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Old August 19, 2018   #1
Whwoz
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Default The Garden of Woz in the land of OZ

Seeing that a number of members get a bit wanting for news /photos of tomatos during your northern off season, I thought I would try to track what I do and grow Down Under over our growing season.

For a start, we live on roughly 9 acres of drained swamp, which means good old silt over silty spewy subsoil with clay about 5 feet down. This means raised beds or wicking beds are what I grow in. Temps are currently ranging from 2 or 3C over night to 12 to 15C during the day with good late winter days getting upto 20C, but these are rare. February is typically the hottest month averaging in the high 20'sC (typically 27 to 30), with days of 35+ not uncommon. We have hit 47C in 2009 at around the time of the bushfires back then (Black Saturday they are known as here). Humidity is typically low during summer, generally 15 to 25% but can drop to 0% on the really hot days. Not many problems with tomato disease in my gardens.

All the signs are pointing to an early spring this year, and we are due a hot summer, least the dam and tanks are full.

Started planting tomato seeds yesaterday (18/8/18), generally 4 or 5 of each with 10 of WES planted. Any spelling mistakes are mine.

Claro Verde
Amish paste
Early Wonder
Earliana
Wes
MS
Green Zebra
Pink Thai Egg
Oxheart
Red Cherry Roma
Black Krimm
Yellow Striped Roman
Verna Orange
Orange Grosse Lisse
Yellow Grosse Lisse
Yellow Pear
Heidi
Low Acid Yellow
Low Acid Yellow - Orange Heart (an orange heart thet surfaced one year from a commercial Low Acid Yellow plant rather than a more typical slicer)
Caro rich
Schimmeig Creg
Berkeley Tie Dye
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Large Barred Boar
Red Pomodoro del vesuvio
Yellow Pomodoro Inverno Torre Suda
Red/Green Striped Munchkin
Yellow Cherry Munchkin
Orange Grape Munchkin - These "Munchkins" are out of a bucket of mixed cherry toms from when we were on holiday in South Oz earlier this year - branded as Munchkins
Barry's Crazy Cherry
White Zebra
Mint Julep
Dr Wyche's Yellow
Lithium Sunset
Black Icicle
Blue Chocolate Cherry
Golden King od Siberia
Blondkopfchen
Amana orange.

Have these on a heat pad in a small greenhouse currently. Weather is very wet and windy at the moment.

I am aware that there is/has been debate about one or tow of these on here recently, so we shall see which versions have made it down under.

Woz
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Old August 19, 2018   #2
PhilaGardener
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Great grow list! Looking forward to following your season!
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Old August 19, 2018   #3
Whwoz
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Thanks for that PhilaGardener.

There maybe more added to the list as there are some seeds that I have that were intermediates out of the dwarf project that are well worth following up in their own right and I am waiting on one or two new arrivals that I will want to plants this year if they make it into my hands. Still plenty of time for sowing seeds at this stage.

Have been able to get my hands on some Orange sweet potato slips (I assume Beauregard which is the most common here) which I will shortly plant and then start chasing some more.

Asian brasicas have tended to run up to flower early this year with the wombok's not hearting up at all and cabbages and caulis looking as though they might make something. Broccoli heads did not hold at all and it is a race to cut the side shoots before they flower - I reckon that this is all occurring two to three weeks ahead of normal.

Garlic (Monaro Purple and Italian Stripe) are looking good at this stage, plenty of both in so shall have a go at getting some TGS. Normally harvest around late November.

Been getting reasonable amounts of rain lately - we are some of the lucky ones, most of the East coast of Oz is Drought declared with bushfires already occurring 5 months ahead of what we normally expect.
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Old August 19, 2018   #4
jtjmartin
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Thank you. One of my favorites things to do with a cup of coffee on cold, frosty days!

Your high of 47C would be about 117F! I spent some time in Egypt - I think my hottest day there was 112F. Same extremely low humidity.


Do you grow spring and fall? What tomatoes seem to produce in your hottest growing temps?


