Sunday, July 6, 2008

Early Tomatoes

In my post of April 26, 2008 I included a photo of the two plants above. They were both started from seed on March 24, 2008. The plant on the right was placed in the AutoPot and grown in the greenhouse, while the plant on the left was grown outdoors in the garden. In my post of April 17, 2008, I wrote that by using the AutoPot I hoped to have tomatoes by early July. Well, they arrived on time!!

The variety is Wayahead, which is a heirloom that was introduced in the 1920s. It is supposed to have small to medium size fruit, and that is exactly what I am seeing. The fruit is about the size that you would purchase pre-packaged in the supermarket, however, there the comparison ends. The skin is thin and the fruit is juicy and tasty. We had a supermarket tomato this week, and the skin was about 3/8" thick and the inside was dry and pasty.

There was an article in the local paper this week concerning local farmers competing to harvest the first sweet corn. The winner stated he planted an early variety that only grew three feet tall and had small ears, but it came early. I suppose he was willing to sacrifice size for speed. That is what I think you get when you plant these early tomatoes.

I must admit that they are the best looking tomatoes I have ever grown! Each tomato, on every truss, is absolutely perfectly shaped and blemish free. I have never achieved that outdoors in soil.

We have been picking cucumbers for a few days, and now we have tomatoes, so I guess replacing the swimming pool with the greenhouse was a good move. I sure don't miss the daily chore of maintaining the pool.

The Rutgers tomato in the greenhouse is not even thinking of ripening at this stage, and the fruit is slightly larger than the Wayahead. This is also a hierloom developed in the 1930s for the Campbell Soup Company. I guess I will have to wait awhile to try the "Jersey Tomato". As I have no idea of how long the plants will continue to produce, and it is fairly early in the season, I am cloning both plants to have replacements "standing by" for late season tomatoes.

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