Saturday, January 17, 2015

Trouble in Tomatotown

I'm done growing tomatoes. I'm done dealing with all the tying, staking, and supporting. I'm tired of furry, rat faced, bastard squirrels that take a single bite of a perfect tomato before flinging it to the ground. I can tolerate the tomato hornworms because I fill my platform feeders with them so the birds can feast. But I am absolutely fed up with all the damn diseases and plant problems that plague these vegetables. 



So I've kicked them out of the garden. I have no desire or compulsion to grow a water hogging, squirrel magnet, disease sponge of a plant when the Jamaican Tomato Man at my favorite farmer's market will do it for me. But don't think I haven't tried.




I grew my Mortgage Lifter plant from a disease resistant seed strain and had high hopes for absolute tomato amazingness. I shared the extra seedlings with friends.



By September it was so wretched I ripped it out. Despite keeping the bottom stems bare to provide strong air circulation, blight kept killing off the leaves from the bottom up.



When the Jamaican Tomato Man told me his Mortgage Lifters were as underwhelming as mine, I was relieved but all desire to continue growing tomatoes had been squeezed right out of me. Instead, I took home a variety of tasty, delicious fruit sold at his stand.




One of the few Mortgage Lifter tomatoes I harvested this year. This plant couldn't have paid the mortgage on a birdhouse.

To ensure absolute tomato perfection, I grow them in pots to avoid soil borne diseases. But of course, this means I need to water them constantly. The tomato plants slurp up water like an elephant at a watering hole while the squirrels hide in the trees waiting to dine. Squirrels are jerks.



To guarantee our sometimes stormy summers don't knock the plants over, I stake them to giant 6 ft tall poles that have been plunged deep into the depths of the giant pots they're grown in. To support the heavy fruit and long branches, I ensconce the entire plant - that I've grown from seed -  in giant, heavy duty square cages purchased from a fancy gardening catalog. But of course the branches far exceed the capacity of all this rigging to bend and break at the cage edges. My only recourse is vengeful pruning and snarky side glances.



But I will miss buying the tomato fertilizer Mater Magic, simply because I no longer have a valid excuse to ask my family, in my best deep country slang, "Anybody seen my Mater Magic? I need it fer my maters!" Ignoring the fact that the word 'mater' makes my skin crawl, it always made for a bit of fun.



78 comments:

  1. Hi Tammy, each time I thought about growing tomatoes, I slap myself with the nearest catalogue of perennial seeds and tell myself they're not worth it. They seem to need perfect conditions; not to hot during the day, not too cold at night, not too much water, not too little and even then they seem to catch everything under the sun, even clematis wilt and rose-leaf blackspot. I'm surprised you had the patience, I wouldn't give them the time of day. Instead, I prefer to go over and grab lovely home-grown tomatoes from my parents, who grow them for me.

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    1. First, thanks for all the garden love in your comment on my last post. Second, I need to remember to slap myself the next time I even consider growing another damn tomato. I grew great tomatoes 3 years ago but they weren't as tasty as I was hoping they'd be although the squirrels disagreed with me. They tasted like tomatoes but not amazing tomatoes. My Mortgage Lifters were the biggest divas in my garden last year. Stick a fork in me, darlin' because I am DONE!

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  2. How about cherry tomatoes? Squirrels don't seem all that interested in mine, although I did get a bit of chipmunk predation this past year (though just off the lowest-hanging fruit, so to speak).

    My experience - zero fertilizer, little supplemental water, planted right in crappy clay soil, cherry tomatoes for months. And if you let some of them fall to the ground and decompose (practically unavoidable when the tomatoes split after a heavy rain), you'll get volunteer seedlings without needing to go buy any. (In fact, thinning out the seedlings was a chore this past year.)

    In my experience thus far, if you do start seeds or buy seedlings, Riesentraube (http://www.rareseeds.com/riesentraube-tomato/) and the old standby Sungold (http://www.rareseeds.com/sungold-select-ii-tomat/) are two of the best varieties for the Upper South.

    (If you buy seedlings, not sure if you already know this trick, but I've been told one secret to success is buying a tall seedling, stripping off the lower limbs and practically planting the plant on its side with almost all of the stem buried below ground. Apparently the tomato will root all along the buried stems, which makes it much tougher and more drought tolerant.)

    As for caging/training the plant, I either use a teepee (made from bamboo or old sunflower stems) or something like this reusable spiral (you just try to train the main stem up through the middle of the spiral). Of course, the cherry tomato plant will still sprawl, but even after mine got huge, the viral firmly staked into the ground did not fall over.

