Hydroponics - 2003

Cluster of Roma tomatoes For the most part, the tomatoes did better than ever, particularly the Romas (San Marzanos - excellent for sauces).

This year we also had several tomato plants that decided to overwinter and go for a second year. While we normally think of tomatoes as annuals, they really are perennials in warm climates. (For an interesting history of the tomato, check out I Say Tomayto, You Say Tomahto...by Sam Cox.) And the bonus of second-year plants is that we stared getting edible fruit starting in around April.

Did we do anything to help them? Not much, really. As all of the tomatoes were dying down in the Winter, several started sprouting new suckers near the bottom of the plants, while others just bit it. So we cut the sprouting ones down to the bottom couple of suckers, and removed as much of their dead root masses as we dared. After that workover, several ended up dying, but a few held on through the Winter. Our Winters are fairly mild but cool, and we do have occasional soft and hard frosts, but apparently the unheated greenhouse was enough for the toughest ones.

The varieties that overwintered were Sun Gold, Zapotec and Super Sioux, with mixed second-year results. Both the Sun Gold and Super Sioux were hearty and produced well, while the Zapotec grew slowly and produced lightly, near the end of the season. Our 2004 page talks about plants that overwintered that year as well.

A day's harvest And we had many days like this - the year's harvest finally exceeded our expectations : ) Besides eating tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for months on end and having a 'Help Us Eat Tomatoes!' dinner party, we still managed to can 2.5 gallons of tomatoes.

One problem was overcrowding - as usual, I started too many tomatoes and decided to just shove them all in. Since the tomatoes get so tall they did well, but the eggplants, basil and peppers were too shaded to produce very well. Up until then, Patrick maintained that 'a little competition will do them good' but evidence proved otherwise.

	   tray - new output tubing

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Barefoot & Patrick Salsbury

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