OK, starting with a recap:
The seedlings were planted March 25
and this was the state of things April 28
And here's where we are on May 20
I'm having to train some of the plants up onto the crossbar above because they've topped out the tomato cages I built.
Still shy of "full harvest" the results are a bit mixed right now.
As it was at the previous update, the beefsteak (Yep, miss-spelled in the photo but spelling was never my strong suit - "It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word." - Andrew Jackson - and I don't feel like going back now to correct it.) is still lagging behind the others
but it is setting fruit so we'll see how it goes.
Golden Nugget produced a half-dozen early on but seems to have paused production for the time being, though some of the remaining fruit looks to be about ready. (as the name implies it ripens to gold not red)
What did ripen had a moderately robust skin (Acceptable to The Wife who prefers a mild skin and definitely doesn't go for strongly robust skin) and a slightly tangy tomatoey flavor that was fine though I was hoping for something a little stronger - you know, on the tomatoey side of things.
The Sungold also produced one or two ripe fruit early on. These had a very mild skin and about the same level of tomatoeyness as the Golden Nuggets.
Now things seem to be paused here as well. Maybe because our temps have been about 10 degrees above average for three weeks now.
The Sungold isn't showing as many green fruit as the Golden Nugget
but there are plenty of blossoms that could indicate a more bountiful future.
The Juliet is being very prolific, both in plant-size as well as number of fruit set, but a lot of the fruit is suffering from blossom-end rot. Typically this is due to a deficiency of calcium, perhaps exacerbated by the overall prodigious growth.
Since the plant is growing in exactly the same soil (Side dressed with a small handful of Microlife 6-2-4, which is an organic fertilizer full of micro-nutrients and microbes, every three weeks) and conditions as the others which are showing no sign of the problem, rather than fight it I'm inclined to just write this variety off as not suitable for our location so we won't be trying this one again.
Though it is setting some fruit that aren't showing signs of the rot, so I'm culling the bad fruit at first sign of rot in the hopes that will leave more calcium available to the other fruits.
In fact, this morning I discovered I was getting a little help in the culling department from this guy.
It's a pretty healthy Hornworm and I know I'm supposed to pick it off and squash it, but you're talking about a household that uses live traps and a bug-cup not poisons and a slipper, so I just relocated it a couple of hundred yards to the native underbrush surrounding our place. It won't thrive as well but at least it has a chance to complete its life-cycle. (With those very strong legs with a pretty strong grip, it's easier to just chase it out to the end of a branch then snip the branch off rather than try to pull the poor thing free without damaging its soft body.)
The Italian Ice is robust and setting a lot of fruit.
The issue with this non-reddening variety is telling when it is ripe. It's supposed to turn from green to white but in the plant world white usually has a distinct green tint so I've been trying one of the less-green ones now and then. So far they haven't been bad, but are very meaty with a strong acidic bite. (the description says sugary sweet so I don't think we're there yet.)
When I first planted the seedlings I had the irrigation scheduled for 20 minutes twice a day based on the finger test, (Jam my finger down to the bottom of the tub to see if there's any sign of damp down there.) which is better than the over-flow test, (wait until water is flowing out the bottom of the tubs) which tends to leach nutrients out of the soil, not to mention producing watery and split tomatoes.
Now the plants are much bigger and obviously require more water.
On top of that we have been "blessed" this May with three weeks of summer-like temps and absolutely no rain. Combine that with the usual feisty spring winds and the water requirements are now up to an astounding 2 hours twice a day. Which, if I was using regular lawns sprinklers would be ridiculously wasteful, but with the small soaker hoses dispensing water drop by drop it's a different story.
In fact the five 3 foot lengths of soaker hose are so stingy that when the valve on the timer closes it takes almost a full hour for the pressure in the irrigation line to drop to zero - which you find out real quick if you crack a fitting open too soon!
In a few days the temps are supposed to drop back down to seasonal for a week or so. We'll see how things go, both on the watering and production fronts.