Monday, September 14, 2015

Planting Tomatoes for the Fall

There is a variety of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes available in nurseries and home improvement stores for planting in September for the fall/winter season.  Heirloom tomatoes are those that have been around for a long time, true and tried, and they have never been cross pollinated or otherwise modified to grow better and larger and at the same time resist diseases as have the hybrid tomatoes.

There are other terms that may be of interest when selecting tomatoes and the labels usually let you know if they are indeterminate or determinate.  Those tomato plants labeled as indeterminate will mature in no special order; meaning, some will mature one day and others the following week and continue to produce until frost.  Those tomato plants labeled as determinate mature pretty much at the same time which may be an advantage for a fall harvest.

During the Labor Day weekend, we prepared the soil where we had planted okra, unsuccessfully.  We turned the soil and removed the weeds.  This patch came out to be a 20 foot long row and about 3 feet wide.  Here at the Back Forty, we planted the following tomatoes:

Big Beef that should be ready in about 75 days with large and beefy fruit.  The "shoulder" color of the tomato is apple green prior to ripening and turning red. The Big Beef is the indeterminate kind ripening now and then and should be harvested before frost.

Big Boy takes about 80 days to mature and the fruit is large, red, and meaty.  It is high yielding and wilt resistant.  It is indeterminate.

Celebrity is one of my husband's favorite tomatos.  It should be ready for harvest in about 70 days and it is of the determinate kind, meaning that the tomatoes ripen all at the same time.  The Celebrity is a medium sized globe shaped fruit.

Roma is one of my favorite cooking tomato and it stores well.  It is compact and bright red. It is a determinate kind that will ripen about the same time.

Moby Grape is new to me.  It is a determinate tomato.  This is similar to cherry tomatoes.  It is recommended that they be eaten directly in the garden.  It is so safe and so good in our garden because we do not use pesticides or herbicides.

I plan to keep better track of the determinate and indeterminate tomato plants.  When the determinate plants are done, it is time to pull them out of the ground as far as I am concerned.  It is no need to keep them in the ground any longer than necessary.  It will only serve as a good feeding place for bugs and insects and the ever present aphids that will munch on the root system.

We have sometimes selected tomato plants that are tall and spindly but we plant them as deep as feasible.  If that is not possible, we grow the plants somewhat deep but horizontally.

Hurry and get your tomatoes planted for the fall.
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