Friday, June 3, 2011

garden fail friday: i got the (OSU) blues

first some backstory:

one of the tomato varieties i’m most excited about growing this season is OSU blue. it’s an open-pollinated tomato with bluish skin (it’s sometimes purple, dark red or even jet black, depending on the growing conditions and how much sunlight hits the fruit.) it was created by oregon state university researchers using traditional (non-GMO) breeding methods to grow a tomato high in anthocyanin. here’s a great post about them from you grow girl.

i’m growing 29 varieties of tomato this year and i’ve been playing favorites all along. window-front real estate was at a premium for seedlings so i made sure to give the most interesting varieties the nicest, sunniest spots. OSU blue seedlings crested the hierarchy and received tons of preferential treatment.

after planting out two of them i was thrilled to see one take off, quickly becoming the biggest, healthiest tomato plant in my garden. and then it set fruit. and then i saw this:

reisetomate! the easiest-to-identify tomato, unmistakable even at the size of a pencil eraser. and it’s definitely not just a mutant OSU blue--there are two others just like it on the plant.

somehow i mislabeled my tomatoes. i don’t know how this happened...i was so careful. i’m not sure how many are affected. i don’t know if the plants i have labeled as reisetomate are actually OSU blue. worst of all, some of my seedlings died or were aborted, so i don’t even know if i have any OSU blues growing at all.

i noticed this tomato plant, which i had labeled as black zebra cherry, displaying purplish pigmentation on the leaves. i know OSU blue plants sometimes do that but it’s possible black zebra cherry ones do too.

those cute plant tags i made are absolutely useless if they’re marking the wrong plants. this is such an irritating fail. it has me doubting the identity of every tomato i planted.


Bumble Lush (A Garden Blog) said...

Argh! So strange! I can imagine how careful you must have been, especially with those really cool varieties. Maybe you have gremlins? Just kidding. And don't call it a fail yet; maybe just a few tags got mixed up and you'll still have all the varieties. Is it possible that osu blue sets fruit like that too? Crossing my fingers that not many plants were affected.

GoneferalinID said...

Oh no! I feel your pain. That sounds like my failure last year, but I only had three varieties.

M said...

Yes, it's probably just a small mix up and the rest are correct. It's kind of like having babies, don't know if you'll have a boy or a girl until a certain time!

Garden Girl said...

I'm jealous of all the tomato varieties your growing! How many plants do you have growing now? OSU blue sounds like one I'd like to try next year. Have you found some varieties easier to grown than others?

happyskunk said...

I hope you find your OSU Blue! I grew one last year and some people said it was the best tomato they ever tasted. I'm also growing two other tomatoes this year that have some OSU Blue type genes in them, one is called Dancing with Smurfs and the other Searching for the Blue Zebra.

Emily said...

bumble lush--good call, i'm blaming the gremlins. or maybe my garden gnome minnidar has been up to no good.

goneferal--i had forgotten about that...thanks for commiserating!

m--i think you're right, because i remember planting OSU blue and reisetomate seeds on the same day, so maybe it goes that far back and it's just the two of them messed up.

garden girl--in all i think i have around 35 tomatoes growing. i don't know about easier, but currant tomatoes are probably the hardest type i've grown just because they get so huge and the branches/leaves are so small and thin, it's near impossible to cut them back, and they produce about 50 new suckers a day. worth it though, the fruit is cute and delicious.

happyskunk--thank you! those varieties you're trying sound amazing, what fabulous names. i hope you post pictures once they ripen. good to hear about the blue tomato taste--i've read mixed reviews.