Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Sign of the Future:— The Totally Tomatoes Catalog Arrived

The Totally Tomatoes Catalog came floating in through the mailbox today. That's a sure sign that the Winter design dreaming period is about to begin. The past season was the first no-sweat, easy to run float system contrasted with a backyard, largely neglected garden. Both systems were pretty neglected, that was the beauty of them. I did have to add water to the float system ever few days after the system got well underway and there remains the issue of a better support system for the plants. But for all of that the systems met the majority of my goals.

Easy to operate: CHECK!

Inexpensive: CHECK!

Lots of tomatoes: CHECK!

I didn't grow very big tomatoes so Jessica gave me what for. She's always after me to grow big tomatoes. The systems this past Summer depended on old seeds, at least a year old and fairly small cultivars. The Dona's were the smallest but I always love them. Part of the reason I used old seed is I couldn't find very good sources for Dona seeds. Maybe that will change.

If you want a Totally Tomatoes Catalog their address is 334 West Stroud St., Randolph, WI 53956 and their website is Totally Tomatoes I enjoy it because it has so many varieties. It's just fun to read.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 13th Summary

Well I thought I'd do a recap of the total tomato weight taken from the garden and the float system and discovered that I can't find the notebook that has the data from August 31 through September 21 where the count picks up in a new notebook. So I can only give the totals with a hole in the data which I'll have to fill in when I find that book.

FLOAT SYSTEM: 34.06 pounds
GARDEN: 26.73 pounds

Found the missing book which took the totals up to:
FLOAT SYSTEM: 49.44 pounds
GARDEN: 46.79 pounds
We also had a mysterious volunteer in the flower garden in front of the house left over from one of last year's tomatoes which we noticed and it contributed a whole bunch of small tomatoes totaling 29.75 ounces, pushing 2 pounds ... didn't actually get them all so there were some more.

Since there were at least 14 plants in the garden that's not a great record, but a lot of tomatoes actually didn't get picked. The Float system had 10 plants but a third of them were small tomatoes and that was also true for the garden since there were a lot of Dona's and they tend to be small 3 and four ounce tomatoes. When I find the other notebook I'll add that data to get the overall total.

I'm a little disappointed in the total since generally with the NFT systems I've had larger per plant totals. On the other hand the float system was essentially zero hassle compared with the NFT systems where a pump failure or a power failure will cost you the whole system in a few hours. Great fun! Don't know if I'll have a chance to do it again next Summer since we're thinking about a trip, but it might work if we schedule it right. I was thinking that this system might work well on a platform with some sort of grow down a slope kind of netting. I've tried something like that with an NFT system but it was more hanging and that stressed the plants too much. We'll have to see. As Winter approaches I go into sketching and design mode thinking about new systems.