Monday, October 6, 2008

The White Death - too tender for frost

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Tomatoes before the fall. They were not trellised this year as I was gone for most of the season but the vines stretch at least 6-8 feet.

I decided to give a mercy killing to my tomatoes today as it calls for frost tonight. I chopped off their mighty vines and yanked out there firmly grasping roots. My Chiapas Wild tomatoes tumbled to the ground where they will undoubtedly reseed lots of Chiapitas in the spring.

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Spilt tomato progeny. It just occurred to me that I should save some more seed with these fallen ripe ones.

What was really interesting for me was their roots. I have always been amazed at how tomato roots tend to grow laterally, just undernearth the surface of the soil, but this time I was amazed at a difference. The Chiapas Wild tomato had huge, tenacious roots to match the massive size of the 6 foot sprawling vines I imagine. The more demure and more cultivated varieties had much smaller root systems.

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The left is a cultivated variety like brandywine or black plum. I don't remember but they all had similiarly smaller root systems. The right is the mighty chiapis wild.

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More on Chiapas Wild Tomato

Question: Is it wild?
Answer: Apparently, it is a wild progenetor of the modern cultivated tomato

Question: Is it disease resistant?
Answer: They say yes. All I can say is that it didn't seem that bothered by foliar disease in my garden.

Question: Did you like these tomatoes?
Answer: These are the perfect kid tomato. There are tonnes of very small, intensily sweet tomatoes. They are also very good whole in salads.

Question: What did you not like about these tomatoes?
Answer: Whoever said that they had 5 foot vines and didn't ramble (I also would call them red rather than orange?) was not growing my seed out. It had huge vines that should have been trained. They also tend to drop there tomatoes much like ground cherries when ripe. This is fine as long as you collect them. They'll stay fresh for quite a while. They also hold onto their stems unlike other currant sized tomatoes.

Question: Worth growing.
Answer: You bet.

3 comments:

jodi said...

Because of illness and other misadventures, I'm just finding this new project of yours, and am excited for you and by you. I think you're onto something especially valid and that more and more people are going to embrace the more sustainable garden, especially as food source, in coming years.

emily said...

Hey,
Wow these tomatoes seem cool. Im enjoying your blog very much :)
Id really love some of these tomato seeds if you have any to spare, or any other seeds you may have lying around :P.
Im brand new to gardening and seed saving, and trying to get started. Unfortunately this means I have nothing to trade right now, but Id be certainly happy to pay postage and keep in touch for the future when I will have an amazing abounding garden full of wonderful seeds to send back to you for your kindness hehe ;)
Send me an email and let me know!
Thanks,
Emily

Ottawa Gardener said...

Emily, I would love to share some of these seeds with you. I couldn't access your profile so I'm not sure if I know which Emily you are. Send me an email (my email is under my profile) and I'll happily send some to you.