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Hello, I am a new gardener from northern California. I enjoyed buying heirloom tomatoes at the local farmer's market last year so much that I decided to try growing some myself this year. I decided to start from seed in my spare bathroom tub. My wife was not pleased at the mess I made...hahaha...but I ended up going over board and created too many plants. I didn't think It would be so successful. I ended up with about 20 brandy-wine plants, 15 Cherokee plants and about 15 Tula plants. I was able to give some away to friends, which they had some success in getting to produce. I decided I would build a raised bed for nothing but my heirlooms. I did put one of each type of plant in pots and they have produced fairly well. My raised bed is 8'X8'. By the time I finished the raised bed, though, it was pretty late in the season..early August...ouch. I didn't expect much from them but they seem to be growing very well, even now into September. Due to the hot weather we had this summer, the slightly cooler weather now is great and they seem to be doing great! My potted ones are producing more than ever. While at the framer's market, I talked to one of the heirloom vendors who has great success with her tomatoes and she told me she makes a tea out of kelp and then sprays it directly onto the leaves for better absorption. She then takes the solids and adds it to the base of the plants to fertilize the soil. Since I started feeding them with the tea they are exploding with life and fruit. I love it. Though this year has been a learning experience, I feel next year will be incredible from what I have learned!
 

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I might have to learn more about your "tea" method because my tomatos were awful this year. and I normally have such good luck with them. I'm in So. Oregon, so you and I probably have similar climates, although if you are northern central cal, then you might even be a little hotter than we are.
welcome to the forum!
 
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