I am back with a new post after many months, the delay is caused by the hectic schedule topped up with laziness to write, though the activities at the garden did not suffer .
I would like to thanks GeekGardener, again as without his support I couldn’t have ventured into the wonderful world of growing heirloom tomatoes. It was his blog, from where I learned about heirloom tomatoes and, he was also kind enough to share the seeds with me.
I grew four different verities – Beefsteak, Marmande (France), Rose De Berne (Switzerland) and Gardeners Delight – grown again (England)
The seeds were started on July 17’th, 2010, using cocopeat + perlite and vermiculite mediums.
Ready for transplant
From left – GD, Marmande, Beefsteak and RDB (19/10/2010)
However after this good start things started taking turns, the fruits were first set on RDB but all of them were affected by BER, beefsteak tip got broken, I thought the BER problem would go away after the first set of fruits, however it continued to affect each and every fruit, I did everything to fix the problem – regularized watering, calcium nitrate/ Magnesium sulphate, but nothing happened.
Then I went out for a week, requesting my maid to water the plants every alternate day, it was a hot October month, when I came back I found the plants drooping over each other, even though the maid tied them to whatever she could find appropriate, it also included the handle of a storage shelf in the balcony. New fruits formed – small, and BER continued, I was disappointed and started thinking that my growing environment does not suit these varieties. The picture of neatly stalked indeterminate tomatoes was there in my mind, I tried to give them another try, I pruned all the side shoots tied overhead nylon strings in the balcony, and stalked all my plants, the main stem of Marmande had got broken so I removed the plant and prepared RDB and Marmande from cuttings.
From right – RDB (mother plant), RDB (from cutting), Beefsteak, Marmande (from cutting), RDB from cutting and GD. (Jan, 21, 2011)
They grew wildly as evident from the picture below.
(Feb, 12, 2011)
By this time the old RDB had started setting fruits, fruits were bigger and free from BER.
Gardeners delight did excellent in the second season as well. This variety will never disappoint you, it is still fruiting till date since Oct.’, 10, producing a few cherries every day. The plant has grown around 18 ft.
Now, I would like to tell you about an interesting observation from the container media experiment, as I have told you earlier that I had grown a RDB from cutting, so while doing the final transplant I just used coco peat and perlite as the media, fed it with soluble fertilizer and the plant became one of the best producing tomato plants for me. Have a look:
They are really fleshy, If they are fully ripen on vine they taste sweet, otherwise a bit sour, I had never tested such delicious tomatoes. Unfortunately they are not easily found in India, so you will have to grow them to enjoy the taste.
These are the slices of the 168gm Rose de Berne above.
These are the beefsteak tomatoes.
This is Marmande is grown from cutting, and is younger than the above plants.
These are some of the harvests. The vines are still fruiting, the production rate has come down due to the heat though.
One more observation about these plants, is the pest attack is almost none, it may be due to the fact that the parts of these plants like leaves and stem, smell stronger and peculiar compared to other tomato verities.
It was a great gardening experience, and the harvest was satisfactory for the amount of sunlight I get (4-5 hrs.) in my balcony. I would rate Rose de Berne as a best in terms of yield and taste.
Thanks for reading. Happy Gardening.