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    1. I've grown cherry and grape tomatoes before and all they require is that you open the door, throw a pack of seeds in the wind, and then forget about them. I've even had them self-sow and had one growing between the pavers in my patio. We named it the Patio Crack Tomato. But they're so viney and the plants become huge. I was hoping for big slicing tomatoes. I grew a Heatmaster tomato a few years ago that was beautiful and disease free but the fruit wasn't as big and tasty as I wanted. Last year's Yellow Brandywine's were tasty but sparse. Maybe I just need to lower my standards.

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  3. I've been sucked in by tomatoes too - repeatedly. It's hard to avoid, especially since the "Tomatomania" events started circulating through our local nurseries every year here. One year, at our old house where virtually my entire garden was in shade, I bought a special, self-watering container tomato-growing system, complete with wheels that allowed me to roll the thing around my driveway to catch the little sun we got. (The fatal flaw was that it wasn't automated so it could move around on its own when I was at work.) My husband has given up laughing at me and just smiles and shrugs. However, last year, I abandoned vegetables altogether and used my raised planters as a cutting garden for flowers and herbs. I may do that again...

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    1. There is this vague undercurrent of national tomato obsession that implies you are somehow unAmerican and highly suspicious if you don't grow tomatoes. But I've decided if the Jamaican Tomato Man is willing to grow them for me, I'm willing to pay him.

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  4. We grow tomatoes here....only a few plants...but the majority are grown by my siblings and I at my pops house. They are rather finicky some summers but this past summer they did ok. It was our basil that hit the fritz. Combined we grow about 20 plants and then make an insane amount of pesto to freeze for our family dinners...all of the grandkids love pesto. This year we lost most of our plants...they all turned brown and withered up which was super disappointing. And don't even get me started on the squirrels.....there is currently one of my dish towels hanging from a tree 50 feet up in the air...the beans left it outside after wiping down the swings. Mr nutkin carried it up the tree and it is tied to a branch like a flag!! The punks have it in for me! Anyway I say you give it another go. Or just focus on other reliable veggies that do better for you. I actually wish we had more space so I could grow more vegetables. Can't wait to see what you pot up! The squirrel photo cracked me up! I'm about to start writing a childrens book about our crazy friends out back! Sorry for rambling! Have a great one! Nic

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    1. I lost my basil, too, to downy mildew or some type of blight. I remember your post about the squirrel. What an audacious little twerp. I've decided to stuff that giant pot with a dwarf (to 3 ft) variety of tithonia, the orange flowered plant that attracts monarchs like mad. I have a friend who threw some seeds in a patch of soil and ignored them and grew gorgeous plants.

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  5. I have for some time now I have no tomatoes in the garden. They are too prone to disease and damage my work and my nerves. Regards.

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    1. Any plant that drives me crazy is kicked out of my garden, too!

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  6. It must be a world wide problem - I have tried for the last time - cherry tomatoes may get another chance as they seem to produce better with less work and water - I can buy beautiful locally grown from our local market also - will stick to thea easy summer veggies from now on - capsicum, celery, beet root etc - the return for my time is much better and my pride and ego don't take a battering!!

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    1. We all have a plant that tortures us. :o) I probably would have had better luck if I'd stuck with cherry tomatoes and hybrids, both of which I've grown successfully. But the heirlooms taste so much better. I think the Jamaican Tomato Man will be seeing a lot of me this summer.

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  7. Growing your own is supposed to good for the soul and a peaceful calming experience. We get blight from time to time and I stop growing them outdoors, then get suckered in again for another go, but if I had squirrels eating them then that would be it. Hope you find something good to replace them with!

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    1. I'm replacing them with tithonia 'Goldfinger' since it attracts butterflies. Once tomato blight set in there was nothing calm or peaceful about growing these, just pure frustration.

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  8. Every year is different. I had pitiful success growing 'heirloom' tomatoes from seed last year. The previous year tomatoes in pots had so-so results.

    This year I am having a grand harvest from a single Better Boy sucker in a big pot indoors under glass. I was feeling really good about it until I read an article that pointed out that I am growing the wrong tomato variety, used the wrong fertilizer, watered all wrong, failed to prune and properly tie, failed to use a device to promote pollination, let the vines touch the greenhouse wall, failed to remove the last tomato in each cluster -- the expert's list goes on and on. So do the tomatoes.

