Tomato – Black Cherry

black-cherry-tomato-webBlack Cherry is an indeterminate tomato variety, with fruits that are about the size of ping pong balls.  I last grew this variety 3 summers ago, and the tomatoes were delicious.  I will be growing this plant outside in a 32 gallon bucket, and I will definitely need to watch the fluid level and add more as needed.  I expect this plant will get huge (6-8 feet tall) and will consume more than 60 gallons of fluid over the course of the season.

Day 0.  Plant started from seed (Baker Creek).  Seeds (3) sowed into one 1.5 inch rockwool cube in 2 inch net-pot.  Moistened with Seedling Blend, a dilute blend of fertilizers.  N-P-K (in ppm): 22-29-16.

Day 4.  The seeds have germinated, and are placed directly under a fluorescent light (spiral bulb, 23W, 6500k) for 18 hours per day.  The bulb is positioned 3-4 inches above the plants.

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Day 7.

Day 11.  Plant is now being put into a sunny window for 3 hours per day, then back under the fluorescent light for an additional 15 hours.

Day 14.  Plant transferred to a small plastic jar containing 3 cups of Regular-Strength Blend.  N-P-K (in ppm): 103-95-202.

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Day 14.

Day 24.  Installed the plant outside in a 32 gallon bucket.  The plant is currently getting about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight per day.  The fertilizer solution is the Masterblend-based Regular-Strength Blend.

Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):

N P K Ca Mg S Cl Fe B Mn Zn Cu Mo Ni Co Si
103 95 202  100 29 34 11 2.1 1.1 1.1 0.3 0.3 0.05 4.1
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Day 24.
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Day 39.
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Day 58.  Plant is over 3 feet tall.
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Day 59.  Healthy root system.  Fluid level has dropped about 6 inches so far.

Day 80.  Bucket seems to be about 1/3 full, so I added 8 gallons of fresh Regular-Strength Blend.

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Day 80.  Plant is 5 feet tall, with lots of flowers and several tomatoes developing.

Day 89.  Added 8 gallons of nutrient solution: Regular-Strength Blend.

Day 95.  Added 9 gallons of nutrient solution: Regular-Strength Blend.

Day 101.  Added 12 gallons of nutrient solution: Regular-Strength Blend.

Day 112.  Added 8 gallons of nutrient solution: Regular-Strength Blend.  Began harvesting ripe tomatoes at this time.  Total = 20 tomatoes.

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Day 112.  Harvested 20 tomatoes.
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Day 116.  Plant has exceeded the height of the support structure.  I have begun trimming to prevent further upward growth.

Day 119.  Harvested 48 tomatoes.  Total = 68.

Day 123.  Harvested 65 tomatoes.  Total = 133.  Added 9 gallons of nutrient solution: Regular-Strength Blend.  Plant is losing a lot of its lower foliage due to powdery mildew.

Day 126.  Harvested 104 tomatoes.  Total = 237.

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Day 126.  Tomatoes are being harvested faster than I can eat them.  Time to make a big batch of salsa!

Day 128.  Harvested 112 tomatoes.  Total = 349.

Day 131.  Harvested 80 tomatoes.  Total = 429.

Day 134.  Harvested 152 tomatoes.  Total = 581.

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Day 134.  A big harvest today, 152 tomatoes!
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Day 134.  The foliage looks terrible, but the plant continues to provide lots of ripe tomatoes.

Day 137.  Harvested 102 tomatoes.  Total = 683.

Day 140.  Harvested 29 tomatoes.  GRAND TOTAL = 712.

At this point, many tomatoes are cracking on the vine, and the plant foliage is mostly dead.  Plant was taken down at this point.  This plant started with 32 gallons of fluid, and I added 54 gallons during the season.  There was still 11.5 gallons left when I took the plant down.  Total fluid used =  74.5 gallons.

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3 thoughts on “Tomato – Black Cherry

  1. Your records are meticulous and very helpful to other gardeners. So roughly 75 gallons for an indeterminate cherry tomato plant in your growing zone and micro climate, which is interesting since last year’s smaller tomato plants used approximately 55 gallons. Thanks for posting your information.

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    • Yes, this indeterminate plant got much larger and used more fluid, but the crop size wasn’t any bigger. I think I’ll probably go back to growing the determinate varieties (like Fantastico) next year.

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