Roumanian Rainbow
X Jalora Jalapeño”
Siberian First
Siling Haba (may be Siling Labuyo?)
Spanish Spice OP
Super Shephard
Sweet Banana
Taknotsume (aka Hawk’s Claw)
Tequila Sunrise
Thai Dragon
Thai Large
Thai Orange
Thai Super Hot
Tollie’s Sweet
Trinidad Scorpion
UFO Purple
Unknown Pimento Conical
Volcano F3
Yasil Tatli
Yellow Monster
Yolo Wonder

Plus one intriguing new. unique variety that just did not get time to mature in the field: seeds not planted until June 30, 2016 and killing frost came on September 4th, just as blossoms were about to open –



enjoya-pepper-0-306-store-6-17-2016e-rev enjoya-pepper-0-306-store-6-17-2016n

A beautiful, orange and red striped or streaked, thick-walled bell pepper with tasty, crisp, sweet flavor.  My understanding is that this came from Holland and is the first striped bell pepper developed.  I will be glad to send you 5 or 6 seeds from this specimen at no charge with any seed order ( ) while supplies last – just let me know by email after you place an order.  I got 100% germination from these seeds, but I can make no guarantee that they will produce true to type (this may be a hybrid).  I do not sell seeds raised by other, but occasionally I share them at no charge.  I have three plants growing indoors which I have been hand-pollinating.  There are small pods, but plants are struggling and I just don’t know if I will be able to get viable seeds or not — by February perhaps?

There is a beautiful striped hot pepper that has been in my inventory for several years,

FISH pepper –

fish-9-29-2011-a-rev fish-9-13-2011-a-rev

CORN – 15 varieties

Bloody Butcher
Blue Jade
Breeder’s Choice OP (wonderful yellow sweet corn)
Candy Mountain
Dakota Black Popcorn
Earth Tones Dent
Glass Gem
Hickory Cane
Incredible F2 and F3
Painted Mountain (including some interesting variants – ask!)
Painted Mountain Purple
Strawberry Popcorn
Tall White
Tall Yellow

Picture of Painted Mountain Purple – an exceptionally early variety and delicious as sweet corn at the milk stage:

corn-painted-mountain-10-10-2015-d-rev-2 corn-painted-mountain-purple-11-17-2016-c-rev

Earth Tones Dent – very healthy and productive stalk –


See previous post for pictures of Glass Gem and several other varieties of corn.

BEANS – 11 varieties (of 55 planted)

Anasazi Blend
Asian Yard Long
Big John
Bird Egg #3
Black and White Goose
Bush Blue Lake 274
Christmas Lima
Dragon Tongue
Mountain Climber
Red Rum

CUCURBITS – 49 varieties

Cucumber, Korall
Cucumber, Marketmore 76
Cucumber, Muncher
Cucumber, Poona Kheera
Cucumber, Telegraph Improved
Melon, Afghan Honeydew
Melon, Apple
Melon, Bananadew
Melon, Bateekh Samara
Melon, Black Cross Unribbed
Melon, Canary, Tweety (F2)
Melon, Crenshaw
Melon, Delice de La Table
Melon, Far North
Melon, Galia
Melon, Golden Dewlicious
Melon, Ineya
Melon, Madu Ras
Melon, Melon de Castilla
Melon, Melōrànge
Melon, Meshedi Persian
Melon, Model
Melon, Muhurlu
Melon, New
Melon, Obus
Melon, Old-Time Tennessee
Melon, O’Odham Ke’li Ba’so
Melon, Orange Dewlicious
Melon, Papayadew (F3)
Melon, Persian
Melon, Rich Sweetness 132
Melon, Santa Clause
Melon, Snow Leopard
Melon, Sugar Kiss
Melon, Swan Lake
Melon, Talibi Persian
Melon, Temptation
Melon, Tendril Verde Tanlif
Squash, Butterbush
Squash, Lunga di Napoli
Watermelon, Carolina Cross
Watermelon, Cream of Saskatchewan
Watermelon, Jeremiah the Bullfrog (apparently very rare, not many seeds available, very delicious pink flesh)