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    1. I love it when I read an article telling me in absolute detail how everything I'm doing is completely wrong, despite the fact that my plant is thriving. Whatever you're doing with your tomato, keep doing it!

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  9. So sorry to hear about your suicide tomato plants Tammy....some things aren't meant to be grown by us I suppose.
    That's like bok choy in my garden, the bugs are having a ball with my plants...I will be buying my bunches of bok choy from a lovely lady in the city from now on....I too have had enough.
    The sign at the end of your post is priceless!!

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    1. That sign cracked me up, too! I buy most of my veggies at the market. I'd rather grow flowers, anyway.

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  10. Oh stop right there Tammy, enough is enough!! I get where you're coming from - but my bet noir is 'taters' or 'spuds' as they are known round these parts. We but them as seed potatoes, we chit them in egg boxes forever, we plant them, we weed them, we earth them up ... then blight gets them and we dig up scrawny little things barely worth cooking. We have said "no more" this year, and we are just growing reliable stuff !

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    1. At some point, we all hit our breaking point and last summers' tomatoes were mine. I couldn't stop the blight and was tired of watering them everyday. I buy all my spuds at the store, except for sweet potatoes, which are super easy to grow. It's maddening to have our butt kicked by a plant!

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  11. Hello Tammy

    Thank you for making me laugh, I hope you intended this to be funny. I love it. I agree with your decision to support the Jamaican tomato grower at the market.

    Have a great weekend.

    PS Your images are priceless

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    1. I think he and I are going to become great friends. :o)

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  12. I've always had good luck with tomatoes except for the summer I entrusted their watering to a friend and found the poor things dried to a crisp. Sorry about the pillars of creation thing.

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    1. Seeing my plants ignored would drive me insane! No worries about the pillars. :o) You are much more saturated with astronomy than I am.

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  13. I'm with you! I would give up on vegetables altogether, but Judy's mother had a big vegetable garden, so we have to have at least a token one to carry on the tradition. Far better, in my view, to get stuff from the farmers' market - though I am happy to grow herbs.

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    1. I stuffing that big pot with tithonia! All those pics on your blog sent me seed shopping for a dwarf variety. I found one called 'Goldfinger' that only gets 3 ft high. I'm excited! Fugghedabout the tomatoes!

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  14. Hey Tammy, tell me how you really feel about the squirrels.....,, lol . our hot dry climate seems to be ok for tomatoes. Our best tomatoes are the rogue tomatoes that come up from seeds in our compost spread in the gardenThey are tough buggers, grow in weird places , sprawl all over the ground,no disease or blossom end rot and have tons of fruit. The fancy heirloom pricey babies were all full of talk. Our tomatoes have been decimated by deer who seem to know when they are perfectly ripe. I yell death threats at the stinkin Bambis all the time!! Love that sign , it's priceless!!

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    1. It's rare that I don't say what I really feel! I'm pretty transparent. :o) I've had those same rogue tomatoes come up and always in the strangest places. I've let a few of them grow but the vines end up suffocating whatever poor sucker had the stupidity to grow next to it so I ended up weeding the volunteers out. Maybe I'll just transplant them next time! I'm hoping that sign is a joke but I think it may be real..... So sad but so funny.

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  15. I understand your views - tomatoes are very tricky to grow, and lots can go wrong - but I still like growing them. It's a challenge, I suppose. And even if you get only a modest crop, the taste of a home-grown tomato is so superior to a shop-bought one that it makes all the hassle worthwhile. This year I am going to try some varieties which have been developed for strong blight-resistance. They are called Clou, Primavera and Primabella.

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    1. The ones from the grocery are so bad I just refuse to buy them. But the farmer's market I like is full of produce right out of the field. According to the Jamaican Tomato Man, his wife is the brains of the entire operation but they have so many varieties to offer that I can come home with a sampler to enjoy all week.

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  16. I'm on your side Tammy!
    Here in cold and rainy climate, the only 20-40 warm days, I try to grow tomatoes in greenhouse and in a soil. Every fall I swear to not grow them more because they're small and need much water. But... I see nice pictures on the seed packs and sow the for seedlings.

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    1. We do get sucked in with all those seed packs, don't we? I almost started looking at tomato seeds the other day but made myself stop. I knew it would end badly.

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  18. Love it! I gave up planting runner beans for much the same reason. I was just providing midnight feast bunty for all the slugs and snails. No matter how I protected those plants they were stripped bare within weeks. Now I buy them ready sliced from the supermarket. What can you do?

