Spring Planting, Tomatoes

After 3 years here in the mountains, I have only had success with cherry tomatoes, none of which impressed me enough (for NM mountains) to save their seeds.  Save what works well in your garden.

Tomatoes come in determinite and indeterminate varieties.  Determinite varies were bred for corporate agriculture and mechanical harvesting.  In order to get a tomato variety that does not need staking, bears its fruit in a short time period then dies, it took a lot of inbreeding and is nothing I want in my tomatoes.  Most people whose tomato plants myteriously died, bought determinate plants designed to die.

Monsanto is perfecting a “death gene” that makes the plant and its seed die, they must gotten the idea from determinite tomatoes.  This is scary for obvious reasons.  No wonder Bill Gates and Monsanto are subject to conspiracy theories about genocide plans.

Indeterminate tomatoes have deeper root systems and better drought tolerance in dry climates or during dry spells which is definitely needed here in the dry southwest.  They are 6 to 10 foot vines and need a solid trellis, but bear tomatoes until frost.

Tomato plants are a perennial plant, but are not cold hardy.  Before my indeterminate tomatoes die of cold, I make cuttings from them for winter tomatoes either indoors or a greenhouse.  Once I find a variety that produces well here, I will start saving seeds for a better adapted plant.

Tomatoes will not set fruit above 95°F, not a factor here in the mountains; however in my Texas garden, 95°F was deemed a cold front coming through.  No matter, I grew my tomatoes in dappled shade under pecan trees.  The nice thing about pecans is they leaf out late, so my tomatoes got full sun in the spring.  Keep in mind that pecans have a little juglone, not as much as walnuts, but even so I raked the leaves away from my tomatoes and mulched with pine bark mulch.

I just ordered Coyote tomato seeds. It is a tiny yellow cherry tomato on a indeterminate vine that matures in 50 to 65 days. This variety was found growing wild in Mexico.  I like the genetic diversity on this one, and short days to maturity is on my side.

The second tomato is Polin, a golden pear shaped tomato on an indeterminate vine that matures in 65 days. This heirloim variety came from Poland and tolerates cool nights.  A good possibility for better production in spite of my cool nights.

I no longer buy from Springhill,  Wayside Gardens, Mountain Valley Seed, or American Seed.  All have been bought by Monsanto.  I don’t buy from Burpee because their main supplier is owned by Monsanto.  If you want to see a list, check on planet.infowars.com.  They are doing a good job tracking Monsanto’s buy up of heirloom seed companies.

For a paste tomato, I ordered San Marzano, an indeterminate heirloom tomatoes with a 78 day maturity.  It comes out of dry Italy, but is irrigated.  This is a world famous variety, and if it will produce in my garden, I will be content.

San Marzano is the only indeterminate paste tomato I ordered, but will keep my eyes open.  I like Jersey Devil but it needs a longer season.  Paste tomatoes are the best canning tomatoes, and if you only have a few ripen at a time, or just don’t have time, pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them until you have enough to can.  Freezing makes it easy to peel tomatoes, too.

Here’s where I confess that I am a crazy tomato eater, right behind melons.  Last summer I had 5 varieties of cherry tomatoes growing on spec and ate every tomato those plants produced.  I did not share with my coworkers, to their indignation.  I did share tomatoes with my neighbor who paid for a new gravel road between his/my house and the paved road, a full half mile.  I will provide tomatoes ad infinitum, I expect.

I still have seed for last year’s varieties.  Push come to shove, I will go with what I have and save the seeds going forward.  Maybe this year I will find the right tomato.

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About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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12 Responses to Spring Planting, Tomatoes

  1. berightnotwrong says:

    I tried to leave this comment at SHTF Plan, but it looks like TEST take things so personally that I am unable to post at all.

    Rebecca, Your website is very informative. I recommend it highly.

