Here are the two biggest tomatoes so far this season. The yellow one on the left is 1 lb 11 oz Gold Medal and the red one on the far right is a 1 lb 10 oz Big Zac. I got second place at the State Fair with a little smaller Big Zac tomato but if I had found this Gold Medal I would have had first. It’s ok though as I took 5 first places, 1 second place and 1 third place at the State Fair. Can’t be too greedy.
Hey! I just got a notice for a giant tomato contest for anyone interested in looking into submitting one of your BIG tomatoes this year. The website-PlantYourOwn.com is running its 1st ever giant tomato competition. Click here for details. The contest is simple……just grow a big tomato!!! Signup ends March 1st, 2012. I might have to join!
So someone asked me, ‘Hey Jannine, how come we haven’t heard about your giant vegetables yet?” Well, I’ve sort of been preoccupied with getting the tomatoes in the ground lately but all the giant vegetables are still in the house all cozy under my gro lights just waiting to go out. We still have some cold nights ahead in the next few nights so I want to wait a little more. Also all my peppers and eggplants are still inside as well as they HATE being cold more than tomatoes do. One cold night can stunt a pepper plant all season so I suggest you protect them with something the next few nights if yours are already out.
But back to the giants-I have 2 giant pumpkins, one giant ‘greenie’ squash, 2 giant marrows (think supersized zucchini), 1 giant pear gourd, 2 long gourds and 6 giant tomatoes. I’m shooting for next week to get them out. Don’t worry, I’ll be talking alot about giant vegetable how-to’s once they get going. Here is what I still have to do for the GIANTS:
I still have to do a final mixing of my soil and add some amendments in the giant vegetable patch I have.
I still have to get out my low tunnels for the giant pumpkins and greenie to go under to protect them from our intense sun and cold nights.
I still have to build a super tall arbor for the long gourds which can get as tall as 109+ inches. But I can still get them in the ground and build the arbor around them. If you build it, they will come!
I still have to create the drip system for a new giant tomato bed.
I still have to do a drip system for the GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH
I don’t know where the giant pear gourd is going yet! I think Bri’s GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH (named after my beautiful horse Bri who is no longer with us) is going to be really full this season!
Here are some of my favorite gardening book to read and reread for reference throughout the year for regular and giant vegetables. Just click on each book to see it larger. All of these can be found at amazon.com.
GIANT TOMATOES I have several tomatoes that ended up pretty good size. One type I grew for giant competition and the other for good eating. This post will be about the competition giant tomato.
My biggest competition tomato comes from the 7.18 N.Harp plant and is 20.5 inches in circumference. It weighs 2 lbs-11.4 oz.
This is now my personal best!
I was going to take it to the weigh-off in Colorado Springs but since it was still green and I wanted the seeds from it, I kept it home so it could get fully mature and red and let the seeds develop. I believe this tomato (grown by Nick Harp) originally came from a Big Zac variety several generations back. I also have a 17 incher that weighs 2 lbs 6 oz.
I grow the Big Zac variety for competition but do sell them as well at our Farmers Market. They taste wonderful and have a good old fashion tomato flavor unlike some super sized competition tomatoes. Not bad-supersized and tasty!
Here are the tomatoes in wall of waters and some under row cover. I am ready to take the wall of waters off as many of them have grown out of the wall of waters. 61 tomatoes total. Most of the ones that I planted in early May are doing great considering they had to weather freezing temps at nights and incredible winds. Now it is blistering hot but they love the heat!
I finally planted my giant tomatoes that I’ve been growing in the house since March. Looking good-all are over 2 foot tall. I have five ‘Big Zacs’ and 6 ‘Nick Harps’. I put on some row cover tomato sacks (like potato sacks) that I sewed up last year to protect them from the leafhopper early in the season. The leafhopper carries bacterial wilt disease but if you protect your tomatoes when they are young, they can quite often resist the disease. The young tomato plants succumb easily to bacterial wilt. The sacks also help them from getting sunburned when you first put them out.