Watermelon, Moon and Stars
Watermelon, Royal Golden
Watermelon, Sweet Siberian
Watermelon, Ultra Skorospelyi
Watermelon, Zolotistyi
Wintermelon, Valincia

BASIL – Managed to save seeds of only 1 of 13 varieties

Lemon Basil

Lots of very delicious and interesting varieties among these – sure wish I had pictures and descriptions ready!!  But please ask if you have any specific questions:


List of Varieties from Which Seeds Were Harvested in 2016

Third draft (updated 1-02-2017) of the list of tomato varieties from which seeds were harvested in 2016 follows below. Among the 438 varieties of tomatoes raised in 2016, seeds were saved from 349. Seeds for peppers, melons, corn, beans, etc. are listed in other blog posts.  Incorporating these into the website ( ), along with pictures and descriptions, is an effort that will, regrettably, take several months; but seeds are available NOW through the website, or drop me an email ( and we can do this the old-fashioned way – invoice mailed with your seeds or the like.


NEW OFFERINGS – Seeds of 172 tomato varieties which were raised in 2016 by DT and from which sufficient seeds were saved to share with other tomato growers:

1884 Purple
Abakanskiy Rozovyy
Alaskan Fancy
Altayskiy Myod
Amos Cali
Anzhela Gigant Ukrainskaya
Banjan Roomii
Beijing Yellow
Big Sungold Select
Blaby Special
Black and Brown Boar
Black Creme
Blanche Yan
Bob’s Boomtown Titty
Bolgarskiy Zhemchug
Borracho de Aretxabaleta
Brandy Boy
Brandywine, Texas
Brazilian Giant
Butter and Bull Heart
Bych’ye Serdtse
Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye Krugloye
Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye Ploskoye
Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye s Nosikom
Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye Zholtoye
Bych’ye Serdtse Ogromnoye
Bych’ye Serdtse Pobeditel’
Bych’ye Serdtse Vystavochnoye
Bychki Minusinskie
Caro Rich
Cascade Village Blue
Cesu Agrais
Chudo Sada
Chyornyi Slon
Cleota Yellow
Colossal Crimson
Cosmic Eclipse
Cour de Jade
Curra Plum
De Barao Kabardinskoye
Dwarf Russian Swirl
Dwarf Sweet Sue
Fruity Cherry
Giant Green Zebra
Gigant Velikolepnyy
Goose Rock
Grandma Baker’s
Greek, unknown
Indigo Blue Beauty
Indigo Kumquat
Indigo Painted Blue
Joe Thieneman’s Australian Heart
Kanauss Oxheart
Kellogg’s West Virginia
Kolkhoznaya Koroleva
Korniyevskiye 2
Korol’ Rannikh I Urozhaynykh
Kozula #18 (F5)
Krupnaya Grozd’
Letneye Solntse
Lime Green Salad
Maddeline’s Vine Candy
Maddy Rose
Magyar Piroska
Malinovka Yablochnaya
Malinovyi Charodei
Malinovyy Bolgarskiy Gigant
Malinovyy Kucheryavchik
Mar’ina Ulitsa
Margaret Curtain
Marizol Bratka
Maryland Large Red
Maylor Roth’s Orange
Melissa Kavkazskaya Ovcharka
Mexican Yellow
Michaela’s Pink Oxheart
Mortgage Lifter, Pesta Strain
Mountain Gold
Mrs. Benson
Dáchtyla Mynoa
Negrillo de Almoguera
Nonna Antonina
Olga’s Biggest
Orange Torpedo
OSU Oblonde Avec Teton
Our Own Pink
Oxheart Yellow
Palmira’s Northern Italian Beefsteak
Peaches and Cream
Perth Pride
Pleine de Chair
Podarok Ukraine
Polish Ellis
Polish Pink
Prudens Purple X Indian Stripe (F6)
Rasp Large Red
Red Robin
Rosa de Barbastro
Rosalie’s Large Paste
Rozovye Gryozy
Rozovyy Gigant Ukrainskiy
Rozovyy Kilogrammovyy
Rufus Carrigan’s Mexican Pink
Sasha’s Altai
Schlicht’s Orange Cherry
Sean’s Yellow Dwarf
Serendipity Striped
Shadow Boxing
Shary Minusinskiye Krasnyye
Slovenian Bull’s Heart
Snag’s Pride
Snow Fairy
Solovey Razboynik
Sosulka Krasnaya
South Tyrolean Beefsteak
Stoina’s Bulgarian
Sub-Arctic Maxi
Sub-Arctic Plenty
Summertime Green
Sunny Honey
Sunrise Bumblebee
Super Choice
Super Italian Paste
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf
Tekin’s Bulgarian Pink
Tennessee Suited
Tom Boy
Tomatoberry (F5)
Tree’s Bottom Yellow
Tumbling Tom
Vater Rein
Velikiye Ozora
Vnuchkina Radost’
Vol’v’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye
West Virginia Penitentiary
Wild Thyme Purple

