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Old January 1, 2010   #3
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California Central Valley
Posts: 2,518

If only I could juggle numbers to improve my tomato garden!

I've been thinking about what proportion of early vs. other tomatoes to grow, since my garden site is fairly cool. Looking at GDD for my area, assuming I plant on April 1, by the end of June the cumulative average GDD is 981, then 1494 to July 31, and 2009 by Aug 31 and 2472 by Sept 30. How can that help me choose tomato varieties?

I also plant a couple transplants as early as March 1, with walls-o-water or (as they get bigger) bubblewrapped cages. The plants stay toasty inside, and I've had a few ripe tomatoes as early as the beginning of June, but no regular production until July. Because we've gotten freezing temperatures as late as mid-April, and cool nights through May or later, the cages stay wrapped at least a little until the end of May. I'm wondering if more protection might help boost production of some later varieties.

Most years the season ends with a freeze the first week of December. Usually, all but cherry tomatoes have stopped producing by mid-October, though in different years I've picked Cherokee Purple, Druzba, ARGG, or Bonny Best into November. In 2009, most varieties except cherries were done by mid-Sept.
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