Thinking About Tomatoes

I’m looking through seed catalogs a lot these days, thinking of the things I want to grow next year. With page after page of interesting and enticing tomato offerings, I can easily imagine a big beautiful tomato garden, yielding hundreds of pounds of mouth-watering tomatoes every day.

Our intern Ariana with one of our 2012 beauties

Our intern Ariana with one of our 2012 beauties

But the sad reality is that blight has destroyed our crops each of the last two years.  In 2012 we harvested lots of tomatoes before the end came, but last year we had to plant later and the garden was a near total loss.

Only our “late garden,” which included two long rows of tomatoes enabled us to have any.  Well, that and the cherry tomatoes that popped up as volunteers all over our farm—prolific, delicious, naturally blight-resistant heirlooms spread around by our chickens and our compost.  Matt’s Wild Cherry (which evidently has long grown wild in Mexico before doing so here) will definitely be part of our tomato garden this year.

Cherry tomatoes are great of course, but I want big, fat, juicy heirloom slicers too.  I want German Johnsons.  I want Brandywines.   I want Mortgage Lifters and Cherokee Purples.

Seed companies and ag schools are working to develop blight-resistant hybrids.  There are some available, but I’ve read that they don’t taste very good.  The only naturally blight-resistant tomato I’m aware of is Matt’s Wild Cherry.

We’ll try again this year.  Maybe the early summer won’t be as wet as it was last year.  Maybe some of the other things we’re doing (like mulching) will help.  We’ll see.

I won’t easily give up my big ugly tomatoes.