Sunday, April 12, 2015

Last Year's Tomato Harvest, This Year's Plans

So I kept a fairly careful accounting of all the tomatoes I hauled in last year, but then neglected to post it. Here's what I got:

  • 7.00 lbs 4th of July
  • 8.93 lbs 4th
  • 12.96 lbs 4th

  • 5.65 lbs Amish Paste?
  • 12.91 lbs AP
  • 17.72 lbs AP

  • 11.66 lbs Cherokee Purple

  • 5.41 lbs Brandywine
  • 8.28 lbs Brandywine
  • 13.14 lbs Brandywine
  • 14.66 lbs Brandywine

  • 0.83 lbs Indigo Rose

  • 2.45 lbs Plum Regal
  • 4.46 lbs   Plum Regal
  • 18.51 lbs Plum Regal

  • 8.25 lbs Roma

  • 5.03 lbs Rutgers
  • 9.15 lbs   Rutgers
  • 12.63 lbs Rutgers

  • 3.41 lbs   San Marzano
  • 9.03 lbs   SM
  • 12.54 lbs SM

  • 12.26 lbs Speckled Roman

The total was about 250 lbs, though toward the end of the season I got sloppy with my recording, so this is only about 217 of it. Not a bad haul. I was very sick of canning spaghetti sauce by the end of it. In fact, I still have quite a bit left to go through.

In addition to the spaghetti sauce, which I used a lot of, I canned up some tomato juice, which I really enjoyed. Also dehydrated a mess of them, aiming at sun-dried tomatoes, and used hardly any of those. They didn't come out too great. 

I also taste tested sauce made from Roma, Amish Paste, and San Marzano. Maybe my taste buds are inept, but there was no clear favorite. I was a bit surprised, given the reputation of San Marzanos that they weren't a clear favorite. Some folks say that the soil where they're grown in Italy makes it hard to replicate their flavor elsewhere. *shrug* I like all of them. Given that, I decided this year to go monoculture (heh) and just do San Marzanos. Them main reason being that they seemed slightly more prolific than the Romas and unlike the huge Amish Paste beasts don't need to be cut up to fit in the KitchenAid sauce making attachment. 

I liked the Brandywines, but all too often I feel like they went from green to red to rotten very fast. And they were huge, so they bent my cages to the ground too. When I finally get around to making some solid cages out of concrete reinforcing wire I'll try them again. Maybe Mortgage Lifter as well. 

For this years planting, I think I'll cut back from 4 rows of tomatoes to 3, leaving some room for cucumbers (oh yeah, pickling time!). That leaves 18 slots to fill. Here's my current though, though we'll see how my starts do.

  • 9 San Marzano - sauce seems to be my biggest use for the harvest, so focus on those
  • 2 Fourth of July - have been reliable and productive
  • 1 Rutgers - a nice tomato
  • 3 Cherokee Purple - delicious, my favorite
  • 3 wildcards, time to go seed shopping