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    1. The last time I grew beans the rabbits ate them. I buy those at the market, too. Beans not rabbits. :o)

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  19. OMG Tammy girl you made me laugh this morning !
    BTW ... I conquered the gremlins in my blog and was able to publish your comment after all .. B*****D gremlins !!!
    I grew tomatoes once in a pot with said square cage ...I can't even remember what the result was, I must have been so underwhelmed with it all ...
    I have given up growing anything that resembles food to humans because the squirrel mafia truly believes I grow it for THEM to maul ..
    so I get your attitude towards them .. argh !!
    I think I have to start my "would like to have list" of plants soon ... not that I have any room ... but I would LIKE to ?!!!
    Good luck with the garden girl ! You will be in it a lot sooner than I can be ... BIG sigh !
    Joy

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    1. I have a love/hate relationship with squirrels and bunnies. I know they're hungry, too, so I load up my feeders for the squirrels and ignore the bunnies I see eating my plants on the front/sides of my house. But when they slaughter my plants in the back garden, I have to take action. Not that anything I do is very effective, but at least I feel vindicated that I've slowed them down or diverted them to the neighbors yard.

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  20. I agree about tomatoes, they are endlessly demanding; needing feeding, watering, and constant attention. They are the spoilt brats of the vegetable world. And then, when you have lavished so much care on them, they succumb to blight. Every year I swear I won' t gow them again but I always do.
    Squirrels don' t seem too bothered with them though. My squirrels love strawberries, at least they think they do. They take one bite and then remember that they don' t like them that much, so they toss them away.
    Are tomatoes really called ' maters'? I couldn' t possibly grow or eat something called a ' mater'. I rather like the idea of 'qcomeburs' though.

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    1. Some people here really do call them 'maters' but I am not one of them. It is country slang. But this summer I will be on the hunt for peeches.

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  21. Each year at the end of the season I have the same lament as you, though we do not squirrels that do the damage, but we do have disease and I do have a husband who plants way too many maters and then some come up volunteer that we can't seem to weed out. The garden then grows into one massive tomato plant. You would think that with so many tomatoes, we'd have tomatoes, but they don't seem to ripen very fast. Despite, we will plant tomatoes again tis year. I'll keep you posted.

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    1. A garden as one giant tomato plant is kind of funny. Maybe you could shape into a maze and charge admission. :o)

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  22. We sometimes have some problems here in Iowa with tomatoes, but usually only if we have a wet summer, which doesn't happen that often. I guess we're hot and dry enough to avoid many of the fungal problems. And my husband and I are usually too lazy to stake very well, but we still get some tomatoes, although it's often late August before we do. Just about anything we grow in the veg garden can be gotten for less money and work at farm stands and even grocery stores in season, so we should only grow the things that bring us pleasure. Don't feel bad in making a sensible decision to avoid aggravation and hassle in order to save money and have better produce. There's a reason why we economists tout economic specialization. Gardening is for fun! Thanks for sharing your decision with us. -Beth

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    1. If the farmers grow the veggies, I'll gladly buy them because tomatoes do equal aggravation! The output definitely wasn't as great as the input so I've outsourced the growing. :o)

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  23. That squirrel with the zippered Superman suit on totally cracks me up! You've got to get yourself a Border Collie to chase them away--never hurting them btw. (She's too gentle--it's all in the chase.) Since store bought tomatoes taste like credit cards cut up and put in your salad, I can't stop growing my own. But they are a lot of work--no doubt. I've finally figured out what will really grow and what will just frustrate the hell out of me. I'm nuts about the Russian "Black" varieties, like Black Krim and Black Prince--not only are they gorgeous, but they taste like heaven and like the cold springs. I'll beat anybody away with a broom who threatens my tomatoes-:) At least you have Farmers Markets Tammy!

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    1. The tomato man grew several Russian varieties so I was able to bring home a wonderful sampler each week.They were mighty tasty indeed! My dogs chase the squirrels but the squirrels keep an eye out for when the coast is clear and the marauding begins. I do hate store bought tomatoes. They taste like nothing and are always overpriced.

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  24. When you read the various comments above, It would appear that tomato growing has 90% to do with the climate. Some people find them easy, others find them difficult but it has hardly anything to do with their skills. For many years, I was part of a master gardener group that provided garden advice. We would have questions on blossom end rot now and then but, on the whole, there were few questions on "matters". I think the local climate just happened to have been good for tomatoes.
    Your last picture reminded me of a vegetable stand we pass each summer which is just about as bad as that. I have often wondered if it is not a ploy to have you stop!

