This, sadly, is not a recent picture.
Rather, this is a picture of a partial week's garden harvest back in 2009. This was the week that I brought in 75 pounds worth of tomatoes in one week alone, to say nothing of the rest of the season. I figure that I brought in over 300 pounds of tomatoes that year.
The week of 75 pounds was a great week. We ate tomatoes until we could eat no more, and then Friday night we came home from a dance, and I put a pot of tomato sauce on the stove to simmer and can until the wee hours. Mr. FC&G, God love him, had just come home from a business trip, but he refused to go to bed until I did. He slept on the couch until I woke him at about 4 in the morning, and his groggy first words were, "How many quarts?" Fifty pounds of tomatoes had gone in to the stock pot and seven quarts of sauce came out of the canner, easily my largest canning haul ever.
Last year and this year have not been that good. I wrote last year off as a bad tomato year. This year started promising, with the vines heavy with fruit, and indeed I started by harvesting about a half dozen tomatoes a day for a couple of weeks. But now all I have out there is a bunch of green tomatoes and very few blossoms that would indicate I will get much more, even assuming the inevitable frost holds off.
FYI: I am in zone 5b, and I am growing Amish Paste, Big Rainbow, Brandywine, Black Krim, and a bunch of volunteers.
- Wet spring/May hail storm
- Hot, above 90 temps in July stopping the vines from setting fruit
- Low producing heirloom varieties (my best producers are the volunteers)
- Not enough/too much compost in the tomato section of the garden
- Not enough manure (we didn't use any this year)
- "No till" gardening using the broadfork in lieu of a mechanical tiller
- Started my seedlings early
- Planted them as soon as we got reliably warm days
- Back filled each planting hole with compost
- Better tomato trellises keeping vines off the ground
- Making room for the high-producing volunteers