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.