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    1. I agree with you about the climate. Our hot/humid summers allow many disease to flourish. But I once had a cantaloupe grow to full size under a shrub that had been fertilized with my worm compost. That sign is horrifying but so funny. If it was a marketing ploy, I wonder how successful they were?

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  25. Have you tried grafted tomatoes? These are very expensive, but they really do outproduce non-grafted and they have little or no disease! Please reconsider. Your squirrels will love you!

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    1. I've heard grafted tomatoes are the way to go. Our local nursery sold out of them very quickly. My sassy squirrels will have to make do with acorns, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and the platform feeder I keep stuffed with seed. :o)

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  26. That sign at the end had me howling laughing!!! Loved that zip-up squirrel!!! Oh dear.....so it's the end of an era re tomato growing, tell you what, you certainly gave it your best.
    I hate to say that the darn things grow great here, but other plants are always dismal failures.....take melons, every year I try to grow them and fail....and parsnips and onions! It must be down to the climate, tomatoes just hate to be too hot.xxx

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    1. Melons grow like mad here in our heat. I told my husband that if I miss the tomatoes, I might grow them again but I think that love affair is over. They're too high maintenance for me. Plus, if the squirrels weren't eating them, the birds were! I was definitely growing someone's lunch but it wasn't mine!

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  27. Tammy, you never fail to make me laugh!! Qcomebers - that sign is killing me. I had no idea squirrels would eat tomatoes. Maybe it's the cats but squirrels never go near my gardens. They stick to the apple orchard and yell at me from the safety of the upper branches. Sorry to hear your tomato adventure didn't work out but I understand the issue well. I don't think I've had a single year where there wasn't some sort of disease lurking in my tomato patch. Vegetables are hard work.

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    1. Squirrels love tomatoes or maybe they just love to take bites out of them and then throw them on the ground. Either way, I'm done with their shenanigans and tomfoolery. I will sit outside and eat my farmer's market tomatoes and then leave nothing in my wake but evil laughter. Mwahahahaha!!

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  28. Awwww, sorry about all the mater madness. I don't seem to have much trouble with the squirrels eating mine--but they must realize all the acorns and hickory nuts are much easier and tastier fare. I don't grow many Tomatoes, but I always have a couple of plants. There's just nothing like walking over to the garden, picking an organic Tomato, washing it, and eating it right away ... even though I get plenty of them from my CSA vegetable share. The homegrown ones make me salivate just thinking about them. But, yes, I understand where you're coming from. If you decide to try again, Better Boy has always been a great hybrid for me. Not the largest fruits, but gosh, they're flavorful and easy to grow! Oh, and my veggie garden is encased in chicken wire--had to do that to keep out the rabbits (don't get me started on the evil, big-eared monsters!). ;-)

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    1. I like tomatoes but they've never made me salivate so it's easy to give them up. But if I didn't have a great market up the road, I'd have to reconsider and create a new battle plan.

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  29. Oh, Tammie, you always make me laugh:) Mortgage on a birdhouse indeed:) My husband would be irate if I gave up growing tomatoes--it's the main reason I even have a vegetable garden. But I have given up on growing heirlooms--the blight always got to them, and the few puny little fruits I harvested certainly weren't worth the trouble. I agree with Beth that when it comes to hybrids, Better Boy has always done well for me. I have vowed to not plant so many this year, because my freezer is stocked with enough homemade tomato juice to make soups for the next two years. We'll see if I remember that resolution, though, when I start planting this spring:)

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    1. My husband is a tomato guy, too, but he's not the gardener so as long as tasty farm fresh tomatoes magically appear in the kitchen, he doesn't care where they come from. But I have a friend who grew more tomatoes than she could eat without any diseases at all. These heirloom plants can be a hassle!

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  30. Yeah, that is one sad tomato plant. I'd stick with the mater-man too.
    We have the opposite here, full sun and plenty of hawks to keep the squirrels on edge. The tomatoes thrive and we're sick of them by September. To be honest though, we're more of ketchup family and less so fresh veggies :)

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    1. We occasionally have hawks but they're small so the squirrels are safe. According to Ronald Reagan, ketchup is a vegetable so you and your family might be almost vegetarians. ;o)

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  31. I hate squirrels almost as much as I hate starlings. They are rats with bushier tails. I feel your tomato pain--I only grow cherry tomatoes because the rain gives my slicing tomatoes blossom end rot. They all get downy mildew eventually, no matter how good I am about rotating my crops and pruning to create airflow. Tomatoes are the abusive boyfriend that we can't bring ourselves to leave.

