Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tomato Plant Timing or "When do I see "red". By Papi Tomato

This is a Sprite.

First of all, I wanted to thank Rosie Tomato for the opportunity to fill in while she recovers from her foot surgery. Sources close to Rosie tell me she is recovering well with a prognosis for full recovery.

My first post will deal the timing for planting tomatoes. Most varieties of tomatoes will mature and fruit in approximately 90 days. There are some fast developing varieties for colder climates that mature and fruit in 60 days or less. Other varieties that can be north of 100 days, but as a rule of thumb, you can count on 90 days as a good estimate. Any good seed catalog will provide the days for a particular tomato variety to mature.

Rosie planted most of her tomato plants from mid March to Mid April (think Clairemont Garden Show). If you add 90 days to those planting intervals you start seeing red (as in red tomatoes) sometime around mid June to mid July. However, there are other matters to consider. Soil temperature and ambient temperature in March and April are not what they are in the summer, but the temperatures are sufficient to allow tomato plants to grow, albeit more slowly. Also, this summer in San Diego was gloomy and cool. This will also affect the amount of time tomatoes will take to mature and fruit.

Most of my tomato plants went into the garden around the June 1st. I started seeing ‘red’ on some plants mid August with good overall production at the end of August and first part of September. As of this post (October 5th) I still have two or three tomato plants producing tomatoes. The plants look rather ‘long in the tooth’, but they will maintain tomatoes for some time if you continue to water. I was able to pick over two pounds of red San Marzano roma tomato this past Sunday to make spaghetti sauce. Yesterday I picked nearly a pound of Sprite, Fiorentino and Black Pearls.

Normally, I plant about 1/3 of my tomatoes April 1st, May 1st and June 1st respectively. This usually gives me three months of garden tomatoes for consumption, cooking and gifts. The photos below were taken in my garden toward the end of September. As you can see, there is still a lot of ‘red’ there.

Miscellaneous plants.

This is a Fiorentino

Black Pearl (I am so a fan of Pirates to the Caribbean)

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