Article written

  • on 08.12.2010
  • at 08:19 AM
  • by Wendy

Tomatoes? in December?! 2


This has been one of the craziest weather years I can remember.  So many days with 30 degree shifts and a long cold foggy summer.  These tomatoes were planted at the right time, but they just did not like that summer.   I have stubbornly held off from razing the vines as long as I’m still picking tomatoes, but they’re gonna go soon. 

Many people can’t grow tomatoes in San Francisco because of the cold summers.  Tomatoes need a lot of sun.  SF is a city of microclimates;  I live in a part of the city that usually has a very sunny microclimate, and even within my neighborhood, there’s a little sun bowl.  I  lost some serious sun when some lofts were developed to the west of me (damn them), but I still have a few good spots.

For some reason, the tomatoes love it at the base of the yucca plants, and I have tried and failed too many other times elsewhere, so I keep coming back to the yucca.

I would hope that the nutrient gobbling tomatoes would take away some of the oomph from the yucca, but, no such luck.  The soil is just really rich, and after many seasons of sheet mulching and composting, they both just go crazy.

This year, the tomato plants got super huge, but there are still flowers on them that haven’t fruited yet.  That was mostly the foggy foggy summer, but also, I think I could have done some more judicious pinching.

I need to clear them out because I want to get some cover crops in the ground pretty soon, it’s pretty late.  Usually I plant fava beans or crimson clover, but this year I thought I’d try something different.

This time I got fenugreek seed from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.  Looks like quick growth, and I can use it in cooking as well.  Less organic matter than other legumes, but my compost is coming along swimmingly, so I’m not too worried about that.  I didn’t get the inoculant, but I’ve grown crimson clover in that spot before so I’m hoping it’s in the soil.  We’ll see!

The tomatoes haven’t been AMAZING, but they have been there steadily when I need them, and I have had enough to foil the rats, they’ve bitten quite a few, and I’ve let quite a few ripen. I haven’t had to buy tomatoes.  A world that works for everyone.

Say goodbye:

If anyone has tips on encouraging more fruit, please share them!

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There are 2 comments for this post

  1. reema says:

    Sounds like your tomatoes are way too happy growing to bother to fruit. It maybe you have too much nitrogen and not enough potassium in the soil. Tomato feed is high potassium which encourages flowers and fruit, nitrogen promotes green growth.

    I’ve also heard to cut down on the watering once the fruit is set as that will concentrate sugars and make the tomatoes sweeter.
    Try different varieties. Have you ever grown green zebra? – stripy green and so much flavour with a hint of tartness.

    So nice to see such lush greenery when I’m looking out of my window at bare trees.

  2. admin says:

    I will focus on the potassium next year! Maybe I’ll do a seaweed expedition for a free source. I tried this stuff called espoma tomato-tone right at the beginning, and it was good, looks like it’s 3-4-6 npk, so that should’ve helped. Other than that, just compost tea and fish emulsion a few times which is pretty high in nitrogen, so maybe that’s what really made them shoot up. I hardly watered these tomatoes at all since the plants got big, was trying for the “dry farm” effect, and maybe watered once a month in aug and sept during heat waves. Of course now the water is pouring from the sky…

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