Fresh seeds of these 161 varieties were also collected in 2016:

Aker’s West Virginia
Amana Orange
Amazon Chocolate
Andy Backflat’s Wonder
Anna Russian
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Bear Creek
Belarusian Heart
Big McHenry
Big Zac (OP)
BL8 (Magnum)
Black Mountain Pink
Brandywine from Croatia
Brandywine, Pawer’s
Brandywine, Yellow, Platfoot Strain
Brazilian Beauty
Brutus Magnum
Buffalo Heart Giant
Butler Skinner
Carol Chyko’s Big Paste
Carol Chyko’s Big Paste, Black
Casey’s Pure Yellow
Cherry Roma
Chocolate Stripes
Coastal Pride
Cow’s Tit
De Barao Zolotoy
De Weese Streaked
Dikaya Roza
Dutka’s Pink
Dwarf Wild Fred
Earl of Edgecombe
Eastham Pink Heirloom
Eva Purple Ball
First Mate
Flathead Monster Pink
Florida Pink
Forest Fire
Fourth of July (OP)
Fred Limbaugh Potato Top
Geante de Hutt
George’s Greek Beefsteak
Georgia Green
German Giant
German Pink
German Red Strawberry
Gezahnte Buhrer-Keel
Giant Belgium
Giant Colossal
Giant Heart Climber
Gold Medal
Gramma Climenhagen
Grandfather Ashlock
Grape Sausage
Gregori’s Altai
Grosse de Perthuis
Heart of Ashgabat
Howard German
Huge Black
Hungarian Heart
Iraqi Heart
Ispanskiy Gigant
Israeli 2 Pounder
Iva’s Red Berry
Japanese Oxheart
Jaune Saint Vincent
Jerry’s German Giant
Jersey Giant
Jim Dandy
Joe’s Portuguese
Kellogg’s Breakfast
Kennington’s Big Red
Kozula #135
Kozula #37
Krainiy Sever
Lara’s Giant
Large Lucky Red
Leadbeatter’s Lunker
Lemon Giant
Libanaise des Montagnes
Malakhitovaya Shkatulka
Malcolm Lincoln
Mario’s Oxheart
Matchless (Austin)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster
Mortgage Lifter, Estler’s
Mr. Tartar’s German
Gribnoe Lukoshko
New Jersey Champion
Noire Charbonneuse
Orange Pixie
Orange Russian 117
Orange Tree
Pink Thai Egg
Polish C
Purple Reign
Raspberry Lyanna
Red Barn
Rosado y Rojo
Rosalie’s Early Orange
Rosella Purple
Rosi Mari
Sleeping Lady
Striped German
Stripes of Syrnath
Summertime Gold
Sunset’s Red Horizon
Toedebush Pink
Ultra Skorospleij
Vechnyi Zov
Veras Paradeiser
Volovsko Srce Slovenian
West Virginia 63
White Wonder
Wolford Wonder
World’s Largest
Yoder’s German Pink
Zagadka Prirody

