Tomatoes in the Fall

The seasons are changing. The sky is full of clouds, the wind is blowing leaves around, and the sun shines at an angle casting long shadows.  We even had our first little rain storm last weekend. While rain is always welcomed at my farm its arrival brings splitting tomatoes.

A praying mantis inspecting the cherry tomatoes
A praying mantis inspecting the cherry tomatoes

I dry farm all my tomatoes. Which means that as the little tomato plants are growing I only water them about three times a week, with very long multi-hour deep watering. Eventually I cut them back to only once a week irrigation and then when I see the first ripe fruit for that particular variety, I turn the water off for good. My cherry tomatoes have not seen water since sometime in June. The heirloom tomatoes have not felt the cold drip of irrigation since July. So the tomatoes are accustom to dry desert like condition. This produces delicious low-water content fruit. With the return of precipitation the skins can’t stretch enough to contain all the new water in the fruit, so they bust open resulting in vines covered in ripe but split tomatoes.

Split tomato snack time in the field

So this week I spent much of my time during harvest removing the damage tomatoes, for every good marketable tomato there were about two destine to immediately become compost. But fear not the tomato plants are still producing tons of tomatoes as our days are still warm and frost is still weeks away.

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