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Pastimes : Gardening and Especially Tomato Growing

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To: Cogito Ergo Sum who wrote (3432)9/15/2021 12:17:02 PM
From: sense1 Recommendation  Read Replies (1) of 3494
Last year was amazing... as I had an entire forest of tiny tomato plants that emerged in the spring, right at the edge in a boundary between lawn being mowed (with many more tiny tomatoes not fairing well at all against the machine) and what was once a 2 foot thick berm of woodchips that I've been using in an exposed barren, to retain moisture and build soil. In the lee behind the berm, fallen oak leaves from the prior season tend to gather throughout the fall and winter. I'm happy to allow them to collect there, as the wind supplied organic material supplements the woodchips with organics that the earthworms prefer as a food source. The tomatoes struggle to emerge from beneath the leaves. A very few succeed, and start life with a contorted ground hugging form as they snake out from beneath the litter... but as I push the leaves back against the berm, many more seeds will start to grow from that narrow strip of soil that emerges from beneath the shaded out lawn the leaves create, only once the soil has been exposed. The density of the forest of tiny seedling thins itself out as the weather grows hot... and only the more drought tolerant survive...

None of my store bought tomato plants would survive the neglect to which those survivors are subjected, needing watering almost daily to survive.

What form the fruits will take this year... its too soon to tell... but the prolific flowering and rangey habit I see might indicate that they're trending toward smaller and more cherry like... but the original plants in that spot were mostly heirlooms, along with a few modern hybrids to supply prolific clusters of those long cylindrical salad tomatoes... Last year had a nice mix of yellow and red clusters of salad type tomatoes and heirloom types, with large dark purple fruits... and a few plants making spectacular "heirloom type" salad tomatoes.

I think I have truly excelled in neglecting the tomatoes better this year...

A parallel effort in another corner, focused on naturally selecting a more drought tolerant lettuce... which I started using seed from the waxy (and delicious) Istanbul variety... might have influenced some few of the local wild lettuces (of which I have plenty, and they are drought tolerant enough)... to become a tad more waxy... but nothing remotely close to an edible and self propagating lettuce has emerged from that effort. However, the local yellow finch population greatly appreciates the source of edible seed... in a drought year when almost none of their wild food sources have survived... I've allowed the wild types to carry on with feeding the birds... who gladly moved in and took over that corner... disappearing only recently just as the tomatoes began flowering... apparently having growing quite tired of eating lettuce seed.
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