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Old February 14, 2018   #1
gardeninglee
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Default Inspire me again please!!

So last year my tomatoes were really blah. Nothing good to write or to share. It was actually quite embarrassing since I usually have quite a few to share with neighbors and friends even though I only grow on a patio. I gave away a few plants too and no one commented that they were any good so I'm assuming they all had about the same results I had. I am also going crazy thinking about starting them again by January, but this year I can barely get myself going. Can anyone share some great success stories they've had? I really need some motivation.
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Old February 14, 2018   #2
Labradors2
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Are you growing in the ground or in containers? Either way, you might think about enriching your soil, or buying some good potting mix. Perhaps you are watering too much, which would cause the fruit to taste bland.

Which varieties did you grow?

I'm sure we can all recommend some varieties that taste absolutely delicious, as well as helping you to figure out why yours bombed last season.

Hang in there. Help is at hand .

Linda
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Old February 14, 2018   #3
Nan_PA_6b
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Some of the most rewarding varieties from years past:

1. Hardin's Miniature. A micro that grows in 2/3 gallon of soil, 12" tall, red pointed cherries with lots of good rich tart-ish taste. We still have some of last fall's plants producing on windowsills. Constant production. Put several in a container.

2. Green Berkeley Tie-Dye was very STRONG flavored, and good. You can tell it's ripe when the red stripes are fully red. It was dry-farmed here, but I can't ever imagine it would be bland, after what I tasted. And it's good. We found out later we'd been growing it in about 6" of soil with solid bedrock underneath, in part shade, and we still got 11 beefsteaks off of it. I bet it would thrive in a pot.

3. Post Office Spoonful. Fruit 2/3" diameter. Prolific out the wazoo, good strong real tomato taste; everyone who tasted it liked it here. Everything in my garden came down with Septoria, but it didn't slow down POS at all; she grew faster than the septoria and still was the most productive plant overall. I've seen it growing in a container, also.

4. Dotson's Lebanese Heart. Also got septoria but never stopped producing. Good flavor; wasn't bland in a year with 2 solid months of rain followed by disease & drought. You can't stop this thing. The most productive full-size fruit in my garden that year.

5. Big Beef F1 at my mother's house:

mums braggin maters.jpg

The big one is 1 lb, 11 oz:

mum's 1lb 11oz tomato.jpg
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Old February 14, 2018   #4
Nan_PA_6b
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I have Hardin's, Post Office, & Dotson's if you're interested.

Nan
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Old February 14, 2018   #5
bower
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What varieties did you grow, Gardinglee? I know some varieties are great in one climate or another, a few are praised everywhere. Do you like reds, pinks, blacks, orange, yellow, gwr or what are your past faves... ???

I find my taste in tomatoes has changed a lot, since I started growing too many. Now I only gravitate to really sweet or exceptionally rich tasting ones. Always manage to have some at least that are special. I still enjoy the balanced rich red that was my ideal before I met the pack of different colors and tastes. But I absolutely hate disappointing tomatoes. So I really get your angst about it.
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Old February 14, 2018   #6
Cole_Robbie
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I don't grow many container plants, but the tastiest one has been Dwarf Tasmanian Chocolate.

This web site is one of the world's best resources for seeds. A lot of the varieties you can get here through offers and trades can't be found anywhere else.
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Old February 14, 2018   #7
Harry Cabluck
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Nice tomatoes...darnfine photos.
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Old February 15, 2018   #8
gardeninglee
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Thank you all for the comments. Last year was just a bad year overall. Many seeds that were started were destroyed by a squirrel - I grow in containers as I have very little actual dirt and I have two large magnolia trees blocking a lot of my sun. In pots I can at least move things around a little bit so they can get more sun. I tried growing lots of varieties but very few actually made it and the ones that did did not taste very good. I actually have no idea which tomatoes made it since my kids had a playdate on the patio and one of their playmates picked out all the little sticks with the names on them and tried to build a house with them. I've been growing the same way for many years so I don't know what it is that was different last year. I did the swap a few years back so I have lots of varieties. I do plan on trying out big beef. It was one of the ones that did not make it last year. I've actually tried growing it several times but either snails, birds or squirrels get it before it gets to a decent size.

I've tried growing every color of the rainbow - Ron's carbon copy, a blue variety (from baker creek - it was really awful), esmeraldo golosina (did not make it), a few micros from dfollet's project (very few tomatoes but good taste), sunsugar, sungold, sweet millions, big beef, and many many more that are started but never survive either kids, birds, squirrels, or nosy passerbys.

