2010's first tomato- Ponderosa

Dear Neighbor,

As I write, we have first gotten a red tomato! The climate has been weird here. Makes for nice green grass, in July, but it hasn’t been the best mater year. Either it is too hot and dry or it comes down in torrential downpours, splitting all the tomatoes.

I have watered so mine are pretty, but mostly all green. I don’t have as many as I should, either. Everything  in my garden is behind and lazy.  I guess it’s the varieties I planted, or the fact I started them from seed, a few weeks late. I don’t know. I am growing two hybrid tomatoes: Ponderosa and Break O’ Day.

Ponderosa tomatoes grow in heavy bunches.

The Ponderosas are fairly large tomatoes. They grow in clumps of two or three, which isn’t good since the stems cannot handle the weight of these tomato triplets.

Leaning Vines of Ponderosa. Traditional staking wasn't enough.

The vines are tall and unruly. Our four foot stakes weren’t nearly enough to support the vines.

Fence panel supporting tomatoes.

Mr O’Homestead had a brilliant idea to use a fence panel to keep them upright. Secured on three green fence stakes, we put the fence panel high enough to reach six foot. I won’t let the vines get any taller. I will just nip any new growth.

The fence panel provides support for every stem regardless where it is on the vine.  My tomatoes are now standing tall and strong. I love this and will use this again, next year, no matter what type of tomato we grow. I certainly won’t have enough to do the amount of canning I had wished. I am trying to fill in with neighbor’s and farmers markets but all in all: sad tomato year.

Break O'Day (top) and Ponderosa tomatoes with a small canning ring for scale

As far as taste, the large Ponderosa is a good tasting tomato. Juicy and pleasant. Not too sweet and not too acidy. Just right for canning your favorite sauces.

The Break O’ Day is much smaller and has more of a cherry tomato taste: sweet. I could these like apples. I really can’t say how great for the homestead they are, because I am not sure if their poor performance is due to weather or me. Sorry I can’t be more help.

Not quite ripe Anaheim chili peppers.

As a side note: the peppers are showing up the tomatoes in a big way. We have many ripe habaneros, Hungarian, green and Anaheim and poblanos. I have been able to use many of them canning salsa.

Hungarian peppers.

The pepper garden bed was our son’s idea.
He loves all things too hot and wants to make hot sauce. I could cry just thinking about it. 🙂
Happy Homesteading, S