Monday, July 30, 2007

A Bounty of Cherry Tomatoes

The Marcellino tomatoes are performing wonderfully. I have never seen tomato plants so big or a harvest so bountiful! I don't know what we are going to do with all these tomatoes!

We grew these plants from seed purchased from Park's Seed. The website shows that their time to maturity is 73 days from setting out transplants. We set out transplants in early May, and the harvest began in mid-July, so their timeline is right on target. The plant height is advertised as 5 feet by 3 feet, but our plants grew to about 7 feet by 4 feet, so leave some extra room if you want to be able to walk between the rows. I also grew some of these plants in growin' bags from Park's Seeds, and the plants were a much smaller, more manageable size and fruited sooner than the plants set into the garden. So if you are planning to grow these in pots, expect a smaller plant and lower yield. Sometimes you don't need 300 tomatoes from a single plant, so a lower yield is a better idea.

Thankfully, they ripen from top to bottom, so the harvest will be spread out over many weeks.

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These tomatoes are beautiful and pack a big flavor! Very juicy ... tangy ...

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... and numerous!

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We have had a lot of rain lately, and I am seeing some splitting of the fruit. This is common when a period of heavy rain follows a period of drought but still heartbreaking. I hope our weather evens out soon.

Park's Seed claims that this fruit can stay on the vine for 30 days after ripening. I have not seen that to be true though, as the fruit is knocked off the vine easily when it is ripe, and a good wind can make the fruit drop very easily. I have also seen some fruit begin to rot after only a couple days after maturity. Perhaps they were growing them in a climate-controlled greenhouse. Regardless, I still recommend these plants. They really are as disease-resistant as Park's claims them to be. Out of 7 plants, I only had to spray one of them once when it was attacked by aphids. Be prepared to use heavy tomato cages (not the flimsy ones from Lowes) or strong metal poles to hold them up, because they get tall and very heavy and will snap a bamboo pole in half.

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