Plus seeds from these 14 intentional crosses and commercial hybrids (working on dehybridizing):
Belmonte X Big Zac (F3)
Bezrazmernyi X Big Zac (F3)
DelMar (F3)
Early Girl (F4)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster X Delicious (F3)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster X MegaMarv (F3)
Rebecca Sebastian’s Bull Bag X Big Zac (F3)
Steakhouse (F3)
Sunbursts (F4)
Sunsugar (F5)
Super Marzano (F4)
Supersauce (F2)
Wes X Big Zac (F3)
Zaczilla (F3)

For info. about any of these, please drop me an email:

Seeds from these 16 varieties were also collected, but quantities are limited:

Alice’s Egypt (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Claude Brown’s Yellow Giant (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Dwarf Mr. Snow
Homestead 24-F
Mayo’s Delight (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Minusinski (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Momotaro (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Nicky Crain
Orange Bourgoin
Oregan Spring (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Plate Du Portugal (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Rosalie’s Big Rosy (plenty of seeds from previous years)
Sugar Plum Fairy
Zore’s Big Red (plenty of seeds from previous years)

Seeds from these 9 varieties were saved, but fruits were off-type, so seeds are of questionable value:

Black Cherry (medium size orange fruits)
Delano Green Ripe (red when ripe)
Fishlake Oxheart (very intriguing, fluted, oblate, deeply ribbed, super productive)
Flathead Monster Orange (red, not orange – need to try again)
Hippie Heart (not heart shaped)
Old Fashioned Oxheart (Beautiful striped fruit)
Red Belly (small red)
Red Pear Abruzzese (small spherical red)
Tasmanian Chocolate (not brown)

Seeds of an additional 89 varieties (not planning to list – ask if interested, were planted  in Spring 2016, but I was unable to save seeds for a variety of reasons:

• No germination
• Seedling died
• Plant succumbed to Curly Top Virus or perhaps some other disease
• Seeds were planted too late, or plant produced no fruit, or produced too late, or deer ate the fruit, or there was miscommunication, or early frost, or – in a few cases – fruits are still growing on the vine as of 10-30-2016.

See other blog posts for seeds of non-tomato varieties this year.

Big Tomato Harvest 2016

After a number of varieties challenged that two-pound barrier this growing season, finally, two tomatoes from the same vine both broke through:

Big Zac (2.130 DT 2016)(6.16 Foss 2014)

big-zac-2-130-dt-20166-16-foss-2014-e-rev big-zac-2-130-dt-20166-16-foss-2014-b-rev

Big Zac (2.114 DT 2016)(6.16 Foss 2014)

big-zac-2-114-dt-20166-16-foss-2014-d-rev big-zac-2-114-dt-20166-16-foss-2014-c-rev

Noteworthy is that this is the same seed that produced my largest tomato in 2015:

Big Zac (4.418 DT 2015)(6.16 Foss 2014)

big-zac-4-418-dt-20156-16-foss-2014-d-rev big-zac-4-418-dt-20156-16-foss-2014-l-rev


Several other varieties gave Big Zac a run for its money this year, and I will list those over the next few days as I get seeds fermented, separated, dried, packaged, organized and in the database.  At the moment I have over 650 lbs. of tomatoes that need to be processed for seed before they rot – not to mention peppers, melons, corn, beans, etc.

This year, with all the traveling required between tomato patches, I had no time to thin or prune to encourage growth of giant tomatoes.  Still an itinerant farmer…

Heaviest pepper was:

Yellow Monster (0.778 DT 2016)


LOTS of interesting tomato, pepper, melon and corn varieties to discuss – but for the moment, I gotta get back to those piles of fruits awaiting seed extraction!

