Updates November 2017
As of today, Juliet gave 2,819 fruits with a total weight of 100.12 lbs. (45.4 kg). It's hard to believe, but small fruited plants can produce more pounds than large fruited varieties. Bill thinks it's because, in general, they tolerate the heat better. Juliet, now way past its prime, doesn't give up, still sets lots of fruits. If frost doesn't hit until after the first week of December, Bill expect another 5 to 8 lbs. (2.3 to 3.6 kg) of production.
The plant now lives with slowly progressing 'early blight', affecting its leaves — but not the fruits. No fungicides have been applied. Bill just cuts off affected leaves, dispose of them, and the plant goes on about its business. Tolerates it better than you would expect.
The biggest problems for Bill during 2017 were:
- Attending huge plants in tight quarters, but growing vertically helps
- The heat (that’s nothing new)
- Ground squirrels that love to mess with his garden, sampling everything
- His trellising technique, which needs to improve, so 100 lb. plants are better supported
The best two plants during 2017 were:
- Juliet: 100.1 lbs. (and counting) (45.4 kg)
- Big Beef: 85.2 lbs. (38.7 kg)
Big Beef with many large tomatoes
Guess we'll have to wait until 2018 to find out, when Bill plants Juliet anew. He has in mind a few changes to try and prolong its health.
The totals of this morning:
- Fruits: 2,997
- Weight: 105.15 lbs. (47.7 kg)
As you can see on the pictures, new fruits keep setting. However, blight is beginning to weaken the plant more and more.
The total production of Juliet finished at 109.4 lbs. (49.6 kg). With a little luck, Juliet could go for another 5 or 10 pounds. It depends on the weather, since there are still a lot of fruits on the vines.
Bill says: “I always underestimate what my plants are capable of in the Waterboxx®”
So far, the plant doesn't seem to mind (too much) the temperatures dropping into the upper 30's, low 40's (-1 to 4°C). Still got yellow flowers and fruit setting. That's not supposed to happen.
The temperature is usually in the low 30's at night by now, but with the weather patterns so erratic (scary, really), maybe there won't be any freezes this winter. Bill used collected/rainbarrel rainwater for the Juliet box, topping off when needed. 1.1 to 1.5 gallons (4.2 to 5.7 liters) a week, depending on how hot the weather is, high winds, etc. The wicks still work after seven months! Bill had to put in 3 gallons (11.4 liters) this morning. Rainwater is the key to longevity of the wicks.