Today I got a chance to sit down and go through the pictures of the harvests I’ve made so far. We put in the first raised bed February 21st, the second raised bed March 26th, and the third raised bed April 10th. All the tomatoes went in the raised beds, as well as spinach, broccoli, carrots, onions (white, yellow and red), squash, jalapeno, Cajun bell and cayenne peppers, a couple of cucumber bushes, okra, mint, snow peas, regular peas, green beans and turnips. We dug three rows in the ground and planted watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber vines, pumpkin, corn, peanuts and okra.
I’ve decided the yield on the corn isn’t worth the space and effort. I’ve planted both early as well as regular corn, get one or two ears off each plant, then the plant croaks once the single harvest is done. I’ve tried it two years and can definitely say I won’t be doing corn again. The peanuts were more for the novelty than anything else, but they’re not ready for harvesting yet so I can’t say how well they’ve done. The cucumber vines love in-ground rows and produce much more than the bush cucumbers in the raised bed.
As far as the tomatoes, we planted cherry (Sweet 100), Yellow Pear (heirloom), Italian Ice, Golden Jubilee, Tangerine, Parks Whopper, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee (heirloom), Brandy Boy, as well as a new variety called Super Sauce, basically a Roma tomato on steroids (as large as the giant Brandy Boy tomatoes). After evaluating their production, I will no longer grow Golden Jubilee, Cherokee, and probably Brandy Boy. While those three have excellent flavor, they just didn’t produce well. Huge tomatoes are great, but when you only get 2 or 3 total on a bush, it takes up too much real estate.
As of August 2nd, I have harvested the garden twenty-eight times so far. The totals are as follows:
Watermelon: 2 (still producing)
Cantaloupe: 4 (still producing)
Cucumbers: 20 (still producing)
Golden Jubilee (one bush): 4 large tomatoes
Cherokee (two bushes): 4 large tomatoes
Super Sauce (two bushes): 7 huge tomatoes, still producing
Brandy Boy (three bushes): 9 large tomatoes
Mortgage Lifter (one bush): 25 medium tomatoes
Tangerine (three bushes): 27 medium tomatoes, still producing
Parks Whopper (one bush): 34 large tomatoes, still producing
Sweet 100 cherry (one bush): 252 tomatoes, still producing
Italian Ice (three bushes): 344 tomatoes, still producing
Yellow Pear (three bushes): 535 tomatoes, still producing
Those last three numbers are not misprints. All three are small, cherry sized tomatoes. The heirloom Yellow Pear are shaped like pears and have fantastic flavor. Italian Ice are cherry sized, but are sweet cream butter in color when ripe. They have great flavor, just a tiny bit milder than the Yellow Pear. All three of the small ones are great on sandwiches, in salads, etc. The larger ones I use in the same way, except I also can those to use during the fall and winter in soups, stews, etc.
So, as of August 2nd, I have harvested a grand total of 1,241 tomatoes…and still counting. Have I mentioned I LOVE those raised beds? ;-)