Final Summer EarthBox 2016 Recap — The Tomatoes, Tomatillos, and Basil


The final “summer garden 2016” recap — Tomatoes, Tomatillos, and Basil

The 2013 recap is here. 2014 here. 2015 here.

160905 tomatoes

The Tomatoes:

Black Krim – 10.9 pounds. [75 day indeterminate heirloom.]  Relatively poor yield in 2016, which was true of everything else too. In the two previous years the yield was around 23 pounds each year. Keep that in mind as we go down the list. Always a favorite at the tomato tastings with its rich, earthy flavor. Black Krim also makes a great sauce. Keeper.

(Purple) Cherokee – 14.1 pounds. [80 day indeterminate heirloom.]  Produced earlier than 80 days and continued late — it wound up with the 2nd highest yield of the eight tomato plants. Cherokee did well in the tastings. Definite winner that we’ll grow again assuming we have the space. (Pictured above on the back sheet tray, right side. Probably.)

Oregon Spring – 10.5 pounds. [60 day determinate.]  An early and abundant producer that tastes good and makes good sauce. It’s a small determinate, which is another point in its favor. (Smaller determinates don’t require some of the pruning and maintenance that the indeterminate varieties do. And they take less space. And everything else gets more sun by association. I can see us trying for a higher ratio of determinate tomatoes going forward.)

Valencia – 10.6 pounds. [55-60 day indeterminate.]  New to us, these were supposed to taste of pineapple, which no-one could detect in the tastings. Still, the plant did well, the fruits had a “full” tomato taste and ripened to a cheery bright orange.

Sun Gold – 6.6 pounds. [65 day indeterminate]  Very poor yield from a very sweet tasting and popular tomato. Most years we’d see around 16 pounds from this variety. We’ll get ’em next year.

Yellow Pear – 8.5 pounds. [78 day indeterminate.]  I thought it would be a good idea to put another indeterminate cherry tomato with the Sun Golds. We weren’t impressed. The Yellow Pears didn’t really taste of anything, the skins were thick, the yield was “meh”… Last year we didn’t love the Sweet Millions, this year it was the Yellow Pear. Not a keeper. We’re still searching for a complimentary cherry tomato and are open to recommendations.

Roma – 3.0 pounds. [75 determinate.]   Terrible. We’d averaged 22 pounds per year over the last three years. Smothered by indeterminates, the Romas need a better location in 2017. Most likely the “correct” answer is a dedicated box (two plants) of Romas.

Paul Robeson – 8.5 pounds. [85 day indeterminate.] Another purple/black variety. Late, but tasty. We may not have room for three purple/black varieties next year. Keeper if we have room.

Taxi – 22.7 pounds. [65 day determinate.] Taxi is a top producer- Every. Single. Year.  25.9 pounds in 2014.  24.6 pounds in 2015.  The marginal weather didn’t effect the Taxi plant in the least. We have a lot of yellow tomato sauce.

Tigerella – 12.1 pounds. [65 indeterminate heirloom.] The Tigerella got a little squished in the middle of the garden. Still, the yield was good (relatively), and the plant was one of the last hangers-on of the season.


The Tomatillos:

“Verde” – 19.7 pounds from two plants. This was a new variety to us, and it’s my new favorite. The yield was good, and the fruits grew to be larger than the other two varieties we’ve previously done. (“De Mipa” and “Mexican Strain”.) That means less work and less processing. Winner.

160724 tomatillo


The Basil:

We’re done weighing basil because I find it too tedious. We’ll get around 3 pounds of leaves per box per year. Good enough. We waited too long to harvest this year — the plants sort of yellowed before we got to them and a lot got wasted. The plan next year is to harvest 1/2 of the basil on August 1 and half of what’s left each successive week until the plants yellow. (Or something like that.)


2016 Summary:

The total yield was 194.3 pounds, though we didn’t count the garlic, scallions, or other cool-season greens that we’ve counted in other years. Not including the basil it comes to 17.7 pounds per box, or about 6.0 pounds per square foot of growing medium. It could have gone better but nature had other ideas. I’m not going to argue.



Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.

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