– – – – – – – – – –

Update 12-01-2016

List of tomato varieties which produced fruits of 1.25 lbs. or larger in 2016:

2.130  —  Big Zac
2.102  —  BigZarro
1.982  —  Belmonte X Big Zac
1.944  —  George’s Greek Beefsteak
1.930  —  Domingo
1.832  —  Zaczilla
1.702  —  Japanese Oxheart
1.698  —  Tekin’s Bulgarian Pink
1.660  —  Giant Belgium
1.636  —  Florida Pink
1.634  —  Black Mountain Pink
1.632  —  Ispanskiy Gigant
1.624  —  De Weese Streaked
1.522  —  Polish Ellis
1.486  —  Lara’s Giant
1.446  —  Mawlenowe
1.440  —  Provenzano
1.432  —  Krupnaya Grozd’
1.430  —  Buffalo Heart Giant
1.424  —  Bezrazmernyi X Big Zac
1.400  —  South Tyrolean Beefsteak
1.382  —  German Red Strawberry
1.356  —  Kiselovskiye
1.344  —  New Jersey Champion
1.332  —  Peaches and Cream
1.312  —  Pineapple
1.296  —  World’s Largest
1.296  —  Maryland Large Red
1.292  —  Anzhela Gigant Ukrainskaya
1.290  —  Malinovyy Bolgarskiy Gigant
1.288  —  Veras Paradeiser
1.286  —  Bych’ye Serdtse Minusinskoye Ploskoye
1.252  —  Supersteak
1.252  —  DelMar

There was no effort to encourage large fruits — no pruning, thinning, temperature control, extra organic matter, etc.







Tying Up Tomato Vines, 2016

The majority of heirloom tomato varieties produce on indeterminate vines.  If well cared for, the more aggressive vines can grow to 15 to 20 feet or more in a single season and produce 100+ lbs. of fruit.  You know those tiny, cone-shaped wire “tomato cages”? USELESS for indeterminate tomatoes, decent for peppers or eggplants.

There are numerous brands of larger and stronger tomato cages on the market, ranging from about $11 to $33 each.  I will not endorse any of those because I have not tried them and cannot imagine investing $20 per plant for 2,000 plants.  $40,000 just for supports?  No can do.

Homemade tomato cages made from concrete reinforcing wire or livestock fencing will run you about $6 per cage, so “only” $12,000.  Nope!

The past few years, I’ve settled on 6′ to 7′ T-posts and baler twine for making trellises.  T-posts are not cheap and they take some time and energy to install and remove.  And tying up twine is no small task either.  Cost is about $1.50 per tomato vine, plus an additional 5 cents per plant for new baler twine, unless you choose to reuse the twine.

I’ve settled on a maximum distance of 15′ between T-posts, with 8-10′ being ideal.  The secret to prevent sagging is to anchor the ends of the rows securely and re-tighten as needed:

Tomato Patch, Kanab 7-14-2016 A rev

At both ends of the tomato rows, I use 18″ long sections of rebar, driven into the ground at a 30° angle or so.

Tomato Patch, rebar anchor tomato patch, 7-26-2016 A

For both the twine used for the horizontal tiers (3-4 tiers is adequate) and for anchors, I use loop knots that allow for serious tightening of the twine – the type of knot one would use for tying down a load with tarp.

Tomato Patch, loop knot support, 7-26-2016 A

Note also the Tyvek tags.  I purchase those with wire pre-attached.  They are a little pricey (6.2 cents each) but well worth it, especially if the climate is sunny, windy or rainy; these can stand up to the weather for at least three years.

I’ve been using thinner and cheaper polyethylene twine to separate and tie up tomato vines to the horizontal baler twine.  At the plot in Kanab, here is what tomato rows looked like before tying up:

Tying up tomato vines 7-30-2016 B

And after:

Tying up tomato vines 7-30-2016 A

Stretchy, cloth loop ties are also extremely useful for securing vines to twine:

Tu-it Loop Ties B rev

On another subject, it looks like Valencia Winter Melon will be the first melon variety to ripen this year:

Melon, Valencia 7-28-2016 B rev

This extra early variety is also very tasty and can store for up to four months without spoiling.  Dates back to the 1830’s from Italy.

