A watched pot never boils

It doesn’t matter how many times a day I examine the second planting of tomatoes, they are still green. They are not the desired red, pink, rose, peach, yellow (marbled with red veins), burgundy, or purple. Green, green, green. I vow not to look at them at all tomorrow. Perhaps that will move them along toward ripeness.

I plant three sets of tomatoes every year. The early planting consists of determinant tomatoes that take around 60 days to ripen – Taxi, Orange Blossom and Polbig varieties. This year the early tomatoes were transplanted to the field on May 14. These tomatoes were in the CSA share by July 14. They are fine tomatoes. But they are not my favorites.

My favorite tomatoes are some of the heirloom varieties that are stubbornly refusing to ripen. They went into the field on May 31. They take from 71 to 80 days before they are ready for harvest. Twelve more days.

The last set of tomatoes were transplanted on June 16. These are mostly paste tomatoes (Amish Paste, Hog Heart, San Marzano varieties), but also some of the heirlooms and hybrids that I’d like to eat until the first frost.

Why three plantings? Tomatoes are vulnerable to diseases. At this farm, they tend to get septoria leaf spot. Even when we take precautions (straw mulch, staying away from the tomatoes when they are wet, etc.) they get diseased at some point in the season. This year has been especially wet, speeding the fungal disease, and the first planting is well on its way to being defoliated. I plant a succession of tomato crops so that when the first planting dies, I’ve still got a batch of nice, healthy tomatoes ready to pick.

Here’s a list of the vegetables and varieties I’m growing this year.