It happens every year at Labor Day — the weather gets threatening and we all swathe our tomatoes in some sort of jerry-rigged cold frame/greenhouse kind of thing. One reason I’ve always sort of liked the trellis-and-string method is because it also provides a handy structure to hold the plastic up.
With the new beds up against the fence like that, I just stapled the plastic to the fence, then draped it over the top of the bamboo and it’s held down with rocks. Lots of rocks. Big rocks because Livingston is windy. I also filled a bunch of wall-o-waters and stuck them in there in between the plants to try to help out with thermal mass. They’re helping a little — keeping it about 3 degrees warmer overnight inside the beds than outside, and well, that three degrees can go a long way. Where the plastic is really performing though is in the daytime — yesterday we had a little thin sunshine after the fog burned off, and when it was 50 degrees outside, it was 94 inside the plastic. Tomatoes (and the peppers that are in there) like heat, so I’m hoping for a few more sunny days (today is supposed to go up to 80 — I might have to open the poor things up and give them some air) to ripen what looks like a great crop of tomatoes.
I’m pretty happy with the varieties I grew this year — I’ll definitely do the Sasha’s Altai again — they not only ripened early but were delicious. Prairie Fire ripened early, but was only okay — it was a nondescript small round tomato. I still haven’t found a cherry I’m entirely happy with — the Galina’s are good but don’t ripen that early, and the Black Cherry I grew this year is also nice but again, didn’t ripen significantly earlier than anything else. I don’t like the supersweet modern hybrids (just like I don’t like the supersweet sweet corn people are growing these days — I want corn that tastes like corn, not like candy), so I’ll probably shop around for a couple more cherries next year. The Milano Plum is a fabulous tomato — bigger and meatier than the Principe Borghese and bears heavily. The Jaunne Flamme was a husge success — they did really well and taste fabulous. I’m currently fermenting a little jar of seed to use next year. And the Marglobes, what can I say — Marglobes are like that guy you have a crush on who you can’t quite get over. They seem so promising, and I every year I think see — this time it’s going to be great — but they never quite perform like I want them to — they grow gorgeous big green tomatoes that never seem to quite ripen in time, and then I wind up eating them ripened in the basement, wrapped in newspaper, and they taste sour. I might have to finally give up on them. I suppose we’ll see in March, when I’m down in the basement, poking seeds into flats of soil.