Last edited by gardeninglee; February 15, 2018 at 09:35 AM.
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Old February 15, 2018   #9
zipcode
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The golden rule of container taste is: fertilize, then fertilize some more. I had fabulous production in my first year container gardening but the taste was rubbish. More fertilization , calcium, more potassium, and now I have some very good tomatoes. Watch the pH, depending on your water it can drift slowly a certain way until you are well out of range.
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Old February 15, 2018   #10
Nan_PA_6b
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Sounds like you need to cover your plants completely with bird netting or something, maybe a 3/4" square wire mesh, to keep them safe. It should stop birds, squirrels, & humans. For snails, a single loop of copper wire on the dirt. Number your containers, and keep a list of what variety is in each, so kids can't foil you. Without too much work, you can protect your investment.

Nan
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Old February 15, 2018   #11
Black Krim
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My seedlings often suffer set backs and I need to reseed. MICE move in every winter, and they love to nibble sprouts. Most recently they are nipping off my onions. I keep traps set but ineveitably young shoots get nipped. Once the starts gain some thickness the mice leave them alone.

I had the ducks invade my garden last summer/fall and they ate not only fruit but also the foliage.

My point is you are NOT alone. These things happen.

Yellow pear is one that I plant every year now. It makes me happy even if the flavor is rather bland. SUngold was always a draw last summer, sandwiched between green evy and sweet 100 and yellow pear, and green zebra. These were replanted several times due to sheep that jump out of their pen. ( stopped only after reconfiguring their pen and preventing access to a large rock that was used to trampoline over the 5 foot fence.)

Always set backs. Develope solutions and preventions. Replant. Then hope!
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Old February 15, 2018   #12
peebee
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I know it's not an option for everyone, but if the opportunity arises, try growing in an Earthbox. I grow in the ground, in various containers, but anything grown in an EB outshines them all. I have 4 now, and save 1 for either peppers or eggplants. They go bonkers in there. I recommend EBs now to all my friends who are not gardeners but want to grow tomatoes like the ones I've been giving them, because I know that they will not be successful without hard work and perseverance. Most people do not want to hear about amending the soil, fertilizing, etc. They want easy. EBs in my opinion are fool-proof, IF you follow directions to the letter.
The initial cost may be high, but they last a long time and you do not have to replace the soil medium every year.
To avoid disasters like labels getting mixed up or picked out by little kids I no longer do labels. I write directly on the seedling pots, and if the pots are black I use white pens. Works like a charm. By next year, they will have faded a bit so I can write over them if it's a different variety.
Hope you have better luck this year!
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Old February 16, 2018   #13
HudsonValley
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I grow mostly in raised beds, but have grown a few tasty ones in big containers on the patio. The first season, only Siberian was flavorful. The past two seasons, black piriforms have done well in containers for me: Black Pear, Black Truffle (a Burpee "heirloom hybrid" selected from Black Pear, I believe), and Japanese Black Trifele. All of them topped out at about 4' tall when container grown, produced well, and tasted awesome. Tasmanian Chocolate is also a great-tasting variety, but I've only grown it in a raised bed.
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Old February 16, 2018   #14
rhoder551
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I think Black Krim is a great tasting tomato and I see it often recommended for growing in containers.
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Old February 17, 2018   #15
bower
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I grow in containers too, and I agree with Zipcode - fertilizer makes all the difference. I'm still looking for the perfect stuff to do it all organically. Potassium is so important for sweetness and fruit quality. Nitrogen I think plays more into the overall yield, and it's the most soluble of nutrients so it runs off and has to be replaced in containers... I recently scored a huge bottle of Alaska fish ferts, so that's going to be my go to fert for 'fruiting season' ie once they start to ripen the first ones, they need to be fed on a regular basis. And pH drift definitely can be an issue, and affect the uptake of phosphorus and potassium. Also the weather! can affect potassium uptake.

So if you had good seasons and then a bad one, could be a difference in the weather was most unhelpful of all. Too much sun or too much shade - both can be a problem.
Maybe you should post a list of your 'too many seeds' from the swap, and folks will tell you which ones we have grown and done well in containers. Being in LA, I would think some of the great tomatoes by Fred Hempel and by Wild Boar Farms would do really well for you.
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