Like the squash and zucchini, the tomatoes are all doing great, just a bit crowded like everything in my garden. I planted 2 Park Seed Co. Sweet Million Cherry tomatoes, 1 Burpee Roma, 1 Burpee Big Boy, 1 Burpee Better Boy. The cherry tomatoes I grew from seed, the others I bought as plants from a local garden shop. Here’s some company descriptions of each plant:
Burpee Big Boy: “When we bred and introduced Big Boy hybrid tomato in 1949, its incredible productivity and gorgeous, perfect, large red fruit made it an instant hit. What’s kept Big Boy tomato a best-selling tomato all these years is the wonderful aroma and rich flavor. The fruits weigh in 10 oz. with many reaching 1 lb. or more. Healthy, indeterminate vines produce all summer long. The bountiful harvest begins about 78 days after setting plants in the garden. Fruit Bearing: Indeterminate Days to Maturity: 78 days”
Burpee Better Boy: “Huge, tasty, red tomatoes, many 1 lb. each. Large, delicious, bright red, high yielding fruits are borne in abundance starting midseason and continuing to frost. Good foliage protection prevents sun scald. Better Boy is highly adaptable and thrives in most climates and has very good disease resistance. Fruit Bearing: Indeterminate Days to Maturity: 72 days”
Burpee Roma VF: “The classic sauce and paste tomato. Compact plants produce paste-type tomatoes resistant to Verticillium and Fusarium wilts. Meaty interiors and few seeds. GARDEN HINTS: Fertilize when first fruits form to increase yield. Water deeply once a week during very dry weather. Fruit Bearing: Determinate Days to Maturity: 76 days”
Park Seed Co. Sweet Million Cherry Tomatoes: “Large clusters of smooth, bright, miniature fruit arise all summer long on this classic variety. A garden treasure that always turns out big harvests of sweet tomatoes, Sweet Million Hybrid has earned its Park High Performer status from the testimonials of hundreds of customers as well as our own garden trials! Fruit Bearing: Indeterminate Days to Maturity: 65 days”
A couple tomato terms that are good to know:
- Indeterminate vs Determinate: Indeterminate plants are vining type plants that continue to grow until killed by frost. The plant will continue to bloom, set and mature fruit throughout the season. They require staking because they get so big and should be pruned and suckered to encourage healthy growth. Determinate plants are bushy types and will bloom, set and mature all their fruit close to the same time. The shouldn’t be pruned or suckered to allow for the most fruit development.
- Suckering: Tomato suckers are the new growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch. I didn’t always pinch these off and I would get terribly huge gangly plants. Now I try to pinch those off to put more of the plants energy into the main fruit producing stems. I’ll even pinch pretty big suckers if they haven’t produced any blossoms yet.
I haven’t fertilized the plants yet. I usually wait until I start to see flowers, which I have this week. I use the Miracle Grow All Purpose Plant Food, either as the powder I mix into the watering can or the ready to use liquid garden hose system.
I have the plants staked with 2 different types of cages. I’ve had the cages with detachable supports for a while and they started finally breaking, so I bought a couple of wire cages to try. First problem was that I didn’t really think about what plant I was putting in each type. The wire cages are much smaller than my old ones and are much better for the bushy type of tomatoes, rather than the bigger plants I have. Secondly, the wire type is much less forgiving if I lose track of the plant and a stalk starts to grow out of the support. I’ve broken quite a few stems trying to feed it back into the cage rather than letting it grow all over the other plants.