The First Eating Tomatoes and Late Planting

I can eat a fresh tomato like an apple

So those are a few of the first round of my eating tomatoes. This year I planted Better Boys and Romas. By planting a couple varieties I can have some tomatoes for slicing and some for cooking. I usually try some new form of heirloom with drought resistance the folks at the farm bureau  came up with, but after a few years of bad production I went back to a tried and true variety here. Not to toot my own horn but it looks like I made the right decision with all the fruit still growing on the vines.

So pathetic and they look 100 times better than when I bought them yesterday

The last few years I have tried to grow squash and failed. This was due to a borer beetle that laid eggs in the base of each plant and wiped them out. Last year someone suggested wrapping foil around the stalks. I tried it and got one zucchini from six plants before the beetle killed them. This year, after pulling up the garlic I am planting really late in the hopes that the beetle has already laid its eggs in everyone else’s squash patches. Of course this creates a few problems. Since I did not plan ahead and start the plants from seeds, I had to buy plants weeks after they should have been put in the ground. This limited my selection and quality considerably. Another problem is that the plants have to take hold and survive the extreme heat almost immediately. It’s been in the upper 90s here with heat indexes about 100. For those accustomed to Celsius, that’s one degree hotter than Hades.

Normally, the plants would have grown fairly big and begun to set fruit by now. If this works, in the future I will have to grow healthy plants from seeds and re-pot them so when they actually go in the soil the plants will be stronger and more resilient to the heat.  Of course the beetle could just be waiting me out.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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58 Responses to The First Eating Tomatoes and Late Planting

  1. Laura says:

    They look beautiful – worth the wait! When I was growing up, we always wrapped tomato and pepper plants (the roots and up around the stems) in newspaper. I don’t know if that would have a different result than the foil – I’d never heard of that.

  2. rutheh says:

    Your tomatoes look wonderful. Save that photo for a day in January. I support the farmer’s market and gave up trying to grow veggies in my own yard. Yours are inspirational to try again.

  3. ChefMom says:

    Oh I hope the beetle isn’t waiting you out! I can’t wait to see your squash recipes!!!! These tomatoes are beautiful. 🙂

  4. fatisrecipes says:

    Those toms look great! I love munching on them like apples, too! 🙂

  5. I’m allergic to the acidity in tomatoes (can eat ketchup and tomato sauce because the acid is cooked down. I’m fine with other acid type foods though). But let me just say, your garden skills are wonderful. How do I know? Simple… my mom told me so lol.

  6. If I had to choose between chocolate and tomatoes…tomatoes would win! Yours are looking great. And I might have to send you some squash. We planted what we were told were zucchini and they have turned out to be some sort of squash 🙂 nice surprise, but no courgettes in our garden now 😦

  7. Charles says:

    Hey Greg, I’ve got a great business proposition for you! Tomato vine scented perfume! I’m addicted to the smell. Bottle that stuff and I’ll be your biggest customer! Of course, then I’ll smell like a greenhouse but totally worth it!

  8. There is nothing as delicious as homegrown tomatoes! Great photos!

  9. Something is lurking in my vegetable garden too Not sure what kind of bug it is but looks like I’m not going to get much from garden # 1, so far garden #2 and #3 are looking good. Any suggestions as to killing the beetles? Is there something you can do to the soil? I guess I should find out what bug is eating my basil, tomato and pepper plants first.

  10. It is very early here and I just signed on the computer. Ribs, coleslaw, and fresh tomatoes were the first things I saw this morning and how wonderful they all look. I could eat that for breakfast for sure. My tomatoes are still about the size of your thumb. I look every day. I do have a couple squash plants that are blooming. Will see what happens with those. Hope you had a good 4th.

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    You have an egg laying beetle that destroys your squash plants. I’ve got a tomato snatching dog that thinks it’s great fun to play keep-away with pinkish tomatoes. It’s always something. I hope your beetle is all laid out.

  12. Good luck with the squash! Mine are only slightly larger because of our late spring.
    (Except for the volunteer that sprang up in the compost pile…it’s huge! But, no fruit on it yet.)
    You should have a nice September-ish harvest from them.
    Totally jealous of your tomatoes. I just got my first BLOOMS this week…

  13. Kelly says:

    Love the beetle story and I’m so envious of your gardening prowess… our season is so short and my dog is such a voracious digger that the challenges are hard to surmount. Your tomatoes look beautiful! I think I could eat them like an apple too (ok, maybe with a little drizzle of balsamic 🙂

  14. Lea Ann says:

    Look at those perfect tomatoes! I don’t know when I’ll have tomatoes this year. A couple of late freezes and long periods of rain, I couldn’t plant until Memorial Day. Good luck with those little squash, I’ll be anxious to hear how they do.

  15. You should be so proud! I managed to grow some great capsicum’s (peppers depending where you’re from) last year but then *something* came and took chomps out of them. Never found the culprit.

