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FourOaks May 24, 2018 10:19 AM

Cherry Tom's only for Market? Anyone?
So far this year, it looks like I am already fighting an uphill battle with disease issue in the Greenhouse. Shaping up to be the worst year yet. *sigh*

I was watering this morning, and was taking note of all the plants that I need to remove. Everyday it seems to be a new one. Looks like Wilt disease of some kind.

As I was taking note, walking along and watering, I was snatching cherry tomatoes to snack on. Those plants are going to town. Growing faster then I can manage them. Absolutely looking gorgeous. They seem to be loving the Combo of Espoma Plant Tone, Espoma Chicken Manure, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, and Epson Salts. That combo is a monthly feeding. I can barely keep up with suckering, which I havent really been keeping up on.

Then it occurs to me. And I figured what better place to ask, then here? Does anyone else grow only Cherries for Market???

Even in my worst Tomato years, I have always had plenty of Cherries. I have noticed, for me at least:

1. Less issue with disease.
2. Produce and ripen faster.
3. More tolerant of shade.
4. More drought tolerant.
5. BER doesnt seem to be an issue at all.

So, going forward, looks like im going to have some vacancies in the GH. I have a bunch of plants that need to exit. I started thinking, should I start more seeds? Should I just sucker and root? Then it occurred to me, why not just utilize what is already growing? Im thinking string up the branches that I would normally prune. I use the white GH clips. You clip it on the string, then around the branch. Im thinking just keep stringing up all the branches, and let them keep producing. Eventually the GH roof may be a canopy of tomato leaves. That might actually help with keeping it a little cooler.

So... thats where I am at. Anyone have any advice. Thoughts. Concerns. Comments.

Fred Hempel May 24, 2018 10:39 AM

Are you planting in the ground, or in pots/bags?

Fred Hempel May 24, 2018 10:40 AM

Which cherries are doing well? Could it be that your cherry varieties are more disease resistant than your larger varieties?

zipcode May 24, 2018 11:13 AM

Well, yeah, cherries are more dependable, but produce way less than a big variety (like half) in good conditions. So you should maybe improve your conditions. Cover for rain, grafting for soil diseases, etc

FourOaks May 24, 2018 11:21 AM

[QUOTE=Fred Hempel;701362]Are you planting in the ground, or in pots/bags?[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=Fred Hempel;701363]Which cherries are doing well? Could it be that your cherry varieties are more disease resistant than your larger varieties?[/QUOTE]

Fred... I use white, 5 & 7 gallon grow bags. 2 Plants to a bag, single stem. In the past I have grown in the ground, with similar results. I am working on a new garden section, that was previously a forest, and just recently planted over 40 assorted plants. But it will obviously be a couple months before the results are in.

My cherry of choice is Supersweet 100. Which is admittingly resistant to F. & V. But also am trialing "Egg Yolk", which is doing well. Dont care for its taste, but the plants themselves are doing fantastic.

Over the years I have tried more varieties of Beefsteak type and Slicer type then I care to list. Grown a wide variety of OP and Hybrid. Grown under Plastic and out in the open. Lived in 3 different states, but NC has been the most problematic so far.

Fred Hempel May 24, 2018 11:26 AM

Very interesting.

I think the grow bags are a good idea, unless you are moving your greenhouse and rotating soil.

Cherries also seem to often have a bit more open architecture, which helps with greenhouse leaf diseases.

I would guess they are a good choice, if the increased labor of picking doesn't kill you.

FourOaks May 24, 2018 12:33 PM

[QUOTE=Fred Hempel;701371]Very interesting.

I think the grow bags are a good idea, unless you are moving your greenhouse and rotating soil.

Cherries also seem to often have a bit more open architecture, which helps with greenhouse leaf diseases.

I would guess they are a good choice, if the increased labor of picking doesn't kill you.[/QUOTE]

Thank you for the input. No, the houses are not moveable. Not easily anyways. I agree with your comment about the open architecture. Never thought about it that way, but your correct.

As far as picking goes, least I can have snacks along the way! My layout allows for 72 plants. But, with doing strictly cherries, I might be able to do less.

From a marketing standpoint, in my opinion, cherries are more valuable. You can sell them by the pound. Sell them premeasured in containers. You can mix varieties and get folks to try other colors. In my experience, at the Farmers Market, folks get stuck on Red Slicer. But when it comes to Cherry Tom's, they seem open minded.

carolyn137 May 24, 2018 02:24 PM

During the last dinosaur age when I was selling both tomato plants AND fruits, I put up pint containers of cherry tomatoes and they were the first to be sold.Even faster than the mounds of larger tomato varieties that'd harvest at home,load the car with them in those 22 inch plastic containers.

Some pints had just one kind of cherry,different for different cherries and some had mixed cherries, very pretty actually.

And I wrote out which specific plants,and which cherries might be available in any given week and what I knew about them,meaning history, and xeroxed those pages,stapled them together and gave them out to anyone who wanted them,I should say to the nursery folks where I was selling to,and also included my then phone number and name.

Did I ever get any calls?I sure did. One woman was having a fancy dinner party and asked if I could supply her with just reds and pink ones.

Another lady called me and wanted several quarts of yellow and gold ones, I knew who she was and suggested she come to the farm directly to pick them up, gave her directions and she said she knew where that was and would send her head gardener to pick them up. The family name was Dummery and they changed it to DuMary. Get the picture? Fact is it was their daugter Doris,who we all knew in K thru 6,who they wanted to marry upscale. And she did. She married Wayne Friehofer, a very good friend of mine actually,who was part of the Freihofer Baking CO,now known as Entemans.

Fact is that my grandfather had bought the last open land in Loudonville from the Shakers,which was home to very rich folks who didn't want to live in Albany itself. Just on the road as you went down on the way to our driveway,there was Dr. Beebe, chair of pediatrics at Albany med,Dr.Olson,chair of Oncology,Mr.White, CEO of Albany Telephone Co,and on and on.

And so it goes.

Carolyn, who says GO for the cherries,please do.:)

FourOaks May 24, 2018 02:49 PM

Thank you Carolyn. Very interesting.

Wi-sunflower May 25, 2018 09:28 AM

I generally only take cherry tomatoes to sell at my farmers markets. My reason is a bit different tho. So many heirlooms don't grow "perfect" and too many customers are only buying by looks. When I can offer samples, the heirlooms sell well BUT most of my markets have limited samples if you have to cut something. But of course you don't have to cut cherries so I can let people sample several to see what they like.

This year I should have even more cherries than usual due to an accident on Wed. My rack of cherry tomato plants fell over and got mangled and all mixed up. We managed to salvage close to 300 plants but don't know what they are so can't sell them. But WE can plant them for market fruit sales.


FourOaks May 25, 2018 10:34 AM

Wi-sunflower.. thank you for your perspective.

I think the obvious is, "what your Market will bear". Being that I am at a new Market, Ill have to keep a close eye out, to see what sells the best.

My previous Market was more rural. Cherries didnt sell the best. I sold them, but it never seemed awe inspiring, to say the least. Those customers wanted home grown ugly maters, but then they wanted to haggle. Some folks thought they should still cost a nickel each. But thats another story.

My new Market is an entirely different customer base. One vendor has been bringing GH tomatoes for a few weeks now. But I dont see them selling to well. Grant it, im usually pretty busy peddling my plants, but I try to observe where I can.

I still want to find a good slicer to grow for our own personal consumption. I might have to try Big Beef again. But that will be next year.

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