Its that time when the weather starts showing itself to be a challenge. For my tomatoes, the heat has really caused some fluctuations in wet and dry periods, and that stresses plants. The lower levels of the plants, the oldest leaves and branches, are now shaded virtually all day long, despite efforts to prune and open up the tomato-jungle. This means there are yellowing leaves and brown stems here and there. Plants get ugly at this point unless they are very carefully tended.

My tomatoes are doing well despite the weather. The Roma tomatoes, both varieties, are doing what I wanted them to do when I selected them – producing fruit literally by the pound. After the first flush of tomatoes showed a plague of blossom end rot, the remainder were saved by a drenching with Tums dissolved in water. The water-soluble calcium in the Tums was a real life-saver.  The Romas look lovely now. And they are pulling down the bamboo stakes (as I figured they would) with the weight of heavy clusters of tomatoes.

The surprise tomato is the Costeluto Florentino. What a lovely and beautiful tomato! Gnarled like a pumpkin, some more severely than others, this is the kind of tomato many people think of when they hear “heirloom.” It is a paste/sauce/stuffing tomato, and has a really nice flavor. I use them to juice. Wonderful!

The Old Italian is slow to ripen but I have a lot of fruit. The fruits that have ripened are very delicious, a bit more acidic than the Romas, great all around fruit. I enjoyed it and can’t wait for more. My other varieties are also slow to ripen, but I have a lot of fruit on the vine and I am looking forward to harvests for many weeks. Royal Hillbilly has me very interested, there are huge fruits on the vines, but they are so slow to ripen!

I am finally coming to admit the truth – Container tomatoes here simply do not produce much when compared to the in-ground plants. That is, at least with the way I garden. That’s just what I have finally come to accept. Aside from the small cherry-types I grew many years ago, Romas and beefsteaks and standard varieties seem to produce less fruit. I know there are guys on Youtube who frequently show you how to get many pounds of fruit from each container, but I am not willing to invest all the effort fertilizing and keeping on top of the containers. If container gardening was the only way I gardened, then I’d go for all the techniques. While containers have given me a way to extend my crop a bit, a simple fertilizer bath once every two weeks has not resulted in heavy production. I’ll probably do fewer next spring.

I have to water my containers every day now, unless there is rain. I do not water the garden beds at all, and they have been just fine.

Here’s a video update of the tomato beds…