Jeff
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Old August 19, 2018   #5
Whwoz
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Jeff, one sowing only, seeds are typically sown around late July/mid August, aiming for an early October plant out and plants just keep growing as long as you let them or until frost gets to them. Generally start getting fruit just before Christmas, although this year with the earlier varieties, should be able to get them around the start of December with luck (first time with these vars). Have had plants bearing until June some years with late frosts, but more typically pull the plants around the end of April - the light intensity drops off as does the flavour. So no need to worry about a second round of planting, one just plants a few more to ensure that you get enough for our bottling needs.

Temp wise we generally only get a handful or so of days above 40, but they can occur anytime from mid December on, 35 plus days are more common, with probably 35 to 40 occurring across our summer, most of them in Feb. Generally do not go above 43, but 2009 was exceptional - a week of 35C plus days book-ended by the 47 to start and a 45 to finish - the 35C days felt cool in comparison.

As far as I can recall, only one variety has ever been affected by our heat and stopped fruiting during the worst of summer, and I cannot recall which one that was off the top of my head. Best last year was WES by a long way - 50 to 60 fruit upto 12 oz each per plant regardless of temps, but hten last year was a mild summer for us, not to many 35's and no 40's. Amish Paste also did well as did the red cherry roma and yellow pear - the kids loved them.

Will try to copy last years write up from else where into here for you.


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Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Thank you. One of my favorites things to do with a cup of coffee on cold, frosty days!

Your high of 47C would be about 117F! I spent some time in Egypt - I think my hottest day there was 112F. Same extremely low humidity.


Do you grow spring and fall? What tomatoes seem to produce in your hottest growing temps?


Jeff
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Old August 19, 2018   #6
Whwoz
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Below is my summary from last year taken from elsewhere. Main beds used last year were composed of local (native) soil or a grey coastal sand that was imported to build a bed up quickly at a time when we did not have any of our local soil available to use. The local soil was more sub that top soil with a higher clay content that has had organic matter in the form of compost, horse poo (about a 2 inch layer) and rice hulls worked into it, starting to get very nice now. The sand had pulled up carpet layed under it on top of our soil to kill off the Kukuyu and other cooch grasses which are about.
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from 2017/2018

The current season got off to a slow start for me, with to much on to sow seed at the right time. However I was able to pick up some plants from around the traps and thought that I would log a summary for the benefit of all, self included. Plants grown at Trafalgar, Gippsland, in raised beds of either native improved subsoil or imported grey sand.

If attached photo works properly, tomatos are in three rows from upper left. weights are typically weighed ballparks.

Black Cherry- vigorous and prolific when grown in native soil, previously when grown in sand here not so. Developed funny markings on about 50% of the fruit when ripe.

Runci's red Cherry - seed kept from a "Purple Cherry" by a fellow work mate who passed around about 20 plants, only 2 of which were purple, rest red about 20 grams. Vigorous, grew to about 2.5 m tall with 5 or so stems and loaded - 500 plus fruit on each of two plants in native soil.

Amish Paste - Great plant, was located in windiest position, so a suffered a bit, but still plenty of fruit up to 250g. native soil.

Wes - The star of the crop this year upto 50 fruit per plant, typically 350-400g, but upto 600g from fused blooms. native soil

Low Acid Yellow - believe this to be a commercial F1 hybrid, have purchased the last 4 or 5 years with small variations each year. Upto 100g per fruit with a good crop. Plants will last well until first frost - have had them go until June before. native soil this year.

Rouge de Marmande, plant was a mule to start - thru 4 fruit on tip of main leader before a branch took over - unweighed, probably upto 150g in native soil.

