How do you decide what to grow each year?

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KathyDC
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How do you decide what to grow each year?

#1

Post: # 21500Unread post KathyDC
Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:24 pm

My very scientific method goes something like this:

- Soon after planting tomatoes in spring, sort through seeds I couldn't get to this year and pick 3-4 also-rans.

- Pick 3-4 more from seed stash purely because the names amuse me

- See other peoples' tomatoes on tomato forums and buy seed for that, discard half of list already created and add them

- At harvest time, select a few varieties that did well this year and add them

- Participate in at least 500 seed swaps, again discard half of list and replace with seeds from swap

- Finally get around to looking up varieties on grow list, realize half of them are cherries, prune several and replace with more considered choices

- Inevitably cannot control myself and end up starting double what I actually need, then give them away

:)

Kathy

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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#2

Post: # 21502Unread post MissS
Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:35 pm

So you like seed swaps, do you now? Well you have come to the right place. This site hosts some of the best seed swaps around come fall and winter.

I used to grow 95% new to me tomatoes to send to the swaps. This year I am doing something very very different than is usual for me. I am growing my favorites from the past 45 years. Some of them have only been grown once. This year I am excited because I get to have every single years best tomato side by side. It ought to be the tastiest tomato year I have ever experienced. I have 37 varieties growing and only 4 are new to me.
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KathyDC
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#3

Post: # 21505Unread post KathyDC
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:14 pm

That's amazing! What a completely fun project. Hats off to you!

37 varieties!!! How in the world do you keep up?! I've got 16 in my back yard and already thinking about an irrigation system that will make watering all those beauties a little easier here in the humid heat of America's capital. (Fun fact: It's reclaimed swampland!)

But yes, I love seed swaps. I have been in some of Tormato's, years ago. In fact I'm pretty sure the seed from the Perfect Storm plant I've got growing now was from one of his swaps! (It germinated well even after probably 5 years!) Very much look forward to participating here.

Kathy
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Last edited by KathyDC on Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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karstopography
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#4

Post: # 21507Unread post karstopography
Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:06 pm

That OP was funny and relatable. @KathyDC I’m sort of half, 2/3rds the way through our spring season. Growing 16 total varieties, some new to me cultivars and plus a few old favorites. Then there’s the reading about all the other great ones here and elsewhere. Basically, I’ve eliminated 5-6 varieties that I don’t wish to grow again, so what does that leave me, IDK, 5,000 more to try!?

I’ve already ordered 20 something types, almost all I have zero experience growing, from various seed vendors, but that doesn’t mean I’m done ordering, does it. Maybe I can be a part of a swap providing swaps allow seeds purchased from seed vendors, not sure I’m up for saving my own seed from tomatoes grown in my garden.

2-3 cherry/grape tomato plants are more than enough for this kid. Regrets from current season shape future choices. Maybe I overdid bicolor types a bit, Hillbilly, Old German, Pineapple, but maybe not. I do like them all. I’d like one or two more bigger redder or pinker slicers. Big Beef, I want to grow this tomato. I think I need another heart shaped tomato or two, My Amish Paste (is it even a heart shaped) is my only one and I’m loving the look of them, but none have broke color yet. Apparently, I’ve got the bigger strain of Amish Paste, most of these look at least 7 or 8 ounces. Seems like I read there are little Amish Pastes and bigger ones. True paste types, I want a couple more of those. San Marzano, Roma, others, evidently there’s a ton of paste types.

I might be over the black or purple tomatoes. No one seems to really likes them here except me. Maybe I’ll hang on to a variety or two.

20 or so varieties seems to be my mentally constructed limit at any one time. Limit on what I want to care for or that I can use. 30 tops, absolutely no more than that. Really. If I grew nothing but tomatoes, the number might be 60 or 70 varieties, but that would be insane, wouldn’t it? :cry:
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MissS
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#5

Post: # 21514Unread post MissS
Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:00 pm

@karstopography Slow down on buying tomato seeds. There will be plenty of seeds flying around here at the end of the season free for the asking. Tormato does a huge swap, Ginger2778 has a terrific seed offer, Gardenboy has plenty to offer as well and then many other members have some too. Just from one years swapping here you could easily have 100 new varieties of tomato seeds plus many other types of veggies and flowers to boot.

Yes Tormato does accept store bought seeds for the swap. So you are in. :D
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#6

Post: # 21515Unread post eyegrotom
Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:10 pm

@karstopography I also have a Seed offer with most varieties still available. You can find it in the Seed Swap section of the Trading Post. Mike

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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#7

Post: # 21532Unread post Nan6b
Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:05 pm

I have 17 spaces for tomatoes in my garden. I planted 21. I have 8 tomatoes on next year's list already.
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#8

Post: # 21534Unread post Bower
Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:18 pm