  16. spicegirlfla says:

    I could just smell those tomatoes so garden fresh and kissed by the sun! This brings back so many memories of the scent and taste of my father’s tomatoes through the summer. And, yes, I could and did eat those tomatoes like an apple!! My mother made endless tomato salads and sandwiches stuffed with tomatoes! There is no comparison to a garden tomatoe!! Good luck on your plants, I’m looking forward to following your garden grow!!

  17. joshuafagans says:

    I am jealous! I’m away from my tomatoes but don’t think they are in yet. Sorry to hear about your squash troubles and wish you the best.

  18. Kas says:

    Those tomatoes looks delicious! And random, but yesterday when I walked out of the house, there were literally hundreds of beetles swarming. I thought it was the plague …

  19. Your tomatoes look fantastic! Kudos!

  20. Ginger says:

    Wow, your tomatoes look perfect! Good luck with your squash, I hope it turns out well for you 🙂

  21. nrhatch says:

    Nothing like fresh tomatoes from the vine! Good luck with the squash.

  22. I tried the same thing with some squash this year. I had squash borers so bad last year they tried to get inside a mature pumpkin. So far they seem to be doing well in spite of the heat. Good luck on yours too!

  23. I don’t know where gardeners get the patience to deal with all those factors like bugs, weather, etc. But those tomatoes really do look good enough to eat whole, so you’re definitely doing something right!

  24. Your tomatoes look gorgeous. They are totally the supermodel of tomatoes! 🙂

  25. Very jealous that you already have tomatoes. Our plants are still a few weeks away from full production. Hope they tasted good. Cheers!

  26. gisellecagli says:

    Whenever I read your gardening posts, I learn something new! Your gardening skills are amazing! Have you ever tried growing cherry tomatoes?

  27. Caroline says:

    Now those are some great looking tomaters. I’m sure they’re juicy and delicious. Look forward to seeing what you make with squash–good luck!

  28. those look great!!! is roma the easiest to grow? could you say the same about any other tomato like heirloom?

  29. Sissi says:

    How I envy you your own tomatoes… Good tomatoes are extremely difficult to find on the markets, sometimes even the most expensive, organic ones are tasteless and full of bland watery juice. The beetle sounds very dangerous indeed. I get furious even on the small aphids on my balcony herbs…

  30. JamieAnne says:

    Lovely! I’ve got one lone tomato on the vine. I’m envious of your tomatoes. 🙂

  31. Good luck with the beetle! I had a problem with them last year. This year my tomato plants produced well. As my plant aged the tomatoes got smaller, and smaller. Then finally the plants shribbled up and turned brown.

  32. Sue Salerno says:

    Great job – I can’t seem to grow much of anything but I’m trying again this year. One lonely tomato plant in a planter I had to bring inside. As soon as it hit 100 it started drooping terribly! It’s growing but I don’t see any signs of tomatoes, just leaves so far.

  33. Holly says:

    i can barely comment I’m so jealous…

  34. Andi Winslow says:

    Thank you Greg, I did see that Alison did a post. Was very happy to see her back again. I sent her a message while on our v-k. I have a patio plant with green tomatoes ones can’t wait for them to ripen. Andi

  35. I planted mine late, too. Mine are still green but it won’t be long! Just planted Big Boys and Better Boys. Tried Romas last year with no good results 😦

  36. ennospace says:

    Full with hope!!

  37. The trials and tribulations of being a vegetable gardener. My tomatoes are all in the green stage and range in size from a pea to a marble. Heirlooms are so late and with our short growing season I’m thinking of a few hybrids for next year. I had to go out and by greenhouse tomatoes today. At least they were local. Good luck with the squash.

  38. niasunset says:

    Made me to take and to smell and to eat then 🙂 They seem so delicious, congratulations you are doing great job, I admire your garden works and recipes. They all are so inspirational, thank you dear Rufus, have a great weekend, with my love, nia

  39. Lovely tomatoes! I hope your squash does just as well.

  40. Did you see NPR articles featuring books about tomatoes? The way they grow tomatoes in Florida is disturbing…
    We have been growing our own for 4 years now and are definitely planning to continue. Heirlooms seeds are more difficult to start, but the taste and looks of the tomatoes are definitely worth the effort .

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  42. Sara says:

    I have a few heirlooms and some more disease resistant hybrids for insurance. I realize I didn’t enrich the soil for two of my 6 tomatoes and it’s amazing how poorly they are doing. I didn’t mean to do an experiment but I guess I did prove what they say about tomatoes being heavy feeders.
    Good luck with your squash! Feast or famine, right? You’re either not going to get any or, if it’s like zucchini, will be swimming in it!

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  45. ....RaeDi says:

    You must be all green thumbs….RaeDi

  46. Pingback: Out with the tomatoes, in with the peppers | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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