Thursday, February 2, 2012

Best One-Day Harvest in a Long Time

Judging from the pictures that have been popping up in my in-box, I'm not the only one who's having a good year. I tell you, aside from that cold snap a few weeks ago, this season has been sprinkled with some kind of magic dust. The weather has been perfect, the pests have been well in hand, and even the diseases haven't been too bad.

Yesterday, my six-year-old and I went out after school and we had the best one-day harvest I've had in a long time. We've been getting fruit every day now for a while, and there is still tons and tons more left on the vine, but this was just yesterday:

It's hard to see, because I didn't include a ruler for scale, but those big ones are all in the 1.5 lb. range. Also, the Kellogg's Breakfast (orange) have started to come in, and the Paul Robesons (dusky, upper left corner) are beginning to bear more heavily. The star of the day, though, were the Brandyboys. This plant is a champion performer, with beautiful and huge tomatoes. True, they aren't as tasty as the Brandywine, but it's hard to argue with piles of gorgeous fruit.

Before I sign off, though, a word ... I've been a bit slower to respond to emails these last few weeks, and my posting schedule has been thrown off. I've been sitting on a tremendous guest post from a pepper-grower who has all kinds of good advice about growing peppers (something I clearly haven't mastered yet). And I've got some truly eye-popping harvest pictures from fellow growers. Also, I've been collecting questions for a Q&A post—those are always nice.

But ... these last few weeks have been a karmic disaster around here, and it's gummed up the works. I started wondering last week if we had somehow pissed off the Big Guy Upstairs. In these last few weeks, we had a new pet kitten die, our family room flooded with two inches of water thanks to a faulty washing machine, my wife got in a car wreck that caused $8,000 in damage to her car, and our house was broken into and we were relieved of most of our electronics and jewelry. They even took a jar of quarters I'd been saving for 15 years, the bastards. This helps explain in part why I stopped posting photos for a while. No camera.

I tell you, I'm thankful first of all that everyone near and dear has remained healthy throughout (except that poor week-old orphaned kitten we tried to nurse). No one was hurt in the car accident, and thankfully no one was home when they broke into our house. Our misfortunes have been of the purely material kind (again, except for the kitten, who we named Lucky but turned out not to have luck on her side after all). And I'm thankful too that these are temporary misfortunes: we are still gainfully employed, etc. I would never presume to rank this rough patch with the more serious misfortunes that lurk out there—I am lucky, and I know it.

That said, the garden has been a bright spot in my winter. It's true, what they say about the restorative effect of growing things. It's been nice to go outside and see something working right. And I confess: part of me has wondered. To get into our house, the thieves had to walk past my tomato patch. And I wonder if they noticed the vines laden with enormous, lovely fruit, and if somewhere in their fuzzy, criminal brains, they didn't stop for one second to think, "Wow. Those are nice tomatoes."

Probably not. But it's still a nice thought.


  1. I'd wager most thieves aren't big veggie eaters to begin with.... keep thinking karma will do its thing!

  2. One of my grow boxes was blown over by the wind on Saturday. Lost about 1/3 or my brandyboys and yellow pears, as I had to cut the vines to try and salvage the staking cages. Next year I will build my own staking cages and anchor them in the ground instead of just growing on the pool deck. Live and learn. And sorry for you loss. I can't imaging what that sernse of violation must feel like.

  3. Very nice crop!

    Sorry to hear about the break-in, flood, wreck, and the kitten (who was Lucky to have you take her in).

    Take care, Jon & family....and keep on blogging!

  4. Are you still alive Jon

  5. Ha ha. Yes, I'm still alive. And thanks everyone for writing. My season is beginning to wind down as the harvest slows. I'll do an end-of-season blog soon.

    1. My harvest is just coming in and it was looking promising until the winds of Sunday (3/4). You must have been so proud of yourself for the earlier staking. My plants were blown over with lots of green tomatoes. We shall see. Next year staking is on the start-up list. Thanks for the blog, Jon.


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  7. help...quick! my hubby has a raised garden bed and is asking me to find out what to start from seeds or some already started from nursery...its april 1st so I think okra, some beans maybe...cherry tomatoes but tell me...give me some idea. Is it too late for eggplant?

  8. Had our best year yet! We concentrated on Tomatoes & Peppers. The cherry tomatoes have done the best. Everything from seed! Seedling went into the ground in September & again in November. We've had tomatoes since December and are pulling 20 a day as a minimum,they are going strong in May. Our peppers did very well, some better than others! The Habanero, Pablano, Cubanelles did the best. Sweet peppers were swallowed up by the white fly and the assorted bell peppers suffered as well. We might have harvested 15 bells this year... Haven't seen any posts Jon hope everything is ok.

  9. Woo hoo! That's awesome. It's great to still be harvesting into May, especially as the weather heats up. This season was really good all around ... the weather was awesome. As for peppers, maybe next year I'll concentrate on the hot peppers and forget the bell. That whitefly is a killer for me too. Otherwise, I'm still good, but I'm in the midst of two projects, one of them actually tomato related. The first is moving (locally), so we're looking for a house with a big backyard that gets lots of sunlight. The other tomato-related project is still a secret, but I hope to let the cat out of the bag this summer :)

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  11. Those tomatoes extremely healthy and look really scrumptious! Also I find your story very interesting. Thanks you so much for sharing!