Garden Plans for 2012: Tomato Garden
I would say that of all the gardens we have planned for this year, the Tomato Garden is the most standard. We’re not doing anything too crazy this year, in large part because we wanted to choose varieties that we thought would be successful even if we get them planted late. We also are re-trying a number of varieties from last year that just didn’t have a chance to really show what they can do.
Since this raised bed is 32 feet long (8 feet longer than we have been used to), we realized that we didn’t have enough tomato cages to really make good use of that space. Hence the design you see above. We are planting half of the garden with tomato cages for support and the other half using the Florida Weave (aka Stake & Weave) system. We have chosen 8 tomato varieties, and we will plant one plant of each in both halves of the garden. This will give us the chance to really see the difference in how the plants are managed in the two systems. I don’t expect to see any yield or fruit quality differences, but it might show the pros and cons of using both systems with indeterminate and determinate tomatoes.
We tried to select varieties that are 75 days or less to maturity after transplanting, although we fudged a bit on a couple of them.
‘Valley Girl’ is a early tomato producing medium sized tomatoes that is supposed to set fruit under both heat and cold stress.
‘Country Taste’is an indeterminate hybrid “heirloom type” tomato that we tried last year with little luck. It’s supposed to be a larger tomato with great flavor.
‘Bellstar’is a determinate paste tomato that is early producing with high yields.
‘Martha Washington’ is a brand new hybrid “heirloom type” that boasts wider adaptability and productivity with an heirloom flavor. A little bit later producing.
The 4 heat set varieties, ‘BHN-189,’ ‘Solar Fire,’ ‘Super Sioux,’ and ‘SunMaster’ we grew last year, but we wanted to give them a better chance this year, hopefully planting them a little earlier and closer to “regular” tomato planting time. Of course, we’re also hoping for a summer that is less crazy hot!