Monday, October 6, 2008
The White Death - too tender for frost
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.
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.
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.
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.