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hendi_alex
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Late Summer and Fall tomatoes

The last few years I've planted seeds for late season tomatoes. This year I've taken a different strategy. First of all, it seems as if a hundred or more volunteer plants came up in my compost. So I decided to pot a few of those to use as replacements if needed. I don't care what kind of tomatoes result, after all, they will be 'home grown' and that is all that will matter for the tomatoes from those plants.

I've been pruning some of the excess sucker growth and ever occasionally snap a leader when threading it back inside the confines of the tomato cage. For many of those, the side branches are stripped, leaving only a small amount of tip growth at the end. They are then stuck in a nursery pot and placed in the shade under the potting bench. So far 100% of those have acted as though they didn't even realize that they had lost their roots. The plants just keep right on growing, and will turn into excellent plants for late season tomatoes.

I'm slowly building my inventory of these replacement plants, such that groupings will be of various ages and stages of growth. In late July or early August, I'll find a place to put them in the ground, or will replace some of the spent plants that are growing in containers. The late plants do very well in planters in late July to mid August. At that time they are fairly small plants in large containers, and don't dry out too fast. By the time the plants are much larger in late September, the temperatures have moderated therefore the plants still don't tend to have water stress issues.

Most years my late season plants make a reliable crop all the way until the first frost. Even later if I choose to cover the plants for the first light frost or two. Last year we didn't finish our tomatoes off until the second or third week in December.

For some reason, the tomatoes on old tired vines tend to become low quality in the fall, as the seed areas turn very green often with a thick consistency. Sometimes the seeds actually start to germinate in those tomatoes. On the other hand when young vigorously growing plants are started in the fall, they have always made high quality tomatoes that would rival those made during peak summer production.

IMO anyone gardening in zone 7 or below who has late season trouble with spring planted tomato plants, would be well served to start a few replacements. I've found that May and June are the best months to start the replacement plants here in zone 8, such that they have plenty of time to mature and make a crop before frost. Even gardeners in shorter season areas might benefit from having a staggered planting with a few plants planted every 3-4 weeks until mid summer. That way at any given time, one group of plants will be giving their first peak crop, and the gardener should not have periods when the tomatoes are between crops and are just coming off in a trickle.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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gixxerific
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Great idea I have been finding a ton of volunteers myself. I just found one the other day that was hiding amongst my peas it was about 8 inches. I should have saved it. If I find some more I will try to save a few. It would be interesting just to see what it comes out to be for one thing.

Actually kind of doing something like that yesterday. Some of my potatoes rotted in the ground are just didn't come up. I was replacing them with some grocery store potatoes I had on my fridge and actually forgot about. They have been sprouting for some time so what the heck I threw them in the empty spaces. :wink:

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hendi_alex
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My potatoes have done well this season, though it got hot so quickly that the plants are already dying. But pulled two plants about a week ago and go 2-3 pounds of new potatoes. I only plated red potatoes, and all of those came from sprouting spuds that we had bought at the grocery store. I'm trying to wait to pull any more, as we just love the new potatoes steamed with green beans. I made the first batch as parsley potatoes, a very simple yet delicious way to prepare new potatoes. Scrubbed the potatoes and cut out most irregular indentations from surface, but leaving most of the skin. Either halved or quartered depending upon the size. Cover with water, salt,then boil the potatoes until tender. Pour water off, add a chunk of butter, pepper and add a good measure of fresh parsley, maybe 1/4 cup of rough chopped. Stir until the butter is melted and the parsley is wilted. Cover until ready to eat. Quite a treat coming fresh from the garden!
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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soil
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we plant for a fall crop here too, and we encourage volunteers as well by taking some good fruit from the previous year and tilling it into the soil.

i find it funny that although i start tomatoes in mid to late February, the ones that self germinate in mid june do far better in the long run. they need less water, less care, i get better fruit most of the time, and i usually get more. the thing is with the volunteers you get tomatoes later, like august, rather than tomatoes in june with the early started ones.

so thats why we do both :)
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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gixxerific
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hendi_alex wrote:My potatoes have done well this season, though it got hot so quickly that the plants are already dying. But pulled two plants about a week ago and go 2-3 pounds of new potatoes. I only plated red potatoes, and all of those came from sprouting spuds that we had bought at the grocery store. I'm trying to wait to pull any more, as we just love the new potatoes steamed with green beans. I made the first batch as parsley potatoes, a very simple yet delicious way to prepare new potatoes. Scrubbed the potatoes and cut out most irregular indentations from surface, but leaving most of the skin. Either halved or quartered depending upon the size. Cover with water, salt,then boil the potatoes until tender. Pour water off, add a chunk of butter, pepper and add a good measure of fresh parsley, maybe 1/4 cup of rough chopped. Stir until the butter is melted and the parsley is wilted. Cover until ready to eat. Quite a treat coming fresh from the garden!
The potatoes I just put in were grocery store reds as well.

Alright now you re got me thinking harder about the tomato thing. I have been puling all of the volunteers so far I now wish I would have saved that one from the other day. It was a good sized plant. I am going out now to see if I can find any.

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kimbledawn
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I'm doing the same thing but I didn't know if it would work. I have been taking suckers off of my main plants and sticking them in random pots and just ignoring them. They all have grown great and I hope for a second set of plants.
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

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gixxerific
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While picking peas this morning I was surprised to find at least 5 more tomatoes growing and grwoing well I must say. They were all a foot or taller. When my peas are done I will probably transplant a few into pots or other areas of the garden. The really big one I may just leave there.

Yippee!!

amyb1984
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Hey

tomatoes or potatoes?

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