Big Zac (2.350 DT 2012)(5.32 Lyons 2011)

Well, here it is:

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2.350 is close enough to 2.382 – the formula won’t often be this close!  We’ll see what the certified weight will be in the morning.  I’m hearing rumors there might be some serious competition from other tomato growers at the weigh-off!

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Here’s this tomato on certified scales at the weigh-off:

And here’s the winner of the contest, 2 lb. 8.2 oz. (=2.513 lb.) – one that weighed 2.602 lbs. when picked 8 days earlier, Big Zac (2.602 DT 2012)(5.35 Lyons 2010):

Hopefully there will be at least 20 contenders and several 3+ pounders at next year’s weigh-off

Big Zac Contender

Tomorrow’s the BIG day for vegetables in the state of Utah:  the tomato section of the Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower’s annual weigh-off.

I just returned from harvesting, hoping for possibly one even heavier than 3.208 lbs.

From Big Zac (5.32 Lyons 2011) (3.9 Catapano 2007), I picked one that measures:

CC1=44.3, CC2=32.9, CC3=46.2

W=0.016043*CC1*CC2*CC3 (weight in grams)

So W=1,080 g, or 2.38 lbs.

Caliper measurements are 16.51X11.88X10.04, which yields an estimate of 2.16 lbs.

Which is closer?  I won’t know for a while – I’ve gotta get back to work ASAP.   Just posting this entry for the fun of it!  Pics on scales to come.



Stupice – Take Two

From tomatoes harvested on 6-23-2012 (see previous Blog post), I saved seeds and planted 20 of those on 7-03-2012.  Eventually, 17 of those emerged.

On 8-02-2012, I transplanted some of those seedlings into large (about 1.5 gallon) pots.

Today, I picked two ripe tomatoes!  This calculates to:

• 87 day generation time (6-23 to 9-17)

• 76 days from seed sowing to first ripe fruits

• 46 days from transplanting

This one’s going to be tough to beat for earliness!  The taste is just fine to me, but this time of year I’ve got plent of other varieties to keep my interest.

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Church (3.208 DT 2012)

Finally made it over the 3 lb. “Giant Tomato” barrier!  Nice to have a state record to go along with it.  Not as big as I had hoped: 7% underweight from my ellipsoid-based formula.  It shrunk just a bit the past couple of days.  It’s much greener on top and on the shaded side than I would have guessed, so I’m thinking it could have waited another 3 days or so to allow more conversion to sugars, thus increasing fruit density.  I’ve not noticed hollow seed locules with the variety Church, so I’m not going to make that excuse.

Certified official Utah state record, 3.208 lbs., or 3 lbs. 3.33 oz.  Certified by officials of the Weights and Measures Division of the Utah State Department of Agriculture and Food: “It doesn’t get anymore official than this in the state of Utah” they told me.  These are the guys that certify all the scales in the state.

Submitted to Great Pumpkin Commonwealth as 3.208 Thurber 2012, variety Church, open pollinated.

Anyhow, following are a few pics.  The larger pics show a good view of the late-season giant tomato bed and depict renewed confidence in the small kitchen scales I use to weigh all my big tomatoes.

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Anticipation – Chuch 3.??

In a few hours I’ll be harvesting a new Utah state record tomato and taking it in for official weighing and certification at the state’s Division of Weights and Measures.

Current official state record is  2.762 lbs. (several people have claimed to have grown 3-4+ pounders, but have produced no documentation that I’m aware of).

Applying the ellipsoid-based formula with my latest measurements puts this one at 3 lbs. 6 oz., or 3.38 lbs.  I’ll bracket it between 3.10 and 3.50 and hope for the higher side.  I’m thinking it might go on the heavier side, since lobing is minor and there are few surface irregularities.  Additionally, it’s mostly ripe, which should increase its density somewhat.

Growth rate has been slow but steady over the past week – about 1.4% per day.  Today was the first day of shrinkage, and that was very slight.

Dawson’s Russian Oxheart

This one’s a beauty!  A bi-color oxheart with excellent flavor – sweet, fruity, juicy, with hardly a hint of tartness or acid.  According to Tatiana’s Tomatobase, this is a stabilized cross between Georgia Streak and Russian 117 – both excellent varieties in their own right.

Most fruits were in the 4-8 oz. range, but a couple of them have been close to a pound, such as this one:

Dawson’s Russian Oxheart (0.986 DT 2012)

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Three Big Tomatoes Picked Today

Here’s the largest, MegaMarv (2.678 DT 2012) (5.51 Meisner 2011):

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This variety is new on the scene of giant tomato growing.  Seed source Marv Meisner, M.D., 2011, author of the book “How to Grow Giant Tomatoes” and one of the world’s most successful and knowledgeable growers.  This variety is a MUST TRY for anyone trying to grow giants.  Or even giant yields!  Based upon my first season of experience, I think a skilled and dedicated grower could easily get 75 lbs. or more from one plant in a season.

