Growing Early Tomatoes Video


Growing Early Tomatoes Transcript

Hi, well we’re here to talk about Earlies today, about what the heck is an early tomato and why should you grow it here. We’re lucky to have a really growing season and we don’t have to grow the earlies. When we talk about early tomatoes in California, it means coastal, it means canyon, those places that have all-around cooler temperatures. That’s what that means. But for you, it means, short window. It’s literally that time, those days, in which you have enough heat, that is, to push a tomato, to make it go. A plant’s got a lot to do, it’s got a lot to do when you put it in the ground. You all know what ‘Early Girl’ is, right? Have you ever hear of ‘Early Girl’ the tomato? Well, that's the one that kind of started it all and the name says it all. This was a tomato that somebody said, “Wow, I can get this tomato really fast, watch me get Connecticut to buy it; I’ll put early in the name and there you go.” And that’s what happened. And there’s lots of them. Some of the fastest, and I’ll go through them now: do you know ‘Sungold?’ ‘Sungold’ is the orange cherry, that’s probably the world's favorite tomato right now--it’s sweet, it’s orange, 57 days. We’re talking about an average, really, but you can figure that in a couple of months you’re going to be able to pick ‘Sungold.’ You’re going to be able to do that at the end of July, if it’s happy. Some of the other fastest ones, there’s one called ‘Matina’ that’s a potato leaf variety. The leaf looks a little different than most other tomatoes. This is not ‘Matina’ but you see that leaf? That’s a potato leaf, obviously the tomato is in the potato family. Some of the varieties, often the older varieties, have this potato leaf. The structure of the plant isn’t any different other than the shape of what you’re looking at right there. ‘Taxi.’ If you want a tomato of a different color, there are choices so you don’t have to grow all small reds, like ‘Sungold’ is an orange, but ‘Taxi’ is a terrific yellow that’s also great. The reason that I like ‘Taxi,’ and this goes for a lot of these, and the earlies can be used for this almost better than most, is that ‘Taxi’ is a great container tomato. A lot of these earlies tend to be determinate. Do you know what that means? A determinate tomato is like a farmer’s tomato. It grows, it produces pretty much on the top of the plant, and then pretty much it’s done. So that all of its crop, or a lot of its crop, is available at one time. If I’m a farmer, that’s what I want--it grows, the crop is pretty much there, I harvest, I plow it under, and then I plant something else, right? If you‘re a home gardener, you don’t have to abide by those rules. You can grow what’s called an indeterminate tomato, and some of these are those. The vine, or the top of the plant, keeps growing all season, and it produces on side branching; the plant can get very, very large. Some of these are indeterminate. By-and-large most of these will be determinate--tidy, smaller, and perfect for container. Others that are really fast: there’s one called ‘Red Rocket.’ Again, seeds available everywhere; nobody grows out this tomato, we love it. It’s a terrific tomato, 60 days. A terrific little red. These are all going to be small to medium and this one is definitely small. ‘Gold Nugget.’ same kind of tomato in a yellow. Same kind of idea, 60 days. ‘Sweet 100.’ You all probably know that one, 70 days. That’s a real reliable cherry. I have a new pink grape. You know what the grape tomatoes are? They’re like a flattened cherry, they look like a grape, a little longer. The gourmet stores--you have them all over the place. We have one called ‘Rosalita,’ it’s a pink grape, 60 days. Others, there’s a whole list of these and I don’t need to go through all of them, but one called ‘Siberian’ is the fastest one out there and it’s 48 days. There’s a whole range of these. Siberian tomatoes, a lot of these tomatoes, came from places where they have even shorter windows than yours. A lot of these were developed at Oregon State University, and Idaho, and in Minnesota, and in Russia, and in Canada, and all of the rest of these where they have minuscule windows of growth opportunity. Well, listen, take your time out there, find those earlies, if that’s what you’re about. I think that’s the window you’re looking for, and have a great season. Thanks for coming everybody