Tomato harvesting for this season is about 25% complete, while processing for seeds is about 20% complete. The ripening of so many tomato varieties in such a short period of time is analogous to a profusion of blossoms opening in Spring in an amazingly diverse flower garden. With the obvious difference that you can actually EAT these and use them in all kinds of wonderful recipes!
I’ve not yet taken the time to label these photos, let alone transcribe field notes about productivity, flavor, etc. But rest assured, there are many remarkably delicious tomato varieties this year, as well as a number of impressively productive ones.
Regrettably, I have been unable to manage the time to do – well, so much that needs to be done this time of year. One hour of harvesting translates to at least 10 hours of processing for seed collecting. And 100 hours per week of intensive effort really needs to be 100 hours per day in order to keep up. Let’s just say, “It’s starting to stink of rotting tomatoes!”
At a minimum, I am making an effort to keep this list of varieties for which seeds are available up-to-date:
DT TOMATO SEEDS AVAILABLE
Deer have breached the barrier of the deer fencing several times now and are starting to do some serious damage. A couple of hours ago, I caught two of the critters in the middle of the tomato patch, enjoying a feast. I chased them out, wondering how they could so easily escape. Well, they just sauntered through a breach in the corner where they had chewed or at least pushed their way through loop ties that had connected the netting to the corner post (railroad tie). Just a little stooping made passage easy for them. Deer in this neighborhood have found the richest jackpot in the county, so of course they will be back – again and again and again. Below is some evidence I found the day before:
So much more in mind to write, but that mind is screaming for some sleep…
Following are short videos of the main garden patch taken the past two weeks. It’s amazing how many ripe tomatoes are not visible when viewed from a distance. But, get in close and move some vines around, and wow, there are thousands! Though the majority of them are still green.
At least I have been getting some good help with harvesting from neighbors! It’s so much faster for me to have two or three people helping with the task, and they get to take home loads of interesting and tasty tomatoes!
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Update October 1st
Intense thunderstorm early this morning, dropping about 3 cm of rain. This included some serious hail. However, I was too tired/lazy to drag myself and out of bed and visually witness the very loud hailstorm. I did record some of the consequences —
Essentially, all the cucurbit leaves were severely damaged. Brassicas and other greens suffered moderate damage. Many exposed tomato leaves were shredded. The damage to the tomato patch was the equivalent of maybe 1,000 tomato hornworms, all in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, most of the foliage was fairly thick, so damage to fruits themselves was probably minor, at least of the green tomatoes. Heavy rainstorms over the past week have resulted in extensive fruit splitting. That’s not really a problem for seed saving, except that the effected fruits will rot much more quickly, and I need all the time I can get for them to remain intact as there are some 300 batches of already harvested ahead of them, waiting for me to find the time to process for seed extraction.
Heavy rains in the high desert of eastern Utah? There have been at least 20 rain events over the past four months, which is more than I have seen in many years. Tomato vines and other garden veggies have loved the rain – nothing like a good thunderstorm to stimulate rapid and lush growth!
The water year just ended yesterday (September 30th), and this region (Lower Green) is showing 105% of average rainfall (NRCS precipitation data). An enormous snowfall this winter is needed to refill the reservoirs in Utah and other western states.