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    1. Mine have had blossom end rot, too and I hate it. You're tricked into thinking you have an amazing tomato until you turn the damn thing over and realize you've been suckered by the F**k You Fairies.

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  32. Ever read the $50 Tomato? The 50 dollars may actually be a lowball estimate.

    If we had a good farmer's market close by I would probably just buy my tomatoes too.

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    1. I think that's a very low estimate for what I spend on my tomatoes. They are the most expensive vegetable EVER!

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  33. I had horrible luck with tomatoes this year and last. Squirrels were a problem here too. The little beggars seemed to like to run away with them, take a bite and then discard the rest. I'd feel slightly better if the ate the whole tomato. It was especially annoying to see them abandoned with only one bite.
    I am not sure if I am willing to give up on growing tomatoes just yet. Though the local farm market is incredible, the one thing that seems to be lacking is great tomatoes. I can find hot house tomatoes, but not interesting or heirloom varieties.

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    1. Because our climate is so much warmer than yours, I can find great tomatoes as early as June. But if I had to eat the cardboard crap they sell for $$ at the grocery store, I'd engage in some primal scream therapy and grow a few more plants. But I think our squirrels must be cousins.

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  34. Luckily, or not, with our winters, my brain freezes and I forget each Spring that growing tomatoes is a torturous affair. I have managed to cut back on number of plants, but I need to be able to wander out my door and have one for breakfast. I share your distain for squirrels - rodents. And I love that last image. But what the heck are zodkeenes? Frighteningly enough, I recognized the rest....

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  35. I think one of the O's is badly drawn so it's a butchered version of zucchini. I'm not sure I could eat a tomato for breakfast but did dream I was eating warm, fresh strawberries the other night. Sigh...

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  36. I might have missed someone else's reference to this in the comments, but here's a story you'll appreciate...

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5360768

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    1. I've read this book and completely relate! I can't afford to grow tomatoes anymore. I ended up buying them all summer while trying to grow them at the same time. It was absurd!

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  37. This rainy season is a hard time for me to grow tomatoes. So wet and lots of bugs, especially fruit flies.

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    1. Fruit flies are pretty pesky! Tomatoes would probably split in all your rain.

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  38. lol..I love the squirrel suit:-) I can relate to this post- one vegetable that just annoys the HECK out of ya. Mine is spinach. It is eaten by all the critters, My dogs don't even scare them away -they are bold! BUT I decided to try ONE last time. I grew it in the fall instead of spring-my aha-moment:-) It is out there under the snow + green. The other one is blueberries. The rabbits eat the bushes to the ground last winter-the silly things did come back. SOOO this fall, I tried to save them by chicken wiring them in!BUT if they do not come back-I GIVE UP on blueberries. I have friends that tell me, "I have great big blue berries-yadda, yadda, yadda," grrr...lol. But they have huge cages/ fences in their back yard to cover them. I don't want to look at that in my garden- It is okay for the winter, but not all summer. So I can relate to that one annoying plant....I do have raspberries-so I am not too upset:-)

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    1. I have blueberries that I grow in pots. They are the little Brazelberry ones called "Peach Sorbet' and 'Jelly Bean'. My full sized blueberries were slaughtered in an unfortunate wheelbarrow accident. How tasty are my potted blueberries? I have no idea but the mockingbird can describe them in detail. ;o)

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  39. But where will you turn for this year's comic material?

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  40. Ha, a funny post, despite the very sad topic of how much effort tomatoes are to grow. (I think all of us gardeners should join a 'Squirrels are Jerks' club and make pins.) My tomatoes this past year scraggled along, but I don't think my dirt was that great, and there was some sort of leaf disease (but not the blight, strangely enough, as everyone else I knew was struggling with that.) This year I'm going to try growing most of them in my greenhouse, since the only ones that did well were the ones in containers there. If nothing else, I'll just grow tomatillos - so much hardier, and the purple ones make good snacking!

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    1. Tomatoes are a pain in the butt and our love affair is over. I once grew ground cherries, which were effortless but the tomatoes didn't get the memo. Oh well.... Moving on! Hello, farmer's market!

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  41. I am a glutton for punishment as I battle the deer, birds, voles, squirrels and blight for a few dozen late season fruit....I can completely understand your frustration....some day I might get a reality check or a life after tomatoes.

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