Cory's Hobo Garden

Day 150 [DONE]: Mission Accomplished!

by Cory on September 17, 2018 1:49 AM (Edited September 17, 2018 1:55 AM)

On Friday, I ate home grown tomatoes of all three varieties. I started all this gardening hoohah to answer one very simple question. What the eff do these tomatoes taste like? That douchy guy in the Doritos flavoring book made such a big deal out of them.

Well my verdict: eh, it was ok.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To be fair, all of these tomatoes were very flavorful and kick the shit out of super market tomatoes. I just think they are really sweet, which isn't really my thing. Also they don't have the flavor notes that the Safeway heirlooms had. I was hoping for a grassy, meaty flavor. I think the tomatoes I had were brandywines based on their visual appearance. They did, however, have distinct and interesting tastes.

Garden Gem

This is basically a cherry tomato and it's slightly larger than one and shaped like one too. I was a little disappointed to find this out halfway through growing them. They have a good burst of flavor when you bite into it. It has a deep "tomato-y" flavor and also a very strong sweetness to it. The ideal cherry tomato. Also, as descending from a San Marzano tomato (Italy's premier commercial sauce tomato), I heard you can make a mean marinara sauce from them. Unfortunately for these little guys, cherry tomatoes seem to be represented fairly well in the supermarket field. Unlike larger tomato varieties, cherry tomato flavor has been preserved pretty well so the difference between this and something from the supermarket isn't so great. I'm not a fan of cherry tomatoes because I think they taste too sweet though, so that's definitely biasing me. Also I'd like to mention that the skins on these tomatoes are extremely tough.

I tried multiple garden gems from my own plant as well as two from plants I gave my friend, who grew them in a normal garden. Mine ended up having more concentrated flavor and sweetness probably because my plant was fucking dying all the time and had less water.

Garden Treasure

According to me and my friend, these are the best tasting tomato variety. The Garden Treasure hybrids are part beefsteak tomato, so theoretically they can get really big. The ones I have are much bigger than the garden gems, but still about medium as far as absolute tomato size goes. They're big enough for me to satisfactorily say that they weren't stunted by my growing conditions.

The Garden Treasure has a strong, sharp tangy tomato flavor also with a great sweetness to it, though to a lesser degree than the garden gems. I would say it has a very "focused" flavor, meaning when you bite into it, you get that concentrated tangy flavor. It tingles the middle of your tongue. This is no brandywine, but it sure kicks the fucking shit out of a hot house tomato (or roma) you can get from the supermarket.

Mine aren't ready yet, but I said fuck it and ate one of my friend's normal gardened Garden Treasures. She says this is the best tomato she's ever eaten, which I think is dubious because she eats a lot of weird tomatoes from those variety bags you can get at Safeway. I mean, yeah it's probably better than most tomatoes she's eaten, but including heirlooms?? The BEST tomato? HMMMM

W Hybrid

These have a max size smaller than the treasures, being hybridized with a globular medium tomato variety that I haven't cared enough to find out. University of Florida says that these tomatoes are extremely high in lycopene content. W Hybrid was also really good and has a flavor that is more "spread out" than the treasures. It was not as sharp and tangy as the treasure and even had less sweetness than it too. There was a lot of mild grassy and pungent tomato flavor hiding underneath a slightly more muted tangy sweetness. My friend says this one has more "umami" to it, which is basically what I'm trying to say too, I think.

So that single W hybrid I mentioned before (I didn't take any pictures of it because it was hard see) ripened last week and I picked it. I ate my own W hybrid as well as one from my friend. Mine was much smaller and with a huge discoloration spot on the bottom, coming from a plant which basically spent it's whole life choking to death. Unlike the garden gems, the flavor wasn't really noticeably different between mine and my friend's. Mine did have an odd grainy texture to it though. And it tasted like the grains had extra tomato flavor. I attribute this oddity to non-ideal growing conditions. Ain't nobody wants to eat a sandy tomato.

What's Next???

So yeah, fuck this shit. I ended up getting obsessed with gardening to see what these tomatoes taste like and I think I've answered that question really well so far. I sometimes entertain the idea of trying to improve my grow setup to get a bigger yield and larger fruit but this was also a huge pain in the ass. I don't know if I like the flavor of these tomatoes to justify growing these for another year. I'm getting tired of trying to fight for space off a hanging bridge planter and people coming up to me and asking the same 3 stupid questions over and over again. If I do grow again, having a longer lasting drip irrigation setup is a must. If I have to water these plants every day or every other day like I'm doing now, I'll cut them off the bridge myself.

If I do grow more tomatoes, I think I want to try different varieites that are heirlooms or open pollinated. Something that I am thinking of is trying to grow (a single) tomato plant indoors during the winter. I'd also want this plant to not have small stunted fruit, but I recognize that the challenge of growing indoors and during the low light winter months conflict with this. Stupice tomatoes or black krim look like a good candidate for this.

Also, I still want to grow a yellow moon and stars melon so there's that...

FRUIT UPDATE

Here's a picture of the ripe W hybrid. I think this is the only one I took of it???

It was like an inch and a quarter in diameter just about. A tiny thing. Basically imagine a normal, like fat heart shaped, tomato but the size of a cherry tomato. Also a brown spot on the bottom that covered like 50% of the surface, like some sort of shit antarctica. As I harvested this one, I noticed that this plant is also growing another tiny fruit on the side of the pot. There's new green growth happening, but the leaves are really, really small. Note that this fruit below is like, marble sized.

All that's left before I take down the planters and possibly dismantle them is to wait until the watermelon, garden treasures, and remaining garden gems are ripe.

Look at this puppy! It's slightly bigger than a softball now (this picture is like two weeks old). It's still really light. It feels hollow.

I don't exactly remember when these fruits were pollinated but they won't fucking turn red. They are nice and big though.

Since one of my plants was stolen, I have an empty planter available. I took that and moved it to one of the outermost struts. The height from the strut to the ground on these is like 3 or 4 feet. So I can take a pot off one of the other planters and put it on this one and then go under the bridge and touch the plant where it's waist height. BEHOLD, you can see this gnarly war-torn stem in all it's glory. This is one veteran plant. It's seen some shit and it's not going to die from anything.

Those bumps on the stem are the start of roots. Tomato plants have the curious ability to grow roots out of anywhere on the plant that's exposed to prolonged moisture. It's happening here because I ended up overwatering them way back when and the plant was sitting under wet soil. Also when I water the pot, some of the water drips out into the dirt and onto the stem.

Clutch harvesting strategy by me. You can see all of the remaining fruit on this garden gem. I took this opportunity to prune the dead branches off as well as picking off fruits that were smaller than a marble.

Note to self: pick up that fucking beer bottle next time I'm down there.



This Thought is part of Cory's Hobo Garden

Cory's trying to grow vegetables, but get this--he doesn't have anywhere to put them!!!

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