Beefsteak -nothing special here, fruit just typical beefsteaks of average size and numbers produced. Native soil

Black and Green - Eden Seeds antho plant, nice enough taste but nothing really special, fruit upto 100g moderate crop in sand

Siberian - typical red slicer, good crop in sand

Burnley Bounty, probably longer DTM than most grown this year, making it a bit later, which came in useful, good crop in native soil

Moneymaker - slightly smaller than BB but in other ways very similar performance in native soil

Yellow Grosse Lisse - plant did not like growing in sand, performed poorly with only a small crop

Mary Italian, did well in sand, producing a moderate crop of good fruit upto 150g

Yellow Pear - Good crop in sand of small cherry pears

Orange Grosse Lisse - Good producer in native soil, very similar to LAY and thought that it may have been same plant sold under different tag, but now convinced there are differences

Oxheart (Pink) good producer of fleshy fruit, perhaps a bit light on crop wise when compared to Wes but otherwise good in native soil.

Verna Orange - Grew well but fruit did not reach maximum size this year, topping out about 200g, good producer in native soil

Black Krim - 2 plants started, one killed by bush rats digging it out, other did very well producing probably 60 fruit upto 300g in sand. suffered from radial cracking

Yellow Striped Roman - Well loaded small plant in sand, small roma type dry paste, nice enough to eat fresh, SWMBO want this to return next year. Subject to BER in sand, purchased as Yellow Roma, which is a different plant prob 200+ fruit

Pink Thai Egg_ Very prolific small plant is sand. Second pick over 200 fruit alone, over 1000 total

Min Cherry Roma - Very prolific cherry roma style when grown in sand, started producing around Christmas and still producing well at end of March

Grosse Lisse - the old red standard, lighter production than some this year but may have been a bit crowded

Malakhitovaya Shkatulka - MS - the good Russian GWR that is a mouth full to type let alone say, produced well with fruit upto 480g, well liked by all, maybe a bit light for fruit numbers this year

Also grown was Green Zebra, which did poorly in sand and maybe one other.
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Old August 19, 2018   #7
jtjmartin
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Thank you!

I guess the summer humidity here affects pollen more than the heat by itself - would make sense.

Jeff
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Old August 19, 2018   #8
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Thanks for doing this Woz! And signing up to hear about your summer, all winter long.
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Old August 19, 2018   #9
Whwoz
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Quote:
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Thank you!

I guess the summer humidity here affects pollen more than the heat by itself - would make sense.

Jeff
No problems!
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Old August 19, 2018   #10
Whwoz
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No worries, I enjoy reading about your efforts Bower, particularly with those blacks, although I think, no I am certain you can keep that snow!!

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Thanks for doing this Woz! And signing up to hear about your summer, all winter long.
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Old August 19, 2018   #11
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Great list... The Berkeley Tie Dies are a particular favorite of mine.

Do you not grow any of the dwarfs? I'm growing Purple Heart variety this year and it is a winner for me. Delicious tomatoes and very productive!
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Old August 19, 2018   #12
Whwoz
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rhoder551, I have seed of some of the dwarfs, there are not as many available down here as there are in the US and Canada. I still have more seed that I want to plant this year and may well include some of them then. Most of what I am growing are new to me and only a limited size heat mat, which is definitely needed here at the moment. Wil check out Purple Heart and see if it is available here or not..


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Great list... The Berkeley Tie Dies are a particular favorite of mine.

Do you not grow any of the dwarfs? I'm growing Purple Heart variety this year and it is a winner for me. Delicious tomatoes and very productive!
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Old August 19, 2018   #13
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I thought many of the dwarfs were developed in Australia that's why I made that comment. If you can get seeds of the purple heart variety I highly recommend it. I tried the Arctic Rose last year and got terrible results so I didn't have high expectations for the Purple Heart but it is a winner. Some info says it doesn't need support but I found it does. It grew several feet and then collapsed and is sprawling and taking up all the space and then some in a 4ft by 4ft raised bed.
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Old August 19, 2018   #14
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Oh, I second that dwarf purple heart. I grew that this year and its fabulous!
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Old August 20, 2018   #15
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Thanks so much for starting this thread. I will be watching while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate.

Yes, half of the Dwarf project tomatoes originates in Australia so they should not be too hard for you to locate if you would like to grow them.
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