How do you decide.... this question has just got tougher and tougher for me as the years go by. After years of cramming crazy amounts of plants into my greenhouse to do breeding selections, I ended up not really liking or wanting to eat tomatoes. :o :shock: As the tomatoes got better, my interest in them also shrank away.... My freezer was so full of tomatoes, I couldn't possibly eat them all, and then the next year's were hucked in on top, and so on.... :shock: :roll: :evil:
Last year I said "no tomato year" which meant I only had ?? 15 or 20 all determinate plants, my fave breeders all blacks. NO prune. No tie (one day only tie). All I did was water them and it was great but... this winter I finally managed to nacker down that ol freezer stash. I got to the point I wanted a tomato and had to dig to find one. It was a good feeling! :D
So this year... I realized I wanted all colors of tomatoes again. I don't care if or when breeding projects get completed. I thought starting plants for others would be a good idea too. I started all the hardiest stuff both OPs and breeders and....oh boy I have way too many plants, and so far nobody needed any of em. I haven't planted yet thanks to other garden projects, and it's too early to do a general giveaway (tomato die before June 21 here). We're living with the lateness of dealing with toomanytomatoes at the moment...
So we shall see how this pans out by the end of the season (or the beginning, if you like!) :D Will it affect my decisions next year? :?: :?: IDK. The only rule I can deal with is, there must be other things in the garden, besides tomatoes. ;)
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MissS
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#9

Post: # 21555Unread post MissS
Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:35 pm

Bower, I hear you. I planned on growing 300 extra tomato plants this year to give away to those that wanted/needed them. It turned out to be about 475. I usually only do 200. Well this year the doors were closed to all of the places that I would leave them at. Oh boy, what was I going to do? I put an ad in our local neighborhood website, Craig's list and another too. I also took a bunch to my community garden and left them on the picnic tables. I left them all at the end of my driveway and people came and took them home. It was so much fun to watch people pick out their plants to take home. This is something that I will gladly do again.
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#10

Post: # 21568Unread post Shule
Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:33 am

I mull over what to grow pretty much all year round, and collect seeds all year round. I used to buy them a lot (read 'way too much'), but for certain reasons I've decided to focus more on trading, SASE offers, and such, lately.

I guess it comes down to what I want to grow the most that year (and to what I've committed to grow already). Plus, I make a point of growing some popular ones that I haven't tried yet, in order to evaluate them (not too many, though; usually, I like to focus on production, acidity, and earliness).

This year, I'm doing a lot of cherry tomatoes compared to previous years (but lots of other kinds, too). I'm trying to focus on types with good hang-time and/or shelf-life, and large cherries (as opposed to marble-sized or smaller). I figure cherries yield more pounds of fruit on average than the average variety (in my garden), and it just takes more gumption and a little more time to harvest them. So, why not? Even though it takes a little more time, it takes probably fewer mental resources, since you don't have to search a wide area to find all the fruit.

I've decided that other people usually only eat the cherry tomatoes about 95% of the time, anyway (when eating tomatoes of their own volition, as opposed to having me offer them). So, we should probably grow more kinds. Cherry tomatoes are easier to save seeds from, too.
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KathyDC
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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#11

Post: # 21603Unread post KathyDC
Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:24 am

karstopography wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:06 pm

I’ve already ordered 20 something types, almost all I have zero experience growing, from various seed vendors, but that doesn’t mean I’m done ordering, does it. Maybe I can be a part of a swap providing swaps allow seeds purchased from seed vendors, not sure I’m up for saving my own seed from tomatoes grown in my garden.
You will gain a TON of experience this season that you can apply to next season. One of the best things about gardening is that you learn, learn, learn - all the time! And you'll apply what you learned from that growing season to next year, and it just keeps rolling on from there.

I want to tell you one thing though, you ABSOLUTELY are up to saving seed, and really encourage you to because you will have tons for your seed stash and to share with other gardeners here when it comes time for seed swaps (thank you wonderful organizers!). Here is what I do -- I scoop out the seedy goop from a good example of a tomato from the plant, then put it into a high-sided bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water. *A jar would also work.) Cover it with plastic wrap and poke some holes for it to breathe.

That's it. Set it aside for about a week -- it will smell bad and grow funky stuff on top. That's a good thing! Once it has a good funky growth covering it, pour off that top layer including any seeds that are floating (they usually are bad). Rinse off the remaining seeds -- some people strain them through a sieve, I usually just add water and slowly pour off until I'm just left with seeds. Then take a paper plate and spread the seeds out, and put them somewhere dark to dry (I usually put mine on top of the refrigerator).

That's it! It's so easy. They'll be dry in a few days and you can put them in an envelope or ziploc to store.

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Re: How do you decide what to grow each year?

#12

Post: # 21612Unread post karstopography
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:05 pm

@KathyDC Well, you have encouraged me to save seeds from at least the Pineapple tomato plant I’m growing. It has been such an outstanding and healthy plant, super productive, pretty faultless overall that I did consider any seed from some other source might not produce such a stellar tomato as the one I have. One of my 2 Cherokee Purple plants seems to produce extra big tomatoes so I might save some from that plant. Your description of the seed saving process is the best and most succinct I have read, but I would expect nothing less from a fellow Longhorn alum, if that isn’t being too presumptuous!
Zone 9a/b, right on the line, in the heart of the Columbia bottomlands. Heat zone 9, Sunset Zone 28, annual rainfall 52”

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