Measurements using calipers put this one at 2.466 lbs., while using a tape measure to measure 3 perpendicular circumferences put it at 2.777 lbs.  Both of these predictions are within 10% of actual weight.  I waited until this one was almost fully ripe before picking because it continued to grow a bit each day up until this final day when it apparently began to shrink.

Next is Big Zac (2.378 DT 2012) (5.35 Lyons 2010).  The 5.35 Lyons in turn was grown from 3.9 Catapano 2007 ← 4.59 Lyons 2006 ← Big Zac (F1), making this one an F5.  As mentioned elsewhere, this 5.35 Lyons 2010 line is a prolific producer of megablooms.  The real challenge is selecting which among numerous promising-looking fruits to allow to grow.  Thus my efforts at measuring little tomatoes and calculating growth rates.  I picked this one fairly early as it’s growth had stopped and a vinemate measures to >2 lbs. and is still growing.

Measurements using calipers put this at 2.350 lbs., while using a tape measure put it at 2.566 lbs. – both estimates were within 10% of actual weight.

Third is Hoy (2.048 DT 2012) (3 Kott 2011).  Terry Kott grew this variety to over 3 lbs. in 2011 and generously shared seeds with several growers.  He and others have raved about what an overall excellent variety this is – very productive, large plants, large tomatoes and excellent flavor.  This is the first big (>2 lbs.) tomato I’ve picked from among the 11 “Phase 1” vines.  So far it’s looking like the “Heavy Prune” method is more effective at producing large fruits.  The stems on those plants are MUCH thicker and so have a greater capacity to deliver nutrients to developing tomatoes.

Measurements with calipers produced an estimate of 2.080 lbs., while the measuring tape produced an estimate of 2.154 lbs.

In a final push to get big tomatoes this year, I did another major pruning today, such as these 21 green ones, all pruned off of one plant, Delicious (6.51 Meisner 2011).

I’m hoping to give this fast-growing one from the same vine a chance to reach it’s potential:

Many plants continue to put out impressive megablooms, such as this 6X on a MegaMarv plant:

This one’s very unlikely to get to full size, as cool weather is just a few weeks away.

New State Record Largest Tomato

Big Zac (2.802 DT 2012) (4.20 Diaz 2011)

Unofficial Utah State Record!  I will need to get it certified after the long holiday.

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Weight estimates based on daily measurements came in way under actual harvest weight with this one.  I did harvest in the morning after the heaviest rainfall we’ve had in months, but that would likely have added only a few grams.  There’s a much better explanation for this significant underestimate of actual weight.

Inherent potential bias with using calipers with short “fingers”.  I tried to measure in the same places on the tomato each day.  Comparisons of measurements ON vs. OFF the vine:

ON THE VINE:  D1=16.50, D2=14.81, D3=8.34, so weight estimate = 0.49742*16.50*14.81*8.34=1,013.7 g (2.235 lb.)

OFF THE VINE: D1=16.52, D2=14.90, D3=10.23, weight estimate = 0.49742*16.52*14.90*10.23=1,252.6 g (2.761 lb.), which is within 2% of actual weight.

Obviously, it’s the D3 dimension (height) which lead to a signficant underestimate of the weight.  As mentioned in previous posts, this was a very flattened tomato. The “fingers” of my calipers are only 2″ long, so they did not come close to reaching the bulging center of this tomato for measurements.  A better instrument would have likely resulted in better estimates.

For the logically more precise use of circumferences for estimating ellipsoidal volume, here are the calculations:

CC1=44.7, CC2=36.6, CC3=50.2 (~19.8″ taped), so weight estimate = 0.016043*44.7*36.6*50.2=1,317.9 g (2.905 lb.), which is within 4% of actual weight.

More pics to come following official weigh-in.

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P.S. (9-04-2012) – I decided not to get this one certified.  This morning I taped the three circumferences of the largest Church (from 3.36 Perry 2008) still growing on the vine.  At 39 days along (and very little recent growth), it measures to 2.99 lbs.  Since it has very few geometrical irregularities, I think it has a very good chance of surpassing 2.8 lbs.

P.P.S. (9-17-2012) – I kept this one refridgerated for 13 days before it started to degrade to the point of leakage.  On 9-07-2012, 5 days after harvest, it weighed 2.722 lbs.  On 9-14-2012, 13 days after harvest, it weighed 2.638 lbs.  This works out to about a 0.45% weight loss per day.

Final pics added to slideshow above.