    Tomatoes, melons, and Asian heirlooms are among our family favorites.
    Here are some sources of heirloom seeds that I didn’t see mentioned:
    http://www.seedsavers.org
    http://www.rareseeds.com
    http://www.kitazawaseed.com

    Kitazawa sells quite a few F1 hybrids, but also a worthy number of heirloom Asian vegetables. Their kuri melons, kyoyasai, usui pea shoots, shishito peppers, and selection of edamame are spectacular.

    Interestingly I spent much time experimenting with “native” seeds from http://www.nativeseeds.org , but found European and other heirlooms to be better performers.

    • Berightnotwrong, thank you. I have used all those sites except kitazawaseed.com. I will check it out today. I admit that I did not have much luck with native seeds either when I tried them in Texas. I am having luck with them here in the much drier southwest. Even the lentils produce less with too much water! That is part of why I am 3 years in before switching to them, that and water conservation. Thanks for sharing good information with me. As for TEST, et al. Paugh! I am more interested in this journey to self-sufficient living.

  2. Helen says:

    Interesting information about determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. How do you which you are buying?

  3. Helen, when you buy seed packets here in the US they say which one they are. Potted plants might or might not tell you. If I don’t recognize the name, I look it up on the Internet (cell phones!). I don’t recommend determinate for home hardeners, and it is especially hard for beginners to feel competent when they get hold of them. Roma is a common corporate farming tomato that is determinate and also common for home garden sales. It just won’t produce the way a home gardener hopes.

    • Foxglove666 says:

      Hey Rebecca, when you set your tomato plants out are you hitting them with a good slug of dolomite lime? When I set mine out I put about a table spoon of dolomite lime in a large hole. I pour water in the hole, add dirt and make a slurry of mud mixed with lime. Then sit plant in slurry and gently pack dry dirt around plant. HUGE yields…..

  4. Foxglove666, you need dolomite lime because your soil is acidic. I have lime soil and working on more organic matter. My poor plants are dealing with desiccating high winds at 7% humidity, and occasional temperature drops to upper 40s mid summer. Hail too. The cool season vegetables do pretty good but the warm season stuff is not too happy. That’s why I am looking for short-short season varieties. I need a solid greenhouse, but once I get the beds built I am thinking about a wind baffle. Just last night I had 60 mph winds… not unusual.
    I’m trying!

    • Foxglove666 says:

      Okay, so the San Marzanos can be sun/wind dried tomatoes on the vine? 😉 speaking of cool season veggies, how do turnips, parsnips and potatoes do there? Also winter squashes? I usually have bumper crops of those things plus various beans and peas. Love me some legumes!

  5. The San Marzano can be sun dried easy, so can most things here, NM sun and low humidity. All the herbs that I dry for teas dry on a plate in the house, pretty much overnight. Yum! I am just writing a blurb on Kohlrabi, which should do well for you, too. Heck, I have salsify that has gone native, parsnips would too. In fact, so do tomatillos go wild here. The root vegetables like it fine. Onions. Just gonna have to work for my melons and squash.

    • Foxglove666 says:

      There are some squashes that grow well in your type of environment, but I can’t remember which ones, dang it! I am big on growing winter squashes. They store for months, are high in beta carotene among other great nutrients. Since most are sweet, this negates the hankering for extra sugar. I just keep cinnamon around to sprinkle on them and you have a tasty side dish or dessert.

  6. Foxglove666, if you remember which winter squashes, please let me know! I will order them immediately. I have ordered a couple short season varieties and am hoping for the best. I have no imagination that says “no” winter squash for my garden, I have always grown them. BTW my email is rebecca.treeseed@google.com. I am planning a bigger garden this year, since I am home. A bit early for me, since my season starts in May, but getting my orders in while I can. This year I will collect seeds for everything.

  7. Foxglove666 says:

    Hey Reb,
    Tried emailing you at that address but it bounced. Is it correct?

  8. Nope. It is at gmail.com.

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