18 August 2007

Hershel's Tomato

Hershel is my wonderful gardening neighbor. (I misspelled his name in my sign above. Note the Sharpie pen for size comparison....) He's been gardening in our neighborhood for about twenty years and his garden is fabulous. We often benefit from his ability to produce enormous quantities of the best green beans ever -- Kentucky Wonders. The tomato pictured is Hershel's own development and the one I photographed is not the prettiest or the largest he's ever shown me. I believe the parent tomato is a German Pink type. Hershel's tomato produces a slice for a sandwich that will overhang the bread! Really great flavor, nice firmness. To the left is one of the Cherokee Purple heirloom I grew from a transplant I bought at Old Soul Organics in Fayetteville. It is, hands down, the healthiest, lushest plant I've ever grown, incredibly productive and with a *perfect* tomato flavor in my opinion. Needless to say I'm saving the seeds on that one. It has a near potato type leaf. Here's a sliced one:

The other tomato tip I'll do again next year involves composted cotton burr compost. The bed where I was planting the tomato was too clayey so I added a half bag of the compost right in the end of the bed where the tomato was to go. I guess they LOVE this compost! I'll do this again for each tomato plant next year.

Here's a parting pic of Hershel's wonderfully huge tomato -- this one not completely ripe. I knew I'd lucked out when I moved to the neighborhood and after meeting Hershel he pulled a giant whole tomato out of the freezer to show me! This is my kind of neighbor! The tomato had been so huge and perfect -- indeed, it seemed half as big as my head -- that he'd frozen it so that folks would believe him when he told the story! Because we know that gardening stories and fishing stories can be similar in some ways...

Finally today some RAIN!! It smelled exquisite.


~~ Melissa said...

I love it that he kept the tomato in the freezer! I would too. The sizes are fantastic. And you've made me very hungry. :)

Leigh said...

Thanks for stopping by Melissa! More tomato posts to come later this week.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ooooh... I'm just catching up here, and I'm drooling over these tomatoes. (I "lost" your blog for a while somehow.) I grew Cherokee purples one year and absolutely loved the flavor, but I only got 2 on the plant (it was a bad tomato year, and I planted it late) and neither of them were as big as the one you showed sliced up.

I can only imagine how delicious that big one was... it's an especially acute kind of imagining at this time of the winter, as you can imagine. *sigh*

Leigh said...

I had grown the Cherokee Purple in the past and been only slightly impressed. But this plant came from a local grower (from Old Soul Organics who now don't have a storefront presence...boohoo!) and was THE most phenomenal tomato I've EVER grown. I saved seed in hopes I can duplicate, or even come close to such a glorious plant. It was huge, stunningly untroubled by disease and had the best taste of any I've tried, with the possible exception of Ananas Noir from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! So glad to see you back here Blackswamp Girl. Your book reviews are fantastic.