Friday, May 28, 2021

The Taxi Tomatoes that produced multiple harvests

Over the last several years I have grown the Taxi tomato. The majority of the time I have grown it, I have had some form of success. The very first year I had my garden, I grew a whole lot of them. The following year or two I grew less of them outside of the garden. But last year, I decided I would grow primarily Taxi tomatoes in the area in which I had been growing my sweet potatoes.

Tomatoes generally don’t do well being grown in the same place year after year. The plants often draw a large amount of fertility, nutrients and other good things from the soil. Additionally, fungus, bacteria, viruses and other disease issues that can build up in the plants can sometimes make their way into the roots and the soil. 

In 2019, my children splashed chlorinated water over the sides of the pool, which killed the healthy bacteria that supported the roots of the plants, which quickly led to their demise. Likewise, at the beginning of the 2020 gardening season highly chlorinated water was splashed all over my Taxi tomato plants, which quickly began to decline. I decided to experiment by spraying some Serenade (Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713) onto the plants. Within a matter of days, the plants not only rebounded from the injury caused by the chlorine, but were doing much better than they were doing prior to having the bacteria stripped from the soil. So – this is how I had a good crop of Taxi tomatoes. Every 2-3 weeks, the plants would decline enough to require spraying again and each time I sprayed, the plants did better. Spraying like this turned this determinate tomato variety into something that was much more semi-determinate in nature.

The vines continued to grow strong through several flushes of tomatoes until the plants, though still free of disease, looked used up enough that I decided to pull them. This is always a hard decision to make: when to pull the plant? My decision point for pulling a plant is when the plant begins to decline to the point at which leaving it in the soil would be detrimental to the health of the garden. For me, tomatoes usually reach this point immediately after their first fruit is formed (one of the many reasons I prefer growing determinate tomatoes). Most years I would have pulled the plant much earlier, but this year I decided to pull it later because the plant’s health was still so good. 

So altogether this was a fantastic year for growing out the Taxi tomato. I enjoyed a good harvest - and the plants were healthy enough that the negative effects of their presence in that spot were mostly mitigated by the bacterial fungicide I used to maintain them. Unlike previous years, I can gladly say that – at least in relation to growing out my Taxi Tomatoes – that I wouldn’t change a thing.

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