I planted the shishito and padron peppers and the fairy eggplants. I still have to plant the Thai yellow egg eggplants that are just begging to go into the ground. They have been inside under lights since March-April and I have been trying to wait patiently till the nights warm up but I’m afraid I’m not very good at waiting. I guess I got spoiled last year with such a mild Spring. Everything was planted and up by now. Not this year! Today was the right time.
When planting the shishito peppers one of mine already has small peppers and it is still May! It is one of the ones I started in March. Peppers love heat. Today is going to be 81 degrees so they should love that!
Well here are my all star giant tomatoes that are going out as soon as I harden them off in the next few days now that the nights are finally in the high 40’s. They were out for about 45 minutes today in the sun and breeze today and that was enough for them. I brought them in and watered them with some organic seaweed and superthrive while they are going through the transition to help reduce stress. Maybe I should drink the stuff to reduce my stress (just joking)!
I have in my lineup for giant tomatoes (6) Big Zacs (seeds from Totally Tomatoes), (1) N. Harp (that came from a 4lb+ tomato), (2) N. Harps (that came from a 5lb+ tomato), and (3) N. Harps (that came from 7lb+ tomato)! Nick Harp is a phenomenal giant tomato and giant pumpkin grower in the midwest that was kind enough to supply me a few of his seeds. Thanks Nick! I can’t wait to see what these will do this year!
GIANT TOMATOES-I got my first 2 megablossoms off my Big Zac tomato plants and they are not even in the ground yet. All giant tomato growers are looking for megablossoms. Some varieties tend to produce more than others. Since megablossoms usually come earlier on a plant I will leave these on as I don’t know if I will get more off each plant. A megablossom is at least 2 or more blossoms that fuse together to make one big tomato. That is why giant tomatoes are so knarley and bumpy. It is kind of like twins, triplets or quadruplets that are all conjoined together. Recognizing these megablossoms is the key to growing giant tomatoes. It doesn’t happen all the time so it is exciting when we get some megablossoms and the potential for a BIG TOMATO. Since they are made up of many blossoms, oftentimes they abort if they don’t pollinate well. Most tomatoes are self-pollinating so you don’t have to worry about pollinating them unless you get a megablossom. That is when we should hand pollinate them although I didn’t on these. Using a small soft paintbrush, you can take some pollen off of the stamen part of one blossom and paint it onto the megablossom pistils. Kind of sounds like Luther Burbank doesn’t it?
The top picture has two blossoms-the one on the left is a normal single tomato blossom and the one on the right is a megablossom made up of two flowers. Notice how big it is.
This second picture has even more blossoms fusing together. Looks like maybe three blossoms. Starting to look knarley! I’ll see if it aborts or starts to grow into a giant tomato on it’s own as I didn’t hand pollinate them. I will pick off all the normal blossom off of each plant. I might grow 2-4 tomatoes from megablossoms off of one plant. You don’t let all of the normal tomatoes grow so all the energy goes into these potential giant tomatoes. Obviously I am growing these for size and I have other varieties where I let every blossom become a tomato to grow for food.
Yep-went ahead and planted tomatoes with the help of Beto, Mernie, Lava and her friend Mo. Together we planted 35 tomatoes, added amendments, put up wall of waters for every tomato we planted, placed the drip system around each tomato and gave them a drink of seaweed/thrive mix. Hope they make it as it was sooo blasted windy (no pun intended) here today and it is suppose to get cold but not freezing tonight. Many were wind thrashed but we did the best we could. I guess the hardy will survive. Many thanks to all of you good friends! Then I went into the house and planted up to the gallon size all my giant tomatoes that will go in the ground in a couple of weeks. I also planted up the rest of my 4 inch pots into gallon sizes that I will give to friends. Phew, what a power out day…I’m fried.