A Closer Look: Bed 5 Plans
We have finally made it to the bed plans that many of you have been waiting to learn more about – our tomatoes for the year!
As I have mentioned before, one of our themes this year is managing our root knot nematode problem. One of the most common management techniques is to select resistant varieties of affected plants. Now, that isn’t always the entire solution, but in the case of tomatoes can be an important option. Most tomatoes have “intermediate” resistance to root knot nematodes, which means that under high population pressure, they will still have some problems. We have one plant each of six varieties in this bed, which a duplicated planting in Bed 2, as we discussed a few weeks ago.
Chocolate Sprinkles: This is our cherry tomato for the year – a dark copper/red cherry tomato with dark green stripes. The fruit grow in trusses of 5-7. Different sources list the days to maturity as 50-55 or 70 – so that is a bit unclear. It is indeterminate and crack-resistant.
Damsel: This is a pink-fruited beefsteak tomato with a compact indeterminate growth habit. (In other words, indeterminate, but not a huge plant.) It is reputed to have an heirloom-like flavor and has a range of disease resistances, which makes it good for organic production methods.
Celebrity: You are probably familiar with this one already. Red, vigorous determinate, good disease resistance. We chose to add this to the mix as a basic red that is commonly grown, so we have some good comparisons with the less familiar varieties.
Marnouar: This is a purple-fruited beefsteak (10-16 oz fruit) with an indeterminate growth habit. It also combines the heirloom flavor with crack-resistance(!) and strong disease resistance.
Chef’s Choice Orange: This is our “control” variety. Chef’s Choice Orange we have grown multiple times before with good success, but it is also NOT resistant to nematodes. Because we know it performs well here, planting this variety will help us gauge the impacts of the nematodes on the varieties that are supposed to be resistant. This is an indeterminate, orange-fruited slicing type.
Big Beef Plus: This is an improved version of the popular Big Beef variety. It has been bread to have more range of disease resistance, sweeter flavor, and darker red color. This is a red, indeterminate beefsteak with fruit between 9 and 16 oz.
If all goes well, we should have a great crop of tomatoes this summer. If all doesn’t go well….well, that happens more often with Kansas weather than we often prefer!