This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

comparing paste tomatoes

paste tomaotes IMG_7609

I'm growing four varieties of paste tomatoes this year. Top: Amish Paste, middle: San Marzano, bottom: Jersey Devil. (My Heinz 2653 plant doesn't have any ripe fruit right now.) My favorite is Jersey Devil, big, meaty, and very productive. I'll definitely grow this one again next year.

Last year I grew eight paste varieties (Cordova, San Marzano, San Marzano Gigante 3, Stump of the World, Opalka, Nova, Polish Linguisa, and Heinz 2653). My favorites were Polish Linguisa and Opalka. I wanted to grow these again this year, as well as blue Beech, which was recommended by a reader of this blog. Somehow I was too late in ordering seeds. I'll order very early for next year.

I pick my tomatoes just as they start to turn red so I can increase the chance that I get to eat them and not the chipmunks. They're eating about 10% of my tomatoes this year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a lot of bird beak-looking holes in my tomatoes this year; I think they're thirsty.

September 01, 2016 4:50 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I know a couple gardeners who have put out bowls of water for the birds and animals in hopes of saving some of their vegetables. My garden is right along a nice spring fed stream so I don't know. I'm sure they are thirsty though.

September 01, 2016 5:38 PM

Blogger CHRIS said...

so this post reminds me that i owe you a thank you! i have a family of resident chipmunks with whom we have happily coexisted over the 1 1 /2 years my family and i have lived in our new home. until we built our veggie garden this past spring, that is. suddenly, these cute, funny little friends that brought so much personality to our new back yard became public enemy number one. they ate my spring seedlings. ran off with every sunflower seed i planted and then- after a long quiet pause late spring/early summer, started eating our tomatoes. thanks to you and a post i remember reading ages back, i started picking tomatoes early. what great advice! now, the chipmunks still manage to get their share but- happily- it is a much more reasonable and limited number of tomatoes - so we do too! one interesting discovery though. when i first started picking tomatoes early, i'd say that they would still manage to get two or three each day. now, however, it's really only one or two maybe. i think i may be able to explain the improvement since it is clear they are still as present as ever. i began leaving the partially eaten ones on the vine... i started noticing that they really only seemed interested in the reddest of the tomatoes when given the choice and that if i left the remainder the tomatoes that they had already bitten into in place to continue to redden that they would just go back to eating and finishing those rather then go after any other less red ones. although perhaps not the most attractive choice for the garden, it doesn't seem to cause any issues (that i have noticed anyway). now if i could just find a way to keep them away from the sunflowers! i haven't had even one seed make it past the budding flower phase! they either get to them the second they sprout or eat the flower before i even get to see it bloom. lol. crazy chipmunks! so lucky they're cute!

September 01, 2016 9:08 PM

Anonymous Janice in NY said...

I don't know where everyone lives, but we're having the same problem with chipmunks in upstate NY. I too have left the bitten tomatoes on the vine. They continue to eat those, so I'm able to let the rest ripen properly. I also lost all of the sunflower seeds early in the season. I guess we can call this "The Year of the Chipmunk"!

September 02, 2016 8:01 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Ok. I'll try leaving the bitten ones on the vine and see if the works with the chipmunks here. Sounds like a good idea. Definitely Year of the Chipmunk! I don't have any problem
With them eating my sunflower blossoms because they already ate all the seeds I planted.

At my community garden it is the Year of the Vole. They are all over the place and eating everything. Someone called it a "mast year " for small animals. Because of the warm snowless winter and natural cycles the populations are huge. Many have given up on more planting in the community gardens between the voles and the drought. I have. The chipmunks at home are easier to deal with.

September 02, 2016 9:55 AM

Blogger Hanna Rhoades said...

Gardening Know How is now accepting guest blog submissions for 2017. For guidelines and all FAQ's please visit

Please spread the word! Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

September 07, 2016 6:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see that someone else is having a problem with birds pecking tomatoes! I caught two Downy Woodpeckers in the act in late July. They pecked holes in virtually every ripening Cuore Di Bue but left the Genuwine and Marmande tomatoes alone. My neighbor's garden was devastated by voles; everything they planted in the spring was attacked within a week and they gave up trying to grow anything this year. Deb S

September 16, 2016 3:42 PM


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