Corn is doing well, attracting lots of honeybees:

Honey Bees on corn tassles 7-28-2016 C rev2

Peppers are also doing well:

Peppers, Bowman 7-14-2016 B rev

Giant Pumpkins are a bust.  We prepared about 3,000 square feet of space with lots of manure and kept the patch mostly weed free.  Vines had world-class genetics, but it doesn’t matter anymore.  Combing every leaf at least once a day for squash bugs, killing up to 50 per day, destroying all eggs – weeks of this was not enough.  One vine died by mid-July, the other is near death.

The Patch:

Pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, Squash Bug damage 7-28-2016 F

The first vine to die:

Pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, Squash Bug damage 7-28-2016 D

The nearly dead:

Pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, Squash Bug damage 7-28-2016 A

The blasted little buggers – all of these were squashed:

Pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, Squash Bug damage 7-28-2016 C rev

Sometimes it’s tempting to rescind on my vow to not use any chemicals…

= = =

Update 8-10-2016

Here is what’s left of the two world-class giant pumpkin vines planted in Cedar City:

Giant Pumpkin vine Ron 8-8-2016 B rev Giant Pumpkin vine Ron 8-8-2016 A rev

In stark contrast, the squash variety Lunga di Napoli (a Cucurbita moschata cultivar), for the third year in is demonstrating remarkable resistence to squash bugs, powdery mildew and benign neglect, while still growing vigorously and producing very large, tasty fruits.

Squash, Lunga di Napoli NO squash bug 8-8-2016 A rev Squash, Lunga di Napoli NO squash bug 8-8-2016 B








Megablooms 2016

Чудо Сада?
Chudo Sada (Garden Miracle) as the variety with the best early megablooms? I might have passed it off as an anomaly, but BOTH Chudo Sada vines have very impressive megablooms, 4X and 5X or more:

Chudo Sada megablooms 6-18-2016 Q Chudo Sada megablooms 6-18-2016 S rev Chudo Sada megablooms 6-18-2016 ZB

At this point, all tomato vines at the Kanab plot are under row cover fabric and are not easily visible:

Tomato low tunnel Kanab 6-16-2016 C rev

But I did check the Big Zac and Delicious plants – a small double blossom here and there, but nothing to compare with Chudo Sada, which isn’t even part of the giant tomato project.  A bit of a head-scratcher at this point, as this variety is listed as growing to 600 g.  We’ll see if huge megablooms translates to huge fruits!

These row covers have just about eliminated attack from Beet Leafhoppers (vectors of Curly Top virus) so far, but at least 50 plants are already busting out and really need to be tied up.

Legumes:  about 40% germination, then about half of those already destroyed by earwigs, etc.

Corn:  excellent germination and doing very well:

Corn Seedlings Kanab 6-16-2016 rev

Cucurbits:  only 7% germination rate – worst I’ve ever seen for such large seeds.  Way too much water.  Hopefully the problem is resolved, but are the seeds still viable?

Peppers: about 70% survival; new growth is just barely beginning.

Several 103’s and 104°F in the forecast – not good news for tomato blossoms…

= = = =

Update, 8-5-2016

None of the Chudo Sada blossoms took.  Thousands of other blossoms have withered and died in the heat.  Almost every day for the past month has reached between 95 and 103°F, just too hot for setting fruit.  But there are still hundreds of tomatoes on the vine, some getting ripe, including this impressive looking specimen:

Delicious (4.65 Bieser 2015)
July 5th

Delicious (4.65 Bieser 2015) 7-4-2016 E

July 15th

Delicious (4.65 Bieser 2015) B rev

July 30th

Delicious (1.93 DT 2016 no seeds)(4.65 Bieser 2015) B

It’s a tomato that looks like it could have gone 4 lbs. or more if mollycoddled!  Unfortunately, it ripened prematurely, then rotted on the vine and what was left of it had ZERO seeds.  There are other impressive blossoms or buds on this and several other vines – just need some more moderate temperatures for a few weeks.