It Won’t Be Long Now

I’ll bet you think I’ve lost my mind. Well maybe I have but I was so excited this morning when I checked my Russian Heirloom cherry tomato to see that there are tiny tomatoes on it, that I couldn’t wait to shout it to the world. I have tomatoes! Well, I almost have some. It won’t be long now.

This year, I am trying a new variety called Koralik. I bought the plant in Sebastopol on a day my sis and I spent antiquing and nursery hopping. Definitely a great way to spend a Spring day. Anyway, I usually buy the cherry varieties since I grow them in a container. I did learn one thing after I had purchased and planted it that I wish I had known before. The little plastic tag that has the information on it said “Organic Russian Heirloom red cherry – Determinate plant: bears loads of cherry-sized fruit with great flavor. Wonderful for all locations. Only 60 days!” The thing I learned is what “determinate plant” means. Determinate are varieties that grow to a compact height. Determinates stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud. All the tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time (usually over period of 1- 2 weeks). They require a limited amount of staking for support and are perfectly suited for container planting.

So the good news is that the tomato won’t require staking and it is perfectly suited for container planting. The not so good news is that it sounds like all the fruit will ripen at about the same time so I’ll be overwhelmed with cherry tomatoes for a couple of weeks then I won’t have any. That wasn’t what I had planned on, but looks like what I’ve got. Such is life. Live and learn.

This is the vegetable container part of my little garden. The Koralik tomato is in the pot at the back, an Ichiban Japanese eggplant (Abundance, July 2010) is on the right and a container zucchini, Astia, planted from seeds from Renee’s Garden is in front. The zucchini is also a new selection I am trying this year.  An upgrade to my garden this year is the addition of the wheeled pot stands. They are fantastic. I can move the pots easily to change their location or just to rotate them so they grow more evenly. They even have little brakes you can set so the wheels can’t move. Definitely a luxury I should have given myself long ago.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest I think I’ll get back out there and check on what the snail population is munching on. And that is a whole other story.

(note: the sprinkler that is sticking up in the front pot is not how I’m watering the pots. They are on an automatic system that works off my in ground sprinkler system. I think I stuck that one in there so I wouldn’t misplace it. Good thing I took this picture cuz now I’ll remember where it is next time I go looking for it.)

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11 thoughts on “It Won’t Be Long Now

  1. My hubby just planted his tomatoes today. I need to send him to your site, he’d really enjoy it. (Love the photos 😉 )

    • Thank you, Ann. Did your hubby plant in the ground or in pots? I really enjoy trying both methods. There’s always something new to learn, but then, that’s gardening and may be the reason I love it so much. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  2. So fun that you made a post about this – am learning a lot from you – your choice of growing type – determinate, for one. And how you read up on the varieties.

    I have a couple questions for you – are your pots plastic? and do you ever get squash bugs in your container squashes?

    Here in Albuquerque I put in some tomatoes, basil and okra on May 1. Our basil and okra are in pots, tomatoes in the ground. 3 Early Girl, 2 Cherokee Purple (80 days), 1 Brandywine. Purchased from a High School Greenhouse nearby, they came in gallon pots with the homemade compost they create. Heard today that the students sing to their plants 🙂

    Would love to compare notes in a couple months!
    We will be getting lots of fruit from fruit trees this summer in the mid Rio Grande valley, btw …

    Thanks, Annie!
    -cc

    • Hi CC,

      The pots I use are not plastic but that’s only because I’ve had these big pottery pots for forever and right now I don’t see any reason to change. Plastic pots do better at retaining moisture. Very important in your dry climate. I’ve never had squash bugs. Last year, for the first time in many years, I did have tomato worms that I would pick each morning. Not really my favorite activity but I don’t like sharing my crop with them so they have to go.

      I’d be very interested in comparing notes in a couple months. I noticed my first bloom on the Japanese eggplant so that looks to be right on schedule and the squash looks like it is thinking about blooming in the next couple of weeks. Weather has been much warmer so plants are happier. Wish I felt the same about the heat.

      I picked up my first apricots last Sunday. They are pretty good but sugar needs to form a little more for them to be perfect. Maybe this weekend.

  3. You live in such a different climate than we do! We can’t even plant tomatoes until the end of May. I have been gardening for about 50 years. Determinate tomatoes are the only way to go for those grown in a container. The indeterminate plants get way beyond stake height and get way too top heavy. Plus the energy that goes into growing the plant with an indeterminate tomato can go into growing fruit on a determinate plant.

    Heirloom plants a wonderful. Interesting how a plant that originated in Central America went to europe/asia, was grown there for a couple of centuries, and comes back as an heirloom!

    Great post!

    • Well I would hope I live in a different climate. I’m pretty far south and west of where you are. We have a Mediterranean climate so it’s pretty mild although we have been hitting the high 80s already a couple of times and I’m not ready for that.

      I have always grown the indeterminate cherry tomato plants and in pots. I construct a support system from small bamboo sticks that I lash together. It looks like the plant has scaffolding surrounding it. If they get too leggy I pinch them back and later towards the end of the season they sometimes droop over the highest supports. I find them easy to manage but maybe that’s because they are what I’m used to dealing with. I do think that the reason I already have fruit is that the plant is determinate. Anyway it will be a good learning experience and one I’m looking forward to. I’m also interested in the taste. After all isn’t that the reason we plant certain tomatoes?

      I do believe you’re right about indeterminate versions that are not cherry varieties being too top heavy for pots. I’ve never tried the large varieties I leave those to the farmers who have space for them.

      Enjoy your spring. Ours is pretty much over as summer has breathed its hot breath upon us several times already this week.

  4. I like the photo! I’m anxious for our tomatos to get started, but here it will be a while yet. We have some great looking plants, but they must stay inside for a few more days: our forecast for tomorrow night is 26 degrees.

    I didn’t know what “determinate” meant either. Now I will be conscious of it. Like you, I love cherry tomatos but the kind that bear fruit continuously until late fall.

    • Ouch, 26 is cold. I’m sure the plants are much happier inside. No sense rushing them. I have grown the indeterminate versions in pots, without knowing the difference, for years and they have always done well. I was intrigued by the heirloom label and the fact that this was a Russian variety. And I always thought I wasn’t affected by marketing. Looks like I took the bait. The good news is if it doesn’t live up to my expectations there’s always the Farmers Market on Sunday and they always have good tomatoes. Loving this years wildflower pictures. Our spring is pretty much over so seeing your pictures lets me have another few months of Spring.

    • I’m very excited about the wheels. They have made a huge difference in how I manage this part of the garden. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your tomatoes are bountiful this year.

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